Debra Prinzing

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

2015 Slow Flowers Highlights (Episode 226)

December 30th, 2015

Heather_Saunders_Slow_Flowers

Slow Flowers at The Flower House (c) Heather Saunders

Welcome to the final Slow Flowers Podcast episode of 2015.

(c) Linda Blue Photography

(c) Linda Blue Photography

Every single week this year; in fact, every single week for 2-1/2 years, I’ve had the immense privilege of hosting dynamic and inspiring dialogues with a leading voice in the American floral industry.

You’ve heard from flower farmers and floral designers who are changing the marketplace and how we view and consume the flowers in our lives.

As 2015 comes to a close, I would like to dedicate today’s episode to the Slow Flowers Highlights we’ve witnessed this year.

Next week, on January 6th, I will share my Floral Insights and Forecast for 2016 with you.

The past twelve months have built on the successes and shifts that began in previous years. Each time we turn the pages of the calendar to a New Year, we can applaud the strides made in the Slow Flowers movement.

I can date my own awareness to the American grown floral landscape to 2006 — that’s nearly a decade ago — when I met a very young mom named Erin Benzakein while I was scouting gardens in Mount Vernon, Washington.  She was growing sweet peas and had big ambitions.

Something about our conversation resonated with me. I was an established features writer with a huge home and garden portfolio. I’d written countless floral design stories for regional and national publications and yet it had never occurred to me that there was a great imbalance in the way flowers are grown and sourced in this country.

cover_flower_confidential At the same time, my writer-pal Amy Stewart was working on a book about the global floral industry’s dark side, which was published the following year called Flower Confidential. She delved deep into the stories behind the status quo, and opened mine and countless others’ eyes to the extraordinary reasons nearly 80 percent of cut flowers sold in the U.S. were being imported.

Curious to learn more, I subscribed to Growing for Market, Lynn Byczynski’s newsletter for market farmers. I joined the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers and attended my first regional meeting in 2010, held at Charles Little & Co. in Eugene, Oregon, and later that year I went to the national meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I began connecting with flower farmers wherever I could, both in California where I was living at the time, and in Oregon and Washington. I met people virtually, as well, thanks to the ASCFG list-serves where I learned much about the issues facing small farms and American growers.

READ MORE…

Slow Flowers’ Holiday Special with Musician-Flower Farmer Dennis Westphall (Episode 225)

December 23rd, 2015

Dennis Westphall, musician, songwriter, artist -- and American flower farmer

Dennis Westphall, musician, songwriter, artist — and American flower farmer. Photo (c) Linda Blue

Welcome to our Special Holiday Edition of the Slow Flowers Podcast!

Dennis in his element: guitar in hand; seated in the midst of his flower farm (c) Linda Blue

Dennis in his element: guitar in hand; seated in the midst of his flower farm (c) Linda Blue

Today’s amazing guest, Dennis Westphall, is co-founder of Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington, which he operates with his wife and partner Diane Szukovathy. Diane may be familiar to you because she’s appeared on two prior episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast – and she is the “cover girl” of the 50 Mile Bouquet (along with floral designer Stacie Sutliff).

Dennis is an accomplished mixed media artist and an award-winning singer-songwriter who has nearly 200 original songs to his credit.

I will let you hear the story directly from Dennis, as he shares his inspiring career path, one that takes us from the era when he was a street musician at Seattle’s Pike Place Market to his success as a founding member of the band Tickle Tune Typhoon, to the past decade when he transitioning into a flower farmer, and much much more.

Interspersed between our fascinating conversation, Dennis will perform several songs for your holiday enjoyment.

The first of many Tickle Tune Typhoon albums features Dennis Westphall on the cover with his fellow band members. The album is a winner of the Parents' Choice Gold Award and the American Library Association's Notable Children's Recording Award.

The first of many Tickle Tune Typhoon albums features Dennis Westphall on the cover with his fellow band members. The album is a winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award and the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Recording Award.

Two are original compositions, both lyrics and music, and two are classic songs that have been given the whimsical Dennis Westphall “new lyric” treatment.

I know you’ll love this episode as much as I do — a gift from Dennis to the flower farming and floral design community to enjoy this holiday week.

