Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Episode 274: Russian River Flower School and new voices from the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
Flowers from Sonoma County inspired designs at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in October.

Flowers from Sonoma County inspired designs at the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop in October.

In October, I had the distinct pleasure of teaching with Dundee Butcher of Russian River Flower School + Events in Healdsburg, California.

Our Slow Flowers Creative Workshop provided a lovely chance to further share the Floral Storytelling and Floral Memoir curriculum I’ve developed. Our group gathered in one of the most inspiring places — Northern California’s wine country.

As creatives, I believe much of our inspiration comes from “place,” and for this workshop, there was no shortage of beautiful scenery, gorgeous botanicals and the most to-die-for studio space you’ve ever seen.

Dundee and her colleague Naomi Mcleod, along with their frequent volunteer Vicki McFadden, hosted our workshop for two days during which we exercised writing skills, stretched our perception of language, and stepped outside the comfort zones as florist-writers. It was such a wonderful experience that allowed me to talk about our Slow Flowers ethos with kindred spirits.

Our group celebrated the conclusion of a successful two days. We gathered for dinner and a garden tour at Dundee Butcher's wine country home (Dundee is first on the left in this shot)

Our group celebrated the conclusion of a successful two days. We gathered for dinner and a garden tour at Dundee Butcher’s wine country home. From left: Dundee, Naomi Mcleod, Julia, Susan, Kate, Debra and Emily.

This Podcast episode will introduce you to Dundee and her story, and to four of the students in our workshop: Susan Chambers from bloominCouture in San Francisco; Emily Carey from ETC Designs in Sebastopol; Julia Beckstoffer of Kiss my Chicks in St. Helena; and Kate Rowe from Aztec Dahlias in Petaluma. Follow this link to my earlier blog post about the workshop – and to see more photos of the designs that emerged that day.

Our writing exercises ranged from simple botanical descriptions (describe a rose without using the word rose, for example), to playing with new ways of naming color, to journaling about our earliest memory of nature, flowers or art. The ultimate goal? To identify our “why,” our “North Star,” our personal value system that underscores our brand.

On Day Two, Dundee led the students in a floral design exercise to think differently about how their botanical creations reflect a personal aesthetic. We had some amazing flowers to play with, both from local flower farms like Aztec Dahlias, Home Farm, and Chalk Hill Clematis, as well as cuttings from Dundee’s personal garden. Enjoy these photos of the exquisite and distinct designs.

Dundee demonstrated her inventive use of natural elements in design.

Dundee demonstrated her inventive use of natural elements in design.

Here’s more about Dundee and Russian River Flower School:

Dundee opened Russian River Flower School in 2013 after training and working with some of the top floral design houses in London for many years. As well as teaching, she was privileged to create arrangements for a variety of events and occasions, including private parties, intimate dinners, corporate functions, weddings and even a palace!

Dundee’s vision has been to teach a form of “unstructured formality” by fusing what she learned working in a more formal style of floristry in Europe with the excitement of the natural beauty and materials found in abundance in Northern California.

Russian River Flower School’s mission is to teach people to wander with their eyes open, see differently and enjoy the creative process. The flower school is located in the heart of the California wine country, in the town of Healdsburg.

Follow Russian River Flower School at these social places:

Russian River Flower School on Facebook

Russian River Flower School on Instagram

Writing about flowers . . . it's kind of like meditation.

Writing about flowers . . . it’s kind of like meditation.

Thank you to our students — you trusted me and you were open and accepting of expressing your creativity in a new way. That’s sweet and I can’t wait to see where it takes you and your creative businesses! It was pretty special to see our group come together as a cohort of peers — and to experience the value of setting aside a few days to invest in each of our personal growth. Thank you to Dundee, Naomi and Vicki for making our experience so unforgettable!

Here are the video interviews with each student, produced by Davis and Ludell Jones of Eazl.co

Kate Rowe:

Aztec Dahlias on Facebook

Aztec Dahlias on Instagram

Kate Rowe, from Aztec Dahlias. Love her simple study.

Kate Rowe, from Aztec Dahlias. Love her simple study.

Emily Carey:

ETC designs on Facebook

ETC designs on Instagram

Love the olive branches with fruit! Florals by Emily Carey of ETC designs

Love the olive branches with fruit! Florals by Emily Carey of ETC designs

Susan Chambers:

bloominCouture on Facebook

bloominCouture on Instagram

Designed by Susan Chambers

Julia Beckstoffer:

Kiss my Chicks on Instagram

Julia Beckstoffer, floral designer and Bantam Poultry farmer.

Julia Beckstoffer, floral designer and Bantam Poultry farmer.

What I found most inspiring was the willingness of our participants to suspend fear or apprehension and dive into unfamiliar exercises as they learned how to express themselves through words. I salute everyone involved for the way they encouraged and supported one another — that makes a huge difference during any creative process, right?!

What drew people to take this workshop and invest in themselves in a new way? Here’s a sampling of the reasons:

“I lost track of my connection to creativity. I could stand behind another designer and sell someone else’s work, but not my own. I want to use flowers to tell a story.”

