Debra Prinzing

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Debra Prinzing is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for American grown flowers. Through her many Slow Flowers-branded projects, she has convened a national conversation that stimulates consumers and professionals alike to make conscious choices about their floral purchases.
Debra is the producer of slowflowers.com, the online directory to American flower farms, and florists, shops and studios who source domestic and local flowers. She is the author of 10 books, including Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet.
Each Wednesday, you can listen to Debra's "Slow Flowers Podcast," available for free downloads at her web site debraprinzing.com or on ITunes and other podcast services. Here's what others say about her:

“The local flower movement's champion . . ."

--Ken Druse, REAL DIRT Podcast

“. . . an impassioned advocate for a more sustainable flower industry."

--Bellamy Pailthorp, KPLU-FM (NPR affiliate)

“The mother of the ‘Slow Flower’ movement, Prinzing is making a personal crusade to encourage people to think about floral purchases the same way they may approach what they eat: Buy locally grown flowers or grow them yourself.”

--Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee

“Debra Prinzing . . . has done more to celebrate and explain ethical + eco-friendly flowers than I could ever hope to.”

--Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge

Episode 283: Harmony Harvest Farm and Floral Genius

February 8th, 2017

1459132956 I’m so delighted to share today’s conversation with three women representing two generations of the Auville Family. Between them, they own two floral businesses.

Mom Chris Auville and daughter Jessica Hall operate Harmony Harvest Farm with their spouses (Chris’s husband and Jessica’s dad Martin Auville and Jessica’s husband Brian Hall).

And as you will hear in part two of this episode, Jessica and her sister Stephanie Auville have just launched Floral Genius, the reincarnation of a product line previously owned and marketed by Dorothy Biddle Service.

FloralGenius_CMYK_Main Here’s the Harmony Harvest Farm story, excerpted from the farm’s web site:

With a deep desire to set roots in a farm setting within the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Brian and Jessica, coupled with her parents, Martin and Chris Auville, created the vision for Harmony Harvest Cut Flower Farm.

In 2011 they purchased a historic 1890 farmhouse with a bank barn on 20 acres of fertile rolling fields. Only a few miles down the road from Jessica’s parents, it was the perfect homestead for Jessica and Brian to begin living out their dream.

Jessica Hall, chief flower grower, and partner in Harmony Harvest Farm, seen against the beautiful rural backdrop of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Jessica Hall, lead floral designers, Master Gardener, and partner in Harmony Harvest Farm, seen against the beautiful rural backdrop of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia (c) Picture Perfect Photography

 

The farm's historic "bank barn."

The farm’s historic “bank barn.” (c) Picture Perfect Photography

At that point, the work really began as each played an impressive role in designing water systems, building walk-in coolers, studio buildings, new entrance roads and greenhouses.

Over the past few years, not only has Harmony Harvest’s business and fields grown and expanded, but so has the Hall family.  When Jessica and Brian embarked on their cut flower farming journey, they had one child Adelaide Catherine.  Now, the picture is much different.  Adelaide became a big sister to firecracker Marion, and most recently twin brothers, Lincoln and Levon arrived.  While the business has flourished, so has their family of 6!

IMG_1644

Ranunculus inside one of the farm’s growing structures.

Weddings by Harmony Harvest Farm

Weddings by Harmony Harvest Farm

Harmony Harvest currently grows intensively on 3 acres and operates 3 growing houses, with plans to expand that in the coming season.  With over 200 different botanical offerings, the farm’s decadent selections, not to mention its heart and soul, are poured into each bloom grown and marketed.

With an eye for floral design, Jessica’s ability to arrange the bounty of the fields was a natural complement to the farming side of their business right from the start.  She has always had an artistic flair and dabbled in many creative mediums before finding her passion with the most fragile of paints — flowers. Having spent her teenage years working in a flower shop and taking design classes, she admits to never imagining having a floral profession until the farm came along.

Jessica Hall (left) and Jessica and Brian with their family of four.

Jessica Hall (left) and Jessica and Brian with their family of four.

Jessica Hall
As Lead Designer and Master Grower, Jessica is passionate about her client’s personal story. A vibrant and creative soul, she dabbles in all things magical.  She grew up in an agriculturally rich family, where tending to and growing a garden were everyday tasks and nurturing nature was instilled at an early age.