Check out more details about Tickle Tune Typhoon’s retro vinyl albums and CDs of the foot-stamping, finger-snapping music that has delighted school children and their families for generations.

Thank you so much for joining me today for this very special episode.

I love how Dennis describes flower farming as a botanical art-supply source for the florists who purchase flowers from Jello Mold.

It’s such an appropriate metaphor for the important, interdependent relationship between flower farmers and floral designers — one that brings success to the entire Slow Flowers community.

Watch a recent segment on Seattle’s KING 5 TV (NBC affiliate) with excerpts of Dennis singing

Dennis has generously shared the lyrics to his original song called “Flowers”:

Recorded by Tickle Tune Typhoon on the CD, All Of Us Will Shine
Music and Lyrics by Dennis Westphall

[Chorus]

Flowers aha
Flowers aha
Beautiful colors bloom
Flowers aha
Flowers aha
Blossoms will dance for you

Ah the smell of summer roses
And it’s a dandy day to watch a pansy play
Gracefully they grow
Bouquet on tiptoe
Rising in the sky so blue
Sunflower shines on you

[Chorus]

Flowers grow make the world a grand bouquet
Row on row bringing color to our day
Flowers grow a pleasure to the eye
That fragrance oh it fills the air and makes you sigh
Everybody sigh
I’m so gladiola, you’re gladiola too

Flowers aha Flowers aha
Beautiful colors bloom
Flowers aha Flowers aha
Blossoms will dance
Blossoms will dance for you

Check out that vintage Gibson guitar!

Check out that vintage Gibson guitar!

Linda Blue captured Dennis performing at his own farm, Jello Mold, as a special feature of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour in September.

Linda Blue captured Dennis performing at his own farm, Jello Mold, as a special feature of the Field to Vase Dinner Tour in September.

Find Jello Mold Farm on Facebook

Find Jello Mold Farm on Instagram

Hear Diane Szukovathy on Slow Flowers Podcast #103 “Marketing Local Flowers the Co-op Way” and on  #215 “Cooperative Wholesaling Among Farmers”

Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall, photographed by Mary Grace Long (c) September 2012 at Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington.

Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall, photographed by Mary Grace Long (c) September 2012 at Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington.

Jello Mold Farm, fields, and barn

Jello Mold Farm, fields, and barn

Next week is our final episode of 2015 and as one year ends and another begins, I will be sharing with you the “2016 Slow Flowers Forecast and Insights.”

In the meantime, I  wish you a wonderful holiday season!

I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

Until next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

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

Week 50 // Slow Flowers Challenge

December 17th, 2015

Poinsettias as a holiday "cut" -- don't they look dramatic?

Poinsettias as a holiday “cut” — don’t they look dramatic?

The prosaic poinsettia has a new, sexy reputation, especially at a time when floral designers are desperate for beautiful focal flowers to go with all the greenery in our lives.

Begonia + Poinsettia!

Begonia + Poinsettia!

For the past decade the gardening world has watched an explosion of breeding in the poinsettia world. I remember attending a press event in the early 2000s when Molbak’s Nursery in the Seattle area hosted all of us at a breakfast to unveil the new poinsettia colors and varieties (streaked and flecked; and a palette ranging from cream to wine). I wrote that story for The Daily Herald about 15 years ago, so no doubt the news hit the gardening world quite a while ago!

Slowly, floral designers are discovering — and embracing — poinsettias. The flowers are tricky to source as cut options, although I’ve heard from some designers who are able to find poinsettia cuts. We just don’t see them here in Seattle.

A low silver bowl, tarnished, of course, is the ideal vessel for this holiday centerpiece of poinsettias, spray roses, agonis foliage, rex begonia foliage and Korean fir

A low silver bowl, tarnished, of course, is the ideal vessel for this holiday centerpiece of poinsettias, spray roses, agonis foliage, rex begonia foliage and Korean fir

What’s my other option? I went to Lowe’s this week to find locally-grown poinsettias from Smith Gardens in Bellingham, Washington. I was in search of a soft peachy tone and wasn’t disappointed. The flower I found wasn’t labeled (although I did learn that Noche Buena is the Mexican name for poinsettia).

I found three pots with this beautiful type of poinsettia, $6.98 each. Two of the three had broken stems, with unusable blooms, so Lowe’s sold them to me for $2 each. In all, that netted me 7 huge flowers for $11, which seems like a great price.

