Debra Prinzing

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Episode 412: The Flowering of Brooklyn with Molly Oliver Flowers, plus our State Focus: New Hampshire

July 31st, 2019

Molly Oliver Culver, a Slow Flowers Member and leader in the world of sustainable flower farming, education and design.

In October 2014, I took a trip to New York City where I made the editorial rounds to introduce Slow Flowers to members of the media (remember, the online directory launched earlier that year). At each of these meetings, I unveiled the first of what has since become the annual Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

And then, of course, as I love to do whenever I travel, I gathered with a group of Slow Flowers members to meet them, hear about their journeys, learn what encourages and even challenges each of them in them in their floral enterprise.

Summer wedding flowers, designed by Molly Oliver Flowers (c) Cheyanna di Nicola

The woman who generously helped me find a location for this gathering, and who brought beautiful flowers to the first-ever New York area Slow Flowers Meet-Up was Molly Oliver Culver, today’s guest.

A small, dynamic group of florists and growers joined us that night. And after the party wrapped, Molly agreed to stay for an interview for the Slow Flowers Podcast. We sat in the rather dark, brick-lined upstairs room of a Brooklyn eatery and recorded the conversation which you can hear from the Slow Flowers Podcast archives – episode 172, which originally aired December 17, 2014.

A vivid seasonal floral palette featuring all locally-grown New York blooms, designed by Molly Oliver Flowers (c) Iris Photograph

Today, we’re catching up with Molly and I’m so pleased that she has returned to talk about the changes in the local floral landscape in New York and Brooklyn, where most of her clients’ wedding ceremonies take place, and in the surrounding areas such as Hudson Valley, further Upstate New York, and on Long Island, where most of the local flowers for Molly’s designs are grown. So much has changed in five years and it’s so encouraging – I’m excited to share this conversation with someone I consider a Slow Flowers pioneer and valuable friend.

A lovely altar piece by Molly Oliver Flowers © Khaki Bedford Photography

Here’s more about Molly Culver and Molly Oliver Flowers:

Molly Oliver Flowers is a sustainable floral design company founded in 2011 by farmer/educator, Molly Oliver Culver. She has been recognized by Brides.com as one of the top five wedding professionals using sustainable practices and was featured on the list of best sustainable florists in NYC by Ecocult.

Molly’s aesthetic is translated into stunning, lush, local and evocative wedding flowers © Khaki Bedford Photography

Molly writes this on the “about” page of her web site:

A desire to help grow social justice and care for our beautiful planet led me to community organizing around food justice, then to rural organic farming, and eventually, to education and flowers. I’m proud to say I’ve helped to nurture soil, and have grown my own food and flowers, on my own and with others, for the past 15 years.

Sweet blooms (c) Weddings by Two

I love that floral design allows me to meet fun, loving and mindful clients and connect them with seasonal flora and our local flower, herb, perennial and foliage farmers. I’ve had many lives in my 38 years: Audrey Hepburn/NYC-obsessed teenager; literature major; novice journalist and ESL instructor in Santiago, Chile; urban farming educator and farmers market manager; community garden outreach coordinator; compost educator; urban farm manager…and now, a business owner and floral designer.

Throughout these many experiences, the connective tissue has always been people, soil, and plants. At core, I care deeply about equity, inclusion, sustainability and loving kindness and works to help these values emanate through this business.

Urban wedding-local blooms by Molly Oliver Flowers

Molly Culver on her design style:
I continue to be deeply inspired by all of the local blooms and foliages, from cultivated to wild and foraged, that any given season has to offer. Our region’s climate and four-season evolution offers something just right for every occasion, all year round. I am interested and inspired by my clients’ vision, and whenever they are needing guidance, I’m happy to share my love of wild, natural designs. In other words, I love to bring your vision to life using the gorgeous product we have available locally.

Molly Culver on “Why Local?”
I love to connect my clients with locally grown flowers, to share the fun of learning about what’s in season at the time of their event, and to create gorgeous arrangements that evoke time, place, mood and my clients’ individual style.

I source 90-100% of the flowers we use within 200 miles of New York City, from both regional and urban farms. An organic grower of 10+ years myself, I love supporting the talented community of dedicated farmers who grow an incredible diversity of beautiful flowers, cut days or even hours before, and delivered at peak quality to the city. Collaborating with these new growers to share experiences, discuss trending varieties and colors, and celebrate our successes is one of the most exciting aspects of this work.

Bridesmaids bouquets by Molly Oliver Flowers (c) Tim Ryan Smith

In the studio and for her events, Molly puts a priority on waste reduction and composting. Here are some of her practices, which I hope inspires change in your studio or shop:

Emphasis on waste reduction and composting:
It’s par for the course in the NYC event world to throw away much of the decor at the end of the night — this waste (vases, flowers, candles, etc.) winds up in a landfill.

Unfortunately, many flower studios still rely heavily on floral foam and other synthetic, non-biodegradable products to create designs — all of this goes into landfills as well. Need I go on?

There are a number of ways I work to reduce waste, both in my day-to-day work in the studio and on event days:

–I offer a variety of vessels as rentals, and re-use these as long as possible.

–I make complimentary ‘grab and go’ bouquets for your guests, and generally ensure you and your guests go home with as many peak quality flowers at the end of your event as desired.