“I became so separate from who I am, and I started thinking ‘what would I do if I could do anything I dreamed of?’”

00539_DP_CreativeWorkshop-02 If you’re interested in participating in an upcoming Slow Flowers Creative Workshop, be sure to let me know. I’m planning one for the Seattle area in early March — details to come!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 136,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on our home page in the right column. Your contributions will help make it possible to transcribe future episodes of the Podcast.

sponsor-bar_sept_2016
Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

More sponsor thanks goes to Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at lfgardens.com.

A fond thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

And finally, thank you Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And, if you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Episode 271: The flowering of Philadelphia with designer Dan Fingerhut of Floradelphia

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016
Flutter Magazine's portrait of Dan Fingerhut, shared here with permission.

Flutter Magazine’s portrait of Dan Fingerhut, shared here with permission.

I’ve had Dan Fingerhut of Philadelphia on my radar for a few years and now that my youngest son is a college student in Philly, I added Dan to my wish list of people to connect with during a mom-visit. Lucky for me, that occurred in September.

Between shopping visits to Target and Ikea for apartment supplies, I snuck away from the campus scene to spend a morning with this inventive floral designer.

Dan Fingerhut is the creator of a busy little floral studio called Floradelphia. Every bouquet he creates dazzles the senses with scent and soul. As you will hear in our conversation, recorded at his postage stamp of a studio that he sublets from a hip art gallery just outside the Center City district, Dan got his start in flowers by wandering Philadelphia’s farmers markets. He was able to source gorgeous flowers but found it challenging to find foliage he liked, so he improvised with scented herbs and became hooked.

As a child, Dan could be found in bright sneakers and a paper crown, smelling the flowers, and imagining everyone living joyfully in a more flowered world.

Floradelphia, the name says it all. Flowers for Philadelphia!

Floradelphia, the name says it all. Flowers for Philadelphia!

Dan poses with a dahlia at the peak of season.

Dan poses with a dahlia at the peak of season.

One of the larger bouquets designed by Dan for local delivery. The vase is locally made by potter Brian Giniewski, whose work Dan promotes and sells.

One of the larger bouquets designed by Dan for local delivery. The vase is locally made by potter Brian Giniewski, whose work Dan promotes and sells.

Today that’s what he’s driven to create for all of his clients. Floradelphia is for everyone who loves fragrance and color; wants a fresh, organic and happy aesthetic; desires local and seasonal ingredients; and values thoughtful, personal service. The studio also teaches floral design and takes a limited number of weddings and events each year, booking up quickly.

A lovely, seasonal Floradelphia centerpiece

A lovely, seasonal Floradelphia centerpiece

According to Dan, Floradelphia is the first in Philadelphia to offer online delivery of local flowers. His flowers, herbs and vase arrangements provide an energizing, joyful, and fully sensory experience for the aesthetically oriented and eco-minded Philadelphia customer, including flower lovers, gardeners, nature enthusiasts, foodies, chefs, design lovers, aromatherapy and fragrance connoisseurs, and everyone who seeks wonderful flowers.

I snapped these photos in September when I spent a morning with Dan Fingerhut and followed him to one of the urban farms that supply his bouquets.

I snapped these photos in September when I spent a morning with Dan Fingerhut and followed him to one of the urban farms that supplies his bouquets.

Dan often gathers his arrangements in a locally-made vessel by potter Brian Giniewski. The artist’s Drip Pots are handmade in Philadelphia. The glossy glazes contrast with the grainy, matte finish of each vessel’s body. The glaze has been developed to melt in a particular way so that the drips can be ‘frozen’ at the perfect time during the firing process.

Floradelphia bouquet, by Dan Fingerhut

Floradelphia bouquet, by Dan Fingerhut

Flowers, herbs, and succulents are sourced locally, grown sustainably, and change with the seasons. Martha Stewart Living named Floradelphia one of the top floral designers to book for your wedding, BuzzFeed called its arrangement “basically works of art”, and Design Sponge recommended Floradelphia as a florist to follow on Instagram.

Ready for delivery!

Ready for delivery!

A whimsical arrangement featuring Brian Giniewski pottery and local ornamental cabbage.

A whimsical arrangement featuring Brian Giniewski pottery and local ornamental cabbage.

Thanks for joining today’s conversation! Be sure to view our show notes to meet Dan Fingerhut, see photos of his work, and follow along at his social places.

Floradelphia on Facebook

Floradelphia on Instgram

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 130,500 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on our home page in the right column. Your contributions will help make it possible to transcribe future episodes of the Podcast.

sponsor-bar_sept_2016 Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

More sponsor thanks goes to Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at lfgardens.com.