So nice to see these poinsettias as lush cut focal flowers

So nice to see these poinsettias as lush cut focal flowers

Since coming home from the home center, I looked up peach poinsettias online and have decided it’s possible this one is called ‘Visions of Grandeur’, described as a luxuriously rich, yet soft peach/pink/cream plant. But I could be way off because the colors seem to vary as widely as the petals of ‘Cafe au Lait’ dahlias. Either way, it’s lovely, feminine and romantic.

I began my arrangement with a Goodwill purchase from last in August, a silver-plated Gorham fruit bowl. I think I paid $6.99 for it; just found the same bowl on eBay for $35. I’m in bargain heaven with this great-priced bowl and discount poinsettias!

I placed a dome-shaped vintage metal flower frog in the base and added a second “level” of structure with chicken wire, domed at the top of the 9-inch container.

Foliage and branches:

Flowers:

A small bouquet made with "leftovers," including a gorgeous amaryllis!

A small bouquet made with “leftovers,” including a gorgeous amaryllis!

A bonus: I used my leftover pieces to create a couple of small arrangements, which also included the final blooms from two raspberry-hued amaryllis grown by Vivian Larson of Everyday Flowers. I enjoyed these in a larger arrangement last week and the final buds just opened this week.

The Flower House Virtual Tour Part 3 with Liz Andre-Stotz and Holly Rutt (Episode 224)

December 16th, 2015

The Flower House's "A Little Michigan Magic," a gorgeous, fantasty-like expression of all four seasons in Michigan state.

The Flower House’s “A Little Michigan Magic,” a gorgeous, fantasty-like expression of all four seasons in Michigan state.

I snapped this photo of Liz Andre-Stotz, inside the room she designed and fabricated with two other Michigan designers. Love the natural light spilling through the windows.

I snapped this photo of Liz Andre-Stotz, inside the room she designed and fabricated with two other Michigan designers. Love the natural light spilling through the windows.

Holly Rutt, of Sweet Pea Floral Design, posing with the marigold "shower curtain" in "In Loo of Flowers"

Holly Rutt, of Sweet Pea Floral Design, posing with the marigold “shower curtain” in “In Loo of Flowers”

Today’s podcast brings you Part 3 of our coverage of the Flower House, a fabulous, groundbreaking floral art project that designer Lisa Waud instigated in the city of Detroit.

Today, we continue the miniseries with more conversations recorded with designers who came together for this visionary project that opened to the public for a 3-day run beginning on October 16th.

Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2, my prior episodes gathering the voices of some of the lead designers who executed individual rooms in the Flower House.

First, I’ll introduce you to Liz Andre-Stotz of Parsonage Events, who teamed up with two other Michigan designers to turn the first floor bedroom of the Flower House into “A Little Michigan Magic.”

The room was a true Michigan collaboration with Jamie Platt from A.R. Pontius Flower Shop in Harbor Springs, Michigan, and Jennifer Ederer, owner of Modern Day Floral in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Then we’ll pivot to Holly Rutt of Sweet Pea Floral Design, another Michigan designer, who chose the first-floor bathroom and called her installation “In Loo of Flowers.”

MEET LIZ ANDRE-STOTZ

Seasons in Michigan, expressed by Liz, Jamie and Jenn, three friends who teamed up to create a room at The Flower House

Seasons in Michigan, expressed by Liz, Jamie and Jenn, three friends who teamed up to create a room at The Flower House

Winter is expressed against the fading robin's egg blue walls in "A Little Michigan Magic"

Winter is expressed against the fading robin’s egg blue walls in “A Little Michigan Magic”

Based in Clarkston, Michigan, Parsonage Events is a family affair. Liz runs the full-service floral design studio with mom Susan and her husband Bill Stotz.

READ MORE…

Celebrate Poinsettia Day with an Incredible “Living” Poinsettia Dress

December 11th, 2015

Even if you can't fashion your own poinsettia dress for a holiday gala, the good news is that you can cut poinsettias and use them in floral arrangements. 

Even if you can’t fashion your own poinsettia dress for a holiday gala, the good news is that you can cut poinsettias and use them in floral arrangements.