She pursued her love of growing and designing by majoring in horticulture at Virginia Tech. Jessica and Brian met there and together they decided to forge a path and build their own business and work in a family setting.

Today, Jessica runs the day-to-day operations on the farm, leads all the floral design projects, and is the mother of four children.  In just a few short years, they have quadrupled their growing space, added lots of new botanical selections to their floral availability list, and created a humming, growing rhythm for their farm and family.

Jessica admits on her web site:

People say my passion is contagious. If that’s the case, we are all doomed to have an oversized cutting garden and an insatiable thirst to paint with nature.

IMG_1896

Chris Auville. Don'tcha love how she and Jessica have such similar smiles?

Chris Auville. Don’tcha love how she and Jessica have such similar smiles?

Chris Auville
Chris Auville, Chief Flower Officer, is the business manager for Harmony Harvest Farm. If you have ever communicated with Harmony Harvest, be it by email, phone, or in person, Chris has most likely greeted you.  Chris corresponds with clients, schedules appointments, produces quotes, and coordinates floral aspects for wedding days and other events.

With a MBA and over 30 years of business experience, Chris is a perfect fit for the farm’s sales and business operations.  From working with brides to creating grocery store contracts, Chris gets it done.

Also serving as Mom to Jessica a Nana to her grandchildren, Chris plays an important role as they all work together under the family business umbrella. As a mother–daughter duo, Chris and Jessica are grateful to work together and complement each other with their backgrounds and experiences.

FLORAL GENIUS

IMG_5644 In part two of this podcast, you’ll hear from Stephanie Auville, Jessica’s sister, who joins us on the line.

The two wanted to honor their late grandmother’s legacy and they wanted to make her proud. A few weeks later a door opened on their future and they decided to walk through it.

Jessica and Stephanie purchased the manufacturing rights and all equipment to mold, make, package, and sell all styles of metal pin frogs.  They’ve named the new manufacturing enterprise Floral Genius.

As we discuss, the floral frog production has been part of the Dorothy Biddle Company for many years. Reintroduced as Floral Genius, Jessica and Stephanie are honored to take over the reins and continue to bring quality and innovative tools to the market for all designers.

Under the leadership of Jessica and Stephanie, Floral Genius will continue as the leading U.S. manufacturer of pin, pin cup and hair pin flower holders. These sustainable, no-rust frogs make brilliant designs . . . “Genius.”

Naturally, there are some great synergies between Harmony Harvest Farm and Floral Genius, although they will operate as separate businesses, both housed at Harmony Harvest Farm. The next few months will entail moving large machines, learning production and building a website.

As Jessica recently wrote on her blog, “I fell head over heels for flower frogs while studying methods of construction with leading designers.  Flower frogs allow for the depth and wild abundance synonymous with luxury garden style design. We hope to give everyone the tools they need to create abundant beauty. From flowers to frogs, I’ve got you covered!”

Find Harmony Harvest Farm and Floral Genius at these social places.

Find Harmony Harvest on Facebook

Follow Harmony Harvest on Instagram

See Harmony Harvest on Pinterest

Catch up with Harmony Harvest on Twitter

Follow Floral Genius on Instagram (this is a brand new feed)

Thanks so much for joining me today. The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 155,000 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.

2017SponsorBlock Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2017: 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.

We’re also grateful for support from 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 welcome to our newest sponsor, the 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. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

Longfield Gardens has returned as a 2017 sponsor, and we couldn’t be happier to share their resources with you. Longfield Gardens 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. Visit them at lfgardens.com.

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.

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

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 shellandtree.com.

Music credits

Blue Jay
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Additional music from: audionautix.com

Episode 282: Got Peonies? News from the Alaska Peony Growers Association Conference

February 1st, 2017

A bridal bouquet featuring flowers from Alaska Peony Cooperative farms

A bridal bouquet featuring flowers from Alaska Peony Cooperative farms

Interior (Fairbanks), Central (Mat-Su Valley) and Homer (Kenai Peninsula)

Interior (Fairbanks), Central (Mat-Su Valley) and Homer (Kenai Peninsula)

If you’re as smitten with peonies as I am, this episode is just for you.

I’m delighted to share five short conversations with people involved in Alaska’s cut peony industry — all who attended the end-of-January Alaska Peony Growers Association winter conference in Fairbanks.

The conference invited me to speak to the 125-plus attendees about the Slow Flowers Movement and to share my insights and forecast about the American grown floral landscape. It was a great conference with so many passionate and motivated flower farmers, suppliers, educators and research experts.