— All unclaimed flower waste is composted locally at urban farms and becomes a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

–All items not accepted by NYC’s municipal recycling program are recycled through a partnership with Terracycle

–Much of the cardboard and paper packing and packaging from vessel shipments is re-purposed or recycled.

–I avoid all use of synthetic floral foam or other non-biodegradable products and chemicals.

The wedding party’s florals by Molly Oliver Flowers

Learn more about (and follow) this wonderfully inspiring creative floral artist at these social places:

Molly Oliver Flowers on Facebook

Molly Oliver Flowers on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today as we visited Brooklyn’s Molly Culver. I learned a lot and appreciate hearing Molly’s timely update about one of the most important markets for local and seasonal flowers. Molly is in an influential marketplace and her devotion to the Slow Flowers Movement is essential to the cause.

The recently renovated and restored Hay Barn at USCS-CASFS, our venue for the Slow Flowers Summit 2020! (c) Cesar Rubio

You may have picked up on the fact that I’m lobbying to bring Molly to the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit, which will take place at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. As Molly is a graduate of that program at University of California, Santa Cruz, I’m eager to involve her and together we are brainstorming a panel on the influences of sustainable flower farming for the farmer-florist. Watch this space and I promise you’ll hear more details soon.

Maegan Williams of Gilsum Gardens in Gilsum, NH

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Maegan Williams of Gilsum Gardens, based in Gilsum, New Hampshire. Gilsum Gardens was founded by Barry Williams and Barbara Kelly in 1993 and is now run by dad Barry and daughter Maegan.

Greenhouses share space with field-grown peonies at Gilsum Gardens

Maegan explains: Possessing no formal education in horticulture, I chose the family business after much consideration of nearly any other profession. About the time I realized I couldn’t picture my life without greenhouse season, I fell in love with cut flowers. What I lacked in classroom hours I made up for in my unique life experience of growing up in my parents’ greenhouses and countless hours spent roaming our woods and acreage. I have loved building upon and diversifying what my parents created, and feel fortunate to be guiding the business forward into its next chapter balancing seasonal nursery plants and specialty cut flowers for wholesale customers.

You’ll want to find and follow Maegan and Gilsum Gardens at these social places:

Gilsum Gardens on Facebook

Gilsum Gardens on Instagram

Spanning the seasons: Beautiful & New Hampshire-grown from Gilsum Gardens, including ranunculus and dahlias.

As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com and check out my past articles featuring the wisdom and voices of flower farmers – you can find the links at debraprinzing.com in today’s show notes.

Longfield Gardens, which provides 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. Spring bulb season is almost here – my tulips are poking out of the ground already! Visit Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com

(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 500,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits: Red City Theme; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 411: pot + box’s Lisa Waud on creative challenges, tackling change, nurturing community and taking Slow Flowers to the next level, plus our State Focus: Nevada

July 24th, 2019

Let’s celebrate the 6th Anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast!

Folks, today we are celebrating the Slow Flowers Podcast’s six birthday! YES, it’s pretty amazing to hit this point, so far beyond the origins of this little project, which started in 2013. I believe it’s worth taking time to highlight the accomplishments of our small internet-based radio show that is this week celebrating not just a birthday, but also the incredible news that episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded 500,000 times!

Lisa Waud (c) ee berger photograph

Behind these numbers are individuals like you and me, creatives who desire to build a life around beauty and sustainability. We are seeking a new model, defining our own progressive practices and embracing inclusive solutions that contribute to the floral marketplace in our own communities. We are in for a special treat with today’s guest — my friend, supporter and now collaborator, Lisa Waud. Stay tuned for my conversation with Lisa in just a few moments.

This is the weekly podcast about American Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. You are listening to the 312th consecutive weekly episode that asks: are you making a conscious choice when it comes to your flowers? You are invited to join the conversation and the creative community as we discuss the vital topics of saving our domestic flower farms and supporting a floral industry that relies on a safe, seasonal and local supply of flowers and foliage.

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And before we meet today’s featured guest, I have to pause and share a huge SHOUT OUT to our Slow Flowers Canada friends. We are in the midst of the 2nd annual Canadian Flowers Week, which runs July 18-24, 2019, concluding today. With our deep passion for our own endeavor, American Flowers Week, Slow Flowers supported the initial launch of Canadian Flowers Week in 2018.

Canadian Flowers Week aims to raise awareness about Canadian grown blooms. Growers, wholesalers, designers, florists and retailers are holding events and building installations to promote locally-grown blooms across the country. You can learn lots more at canadianflowersweek.com — and check out people, farms, flowers and projects reflecting the best of Canadian-grown blooms. CFW is a project of Toronto Flower Market and we’re so please to have been a part of its inception.

Lisa Waud of pot + box, on Day One of the recent Slow Flowers Summit (c) Missy Palacol Photography

OKAY, now, I’m delighted to introduce return guest, Lisa Waud. You’re probably familiar with Lisa and her large-scale, ambitious exploits that include Flower House in 2015 and Detroit Flower Week in 2016, as well as the design studio and later retail project called pot + box. Follow the links below to listen to my past interviews with Lisa Waud.