If you’re ambivalent about the traditional Christmas poinsettia, then I’m excited to help change your mind. Check out this gorgous “living” poinsettia gown. Yes, the prosaic holiday potted hostess gift has received haute couture treatment by London-based floral stylists, Okishima & Simmonds, in celebration of International Poinsettia Day, which is tomorrow, December 12th.

Here's a great out-take from the photo shoot as the floral stylist "dresses" her model

Here’s a great out-take from the photo shoot as the floral stylist “dresses” her model

I learned of this holiday from horticulture publicist Liz Anderson and it’s no surprise to learn that she’s also deeply involved in British Flowers Week (the inspiration for our own American Flowers Week).

Hat’s off to Liz and to Chikae Okishima-Howland and Jessica Simmonds, the duo behind Okishima & Simmonds, for bringing a luxe look to the potted Christmas plant. The designers have posted a fabulous behind-the-scenes story of how they created the poinsettia dress, which you can read on their blog here.

I met all three of these talented women when I attended the RHS Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year. They are doing some amazing things to promote British horticulture and floriculture — you can see another of their brilliant executions right here! And aren’t these images by the very talented Julian Winslow quite beautiful?

Okishima & Simmonds re-imagined the Christmas classic by fashioning a dramatic ombré gown from over 300 freshly cut stems of red, variegated and cream poinsettia and styling it amongst sea of poinsettia plants.

The sexiest poinsettias I've ever seen!

The sexiest poinsettias I’ve ever seen!

“We love to create unique designs that merge the floral world with the fashion world and International Poinsettia Day has given us an exciting opportunity to do that,” says Simmonds of Okishima & Simmonds, commissioned on the project by Stars for Europe, the EU-wide poinsettia campaign.

“We wanted the dress to flow so that it looked as though it was growing out of the poinsettia beds beneath, so used the traditional red poinsettia for the skirt and showcased other colors through the bodice.”

Poinsettias are as much a Christmas classic as the Christmas tree itself, and are known as ‘Christmas Stars’ in much of the world.

In 2014, over eight million poinsettia plants were sold in the UK in just two months, an increase of 15% on the previous year, making the poinsettia the best-selling houseplant after the year-round orchid. The poinsettia fashion shoot was set in the vast poinsettia glasshouse of Hill Brothers Nurseries in Chichester.

Bodice detail showing that beautiful ombre styling

Bodice detail showing that beautiful ombre styling

And the back detail is just as lovely

And the back detail is just as lovely

HOW THEY DID IT

After I received the gorgeous photos and Liz’s press material for International Poinsettia Day, I had more questions for her.

She explained: “Our aim was to link the poinsettia with the world of fashion and get people to look at the traditional Christmas plant in a fresh way. The dress looks like being a world first!” (yes, indeed!)

And by the way, just in case you wondered: All the plants used are British grown – the red poinsettias were grown in Chichester and the smaller varieties were grown by Woodlark Nurseries near London.

Fantasy + Fashion + Flowers

Fantasy + Fashion + Flowers

Liz also told me that the poinsettia were cut, then dipped into hot water 60˚C (140˚ F) for 20 seconds then into cold water for 10 seconds. This seals in the sap and makes the poinsettia last longer. Even if you can’t fashion your own poinsettia dress for a holiday gala, the good news is that you can cut poinsettias and use them in floral arrangements.

“Cut poinsettia will last for up to 2 weeks in water if prepared this way. Out of water, such as for this fashion shoot, the cut poinsettia lasted well for 5 hours or so before the leaf bracts started to soften.”

If you’re up for trying a poinsettia floral arrangement, take on the Poinsettia Challenge, just launched by friend Loree Bohl of the fabulous blog “Danger Garden.”

She’s just announced the design-with-poinsettia contest and the deadline is 12/24 to submit photos of your entry! Loree writes:  Send your image to spiky plants at gmail dot com. The contest will close on Christmas Eve, I’ll post the entries during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

wow. just. wow.

wow. just. wow.

About International Poinsettia Day #PoinsettiaDay

International Poinsettia Day is celebrated on December 12th and marks the death of Joel Robert Poinsett, the U.S. diplomat and botanist, who introduced the poinsettia to the United States from Mexico in 1828.

