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

Podcast Archives: Pittsburgh’s Local & Seasonal Floral Designers – Jimmy Lohr & Jonathan Weber of greenSinner (Originally Episode 155)

August 16th, 2016

From Debra: It’s summertime and between my travels and my editor Andrew Brenlan’s vacation schedule, we simply could not get our new episode formatted and uploaded for you this week.
So . . . I dug deep into the archives of 159 episodes that we’ve aired for more than three years in order to share one of my favorites with you.

The adorable greenSinner logo

The adorable greenSinner logo

Pittsburgh's Floral "Who's Who" -- from left, Margie Dagnal and Kate Dagnal of Goose Creek Gardens, Jimmy Lohr and Jonathan Weber, owners of greenSinner.

Pittsburgh’s Floral “Who’s Who” — from left, Margie Dagnal and Kate Dagnal of Goose Creek Gardens, Jimmy Lohr and Jonathan Weber, owners of greenSinner.

As it turns out, Episode 155, our August 19, 2014 interview with Slowflowers.com members Jimmy Lohr and Jonathan Weber of Pittsburgh-based greenSinner is the most listened-to episode ever! Our interview has been downloaded nearly 2,000 times!

13937822_10157289624940451_4280733026784769524_o So please enjoy this return engagement of my visit to greenSinner. Whether you’re a flower farmer or a floral designer — or a little bit of both, you’ll learn volumes and find great inspiration!

Click here to read the Episode 155 Show Notes

Follow greenSinner at these social places

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

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Please use the PAYPAL button in the right column of our home page

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 112,500 times by listeners like you.

THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

So 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 the home page at debraprinzing.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 258: Flower Farming Genius, Gonzalo Ojeda of Ojeda Farms

August 10th, 2016

Gonzalo Ojeda with a bouquet he grew and designed.

Gonzalo Ojeda with a bouquet he grew and designed.

A grorgeous detail of Gonzalo's June arrangement.

A grorgeous detail of Gonzalo’s June arrangement.

In the world of self-promotion in which we all live (or some may say “endure”), it’s always refreshing to meet someone who just lets his or her work speak for itself.

I’m married to someone like that and since I’m a clinical extrovert, I sometimes find frustrating to see someone who is so incredibly talented, someone who actually possesses an innate gift, who doesn’t want to broadcast their story to the world.

Maybe that’s the job of the Slow Flowers Podcast — to share stories of those modest, unsung heroes who are doing amazing work in our profession.

So today I want to share one of those voices with you and let you hear his story. His name is Gonzalo Ojeda and he and his wife Maria own Ojeda Farms in Ethel, Washington. Ethel is located southeast of Washington State’s Mt. Rainier–more importantly for customers of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, it’s about 1 hour 45 minutes south of Seattle — on a good day. Gonzalo or one of his farm crew makes at least one if not two round-trips a week to deliver a huge selection of healthy flowers to the market floor, driving on I-5 – one of the worst traffic corridors on the West Coast. You never hear him complain, though. He’s a passionate grower who started cut flower farming as a side gig while handling a full-time job at a commercial nursery that grows ornamentals for local big box retailers.

Touring a high tunnel where dahlias and clematis are growing.

Touring a high tunnel where dahlias and clematis are growing.

This is Gonzalo’s bio from the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market “about us” page:

Gonzalo was born and raised on a farm in the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico. His family grew volumes of tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and onions for many generations and sold them to large-scale wholesale buyers.

When southern Mexico began experiencing major droughts a few decades ago, vegetable production went into decline and Gonzalo came to the U.S. to work for a short period so he could help pay off his family’s farm debts. He was just 21 and his mother worried for him because he only knew a few words in English. “I knew how to say ‘chicken’ and ‘table’ and that’s about it,” he recalls. Gonzalo arrived in Washington State, got himself just enough schooling to learn how to ask for a job in English and began working picking strawberries and raspberries.

Within the year, he had secured a job working in greenhouses, propagating ornamental plants. He liked the work and has stayed with the same company for nearly 20 years. At first, he always thought he would return to Mexico, but the droughts continued… and then he met his wife Maria. They bought their Ethel farm in 2000. Gonzalo began experimenting with growing perennials in his spare time after work and on weekends–starting with a few hundred feet of astilbes, soon adding several acres of peonies and other perennials. Through hard work and a strong drive for quality, Gonzalo and Maria now have ten acres of perennials in production. Like their beautiful flower crops, the Ojedas have become firmly rooted in Washington State, with their three sons, Ricky, Fernando and Esau.