Episode 334 (January 31, 2018)

Episode 211 (September 16, 2015)

Episode 181 (February 18, 2015)

These days, Lisa is a Detroit-based botanical installation artist and consultant to small and creative businesses. I’m so thrilled to say that Slow Flowers is one of her current projects — you’ll hear more about that when we dive into today’s episode.

Lisa Waud, pictured at The Flower House press preview on May 1, 2015

Here’s more about Lisa:

Lisa Waud’s large-scale, multi-sensory, immersive works utilize living plants and cut flowers, exploring themes of old and new, nature as a cleansing reset, and joy from beauty.

Lisa is committed to producing art events that are pointedly inclusive for collaborators and spectators,  and accessible to all humans, with a focus celebrating the beauty of underrepresented and marginalized people.

Lisa’s projects have been featured in the new york times, huffington post, martha stewart, hyperallergic, colossal, designboom, the jealous curator, the globe and mail, the detroit free press, the detroit news, detroit art review, crain’s detroit, the washington post, and travel + leisure, and of course, on the slow flowers podcast.

In 2019, she launched a project called “Small Business Pain Relief,” working with established businesses to address pain points and efficiently implement action rather than just adding ideas to one’s to do list. lisa hopes to enable her clients’ creative productivity and assist in them  realizing a joyful quality of life as a business owner. 

Lisa’s white board sketch from our weekend planning getaway with Debra, Lisa and two other friends.

In late March, Lisa and I participated in a rather last-minute, spontaneous mind-meld with two other flower friends. Part getaway; part workation, the gathering of four women creatives in small and large ventures, from different generations and walks of life, was an electrifying experience to say the least.

I love this pic of Lisa Waud (left) and me, taken by Heather Saunders at The Flower House press preview on May 1, 2015

What emerged from our time together was a new collaboration for Slow Flowers, with Lisa joining me to manage a project I simply did not have time to tackle. I had been yearning for someone who could help me untangle the crazy knot of our Slow Flowers Member Database. For many, this would be a mind-numbingly boring, clerical, rather than creative task. Yet for Lisa, this was a challenge that called her in — and rise to the occasion, she has.

Join this conversation as we share more about our outcomes, and discuss Lisa’s many artistic projects on the horizon, including leading other women through some of the activities she devised for our late March getaway with friends.

Lisa Waud, presenting at the 2017 Slow Flowers Summit in Seattle.

I encourage you to have an open mind today. Instead of gushing over beautiful blooms and exquisite bouquets, we’re going to turn the focus on the wellness of your creative venture, your dreams that can’t seem to get off the ground, your desire to create a meaningful business life, and what’s truly essential to feed heart, mind, body and soul

Come along for the journey. I can’t imagine a more rewarding way to celebrate this Podcast’s sixth birthday!

Thank you so much for joining me today as I welcomed Lisa Waud, an incredible influence in my life and in the Slow Flowers Community. You can find and follow her on social media:

Find pot + box on Facebook

Follow pot + box on Instagram

If you are a Slow Flowers member you’re sure to hear from Lisa sometime this year. She is reaching out to connect when she can. Or, just email her at membership@slowflowers.comto say hello.

Bethany Frediani of Nevada-based Sunflower & Sage Floral

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Bethany Frediani of Sunflower & Sage Floral in Gardnerville, Nevada. Listen for my conversation with Bethany in the second portion of this episode.

Nevada-grown blooms by Sunflower & Sage Floral

Bethany is a studio-based wedding and event florist serving the Lake Tahoe area. Her designs echo the wild and rugged beauty of the region, with touches of elegance.

Designs by Bethany Frediani

“Most of my clients are excited to hear that I will be incorporating regional floral product into their wedding designs. I like to utilize the blooms that are thriving at the time of the wedding, filing in with foraged foliage and bringing in product from my neighboring flower hub of California,” Frediani says. “I love to infuse my work, be it wedding flowers or large-scale, fine art floral installations, with whimsical, dreamy and organic elements.”

A desert photo shoot with Bethany (far right) and friends.

Follow Bethany and Sunflower & Sage Floral at these social places:

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Facebook

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Instagram

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Pinterest

Thank you for taking the time to join the Slow Flowers Podcast today as we achieved two major milestones — the 6th Anniversary of our launch in 2013 AND our 500,000th episode download from a listener.

This is so incredible and yet the metrics tell only part of the story. I am so grateful to the real, flower-loving humans who have helped to shape and nurture the concept of Slow Flowers into a movement that has swept North America and now migrated to many other countries around the globe, countries where flower farmers, farmer-florists and designers are seeking ways to save their domestic floral landscape and promote sustainable practices in their profession.

Together we define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

And thank you to our lead sponsor, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at www.farmersweb.com

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded — wait for it — 500,000 times by listeners like you. Yes, one half million times. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com Huge congrats to Andrew and Hannah Brenlan for the arrival on July 16th of their first child on Francis Lou Brenlan. We love you all and celebrate this beautiful new human in our world.