A fond thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

And finally, thank you Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org

PodcastLogo I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Episode 270: Meet Mary Coombs and Dawn Clark of A Garden Party Florist, a New Jersey-based floral design, events and workshop studio

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

2up I’ve been wanting to visit Mary Coombs and Dawn Clark of A Garden Party Florist ever since we first met at a Chapel Designers conference in 2014. The sisters are based in Elmer, New Jersey, which is in the southern, rural area of the “Garden State.”

a-garden-party-tami-melissa-photography-0204

Dawn Clark (left) and Mary Coombs (right) are a sister duo with so much love and passion behind their combined creative efforts.

I had an instant connection with Mary and Dawn when we met, because I sensed their passion for horticulture and floriculture, and appreciated their desire to weave local flowers into their business. As it turned out, what I sensed was incredibly accurate. These former 4-H’ers combine a cutting garden, floral design for weddings and events, and now design workshops and private gatherings at their new event space called A Milkhouse Party.

sm_danielle-jeff-farm-to-table-wedding-photography-love-story-studios-0048

Ready for the party! at A Milkhouse Party, the new event space.

On their web site, they write: we share gifts from our garden and treasures from our local growers. We spend an enormous amount of time and effort sourcing (and sometimes even growing!) these bits of beauty. The farm fresh deliveries are like Christmas morning!

sm_danielle-jeff-farm-to-table-wedding-photography-love-story-studios-0061 For many reasons, we focus on designing with as much locally grown material as possible:

  1. FRESHNESS: hand-picked from our garden by our team of designers and fresh deliveries from our local flower farmers, it just doesn’t get any fresher!
  2. VARIETY: Of those rare varieties, what garden gems they are! Also, we can hand pick the exact stems and the perfect shade of pink.
  3. ECO-FRIENDLY: This is a green industry for sure! Producing little non-compostable trash, much of our work goes back to the earth, so we should take care of it. Many of our local growers grow organically. The little bugs are a bonus in my book! 
  4. ORIGIN MATTERS: The farm to table movement has expanded to include the field to vase movement! We proudly sell locally grown and domestic blooms. We will admit that we do not sell 100% domestic product, but as the demand increases for US grown flowers, the US farms are growing as well!

We hope that our studio is aiding the SLOW FLOWERS movement in some small way. See our listing on SLOW FLOWERS or find another local florist near you committed to sourcing local flowers. 

Lush and local, a bountiful wedding bouquet by A Garden Party's Mary & Dawn.

Lush and local, a bountiful wedding bouquet by A Garden Party’s Mary & Dawn.

Mary, little sister, is mom to sons Lee – 6 and Sam – 3; she is a proud farmer’s wife (insert shameless plug for Coombs Sod Farms here), a hunter of garden gems, a lover of wine & cheese (who isn’t?), a collector of friends, a mama’s girl (youngest sibling trait?), a creator of pretty things, and a believer that the simplest things bring the greatest pleasure. Mary admits to being the extrovert in the partnership

Dawn, slightly older sister, is a happy mama to two beautiful girls (Grace, 11 and Leah, 7), an obsessive organizer, an avid reader with a kindle binge every now and then, a supporter of trashy reality tv, a true beach lover (work or play!) a hermit on Mondays, a loving wife to her even more introverted husband (she says she’s the outgoing one in that relationship) and a true believer in doing what she loves: flowers!

 

I am so encouraged by their involvement in Slowflowers.com, especially when I receive emails like on Mary sent me last season. Her subject line: “It is Working.”

 “I was meeting with a client last night and I asked her how she found us. Much to my delight, she found us via Slowflowers.com! She is a perfect fit for my company and I am proud to be listed on this site. Thank you for working so hard on this!”

READ MORE…

Slow Flowers Creative Workshop with Russian River Flower School

Thursday, October 27th, 2016
groupdsc00522

Our wonderful group, from left: Dundee, Naomi, Julia, Susan, Kate, Debra & Emily, photogaphed in Dundee’s private garden in Healdsburg, CA

Dundee with her sweet Lab, "Joyce Muriel," who wasn't thrilled with her floral collar.

Dundee with her sweet Lab, “Joyce Muriel,” who wasn’t thrilled with her floral collar.

00539_DP_CreativeWorkshop-02 Earlier this month I had the distinct pleasure of teaching with Dundee Butcher of Russian River Flower School in Healdsburg, California.

This was a lovely chance to share the Floral Storytelling and Floral Memoir curriculum in one of the most inspiring places for followers of our Slow Flowers ethos.

I believe our inspiration comes from “place,” and there was no shortage of beautiful scenery, gorgeous botanicals and the most to-die-for studio space you’ve ever seen.

rrfsimg_2643 Dundee and her colleague Naomi Mcleod, along with their volunteer Vicki McFadden, hosted our workshop for two days in which we exercised our writing skills, stretched our perception of language, and stepped outside the comfort zones as florist-writers.

One of the participants said this about the value of the experience:

“The topic interested me since I have been on a mission to find where I am going with my business and how to incorporate our family farm and tell our story.

“I plan to use this as I update and rebrand my business and where I am going with it.”

 

Writing about flowers . . . it's kind of like meditation.

Writing about flowers . . . it’s kind of like meditation.