Gonzalo gets a lot of "help" from his kids, especially during summer break from school.

Gonzalo gets a lot of “help” from his kids, especially during summer break from school.

Gonzalo and Maria's youngest two posed for me inside one of the high tunnels

Gonzalo and Maria’s youngest two posed for me inside one of the high tunnels

Because of our schedules, I rarely run into Gonzalo when he’s at the Market (ie, he’s in and out long before I’m up and about).

But I’ve been wanting to visit his farm and record an interview for this podcast. I made time for that visit in mid-June when I had a trip scheduled to Portland for another assignment. And because it was Saturday, Gonzalo was home with the boys but Maria was not — she has begun to sell their flowers at the nearby Olympia Farmers Market, a year-round farmers’ market, open every Saturday, with extended Thursday-through-Sunday hours in the peak season.

Astilbe, the first perennial Gonzalo planted at his farm.

Astilbe, the first perennial Gonzalo planted at his farm.

A dark shade of Astilbe

A dark shade of Astilbe

I turned on the recorder and Gonzalo and I began by walking around the vast farm, starting with a peek inside the high tunnels and hoop houses. We moved to the fields of woody ornamentals, perennials and annuals, a beautiful quilt of bloom color and healthy, vigorous plants. Along the way, I asked Gonzalo about his life as a flower farmer, about specific varieties and about how he manages two jobs and tens of thousands of stems.

I hope you enjoy our conversation and be sure to follow Ojeda Farms’ new Instagram feed here.

Here is a gallery of the Ojeda Farms’ Peonies.

From this vantage point, you can see Mt. Rainier (on a clear day)!

From this vantage point, you can see Mt. Rainier (on a clear day)!

perfection!

perfection!

Thanks for listening! Rumor has it that Gonzalo and Maria will open up their farm for a private Seattle Wholesale Growers Market tour next spring during the peak of peony season, so if you’re a buyer’s card holder, you’ll be lucky enough to get in on that event. You can find Ojeda Farms’ lush, Salmon Safe flowers at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market right now — and I promise you — the farm cranks out super healthy, fresh flowers. I want to add that Tammy Myers of First & Bloom, a Slowflowers.com member and past guest of this podcast, wrote a blog post last summer about her visit to Ojeda Farms, which you can read here. Something Tammy wrote is worth repeating here:

“Optimal flower picking time is in the early morning or late evenings, especially during the summer months.  Not only is it easier for the farmers to work in cooler conditions, but it’s also best for the crops.  The flowers, commonly referred to as cuts or stems, are picked from the fields and immediately placed in coolers.  As soon as a flower starts to warm up in warmer temperatures, it begins its blooming cycle. The longer the cut stays in cooler temperatures, the longer it stalls the blooming cycle.  From the moment that flower is cut from the field, it’s an absolute race to get them from field to florist to customer.

I wasn’t going to mention it…. BUT…… can you actually say that about imported grocery store varieties????  

I don’t think sooooo!

This crucial step in flower farming and probably agriculture in general, is just part of the everyday grind flower farmers face.  Yet, there was something so special and personal about Ojeda Farms, I had to know more.”

dahlia_IMG_5527

A beautiful Ojeda dahlia

 

Like Tammy, the curious urge to “know more” is an emotion that leads many of us to consider the faces of farmers behind faces of flowers. Thank you for joining us today.

Recently I was encouraged to add a “donate” button for this podcast. I sheepishly did so and this week we received our first  contribution — from listener Ann Carper of Washington, D.C.

save as button

Please use the PAY PAL button in the right column of our home page.

I’m not sure I know Ann, or whether we’ve met in the past. That she would make a small donation to sustain the production and broadcast of the Slow Flowers Podcast was a lovely thing.

We spend out-of-pocket about $5,000 each year to record and produce 52 episodes. Thanks to the financial support of our four sponsors about half of that is underwritten, but it still doesn’t come close to covering my travel or time spent to bring you stories of flower farmers and floral designers in as many geographical areas as possible.