Music Credits:
Wingspan; Chromium Blush; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Lovely by Tryad
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 410: Meet the women behind My Garden Overfloweth, Teresa Engbretson and Katie Elliott, plus our State Focus: Nebraska

July 17th, 2019

Katie Elliot (left) and Teresa Engbretson (right) of My Garden Overfloweth
(c) Urbren + Shoot

My often-used hashtag #slowflowersontheroad was put to use last week when I traveled from Seattle across the state to Pullman, Washington, to collaborate with the wonderfully talented photographer Laurie Black on a story for Country Gardens magazine. It was basically a workation because the garden owners Suzanne St. Pierre and Scotty Thompson are friends I adore, owners until 2015 of a nursery called Living in the Garden.

Our mutual friend Maryann Newcomer of Gardens of the Wild Wild West (based in Boise), who will be writing the story, was along for the fun and not only did Suzanne and Scotty play the roles of generous hosts, they treated us to a terrific Palouse experience. More on that to come, but suffice it to say that the rolling hills of the Palouse Range are exquisitely beautiful in July and it fed my spirit and soul.

The return trip last Wednesday could have been a straight shot across the state, but I took a side excursion to the little town of Paterson, Washington, population 213. Paterson is due south of Pasco and the Tri-Cities region and it overlooks the Columbia River and Oregon in the distance. It is one of Washington’s hot wine country regions; thus, a very popular destination wedding hub for couples in the West.

Autumn FLING at My Garden Overfloweth
(c) Courtney Corriell Photography

And there in the center of it all lives Teresa Engbretson of My Garden Overfloweth. She and her daughter Katie Elliott, who lives about 30 minutes away in Pasco, are a farmer-florist team who have developed a vibrant and beautiful business centered around growing cut flowers in the same climate in which local grapevines thrive, and operating a full-service design studio that doubles as an event and workshop space, as well as a retail farm and flower shop.

Sharing local flowers with local customers! (c) Courtney Corriell Photography

I first met Teresa and Katie in Corvallis, Oregon, at a PNW Cut Flower Growers Meet-up several years ago. Since then, I’ve found a few opportunities to refer friends and florists who need wedding flowers in wine country to Katie and Teresa — and every time I hear back rave reviews.

Katie Elliot of My Garden Overfloweth (c) Urbren + Shoot

I highlighted My Garden Overfloweth in my 2019 Floral Insights and Industry Forecast, under the heading “Experiences, not Conveniences,” praising the women for throwing two seasonal “Flower Fling” festivals each year. Their events attracts a wide range of vendors creates a sense of community for their customers. The upcoming Fall Fling takes place on Sunday, October 6th.

Katie (left) and Teresa (right), surrounded by their beautiful lisianthus, Cafe au Lait dahlias and more (c) Urbren + Shoot

Here’s more about My Garden Overfloweth:

My Garden Over Floweth was established in 2012 by Teresa Engbretson. She likes to say that the farm has very happy flowers with the gorgeous view of the Columbia River. Teresa and Katie share a love for flowers and farming, growing and cultivating seasonal flowers, foliage and ornamental botanicals on more than 2-1/2 acres.

The Engbretsons also raise farm-fresh vegetables, fruit and grass-fed, grain-finished beef. The farm is located approximately 40 minutes from the Tri Cities and participates weekly at several farmers markets in the area.

A peek inside the farm shop at My Garden Overfloweth (c)
Courtney Corriell Photography

The new Farm Shop is a mercantile space where customers can purchase all things grown on the farm, including flowers, fresh produce, beef, and locally-made gifts. Services include wedding and event floral design, seasonal bouquets, holiday florals and workshops.

It was so fun to spend a few hours with Teresa and Katie and their family, including Katie’s grandmother Susan and daughter Hannah, making four generations of flower-lovers under one studio roof. We shared a meal, walked the fields overlooking the Columbia River, and grabbed a quiet moment to record this interview to share with you.

Bridal bouquets, grown and designed by My Garden Overfloweth. (c)
Alex Lasota Photography (left); Karen Merrifield (right)

Find and follow My Garden Overfloweth at these social places:

My Garden Overfloweth on Facebook

My Garden Overfloweth on Instagram

My Garden Overfloweth on Pinterest

Farm to Table Dinner at My Garden Overfloweth, Saturday, July 27th

The flower ladies! Katie and Teresa at the Fling (c)
Courtney Corriell Photography (left) and Teresa displaying how her garden “overfloweth” with an abundance of lisianthus (c) Urbren + Shoot (right)

THANK YOU for joining today’s lovely conversation. It’s one thing to visit a floral enterprise virtually and another thing altogether to visit it in person. I’m so glad I made the side trip to tour My Garden Overfloweth and I can’t wait to return during one of the flings. I hope you can do the same or do the next best thing and borrow inspiration from Teresa and Katie to nurture community and connections through flowers in your own marketplace.

Sheila Fitzgerald, A New Leaf, our Nebraska Spotlight guest
Nevada-grown blooms (left) and Clover, the “trusty sidekick” (right)

Now, let’s visit Nebraska as the next stop in our #fiftystatesofslowflowers series. I’m so delighted to introduce you to Sheila Fitzgerald, the founder of A New Leaf, based in Omaha. A New Leaf focuses on capturing the organic beauty of florals and nature through floral design
and workshop offerings.

Beautiful florals, designed by Sheila Fitzgerald (left); workshop students, with Sheila (right)

Sheila has 15 years of experience in floristry. From previously owning Blooms Flower Shop, she has turned her focus to workshops, events, and private orders under the brand A New Leaf. Sheila can often be found in the shade of Rainwood Vineyard with her trusty sidekick, Clover the dog, planning her next big design.