This will be a longish episode, so to keep things moving along, I’ll introduce all seven guests to you now; and then each interview will flow from one to the next with a brief introduction.

In this order, you’ll meet:

Rita Jo Shoultz, a past Growers' Cup Winner from the Alaska Peony Growers Association, with some of her beauties.

Rita Jo Shoultz, a past Alaska Peony Growers Association “Growers’ Cup Winner,” with some of her field-grown varieties.

Rita Jo Schoultz, of Alaska Perfect Peony in Fritz Creek, Alaska, and the Alaska Peony Marketing Group in the Homer area. Alaska Perfect Peonies is a Slow Flowers member and Rita Jo and I serve together as members of the American Grown Counsel for Certified American Grown Brand.

gallery

Chris Beks, left, with his wife Elizabeth, and her parents Ron and Marji Illingworth, partners in North Pole Peonies + a view of their fields and a beautiful peony.

aapeonies_logo Chris Beks, of North Pole Peonies in North Pole, Alaska, and Arctic Alaska Peonies Cooperative, a major sponsor for Slow Flowers, including this podcast. The photos above are from my 2012 visit to North Pole Peonies when I first met Chris and his family.

That experience included a fabulous farm tour and dinner at the home of his in-law’s, Marji and Ron Illingworth, early Alaska peony farmers.

(Left), Camden on peony planting day; (Right, from top), Kellly and Camden; winter at Wasilla Lights Farm

(Left), Camden on peony planting day; (Right, from top), Kelly and Camden; winter at Wasilla Lights Farm

Kelly Dellan of Wasilla Lights Farm, with her sunflower crop

Kelly Deller of Wasilla Lights Farm, with her sunflower crop

Mother-and-son team Kelly Deller and Camden Deller from Wasilla Lights Farm in Wasilla, Alaska, which is located in the Matanuska Valley in Central Alaska.

When I met them and found out that 15-year-old Camden was the force behind the farm’s peony venture, and that this was the third annual Alaska Peony Growers winter conference he’s attended, I knew I wanted to share his story with you.

There are a lot of inspiring young farmers, but not that many who started their career while still in middle school! Mom Kelly is to be congratulated for nurturing Camden’s passion. She wrote this on the farm’s web site: Our teenage son thought growing peonies was a must-do idea and never let go of the thought. It didn’t take too much convincing from him to start making plans for our own peony farm. Who knew I’d eventually be growing a field of these beauties?!

Lush pink buds from Alaska Peony Cooperative farms

Lush pink buds from Alaska Peony Cooperative farms

Farm views: left, top, bottom

Views from Alaska Peony Co-op member farms: left, Far North Peonies; top, Mt. McKinley Peonies; bottom, Giggly Roots Gardens

smAPC Logo 2 Martha Lojewski and Maureen Horne-Brine of Alaska Peony Cooperative which includes farms in Matanuska, Susitna and Eagle River Valleys in Central Alaska.

Martha is the sales manager and also owns Mt. McKinley Peonies in Willow. Maureen handles social media for the co-op and owns Far North Peonies in Sunshine, Alaska.

Beth Van Sandt in her upper peony field at Scenic Place Peonies.

Beth Van Sandt in her upper peony field at Scenic Place Peonies.

and finally, my good friend Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, and the Alaska Peony Marketing Group. Scenic Place Peonies has been a member of Slow Flowers since we launched in May 2014.

Beth shares quite a bit of information about the upcoming events and activities that may lure you to Alaska at the end of July 2017. She and her husband Kurt Weichand are opening up their farm, Scenic Place Peonies, will play host to the first-ever Field to Vase Dinner held in Alaska on Saturday, July 29th.

F2VScenic As you will hear us discuss, the amazing al fresco dinner will serve up delicious local seafood and all-local flowers, including peonies and you can find ticket details here.

Beth and I discuss several other bonus events taking place during the peony-filled weekend, including a private floral design workshop with Ariella Chezar, featured designer for the Field to Vase Dinner.

This will be an incredible opportunity to study in a small-group master class with one of the most inspiring and inventive floral artists of today. Ariella is a past guest of this podcast and I adore her aesthetic and ethos.