This is the third Creative Workshop and what I am finding most inspiring is how willing our participants suspend fear or apprehension and dive into unfamiliar exercises to express themselves through words. I salute everyone involved for the way they encouraged and supported one another — that makes a huge difference during any creative process, right?!

I love Kate's concentration as she writes about a dahlia!

I love Kate’s concentration as she writes about a dahlia!

What drew people to take this workshop and invest in themselves in a new way? Here’s a sampling of the reasons:

“I lost track of my connection to creativity. I could stand behind another designer and sell someone else’s work, but not my own. I want to use flowers to tell a story.”

“I became so separate from who I am, and I started thinking ‘what would I do if I could do anything I dreamed of?'”

Our writing exercises ranged from simple botanical descriptions (describe a rose without using the word rose, for example), to playing with new ways of naming color, to journaling about our earliest memory of nature, flowers or art. The ultimate goal? To identify our “why,” our “North Star,” our personal value system that underscores our brand.

READ MORE…

Episode 265: Flowers in the Heartland with Adam and Jenn O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm in Winterset, Iowa

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016
Jennifer and Adam O'Neal of PepperHarrow Farm, photographed during my September 2016 visit.

Jennifer and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow Farm, photographed during my September 2016 visit.

Early morning at PepperHarrow, as the sunrise glows behind the barn-studio.

Early morning at PepperHarrow, as the sunrise glows behind the barn-studio.

10846393_742697935817032_6622126312058960580_n I recently spent two days with farmer-florists Adam and Jennifer O’Neal at PepperHarrow Farm in Winterset, Iowa, where I combined a photo shoot for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine with the chance to interview them for this podcast — how lucky for me, right?!

If you have any curiosity about where PepperHarrow Farm is located, think about that romantic novel and the 1995 movie, “The Bridges of Madison County,” starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. Maybe I’m dating myself, but it was a classic. The story and film are set in Winterset, Iowa.

It is a beautiful place to live and farm . . . and PepperHarrow Farm is everything you’d want in a homestead, with a charming farmhouse, a working farm with several useful outbuildings, access to “town” and the greater Des Moines urban core, which means it’s easy for PepperHarrow to supply a critical mass of flower customers within a 50 mile radius and to hold wedding consultations and teach workshops at their bucolic destination.

What a lovely experience I had getting to know these two farmer-florists (Nick Crow photogaph)

What a lovely experience I had getting to know these two farmer-florists (Nick Crow photogaph)

Jennifer and Adam O’Neal are local, hard-working green thumbs who cultivate fresh flowers and veggies on their 20-acre farm nestled among those covered bridges of Iowa’s Madison County.

A happy designer, holding an lush, abundant arrangement that he created for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine

A happy designer, holding an lush, abundant arrangement that he created for an upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine

Adam is originally from south Louisiana and spent his childhood days playing in his backyard, the swamps of a nature reserve. That early exposure to the outdoors grew into a love for being outside. One day he read an article about permaculture and the rest is history.

Jennifer O'Neal, a true flower gal! (Karla Conrad photograph)

Jennifer O’Neal, a true flower gal! (Karla Conrad photograph)

Iowa native Jennifer is a long time gardener who also inherited her Grandmother’s love of flowers. She grew up spending long summer days on her grandparent’s farm and in their garden. Her grandmother also spent every summer instilling floral design in Jennifer, doing flower arrangements with her for the local county fair. Jennifer now gets to bring her grandma to her farm to see the flower legacy continue and often delivers floral arrangements for her grandma to enjoy.

Flowers for the Market

Flowers for the Market

A PepperHarrow Farm design.

A PepperHarrow Farm design.

PepperHarrow's signature style -- lots of variety, beauty, and botanicals!

PepperHarrow’s signature style — lots of variety, beauty, and botanicals!

Sun-kissed sunflowers outside the barn-studio.

Sun-kissed sunflowers outside the barn-studio.

Quinlan O'Neal, whose "welcome" you hear on today's podcast episode; a grocery bouquet spotted in Des Moines.

Quinlan O’Neal, whose “welcome” you hear on today’s podcast episode; a grocery bouquet spotted in Des Moines.

The O’Neals are committed to sustainable farming practices that preserve and enhance the land. Their efforts to minimize the environmental impact and plan for self-sufficiency make their small farm a diverse and educational experience.

Jennifer and Adam

Jennifer and Adam

Follow these links to find Jennifer and Adam at these social places:

PepperHarrow Farm on Facebook

Jennifer on Instagram

Adam on Instagram

3up

There’s a lot to flower your soul and spirit, not to mention your creativity, in several forthcoming design opportunities, so perhaps I’ll see you at one of these events!!

Detroit Flower Week, October 11-15: Along with numerous members of the Slow Flowers Community, I’ll be joining Lisa Waud of The Flower House and pot & box at the inspiring floral convergence of design, art, farming and storytelling. Read more about Detroit Flower Week here.
Follow this link to grab your tickets!