Follow Sheila and A New Leaf at these social places:

A New Leaf on Instagram

A New Leaf on Facebook

Thank you for taking the time to join the Slow Flowers Podcast today. Thank you to our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.  

NW Green Panels, based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.

Join me! Slow Flowers Podcast (c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 495,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
Homegrown; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Lovely by Tryad
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 409: Learning to See Color in Nature, and in the Garden with artist Lorene Edwards Forkner, plus our State Focus: Montana

July 10th, 2019

Lorene Edwards Forkner (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Oh my gosh, Slow Flowers Podcast listeners, you are in for a wonderful treat today because my guest is one of my lifelong friends and dearest sister in all sorts of horticultural, floral and artistic adventures in this world. It is my deepest privilege to introduce you to artist and designer, writer, editor and educator Lorene Edwards Forkner.

Lorene is a columnist for the Seattle Times weekly gardening column called GROW, along with her colleague Colin McCrate of Seattle Urban Farm Co. She is author of five garden books, including The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening: Pacific Northwest, and Handmade Garden Projects, bestselling titles from Timber Press.

October 21, 2007. Lotusland. Lorene and Debra together in the garden.

Lorene owned a popular and beloved boutique specialty nursery in Seattle for more than a decade, called Fremont Gardens; she has served on the boards of a number of horticultural organizations, has edited a horticulture journal and is the designer of two gold medal display gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival.

A polychromatic series: Seeing Color in the Garden @gardenercook

Most recently, Lorene’s creative life can be found on Instagram, where @gardenercook she is in the 2nd year creating and sharing a series called “Seeing Color in the Garden.”

She started this project on April 3, 2018 as part of #the100dayproject as #100DaysofSeeingColorintheGarden. She continued her series through the subsequent months and this past April 2019, kicked off #Another100 DaysofSeeingColorintheGarden, which concludes today, July 10th.

So our timing is perfect to sit down with Lorene and learn more about this visually engaging, spiritually uplifting creative project. I’m so happy that you are joining my chat with this highly intuitive observer of color in nature, in plants, in flowers and even in the kind of organic objects you might pick up on a walk and drop in your pocket.

When she kicked off #100 days of seeing color in the garden, Lorene wrote this:

“And so it begins. #the100dayproject is here and so am I—well, sort of. These days life is charged with loss and grief on many levels. But if I’m honest with myself (& desperately trying to keep on keeping on) I have to acknowledge that without great love and joy there would be nothing to lose, nothing to grieve. So however hard, this pain is a gift.

“#100daysofseeingcolorinthegarden will be my #dailypractice starting today. My hope is that this daily interval focused on seeing my beloved garden will provide refuge and a way forward. They say that time heals. I’m curious to watch that unfold. How cool would it be (WILL it be) to witness the process playing out in real time. A powerful anchor for future losses.

“So for 100 days I will be making time to see and interpret color in my garden. It’s basically permission to pause and play.

She continues, “. . . this idea had to be something simple, intuitive, and soothing. I like to say color is my native tongue, and I’d pretty much lost all other words.

“It’s now nearly 150 days later and while I’m not still counting, I am still painting. SeeingColorInTheGarden has become a daily practice, permission to step away from work, house, garden—even play. When I sit down at my table with my oh-so-humble watercolors, a brush, and blank sheets of watercolor paper the world goes calm.

“Occasionally I get asked “HOW.” I don’t know how else to describe it but seeing with all 5 senses… things go quiet, time stops, and everything is focused on the blossom, twig, rock, or the occasional snail. My paints are nothing special, but they’re familiar to me and I feel comfortable with the visual vocabulary I’ve developed with them. For all that this project has played out in public on Instagram, it still feels strange to write about something so intimate and deeply personal. Except that, along with my finding a measure of peace, I have also found a community of people who are also in pain, stressed, or simply in need of a little colorful refreshment. A chromal chord has been struck.

She concludes: “At the end of the day, the swatches and test strips are my secret sauce. A record of how I hunt and peck and forage for the right color. The paintings themselves without their subject are pretty flat and lifeless compared to the energy of painting + plant. But these little swatch strips please me to no end.”

Find and follow Lorene Edwards Forkner at these social places:

LEF on Facebook

LEF on Instagram

A Handmade Garden Blog. Sign up for Lorene’s newsletter here.

THANK YOU for joining me today as I indulged in an entirely inspiring conversation with a dear and personal friend. As Lorene Edwards Forkner and I discussed, she has agreed to come to the 4th Annual Slow Flowers Summit, which takes place June 29-30, 2020 in Santa Cruz, Calif. In fact, Lorene is the first featured presenter we’re announcing for 2020. I’ll have much more to share about her presentation at the Summit and about what you can expect to experience as the planning evolves.

For now, I urge you to find a set of watercolors and begin to emulate the daily or even weekly practice of looking at flowers, petals, pods, leaves, bark and other minute details from your own environment in a new way — to let the color palette of nature speak to all of your senses.

George Hart of Missoula, Montana-based Hart’s Garden & Nursery

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with George Hart of Hart’s Garden & Nursery in Missoula, Montana.