So 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 the home page at debraprinzing.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 111,000 times by listeners like you. We ended the month of July with our second-highest episode download count ever — 5,015 times. That’s amazing considering we’re at the peak of flower farming season and I know people are busy! THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 2nd, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Denise Richter (left) and Megan McHugh (right)

Denise Richter (left) and Megan McHugh (right)

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

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

Megan McHugh and Denise Richter

Megan McHugh (foreground) and Denise Richter (standing)

Here’s some background on this dynamic team:

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

A beautiful Pistil & Stamen bouquet

A beautiful Pistil & Stamen bouquet

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

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

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

Follow Pistil & Stamen on Facebook

Find Pistil & Stamen on Instagram

Be Inspired by Pistil & Stamen on Pinterest

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

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

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

00559_DP_SlowFlowers_Value_1UP

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

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

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

sponsor bar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

audionautix.com

Episode 256 All My Thyme – Dawn Severin’s love affair with garden roses

July 27th, 2016

ScreenShotSFHomePage

GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators, is honoring Slowflowers.com with a SILVER AWARD of Achievement for 2016

I have some very special news to share with you – GWA | The Association for Garden Communicators — announced last week that Slowflowers.com is a SILVER MEDAL winner in the 2016 Media Awards program.

This follows last year’s Silver Award for our infographic titled: “Where do your flowers come from?”

We’ve poured so much creative effort into developing Slowflowers.com’s valuable, meaningful content and it’s thrilling to receive industry recognition for this important digital resource that connects consumers everywhere with American Grown flowers across the country.

logo_gwa

Please celebrate with me — together we’ve created this success!

Dawn Severin of All My Thyme, shown with her lavender crop

Dawn Severin of All My Thyme, shown with her ‘Grosso’ lavender crop

2moreup

Dawn Severin (c) Mary Grace Long

Dawn Severin (c) Mary Grace Long

Today’s guest is flower farmer Dawn Severin, owner of All My Thyme, which is based in Mount Vernon, Washington.

All My Thyme is a wholesale flower farm dedicated to hand-tending English garden roses, a variety of cut flowers and herbs, and fresh and dried lavender — all for the floral trade.

Dawn is a gifted grower — a civil engineer-turned flower farmer and current member of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

On a recent visit to her farm I saw beautiful perennials, herbs and annuals, and of course, beloved garden roses. Thousands of rose plants occupy the heart of Dawn’s farm, a well-organized layout of rows, beds and one high tunnel cover a four-acres-plus area, part of the 15-acre homestead in Washington’s Skagit Valley.

The tall wands of Dawn's eremurus frame the view of her home and barn in Skagit Valley.

The tall wands of Dawn’s eremurus frame the view of her home and barn in Skagit Valley.

2upAllmyThyme

All you have to do is track Instagram to know that roses are more popular than ever before, especially in the wedding floral world. Dawn grows David Austins, Kordes, old-fashioned and hybrids alike, with a petal palette ranging from whites and creams to the deepest burgundies.

sm_IMG_5326 It’s really impossible to capture the vast knowledge and expertise that makes All My Thyme’s roses so cherished here in the Seattle marketplace. Her roses are romantic, fragrant, healthy and super fresh. Grown with great care and attention to what her floral customers really want — artistic design elements for their brides and special event clients.

sm_IMG_5464

sm_IMG_5474 I have known and loved Dawn’s flowers for a few years, but I only recently set aside time to visit her for a first-person tour of the roses! I turned on the recorder to capture our conversation, which took place while we walked through the farm.

Here is a list of the roses that Dawn and I discussed during our conversation:

A Shropshire Lad (David Austin)

Anna’s Promise (Weeks)

Charlotte (David Austin)

Clair Renaissance (Poulsen)

Crocus Rose (David Austin)

Crown Princess Margareta (David Austin)

Distant Drums (Weeks)

Eglantyne (David Austin)

Hot Cocoa (Weeks)

Ice Girl (Kordes)

James Galway (David Austin)

Jubilee Celebration (David Austin)

Jude the Obscure (David Austin)

Koko Loko (Weeks)

Lemon Pompon (Kordes)

Orange Pompon (Kordes)

Pink Pompon (Kordes)

Sombreuil (David Austin)

Spirit of Freedom (David Austin)

Susan Williams-Ellis (David Austin)

Tranquillity (David Austin)

Wollerton Old Hall (David Austin)

All My Thyme is a Salmon Safe certified flower farm, meaning that all of Dawn’s practices are safe for local waterways and salmon habitats, as evaluated by a third party agency.