The Slow Flowers Creative Workshop, October 17-18 at Russian River Flower School in Sonoma County California. Spaces are still available for this excellent program. Debra Prinzing will teach “floral storytelling” and partner with Dundee Butcher to use local flowers in our expanded design process that includes each student creating a video short for her or his own use. Details and registration link here. Click here to listen to a Q&A with Debra and Dundee as they discuss the workshop.

Flowerstock, hosted by Holly Chapple, a Slow Flowers member based in Virginia. She’s a designer, educator, founder of Chapel Designers, past guest of this podcast and also a flower farmer with her husband Evan on a new project called Hope Flower Farm.

Flowerstock includes two days of demonstrations and talks by renowned floral designers, a marketplace of vendors, flower playtime, live music, food trucks, barn dancing, campfires and glamping! Slow Flowers is pleased to sponsor this special gathering of our flower friends. We’re also thrilled that Holly and participants of Flower Stock will design and produce one of our Floral Style Fashion images for American Flowers Week 2017!  Find Flowerstock Details and registration link here.

smallersonoma

On October 16th, Slowflowers.com will sponsor and co-host the amazing Field to Vase Dinner coming up at Sunset Magazine’s beautiful new trial and demonstration gardens in wine country. I hope to see you there! The event florals will be designed by Slow Flowers member Alethea Harampolis of Studio Choo and Homestead Design Collective. Reserve your dinner ticket here!

sponsor-bar_sept_2016
The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 121,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers. To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

More sponsor thanks goes to Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at lfgardens.com.

A fond thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com.

And finally, thanks to the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.
The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Slow Flowers Creative Workshop with Bonny Doon Garden Co.

Friday, August 26th, 2016

FINAL_with_Bonny_Doon_00539_DP_CreativeWorkshop-01 (2) This past weekend provided a hugely rewarding experience for my friend Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co. and me. We teamed up to teach the first-ever Slow Flowers Creative Workshop at Castle House & Garden, her private, “secret garden” setting in Santa Cruz.

The idea behind our curriculum was twofold:

I wanted to share “Floral Storytelling” techniques and Teresa wanted to share her approach to “Garden-Inspired Design.”

My arrangement, in Syndicate Sales' black cherry bowl. The palette inspired me to pick dahlias, grevillea blooms, zinnias and alstroemeria in the same color family.

My arrangement, in Syndicate Sales’ black cherry pedestal bowl. The palette inspired me to pick dahlias, grevillea blooms, zinnias and alstroemeria in the same color family.

Floral Storytelling and Garden-Inspired Floral Design concepts are central to the idea of creating a personal brand for flower farmers, floral designers and farmer-florists who support Slow Flowers, local sourcing and sustainable design practices — and who wish to differentiate themselves in a crowded and competitive marketplace.

Teresa (center) with several of our students. The group is standing under the massive redwood trees in Teresa's garden, a perfect source of inspiration.

Teresa (center) with several of our students. The group is standing under the massive redwood trees in Teresa’s garden, a perfect source of inspiration. From left: Dyana Zweng, Terri Schuett, Teresa, Daniele Allion Strawn, Laura Vollset and Liz Marcellus. Missing: Michelle Bull, Kellee Matsushita and Dawn Mayer.

READ MORE…

Episode 257: Pistil & Stamen, Growing Botanical Beauty and Creating Community in New Orleans

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
My guest is Denise Richter (right) of New Orleans-based Pistil & Stamen, who I recently met in person during her West Coast travels

My guest is Denise Richter (right) of New Orleans-based Pistil & Stamen, who I recently met in person during her West Coast travels

FINAL_with_Bonny_Doon_00539_DP_CreativeWorkshop-01 (2) I want to start this episode sharing more details about the upcoming Slow Flowers Creative Workshop that I’ll be co-teaching with Teresa Sabankaya of Santa Cruz’s Bonny Doon Garden Co. on Sunday, August 21st and Monday, August 22nd.

This valuable experience is designed to help you clarify, document and communicate your personal aesthetic message as a floral professional.

In a safe, supportive and intimate setting, our small group will focus on YOU! We’ll go deep into Slow Flowers “brand building” as each participant finds his or her own voice as a floral storyteller.

00571_DP_SlowFlowers_Meetup (2) If you’ve been thinking about investing in your businesses’ future, now is the time to sign up. Today’s podcast interview features my conversation with Teresa about some of the content that we plan to cover.

You’re also invited to join the Slow Flowers Meet Up from 3-6 pm on August 22nd! Check out details here.

In August 2014, a writer named Susan Langenhennig of the Times Picayune, the major daily newspaper in New Orleans, published an article, which she titled:

The farm-to-vase movement: Local flower farms sprout on urban lots around New Orleans.

Susan wrote: “The mantra of the eat-local food movement is heading into the flower fields. Decades ago, that ethos began opening eyes to agricultural practices and sparking questions of how and where food is grown. Now a nascent cut-flower farming industry in New Orleans hopes to get consumers to think as much about the provenance of the bouquets they buy as the food they eat.
Within the last year, several local flower farmers — all of them growing on small urban lots — formed the 
New Orleans Flower Growers Association to pool resources and share advice. The group’s farmers use sustainable practices, without the synthetic herbicides and pesticides typical in the commercial flower industry. Selling locally, they hope to reduce the average bouquet’s carbon footprint to just tiptoes.”