Beth personally invited Ariella to design the Field to Vase Dinner and host the workshop the day prior to the dinner. The Friday, July 28th, workshop details will be announced soon, so if you’re interested in learning more, sign up here for Ariella’s 2017 workshop announcements.

And on Sunday, July 30th, there will be a special post-dinner tour of the peony farms of Homer, Alaska. They include Alaska Perfect Peony, Chilly Root Peonies, Scenic Place Peonies, all members of Slowflowers.com, and Joslyn Peonies. I have visited all of these farms and I promise, you will be blow away by the beauty of the flowers, the breathtaking scenery, and the incredible talent of the farmers.

Seriously the most spectacular sight I've ever witnessed: Peony fields in the foreground. . . Glaciers in the distance!

Seriously the most spectacular sight I’ve ever witnessed: Peony fields in the foreground. . . Glaciers in the distance!

Close to perfection

I came home from Alaska with these luscious peonies – and it seemed as if no other flower could compete for room in the vase.

I’ve been reporting on Alaska Peonies for nearly five years and if you’re interested in some context and history, you may want to go back and listen to my prior episodes about those beautiful flowers and the people who grow them.

Episode 102 from August 2013, Peonies from America’s Last Frontier (Episode 102)

Episode 154 from August 2014,  Debra & Christina’s Alaska Peony Adventure (Episode 154)

You can also find a link to my story: America’s Last Flower Frontier in September 2012, prior to launching the Slow Flowers Podcast.

 

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 152,500 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.

 

2017SponsorBlock Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2017: 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.

We’re also grateful for support from 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 welcome to our newest sponsor, the 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. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com

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 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

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 shellandtree.com.

Music credits:
Manele; Flagger
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Slow Flowers Creative Workshop Comes to Seattle!

January 29th, 2017

00539_dp_creativeworkshop_flor-01

Anne Bradfield, Floressence

Anne Bradfield, Floressence

I want to invite you to join Anne Bradfield of Floressence and me for a special two-day Slow Flowers Creative Workshop on Monday, March 5 and Tuesday, March 6 at Floressence Studio in Seattle.

This workshop draws from my florist-focused curriculum, which combines “floral memoir,” storytelling for web and digital media (including on camera). In 2016, I partnered with experienced design educators to lead the workshop in Santa Cruz, Sonoma County and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Many of our Seattle Slow Flowers members have asked when I’ll lead the workshop here. Now’s the time to sign up, folks!

The format’s success allows non-writers to unlock your voices as we use new techniques and exercises to communicate our values, mission, brand and aesthetic. The workshop is designed to give floral creatives more tools for everything from blogging and newsletter-writing to handling media interviews.

sm_DebraPrinzing-179

Debra Prinzing, Slow Flowers

One of the very special elements of our workshop is the addition of video and audio interviews. We’ve asked Jason Miller, who has a background in film and documentary production, to partner with us.

You will leave our workshop having filmed a 1- to 2- minute autobiographical interview that depicts your floral design aesthetic/style, as well as you telling your story as a creative individual.

I’m so excited for you to have a short clip that you can use on your web site, on social media, and to share with potential clients. It will be a marketing tool designed just for you, with you as the star!

All the details are listed below, as well as the schedule.

On Day One, we’ll get down and dirty with our powers of observation, description, memoir- and narrative-writing with me.

On Day Two, Anne will lead our floral design exercise, sharing her story and creative philosophy to help everyone embark on designing an arrangement that expresses individual style.

During both days, Jason will be on hand and behind-the-scenes, capturing lovely footage that will ultimately be edited into his final video for your use.

The two-day workshop including everything outlined here is $1,150. Members of the Greater Seattle Floral Association and Slowflowers.com are invited to enjoy a Member Discount of $995. This is an incredible value — as you know, it’s hard to find a videographer who can work within that budget for an original, professionally-produced clip with music and graphics. We are also happy to arrange a three-part payment plan for budgeting purposes.

For more details, you can contact me at 206-769-8211 or debraprinzing@gmail.com

Stretching our floral vocabulary with a writing exercise!

Stretching our floral vocabulary with a writing exercise!

What is the Creative Workshop?

This valuable experience is designed to help you clarify, document and communicate your personal artistic messaging as a floral/creative professional. In a safe, supportive and intimate setting, our small group will spend 48 hours focusing on YOU! We’ll go deep into Slow Flowers “brand building” as each participant finds his or her own voice as a floral storyteller. Here is what we will cover:

Read more about past workshops here and here.