The new high tunnel at All My Thyme

The new high tunnel at All My Thyme

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 109,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 255 It’s Our 3rd Anniversary of the SLOW FLOWERS Podcast with special guest Kasey Cronquist

July 20th, 2016

PodcastLogo You hear me say this every Wednesday morning:

“This is the weekly podcast about American Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. It’s all about making a conscious choice and I invite you 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.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

This podcast has been downloaded more than 107,000 times during the course of three years — in fact, the number of downloads in year three equal year one and year two combined — and that means more and more people are hearing the message of American grown flowers and the farmers and florists who bring those blooms to you.

The popularity of this podcast shouldn’t be measured in metrics alone, but here is a telling one: I remember being thrilled that 15,000 individual episodes had been heard at the close of the first year. Look how far we’ve come. I’m honored and humbled that you’re listening today and that so many wonderful voices have agreed to be part of this podcast celebrating American flowers.

The debut of the Slow Flowers Podcast preceded the launch of the Slowflowers.com directory by 10 months, but with the Podcast’s third birthday, I feel like all our Slow Flowers’ Milestones of the past year are intertwined and here are some of the significant strides worth acknowledgement and celebration:

  1. With today’s episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast, we have produced 156 consecutive weekly episodes of this internet radio program. On average, listeners download about 5,000 times each month. You can find the archives of this program on the right column of our home page. I’m always pleased to see that new listeners who’ve just discovered the Slow Flowers Podcast return to download earlier episodes in order to “catch up” on those conversations. ScreenShotSFHomePage
  1. web_Lg_FINAL_SF_Insta-01 (1) Slowflowers.com now has 700 listings across the country and in our new Canada section, and we’re building toward 1,000 members. In a market filled with imported flowers, Slow Flowers gives you essential tools to differentiate yourself and your floral business. The Benefits far surpass the modest investment of a $50 Standard or a $200 Premium membership. The site currently enjoys more than 4k monthly visits and 21k monthly page views. That’s pretty powerful!Other benefits are too vast to list in detail, so we’ve decided to create an infographic about the Values of your Slowflowers.com membership. Stay tuned for that useful resource — it will be available in the coming weeks.The Slow Flowers Community is vast and its impact and influence is magnified when our voices and stories are joined together as one. You are part of this network of like-minded flower farmers, floral designers and industry leaders who share passion for saving our domestic floral industry. Our Facebook forum offers support, encouragement and ideas for everyone who joins.Finally, your Slowflowers.com membership helps pay for public relations efforts to position the Slow Flowers story with print and digital media outlets in search of new content. The payoff means we enjoy ongoing media coverage that few members could achieve individually, but that’s entirely possible when we come together with a unified voice.
  2. Social Media. With the recent wrap-up of the 2nd annual American Flowers Week, we’ve been blown away by your participation across new and conventional media platforms. The hashtag #americanflowersweek produced a record-breaking 1.3 million potential impressions tracked on Instagram and Twitter alone.
  3. If that seems impressive, consider the reach and impact of the #slowflowers hash-tag. Last week I alluded to the fact that use of this hashtag is at an all-time high, reaching nearly 3.0 million impressions in a single month. The frequency is only increasing, so thank you for engaging with the message of slow flowers in your own postings.
Kasey Cronquist (left) with me at Pamela and Frank Arnosky's Texas Specialty Cut Flowers in Blanco, Texas for the Field to Vase Dinner in May.

Kasey Cronquist (left) with me at Pamela and Frank Arnosky’s Texas Specialty Cut Flowers in Blanco, Texas for the Field to Vase Dinner in May.

Okay, let’s get going on today’s episode. As has become a bit of a tradition, I’ve invited Kasey Cronquist to be today’s guest. Kasey and I have walked side-by-side through this dynamic chapter of American-grown flowers and a week doesn’t go by when we aren’t sharing ideas or comparing notes on the various projects and exciting cultural shifts we’re witnessing in domestic and local flower farming and floral design.

Kasey Cronquist, CEO & Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission.

Kasey Cronquist, CEO & Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission.

CertifiedAmericanGrownLogoCard Kasey is the CEO and Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission. He’s served in this capacity since 2007. He also administers the Certified American Grown  program.