Pistil & Stamen's lush, over-the-top urn design

Pistil & Stamen’s lush, over-the-top urn design

Susan quoted today’s guest, Denise Richter, who owns Pistil & Stamen, a flower farm with business partner Megan McHugh. She also highlighted veteran and emerging flower growers in the New Orleans Flower Growers Association, and she asked me to comment on the “trend” that’s called Slow Flowers.

“It’s a gradual awareness in where our flowers come from. Food is way ahead… It’s the same customer who will ask in a restaurant, ‘Where was this salmon caught or raised?’ What’s the food mile? What’s the flower mile?”Foodies and gardeners “get it first,” Prinzing said.

When the story was published Slowflowers.com was literally two months old and no one from Louisiana had joined as members. Through the article, I connected virtually with Denise and other New Orleans Flower Collective members and invited them to join Slowflowers.com.

They did and their involvement has helped visitors to the site — people from across the country — to find and connect with some wonderful resources for local, Louisiana-grown cut flowers and floral design. Here is their mission:

The New Orleans Flower Growers Association (NOFGA) is a small group of New Orleans based flower growers that share a love of growing and a commitment to natural and sustainable practices. Growers exchange knowledge, marketing and production resources to support a burgeoning organic and local flower production industry. NOFGA also connects buyers with the flower farmers who are producing locally and sustainable grown flowers.

Denise Richter (left) and Megan McHugh (right)

Denise Richter (left) and Megan McHugh (right)

Last month, I met Denise in person. As you’ll hear in this episode, she visited the Pacific Northwest recently and was warmly welcomed by the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market community of farmers and florists. We met over pizza and beer when Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall invited Denise to stop by Jello Mold Farm for a community gathering after the Market’s flower farm tour.

I was jazzed to make a human connection to someone I only previously knew through social media, but I couldn’t let Denise sneak out of town without turning on the recorder to capture a conversation with her about Pistil and Stamen. I asked her to update the Slow Flowers Podcast audience on the New Orleans flower scene, two years after that original article appeared.

Megan McHugh and Denise Richter

Megan McHugh (foreground) and Denise Richter (standing)

Here’s some background on this dynamic team:

Denise Richter left a fashion career at Calvin Klein to study food systems and community organizing at NYU, and has been working on farms and urban gardens ever since.  She came to New Orleans to start the Edible Schoolyard NOLA, an organization that aims to change the way students eat, learn and live in 5 public charter schools in the city. As a garden educator and garden manager for seven years, she spearheaded curriculum development, staff mentoring, and garden builds.  Building garden classrooms that were as aesthetically pleasing as they were functional and educational, she has always loved and cared about making beautiful spaces for community members of all ages to enjoy.   This extended to bringing the outside in, making bouquets from the garden for the cafeteria tables, front office desk and for special school events.

A beautiful Pistil & Stamen bouquet

A beautiful Pistil & Stamen bouquet

Megan McHugh came to New Orleans to start a garden education program at MLK Charter School in the Lower 9th ward.  With a degree in Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing, she has been always less interested in the nitty gritty science behind agriculture (soil scientist she is not!) than the utter delight and magic behind growing food and flowers.  Her passion for creating meaningful and fun experiences for students within their regimented school day led her to garden education, along with her years of community gardening experience. When her small program lost its funding, she began working with Denise at ESY NOLA, developing gardens.  She soon became the resident florist of the school, fielding bouquet requests regularly, and her plant choices became very influenced by her need for design material!  This creative, multi-functional gardening is one reason Pistil & Stamen is so adept at using edible elements in their work such as unique herbs, peppers, asparagus and more.

P&S logo The women share this from the Pistil & Stamen web site:

Seven years ago, we met over coffee to chat about our mutual profession, school gardening, and realized we had even more in common than that. Both of us having designed, tended to and taught in gardens throughout the city, we found in each other a shared passion for creating the most beautiful spaces we could –  growing native plants, cut flowers and gorgeous perennials along with our veggies.  Growing food for people on its own wasn’t enough.  We wanted to grow beauty for them as well.
And now, we happily hand our clients arrangements grown in urban gardens on St. Claude Ave and Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.  We design bouquets as we do our gardens –  with respect for natural forms and movement.  And we are quite pleased to create habitat for increasingly threatened pollinators, and that our gardens inspire many a passerby to stop and smell the roses, or the sweat peas, or the jasmine.
Community-minded and eager to share these green spaces in the heart of our city, we love having people to our gardens for workshops, parties, and volunteer days.

Follow Pistil & Stamen on Facebook

Find Pistil & Stamen on Instagram

Be Inspired by Pistil & Stamen on Pinterest

I love one point that Denise made about the New Orleans Flower Growers Association/Collective. She noted that the local media “would not have done a story about one of us – but collectively, there is a story.” I couldn’t agree more.