More details and your registration here.

Episode 281: The Pursuit of Local Flowers in Florida with Lindsey Easton and Annie Schiller

January 25th, 2017

Annie Schiller of From left: William's Wildflowers, Lindsey Easton of L. Easton + Co., and Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers

Annie Schiller of From left: William’s Wildflowers, Lindsey Easton of L. Easton + Co., and Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers

WWLogo leaston-logo-web-16 Today’s podcast features two voices from a new chapter in Florida’s cut flower industry, Lindsey Easton of L. Easton + Co. based just north of Tampa Bay and Annie Schiller of William’s Wildflowers in Sarasota.

The three of us met and recorded this podcast episode on January 12th at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa, which was centrally located — about one hour in different directions for Lindsey and Annie.

Florida is a huge state with numerous gardening zones and microclimates, but there is a common thread that resonates with anyone in Florida agriculture — which includes the reality of humidity, tropical rains and high temperatures.

And unlike most of the rest of the country where flower farmers are just thinking about planting seeds and roots, Florida cut flower farmers are in their busier season because their peak blooms thrive in the cooler winter and early springtime.

Screen grab from Lindsey's feed ~ makes me happy!

Screen grab from Annie’s feed ~ makes me happy!

My trip to Florida was at the invitation of the wonderful folks at the Boca Grande Garden Club, a vibrant, intellectually curious, engaged group of people who love the region, who care about conservation and sustaining Florida’s fragile environment. They invited me to share the Slow Flowers story with them, which I did the day prior to meeting Lindsey and Annie.

I loved my visit and I loved seeing the wilder beauty of the Florida Gulf Coastline. I toured a few cool botanical gardens while driving up and down that coastline, and I even brought home two gorgeous species bromeliads (in a carry-on tote) to satisfy my newfound passion for tropicals, along with some amazing seashells collected with permission from Boca Grande.

In a state known for agriculture, including everything from ferns and foliage galore to citruses and tropicals, it is sad to realize that the cut flower industry is proportionally very small compared to so many other states.

Yet, a dynamic collective of farms that specialize in cut greenery and ferns put Florida in the top 5 states for floriculture. There is even one amazing cut clematis farm called Roseville Farms, but small-scale flower farming a la Slow Flowers is rare.

It is rare, but returning, thanks to people like Lindsey and Annie, farmer-florists who are innovative and experimental. There’s no playbook — they are making it up as they go along through experimentation, trialing, plugging into other communities like Master Gardeners (for Lindsey) and the Native Plant community (for Annie).

Farmer-florist Lindsey Easton

Farmer-florist Lindsey Easton

Pretties from Lindsey's Instagram feed

Pretties from Lindsey’s Instagram feed

Stylish packaging and marketing reveals Lindsey's background in art and interior design

Stylish packaging and marketing reveals Lindsey’s background in art and interior design

Before we turn to the interview, here’s a bit more about Lindsey Easton:

As she writes on her web site, Lindsey’s childhood was spent amongst the farm fields of the Midwest. That instilled in her a love of wide open spaces which allowed freedom to create and dream. Originally a fine arts major turned interior design major, her passion is in the creative process. Having spent the last decade working in the design field with excellent mentors and peers, Lindsey reconnected with her agricultural roots after having two children and seeking ways to get closer to where she started.

That’s when L. Easton & Company was born. Her farm and studio are a celebration of the seasons, of cultivating beautiful blooms and creating a wonderful childhood for my children. She and her husband consider themselves lucky to raise their family on a beautiful piece of land and she is excited to share it with her clients and community. L. Easton & Co.’s brand is “grown, gathered, styled.” 

Follow Lindsey at these social places:

Lindsey/L. Easton + Co. on Facebook

Lindsey/L. Easton + Co. on Instagram

Love this sweet pic of Annie Schiller, with a couple of my books xoxo

Love this sweet pic of Annie Schiller, with a couple of my books xoxo

The "wild" design work of Annie Schiller (Florida, left) and Rachel Andre (New York, right)

The “wild” design work of Annie Schiller (Florida, left) and Rachel Andre (New York, right)

Annie Schiller is a returning guest so you may recognize her from last April when I featured a conversation about Williams Wildflowers, and the twin, sister-run design studios, one in Florida (which Annie leads) and one in upstate New York (which Rachel Andre leads). That conversation centered on their philosophy of integrating wildflowers and native plants into beautiful floral design, drawing from their respective regions.