Dahlias at Hart’s Garden & Nursery

I met George and Marcia Hart in September 2017 when they hosted a lovely gathering for Slow Flowers members in Western Montana. What a fabulous experience getting to see where they live and farm, and to connect with an incredible community of growers and floral designers who are bringing local flowers to Missoula and beyond.

Harts Garden and Nursery grows tulips, irises, peonies, delphinium, dahlias, chrysanthemums, liatrus, rudbeckia, zinnias, hellebores, lilies and several kinds of decorative grasses.

The September 2017 Slow Flowers Meet-Up at Hart’s Garden & Nursery

The Harts’ mission is to offer attractive, locally-grown flowers and bouquets to residents and businesses of Missoula and Western Montana. They offer several locally-grown varieties of lily bulbs for sale at area farmers’ markets, as well as perennials well-suited to Western Montana. I’m so pleased that George agreed to jump on the line with me this week to talk about what’s happening in this community, as well as give you a preview of an event on September 27th when I’ll return to Hart’s Garden — and you’re invited.

Here are the details:

MONTANA FLORISTS ASSOCIATION Annual Convention
Fri., Sept. 27, 7:15 p.m. Farm Tour & Dinner

HARTS GARDEN & NURSERY, Missoula, Montana

Debra Prinzing will join Slow Flowers members Harts Garden & Nursery as they host a local-flowers reception during the Montana Florists Association annual convention. The Slow Flowers members are invited to join us! As George Hart says: “$10 buys dinner and contacting me puts your name on the list. This is a chance for Montana flower farmers to learn and dine with fellow farmers and florists who care about local, Montana-grown blooms! For more information or to sign up, please contact George Hart atmghart@bresnan.net or call: 406-396-8245.

Thank you for taking the time to pop in the ear buds and join the Slow Flowers Podcast. Thank you to our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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. The upcoming regional conference takes place this weekend — Sunday, July 14 & Monday, July 15 — in Maine and is called “In the Thick of It.” The gathering features flower farm tours, networking with other growers, and bonus tours of Johnny’s Selected Seeds and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com and check out my past articles featuring the wisdom and voices of flower farmers.

Longfield Gardens, which provides 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. Spring bulb season is almost here – my tulips are poking out of the ground already! Visit Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 492,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
Castor Wheel Pivot; Betty Dear; Gaenaby 
Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 408: Botanical Couture in Charleston, S.C., with Toni Reale of Roadside Blooms and Laura Mewbourn of Feast and Floral, plus our State Focus: Missouri

July 3rd, 2019

American Flowers Week 2019 is coming to a close after we enjoy the fireworks and sparklers of July 4th Independence Day celebrations. I hope you and your flowers were part of the festivities!

Laura Mewbourn (left) and Toni Reale (right), photographed when I visited her shop last summer.

My two guests today have played an important part of this year’s American Flowers Week campaign as co-creators of one of our nine Botanical Couture looks. Please meet Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora Farm, based in Meggett, S.C., and Toni Reale of Roadside Blooms, based in North Charleston, S.C., who teamed up to design an incredible and deeply meaningful floral fashion look that represents coastal South Carolina’s unique heritage and cultural roots.

The women collaborated with their friend Giovanni Richardson, an oral historian representing the region’s Gullah Geechee community of South Carolinians who descended from West African and Central African enslaved people. Giovanni served as cultural and historic advisor to the project, which incorporated locally-grown flowers into the colorful  wardrobe of a Gullah Geechee woman.

Production day at the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767; Toni Reale (left) attaches a vibrant palette of Lowcountry S.C.-grown blooms, including those from Feast & Flora Farm (right). (c)
@philipcaseyphoto

Click here to see more photos of this project, featuring flowers grown at Laura’s farm and an historic setting where independent black farmers erected a fraternal common house in 1915, as well as the marshland of coastal Charleston.

I could go on and on about how inspiring I found their dress, styling and setting, but you’ll want to meet Laura and Toni right now. Let me give you a little background on their stories:

Attaching blooms, one at a time (left) and the dream team (right); (c)
@philipcaseyphoto

Laura Mewbourn grew up surrounded by gardens and flowers and had her first garden plot when she was still very young. Just a couple generations ago, farming was a way of life for Laura’s family, but when it was time to decide on her college major, she landed on English Literature and Language. Life had other ideas for Laura, though. In 2015, she completed the Growing New Farmers program through Lowcountry Local First. She apprenticed on a vegetable farm and landed a full-time job at a hydroponic farm.

I had a wonderful visit to Charleston, S.C., last summer to speak at the Southern Flowers Symposium, where Laura Mewbourn and I finally met in person.

She continues in her own voice: “I absolutely loved it and knew I really wanted to start my own farm. In the meantime, I pruned tomatoes, welcomed a new baby into my family, and took coursework in floral design.

In 2017, I was fortunate enough to purchase a home on acreage just outside of Charleston, SC, and before I knew it, my dreams of flower farming and growing vegetables were off and running with the launch of Feast & Flora, supplying friends, family, and the Charleston community.”

Find and follow Laura at these social places:

Feast & Flora on Facebook

Feast & Flora on Instagram

Toni Reale was a featured floral designer at Southern Flower Symposium in 2018. You can see her hand-tied bouquet at left.