If you are involved in an interview or photo shoot with media in your region, be sure to add a rich layer of relevance to the narrative by telling the writer or editor to the Slowflowers.com community. We can help give your story national context and validate that you are a pioneer in bringing local and sustainable flowers to the marketplace. Put that journalist in touch with me so I can share a voice of affirmation to what you’re doing. Don’t miss the opportunity to place yourself in the national conversation about domestic and local flowers.

And please get in touch with me if you would like more statistics and sources to validate the metrics around local flowers. As always, I’m available at debra@slowflowers.com When you highlight Slow Flowers in your local press, you’re helping sisters and brothers in the Slow Flowers movement everywhere as well as yourself!

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DIG DEEP: Our new collateral piece outlines the many benefits of your Slowflowers.com membership.

This week we also published a new piece listing the Value of your Slowflowers.com membership. It’s a membership that is so much more than helping customers find you. It is about branding, marketing, connections and community. Download a high-res version of this piece here and share it with colleagues who’ve yet to invest in themselves or their businesses by being part of this important national cause.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 110,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

More sponsor thanks goes to Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at lfgardens.com.

And finally, thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Music credits:
Gillicuddy – “Fudge”
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/gillicuddy/UpDown_1844
Josh Woodward – “Perfect (Instrumental Version)”
Josh Woodward – “Once Tomorrow (Instrumental Version)”
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Josh_Woodward/
Additional music from:

audionautix.com

Episode 251: Ariella Chezar’s The Flower Workshop Book and Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture’s PhD in – yes, Floriculture

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture (left) and Ariella Chezar (right)

Morgan Anderson of The.Flori.Culture (left) (c) Amber Snow; and Ariella Chezar (right) (c) Corbin Gurkin

This week’s episode delivers double the inspiration as you will hear from two guests — one quite familiar to our Slow Flowers community, Ariella Chezar, and one who is an emerging leader in floral design education, Morgan Anderson.

Both interviews were recorded in May and I’m combining them here for an extended episode that will delight you as a creative person and evoke some new ways of thinking about your business model, be it flower farming, floral design or a combination of both.

MEET ARIELLA CHEZAR

The Flower Workshop Book I am so fortunate to have gotten to know Ariella Chezar over the years. We were first introduced virtually by Berkeley-based designer Max Gill, an incredibly talented floral artist who I profiled (along with the work of photographer David Perry) in The 50 Mile Bouquet.

When I interviewed Max, I asked him to connect me with someone who had influenced his work and he named Ariella. She and I corresponded by email and she contributed a lovely quote about Max’s work for me to use in the chapter about him (and PS, a podcast interview with Max is on my bucket list for the upcoming year).

I promptly ordered my own copy of Flowers for the Table, an evocative book that Ariella created for Chronicle Books in 2002, one that helped propel her into the world of editorial floral design.

Ariella Chezar was in Seattle to headline the spring bloom extravaganza at SWGMC

Ariella Chezar was in Seattle to headline the spring bloom extravaganza at SWGMC

Ariella and I finally met face-to-face in spring of 2013 at Chalk Hill Clematis in Healdsburgh, California. She was there at owner Kaye Heafey’s beautiful flower farm to lead a design workshop and as it turned out, I was there with Chicago-based photographer Bob Stefko to produce a clematis story for Country Gardens magazine. The following year, I interviewed Ariella for this podcast in her former Ariella Flowers retail studio in New York City (if you haven’t heard that episode, follow this link).

So fun to have Ariella in Seattle and to see her response to the beautiful and local flora!

So fun to have Ariella in Seattle and to see her response to the beautiful and local flora!

That was about the time that Ariella teamed up with her favorite editor, SF-based Leslie Jonath of Connected Dots Media (with whom she had created Flowers for the Table), to begin creating The Flower Workshop, the designer’s long-anticipated second book that Ten Speed Press released earlier this year.

A lovely inside page from "The Flower Workshop," by Ariella Chezar

A lovely inside page from “The Flower Workshop,” by Ariella Chezar: “How to make a tulip ‘float'” – Photography (c) Erin Kunkel

It took about 18 months to bring this lovely tome to life because Ariella and her creative team photographed flowers and her designs in season, on location in both the Bay Area, where Ariella worked in the early days of her career, and in her childhood home of The Berkshires, where she operates a studio and small flower farm in western Massachusetts.

The gorgeous new book expresses Ariella’s lush, whimsical garden style and her true passion for nature, both cultivated and wild.

Why is Ariella’s work so celebrated? In our 2014 podcast interview, Ariella identifies the place (California) and the moment in time (the late 1990s and early 2000s) when she developed, almost unconsciously, her carefree, uncomplicated design aesthetic. Mesmerized by the abundance of carefree, unconstrained vegetation around her, Ariella responded in kind with a loving respect for the elements. In response, her design style was and continues to be unique and iconic.

"Summer Fruits," Ariella's interpretation from the orchard.