Since joining CCFC,  Kasey has spearheaded an aggressive public affairs program targeting lawmakers in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

He is recognized as a leading voice for the American Grown Movement in the floral industry, encouraging buyers, retailers and consumers to source more locally grown blooms from domestic flower farmers. In addition to ongoing governmental affairs outreach, Kasey has worked closely with the CCFC marketing and promotion committee to develop strategic plans on behalf of both California flower farmers and farms across the U.S. through the Certified American Grown program.

The Certified American Grown Program produces the Field to Vase Dinner Tour -- and is a sponsor of this Podcast. Shown from left: Bill Prescott of Sun Valley Flower Farm, NYT Bestselling author Amy Stewart of "Flower Confidential", Kasey and me.

The Certified American Grown Program produces the Field to Vase Dinner Tour — and is a sponsor of this Podcast. Shown from left: Bill Prescott of Sun Valley Flower Farm, NYT Bestselling author Amy Stewart of “Flower Confidential”, Kasey and me.

As we discuss, I volunteer as a member of the Certified American Grown Council to guide the national advocacy and marketing program and Certified American Grown is a financial sponsor of Slow Flowers for 2016.

Kasey and I share the mutual goal of promoting domestic and locally-grown flowers as the highest-quality and most sustainably-grown cut flowers option in the marketplace.

Thank you for joining our conversation today and for joining me to virtually celebrate the 3rd anniversary of this Podcast.

I love the idea of COMMON GROUND, a concept that Kasey and I discuss at the close of our episode. We have so much more to gain by supporting one another in the cause of domestic flowers rather than pitting the idea of Local versus American Grown. All of us have more to gain than to lose by taking this positive approach that saves America’s flower farms, no matter in which state they’re rooted.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 107,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

sponsor bar Thank you to our sponsors:
Certified American Grown Flowers.
Syndicate Sales
Longfield Gardens
Arctic Alaska Peonies

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

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

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

Slow Flowers Road Trip to Oregon

July 15th, 2016

(c) Heather Saunders

(c) Heather Saunders

You know you’ve got it bad when every vacation involves a visit to a flower farm, right?

My husband Bruce Brooks, a track fan in his happy place

That’s exactly how I rationalized our 4-day trip to travel from Seattle to Eugene, Oregon, in order to take in the U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials at University of Oregon’s Hayward Field last weekend. I’m married to a track fanatic. The track fanatic is married to a flower fanatic. See how that works?

Luckily, my husband Bruce Brooks is super indulgent of my passions and I like to think I’m relatively indulgent of his. Sitting on a thin piece of foam on wood bleachers for three days is a small price to pay in order to experience the thrill of watching world-class athletes compete and break speed and distance/height records. It really was fun.

But so were the “side trips,” and that’s the purpose of today’s installation of “Slow Flowers Road Trip.”

Crowley House on Crowley Road...a late 19th century farmhouse where Beth and Jason are raising children and flowers.

Crowley House on Crowley Road…a late 19th century farmhouse where Beth and Jason are raising children and flowers.

Beth and Jason Syphers

Beth and Jason Syphers

Last Thursday, while Bruce worked in his company’s Portland office, I headed to Rickreall, Oregon, a hamlet west of Salem, the state capitol.

I’ve been wanting to see Crowley House Flower Farm & Studio where Beth and Jason Syphers are creating a very special family business.

The Syphers are active in the emerging PNW Cut Flower Growers group and I’m so happy they are part of Slowflowers.com.

I’m not going to share all their background, because I recorded a Slow Flowers Podcast interview with Beth (including a cameo appearance by Jason), which you’ll hear later this summer.

But I will explain that they live, farm and work at a magical place in the country, at the heart of which is a late 19th century farmhouse.

Enjoy a few fun photos here with more to come!

As it was Thursday, I followed Beth over to the McMinnville Farmers’ Market, about 10 miles away.

Crowley House Flowers at the downtown McMinnville Farmers Market

Crowley House Flowers at the downtown McMinnville Farmers Market

Beth and I inside her Market Stall.

Beth and I inside her Market Stall.

That’s where she sells flowers to the public each week. Beth doesn’t bring straight bunches to the Market; she’s known for her inventive and unique bouquets that range in price from $4 for a sweet pea posy to $15 for a larger bouquet. Great Prices! I hope those McMinnvillites realize how special these locally-grown flowers really are.

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