Annie has worked at Florida Native Plants Nursery in Sarasota, Florida, for five years, a destination co-owned and operated by her mother Laurel Schiller, a wildlife biologist with an extensive background in  higher education and in the native plant world.

Annie was born in the Bronx and raised in both Chicago and in Florida. She designs butterfly gardens, grows and maintains native and Florida-friendly plants, designs and maintains social and print media (including Williams Wildflowers’ web site) and that of Florida Native Plants. She is interested in wildlife and edible gardening, permaculture, homesteading, vermicompost, sustainable practices, eco art, and floral design. Annie has a background in visual art, art history and graphic design from Florida State University and from her years spent living and working in New York City. Annie currently arranges and designs wildflower bouquets for the Florida branch of William’s Wildflowers.

Follow Annie at these social places:

William’s Wildflowers on Facebook

William’s Wildflowers on Instagram

Listen to Annie on Micro-Macro-Enviro Radio

This podcast shares an update on Annie’s work, and introduces the two young women to you and to each other. I loved being the connector to bring them together and it left me feeling a warm place in my heart for these intrepid flower farmers in Florida. I hope to return soon!

Hurrah!!! We've hit the 150,000 mark for listener downloads this week! THANKS everyone!

Hurrah!!! We’ve hit the 150,000 mark for listener downloads this week! THANKS everyone!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 150,000 times by listeners like you. How about that, folks?!

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.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2017: 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. And PS, Certified American Grown is the producer of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour, now in its 3rd year. Last week saw the announcement of the 7 venue for 2017, and you can find a link to that calendar of events at Debraprinzing.com. I’m very excited that three of the seven venues are Slow Flowers members, so check it out and plan to attend!

We’re also grateful for support from 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 welcome to our newest sponsor, the 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. Find them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.

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 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.

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 shellandtree.com.

Music credits:
Parapassargada
by Zoe
https://zoe3.bandcamp.com/album/zoe
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
Brass Buttons; Cradle Rock
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Episode 280: Floral Diplomacy with former Chief White House Florist Laura Dowling

January 18th, 2017

2UP

Today’s lovely guest, Laura Dowling, former Chief Floral Designer under President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, from 2009-2015

I’m so pleased this week to feature my conversation with Laura Dowling, who served as the White House florist for six years during the Obama Administration. The timing for her appearance here is no coincidence. I’m determined to celebrate beauty, art, culture and human kindness today. It’s a tough week for me and for many of you, I’m sure. By focusing on flowers and on Laura’s unique perspective, not to mention the role she played designing florals for our outgoing POTUS and FLOTUS, their homes and offices, and America’s people, I might just get through the events of this week.

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“Flowers as a tool for innovation and change,” a spread depicting Laura Dowling with First Lady Michelle Obama

Laura’s brand new book, Floral Diplomacy at the White House, is published by Stichting Kunstboek, a major European imprint, the 144-page hardcover book has more than 100 photographs, many of which are from the official White House photography taken to document the activities of the Obama Administration — and illustrate how and where Laura’s flowers played a role in our nation’s history. Floral Diplomacy is available for pre-order on Amazon and will be in retail bookstores by early February. Order your copy here.

Students at FlowerSchool New York were enthralled by the chance to work directly with Laura Dowling at an early February 2016 workshop.

Students at FlowerSchool New York were enthralled by the chance to work directly with Laura Dowling at an early February 2016 workshop.

To introduce Laura, I’d like to share an excerpt from a post I wrote about one year ago. The occasion was inspired by my taking a fabulous 2-hour workshop at FlowerSchool New York in early February 2016, which hosted one of Laura’s first major industry appearances since she left her White House position in March 2015.

I had been eager to meet Laura Dowling ever since I first read about her appointment as White House Florist in 2009. I remember being so enthralled with the New York Times story about Laura’s choices for decorating her first State Dinner (it was the Obama’s first State Dinner, too), for India’s Prime Minister in November of that year.

American Grown Flowers at the White House - as reported on by the New York Times this week.

American Grown Flowers at the White House – as reported on by the New York Times.

whiteHouseStateDinner2009 Here’s an excerpt of that report:

New York Times (November 25, 2009): “Old Standards with Modern Flourishes as Obamas Host First State Dinner,” by Rachel L. Swarns

” . . . at their first state dinner on Tuesday night, President Obama and his wife, Michelle, made sure to infuse the glittering gala with distinctive touches.