“Summer Fruits,” Ariella’s interpretation from the orchard. Photography (c) Erin Kunkel

Please enjoy this short interview. It was recorded at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on May 25th, after Ariella had spent two full days first touring the flower farms of some of the Market’s members, then teaching a master design intensive based on the content of The Flower Workshop.

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Episode 237: Deadhead ~ The Bindweed Way with Idaho’s Jeriann Sabin and Ralph Thurston

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016
Bindweed Farm in Blackfoot, Idaho ~ God's Country

Bindweed Farm in Blackfoot, Idaho ~ God’s Country

The endless scene of field flowers at Bindweed Farm.

The endless scene of field flowers at Bindweed Farm.

Jeriann Sabin and Ralph Thurston of Bindweed Farm

Jeriann Sabin and Ralph Thurston of Bindweed Farm

Where do remote resort communities like Sun Valley, Idaho, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, get their flowers?

These high-desert mountain areas aren’t exactly huge agricultural regions, but today’s guests have built their successful flower farming business on serving these two luxury markets.

Please meet flower farmers Ralph Thurston and Jeriann Sabin. The talented wife-husband duo are the owners of Bindweed Farm in the southeast corner of Idaho.

I invite you to celebrate the recent publication of Deadhead~ the Bindweed Way to Grow Flowers, a new book about the joys and challenges of growing cut flowers for commercial sales.

Located about two hours from both of these upscale destination resort markets, Ralph and Jeriann have created a beautiful lifestyle that is supported by flowers.

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Ralph is known as “il maestro”, the brain and the brawn who plans every detail, ordering all plant material, orchestrating the farm’s intricate planting schedule and irrigation scheme.

He is a genius, a green thumb wizard.  And not only that, he cuts nearly every stem, that’s thousands and thousands each season.

Jeriann is the beauty–as in aesthetics.  As an artist, color and texture are her DNA. Ralph may be responsible for the diverse varieties but Jeriann selects the colors.

Never without her trusty smart phone/camera, she photographs every flower on the farm and loves keeping the Bindweed blog.

She processes every stem–conditioning and packaging each bunch of flowers as they come in from the field.  In charge of sales and delivery, she enjoys meeting and consulting with designers each week.

Passionate about small farms and farmers, Bindweed has been a member of ASCFG, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers for over fifteen years.  Each of them have served on the board of directors and have contributed articles for the Cut Flower Quarterly.

Snapdragons at Bindweed Farm.

Snapdragons at Bindweed Farm.

A Bindweed Farm arrangement.

A Bindweed Farm arrangement.

One morning's harvest.

One morning’s vibrant harvest.

Bindweed occupies five acres in the heart of potato country, the eastern edge of Idaho’s high desert plain.  Surrounded by several mountain ranges and cinder cones—extinct volcanoes—the farm enjoys spectacular 360-degree views, rich soil and a short growing season.

The view from Jeriann and Ralph's office. Wow!

The view from Jeriann and Ralph’s office. Wow!

On clear days the tip of the Grand Teton sits up like a shark’s tooth behind the foothills in the east and the resort, Jackson, Wyoming ,is only two hours away. Equidistance to the west lays Sun Valley.  Famed for skiing and hiking, both resorts are outdoor playgrounds for many of the rich and famous. Extremely popular for conferences, think tanks and destination events, they are the perfect market for our flowers.

Sunflowers - a Bindweed bestselling crop

Sunflowers – a Bindweed bestselling crop

Zinnias and Marigolds at Bindweed.

Zinnias and Marigolds at Bindweed.

"The Rear View" - the van is loaded and ready for delivery!

“The Rear View” – the van is loaded and ready for delivery!

Here’s how to find Jeriann and Ralph on social media:

Bindweed Farm on Facebook

Bindweed Farm on Instagram

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 87,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

Until next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

The Flower House Virtual Tour Part 5 with New York floral artists Denise Fasanello and Anne Kilcullen (Episode 234)

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
A Floral Whirlwind, created by Denise Fasanello and Anne Kilcullen, NYC-based floral designers, for The Flower House.

A Floral Whirlwind, created by Denise Fasanello and Anne Kilcullen, NYC-based floral designers, for The Flower House.

Today’s podcast guests conjured up the most amazing room installation at Lisa Waud’s Flower House last October. It was thoroughly mesmerizing and masterful in so many ways, and while I had a chance to meet and share time with Denise Fasanello and Anne Kilcullen during the days leading up to the Flower House opening on October 16th, we never had enough minutes to record a podcast interview. However, when I was in NYC a few weeks ago, the three of us got together to record today’s episode to share with you.

I love this image that I photographed from an adjacent room, looking toward A Floral Whirlwind.

I love this image that I photographed from an adjacent room, looking toward A Floral Whirlwind.

Denise and Anne are the co-creators of “A Floral Whirlwind,” which occupied the upstairs dining room space at The Flower House. Sculpted of foliage, vines and a few botanical surprises, the kinetic whoosh of a gravity-defying, tornado-like experience in the center of the room was pretty darned incredible for everyone who viewed it.

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