Toni Reale founded Roadside Blooms with a story to tell and a mission to share, believing that beauty and sustainability don’t just co-exist, they work in concert. With over 8 years of experience in the event-planning and floral-design industries, Toni’s many adventures have led her to this chapter (ask her about the time she converted a 1971 British ice cream truck into a mobile flower shop; or about her Environmental Geology background).

A leader of Charleston’s “green and local” movement, Toni has served on various nonprofit boards, including the Charleston Green Fair, and has been recognized as one of Charlie magazine’s “50 Most Progressive” in Charleston in 2014.

She says this: “At Roadside Blooms, we are committed to using American-grown flowers and foraged elements. It’s an important part of our team’s story, and we take great pride in it. Our arrangements prove that sustainability and style aren’t mutually exclusive, all while elevating the grandest of galas or the simplest of ceremonies. We speak the language of flowers and believe every petal, leaf, and twig has a story. Each stem organically influences the direction of our designs and reflects the beauty of local, seasonal flora while embodying the beauty of our surrounding natural world.”

Find and follow Toni at these social places:

Roadside Blooms on Instagram

For more about this gorgeous floral project, read Laura’s recent article, “Botanical Couture and the importance of American-grown.”

Toni recently wrote about the experience on her blog, as well: “American Flowers Week 2019.”

Lowcountry Flower Farmers in Charleston, S.C., brought a popular design event to a local farmers’ market to promote American Flowers Week in 2018

Thank you so much for joining my conversation today and for hearing Laura and Toni’s stories. You’ll want to also check out their local organization, Low Country Flower Growers, where farmers and farmer-florists from Myrtle Beach to Savannah, along coastal S.C., have come together to educate themselves, their peers, and their customers – florists and consumers alike. It was a delight to spend time in Charleston with these wonderful talents – people committed to a sustainable floral landscape, last August when they invited me to speak at the first Southern Flower Symposium. And yes, you heard correctly, another symposium is in the works. We’ll post details as soon as they’re announced — and you check out updates on their social places — which I’ll share!

Cassie Hartman, with “Stella,” her mobile flower shop (c) Springfield Business Journal

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Cassie Hartman of Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck in Springfield, Missouri.

Cassie grew up there and returned there after college. She wanted to bring a small piece of her European travels to the community and that’s where Stella, a 1970 Volkswagen Truck, comes in!

As Cassie says, Stella enjoys parking in front of our favorite local businesses – sometimes getting so excited to meet new customers she breaks down on the side of the road and we just start selling there! Whether you’re grabbing flowers on your way to a friend’s house or just wanting to brighten your home, Stella and Cassie dream of bringing that “big city” feeling to Springfield making fresh cut flowers more accessible and spontaneous for the Ozarks.

Find and follow Cassie at these social places:

Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck on Facebook

Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck on Instagram

P.S., It was so completely cool but utterly unplanned . . . two of today’s guests have used vintage vehicles as mobile flower shops! That’s a fun coincidence.

OUR BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Before we wrap up, I promised to announce the dates and location of the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit, so here we go . . . drumroll please!

We will bring the Slow Flowers Summit to Santa Cruz, California, on June 29-30, 2020, with a Slow Flowers farm-to-table dinner on Sunday, June 28th.  Our partners include UC Santa Cruz’s famed Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) and Bonny Doon Garden Co., owned by member Teresa Sabankaya.

Yes, after holding the Summit first on the west coast in Seattle in 2017; moving to the east coast in Washington, D.C., in 2018; and landing in the central part of the country in St. Paul, MN, this year, we’ve decided to continue the rotation by returning to the West.

You have a full year to plan, but more details will be announced in the fall. Visit slowflowerssummit.com for updates and I can’t wait to see you in Santa Cruz! Below are photos of the recently renovated and restored Cowell Rancy Hay Barn at USCS-CASFS, our venue for the Slow Flowers Summit 2020! (c) Cesar Rubio; and Teresa Sabankaya (right) of Bonny Doon Garden Co., outside Santa Cruz, Calif.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Today we welcome a new sponsor to the Slow Flowers Podcast, FarmersWeb. FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at www.farmersweb.com

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community

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.

Our Slow Flowers Summit hosts, Green Earth Growers, welcomed us to Prior Lake, Minn.

Thank you for taking the time to pop in the ear buds and join the Slow Flowers Podcast. Thank you to our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 490,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
Heartland Flyer; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessionshttp://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Lovely by Tryad http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 407: Kicking off American Flowers Week with the Washington (State) Flowers Project

June 26th, 2019

If you’re a regular listener to this Podcast, you know that we’re gearing up for a very exciting series of activities this week and next, all centered around American Flowers Week, June 28-July 4.

All across the US, our members are planning floral education and promotion activities on their farms and communities, in local shops and studios, in grocery store floral departments and wholesale florist branches. Each event stimulates and nurtures the conversation about local, seasonal and domestic flowers, floral agriculture and sustainable design. If you have something planned, please post it on the Events Page at American Flowers Week web site. We all want to know what you’re planning!

There was a fab installation and American Flowers Week party in Seattle today! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

In my own corner of the country, here in Seattle, the Slow Flowers Community threw a fun party and celebration a little early on Wednesday, June 26th, which is the peak market day of the week at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, the farmer-to-florist regional wholesale hub that has so greatly influenced me and my Slow Flowers mission.