“They hired a new florist, Laura Dowling, who bedecked the tented outdoor dining room with locally grown, sustainably harvested magnolias and ivy.”

Of course, I seized on the language: “locally grown, sustainably harvested,” and ever since I watched closely for signs of Ms. Dowling’s preferences toward the flowers grown near her in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and those that may be further away but still from domestic U.S. Farms.

The floral ceiling chandelier -- using all American grown floral ingredients -- from the White House State Dinner (photo: Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse)

The floral ceiling chandelier — using all American grown floral ingredients — from the White House State Dinner (photo: Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse)

The Slow Flowers Movement enjoyed a subsequent “win” for the cause in February 2014, when the State Dinner for French President Francois Holland yielded the White House’s most public acknowledgement to date about using all-American blooms. There was so much enthusiasm for that public support of American grown flowers that when USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden blogged about the news, it generated more than 150 comments.

After a heady, six-year run as the current administration’s Chief Florist, Laura Dowling returned to civilian life in early 2015 — and she is connecting with the floral design community and American flower farmers more than ever.

In her position as Chief Florist, Laura Dowling planned and implemented decorations for major events at the White House, including the White House Christmas, state dinners, the presidential family quarters, the public tour route displays, and Camp David.

Now, Laura is focusing her creativity on sharing the “Floral Diplomacy” message on both the global and local stage. Her Alexandria, Virginia, studio is a hub of design commissions, several upcoming book projects, and floral styling for photo shoots and more. Her world seems to no longer be dominated by carefully-worded statements and all sorts of other persons’ political agendas, so we’re having a chance to get to know this lovely, gifted and generous floral artist, educator and yes, floral diplomat.

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“The Garden Style,” a spread from Floral Diplomacy

Laura is a Washington State native who grew up in the rural area outside Chehalis, which is halfway between Seattle and Portland in Western Washington. She writes about her connection to this place in, Floral Diplomacy, noting her childhood dominated by the shadow of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier and the rolling farm country of the Pacific Northwest, saying, “I have no doubt that growing up in such close proximity to the landscape, surrounded by the epic splendor of the Pacific Northwest, gave me a lifelong appreciation of nature, a sensitivity to composition and colors, flowers and the aspiration to create beauty.”

It is that connection to the PNW that brought us together as friends, since Laura and her husband Bob Weinhagen often return to the Pacific Northwest from Washington, D.C., to visit family, including Laura’s mother who still lives in the area where she was raised.

We agreed to meet right before Christmas in the lobby of a downtown Seattle hotel, to speak about Laura’s amazing career and the new book, Floral Diplomacy.

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smFloral Diplomacy_p98-99

smFloral Dipomacy_p142-143 It is an exquisite document of how flowers and floral design played a role in the Obama Administration. In her acknowledgements, Laura writes: “I want to express my deep gratitude to the President and First Lady for giving me the honor and privilege of serving as Chief Floral Designer at the White House and for inspiring me to reach higher in all my work.”

Please enjoy our conversation and learn more about the creative individual who flowered the “People’s House” for six beautiful years.

Find Laura Dowling on Facebook

Follow Laura Dowling on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you are as inspired as I am about the powerful role flowers can play. Laura broke new ground with the idea that flowers could be more than just decorative placements; she views floral designs as an important strategic tool that can communicate specific diplomatic, symbolic and policy messages.

Returning to the private sector, Laura’s expanded platform now includes event design and consulting, writing and speaking about floral design, and presenting workshops and demonstrations throughout the world. Her goal is to share her unique vision for creating flowers designs in the garden style and to inspire others with her personal story.

smFloral Diplomacy_p60-61 PodcastLogo

Pursuing our passion is what the Slow Flowers Podcast is all about.

It is my hope that when you hear from pioneering voices, thought leaders and creative innovators, not to mention environmental activists and advocates for the Slow Flowers Movement that I feature week in and week out, you, too will be inspired to reach higher in all of your work.

You are not alone. You are part of this community, and as one of our most active members recently reminded me, the way forward is “community over competition” — how true that is. I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 148,000 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 2017: 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.

We’re also grateful for support from 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
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 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
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 shellandtree.com.