Some of the Slow Flowers members and friends who helped create our floral installation
(c) Missy Palacol Photography

We’re throwing a red-white-and-blue floral party to celebrate local flowers – complete with a large-scale floral installation, music, refreshments and a few surprises. A special thank you to the Washington State Farm Bureau for providing underwriting for the event.

The timing couldn’t be better to welcome today’s guest, Laura Ridenour of the Washington State Department of Agriculture. She works for the Small-Farm Direct Marketing and Farm-to-School Program as part of WSDA’s Regional Markets division. Laura and her colleagues, along with their collaborators at the Washington State Farm Bureau, are aligning with American Flowers Week to announce the brand new Washington Flowers Project.

One of many wonderful video clips produced to promote Washington Flowers

This project aims to raise the profile and advance the marketing of Washington-grown cut flowers and is a collaborative effort of WSDA’s Regional Markets team and the Washington State Farm Bureau. The project is funded by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant and runs 2017-through 2019. Slow Flowers has joined the project as a supporter and stakeholder. 

Follow the Washington Flowers Project @washington.flowers.project

There is a beautiful new logo that growers and retailers are invited to use on sleeves and other packaging — depicting Washington state’s outline with graphic flowers and lettering that reads Washington Flowers. 

The campaign also has its own social media presence on Facebook and Instagram and there are a couple fun hashtags you’ll want to use or follow — #washingtonflowers, #WAflowers and #localflowersmakelifebetter.

It was so fun to be part of this Washington Flowers promo video, along with our Slow Flowers friends Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm & Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and Teresa Engbretson and Katie Elliott of My Garden Overfloweth.

There is a lot to learn from this state-specific project, which Laura and I will discuss today. She and I both strongly believe that the format and elements of the Washington Flowers Project can be adapted and replicated by any of you in any of your states — and we encourage you to download the resources I’ll share to set up a meeting with your own department of agriculture or farm bureau to explore and seek funding for a similar campaign.

Charlie’s Produce Washington Flowers Project

One exciting component of the Washington Flowers Project is a Grocery Pilot program aiming to connect flower growers to new markets and sell more locally-grown cut flowers and foliage at Northwest Independent Grocers stores via Charlie’s Produce, a regional distributor of perishable food and flowers.

To launch the pilot, Washington Flowers hosted a live webinar. The positive outcome of this pilot is that approximately 60 NW Independent Grocers’ stores are participating; local flowers will appear in ads and point-of-purchase stories; from June through September, these grocery stores will stock approximately 300 cases per week of Washington-grown blooms and bouquets.

I couldn’t be happier to see this groundswell of interest in local flowers take place in my own state! And I so want to see something just like this campaign come to your state – so take inspiration! And huge congrats to WSDA and Washington Farm Bureau for creating so many useful and vital resources – now available for you to read and download.

More Resources discussed in today’s conversation:

Three resources all growers may wish to take a look into are matching grants, that are allocated via the Farm Bill:

In Washington, you can search the WSDA website, agr.wa.gov.

Contacts:
Laura Ridenour at lridenour@agr.wa.gov
Suzanne Carson at Washington.flowers.project@gmail.com.

Thank you to our Sponsors

Festiva in bud, from Arctic Alaska Peonies

Arctic Alaska Peonies. We’re so pleased that Arctic Alaska Peonies has returned for 2019 as a Slow Flowers Podcast sponsor and this is the week that their Coop’s member farms are harvesting and beginning to fulfill orders for bigger, better, beautiful peonies from Alaska to you. Chris Beks jumped on the line with me to share a preview of the start of Alaska Peony Season. You’ll hear our conversation at the top of this episode.

Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — nwgreenpanels.com to see more. This month, take advantage of NW Green Panels’ online special — save 10% off any model. That’s a great savings — and reach out if you have any questions about my experience with this cool greenhouse maker.

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, their flower farmers and staff. What an incredible group of professionals who are 100% committed to changing the floral landscape in the Pacific Northwest – and beyond. I’m so grateful for their sponsorship of American Flowers Week, especially our fabulous celebration today, which required huge amounts of time and a generous donation of their space and floral product to make happen. This farmer-owned cooperative is committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. Its mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community at debraprinzing.com

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – is taking a week off, sadly, because I wasn’t able to find a Mississippi voice to share with you. We’ll move on to Missouri next week and who knows? I might be able to circle back to Mississippi later this year.

Celebrate with us: Slow Flowers & American Flowers Week (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Well, it’s been a busy week and I thank you for taking the time to pop in the ear buds and join the Slow Flowers Podcast. Thank you to our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

By the time you hear from me next week, we will have wrapped up the third annual SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT.

It’s not too late to join ME and our vibrant and engaging lineup of presenters on July 1st and 2nd in St. Paul, Minnesota. Day-of tickets are still available, so check out slowflowerssummit.com to grab your space and join me!

And next week, I will announce the location and dates of the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit so you can immediately mark it on your calendar and save the date! So excited to reveal those details soon!

Join me! Slow Flowers Podcast (c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 485,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
Color Country; Heartland Flyer; Betty Dear; Gaena; Perspiration
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Lovely by Tryad http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com