Music credits:

Jupiter the Blue; Traveling Made-Up Continents; 
Instrumental #2 Revisited
by Gillicuddy
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/gillicuddy/
Licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/
 
Vinyl Couch
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Episode 279: The Boutique Flower Shop with Portland’s Hilary Horvath

January 11th, 2017

Hilary Horvath designs an impromptu bouquet for a customer at her eponymously-named shop inside Portland's Alder + Co.

Hilary Horvath designs an impromptu bouquet for a customer at her eponymously-named shop inside Portland’s Alder + Co.

hh_10_img_5048 We’ve had some amazing extended episodes in the past month and now it’s time to return to our familiar format of single conversations with singular individuals.

This week’s guest is Hilary Horvath of Portland’s Hilary Horvath Flowers.

Airing today’s conversation with Hilary is a timely follow-up to last week’s episode when we released our 2017 Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

If you missed that episode, take a moment to download and hear the many things happening as the Slow Flowers Movement disrupts and shifts the way flowers are grown, marketed and used by designers. You can find a link to a PDF of the Report here.

In that report, I cited a renaissance taking place among with brick-and-mortar flower shops in markets across the country where main street mom-and-pop florists are closing their doors. Hilary Horvath Flowers embodies the new flower shop model — and I’m delighted to share her story with you today.

hilary_horvath_flowers_3

I’m not sure how we first met, but recently, I was looking through photos from a Little Flower School of Brooklyn workshop that came to Schreiner’s Iris Farm in Oregon a few years ago and there was Hilary in my gallery of images. I had forgotten that we met taking that lovely design workshop together.

Hilary Horvath Flowers inside Alder + Co.

Hilary Horvath Flowers inside Alder + Co.

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Since then, I’ve visited her beautiful flower shop, which resides just inside the entry of Alder + Co., a perfectly curated emporium for clothing, accessory, home, jewelry, paper and textiles — and Hilary’s flowers.

Located on 10th & Alder, on the hip and happening edge of downtown Portland, Hilary Horvath’s flowers spill out onto the sidewalk and seemingly lure in people moved by the beautiful scene.

hilary_horvath_2

Hilary is dedicated to sourcing the most beautiful flowers to feature in her shop. One of her favorite and distinguished customers has said “not even in Paris are the flowers this beautiful”, and she can believe it as she herself is constantly amazed and inspired by the offerings of the many flower growers with whom she is fortunate to know in the Pacific Northwest.

hilary_horvath_flowers_shop

Hilary started working with Welch Wholesale Florist in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1994. She continued to expand her skills in floral arrangement and styling in retail shops in Indiana and Chicago. Hilary has found inspiration in the landscape of the Pacific Northwest and bounty of local growers for nearly a decade. Her flowers range from wild, natural arrangements to romantic, elegant bouquets.

hilary_horvath_flowers_1 Hilary arranges flowers for weddings, events, photo shoots and individual and business clients throughout the Portland area. She is also happy to travel to accommodate those living outside of Portland who would like her beautiful and unique arrangements.

You’ll hear in our conversation, recorded a few months ago while we shared a cup of tea at a cafe across from Alder + Co., our discussion of Welch Wholesale Florist in Indianapolis.

hilary_horvath_flowers_peony In another small-world chapter of the life I live in flowers, I met the sisters who run Welch Wholesale in 2015 when I was a guest of the Indianapolis Art Museum. I was there to speak at the Museum’s flower festival and to also teach a design workshop.

It was April – a little early for local flowers in Indiana – but the Museum worked with Welch Wholesale to source as many as they could find for our workshop. I remember how much fun it was to discover how resourceful and caring sisters Nora (Welch) Steinmetz and Annie (Welch) Horvath — they ordered local tulips, ranunculus and anemones — straight from flower farmers nearby!

hh_6_img_5042

Come to find out, this is where Hilary’s roots in floriculture and horticulture began. I love knowing that this 55-year-old family business is part of her foundation in bringing flowers to her Portland customers.

Please enjoy our conversation and these images of Hilary’s beautiful design work. Be inspired by the way seasonal beauty makes its way into her hand-tied bouquets and elegant arrangements.

hilary_horvath_flowers_bouquet Follow Hilary Horvath at these social places:

Hilary on Facebook

Hilary on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 145,000 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 2017: 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.

We’re also grateful for support from 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

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 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

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 shellandtree.com.

Music notes:
Vittoro; Lahaina; Manele
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/