About Okishima & Simmonds                 www.okishimasimmonds.com

Okishima & Simmonds is the partnership of fine art graduates and trained florists, Jessica Simmonds and Chikae Okishima. They use flowers to style weddings, events and fashion shoots from their London studio.

About Hill Brothers, Chichester          
                  
www.hillbrothers.co.uk

The family-owned and managed Hill Brothers Nursery was founded in 1920 and, now based in Chichester, covers over 8 acres of ornamental pot plant production. Hills currently produce approximately 3 million plants a year  – including half a million poinsettias – for the UK consumer and also directly supply UK supermarkets.


Floral stylists: Okishima & Simmonds
Photo credit: Stars for Europe. Photographer – Julian Winslow
Make-up: Harriet Simmonds
Model: Tara Francis-Smith
Grower: Hill Brothers Nursery, Chichester 

Slow Flowers Field Trip to Whidbey Island (Episode 223)

December 9th, 2015

The wonderful Slow Flowers people of Whidbey Island. Front row, from left: Pam Uhlig, Kelly Uhlig, Melissa Brown, Tobey Nelson. Back row: Benjamin Corteau, David Brown and Molly Brown.

The wonderful Slow Flowers people of Whidbey Island. Front row, from left: Pam Uhlig, Kelly Uhlig, Melissa Brown, Tobey Nelson. Back row: Benjamin Courteau, David Brown and Molly Brown.

Here's a map of Whidbey Island to orient you! Notice the town of Langley on the southeast portion of the map and you can picture where today's guests live, farm and flower!

Here’s a map of Whidbey Island to orient you! Notice the town of Langley on the southeast portion of the map and you can picture where today’s guests live, farm and flower!

This week we’re introducing a new ongoing feature that I hope to bring to you once a month: the “Slow Flowers Field Trip.”

As you know, I love interviewing flower farmers and florists for this Podcast, but what I love even more is visiting them in person to see them in their element — whether that’s out in the shed starting seeds, in the fields harvesting, or in the studio creating something breathtaking.

As often as possible, I’ll hit the road and visit Slow Flowers members to share a snapshot of a community, highlighting what’s grown in that region, and introducing you to the people who grow and design with those flowers.

For 2016, we’ve already booked a field trip to feature the North Bay Flower Collectivenorth of San Francisco, and several other destinations are in the works.

If you’re interested in bringing the podcast to your corner of the U.S., get in touch and we’ll see what might come together.

While it’s located only 30 miles north of Seattle, visiting Whidbey Island takes a little planning because it is reached via ferry from the mainland. The island is notable as one of the longest islands in the country, at 55-miles long, and it lies between the Olympic Peninsula and the I-5 corridor of western Washington. Whidbey Island forms the northern boundary of Puget Sound.

Picked on November 12th - pre-frost! Melissa Brown of Flying Bear Farm grew and designed this lovely arrangement for my visit.

Picked on November 12th – pre-frost! Melissa Brown of Flying Bear Farm grew and designed this lovely arrangement for my visit.

In my earlier years as a garden writer, Whidbey was a magnet for fantastic specialty plant nurseries and private garden tours, so I have spent quite a bit of time there. Now, thanks to the efforts of today’s guests, there is a nascent cut flower farming community, which is essential to Whidbey’s destination wedding scene.

A few weeks ago, I took a day trip to Whidbey, driving north to the waterfront community of Mukilteo, where I caught the 20-minute ferry ride across Puget Sound to Clinton, on the southern tip of the island. My three stops were concentrated on the southern half of the island, in and around the town of Langley, where there’s a mix of tourism, businesses serving vacationers and owners of second homes, as well as small agriculture.

Let me introduce you to the guests you’ll hear in this extended one-hour episode:

A bird's eye view of Sonshine Farm

A bird’s eye view of Sonshine Farm, photographed by a tree-trimmer who was working there

Kelly Uhlig (left) and mom Pam Uhlig (right)

Kelly Uhlig (left) and mom Pam Uhlig (right)

On my first stop, I visited Pam Uhlig and her daughter Kelly Uhlig, flower farmers who own Sonshine Farm, a specialty cut flower farm that packs more stems into a small homestead than you can imagine.

While pursuing a horticulture degree at a local community college Pam apprenticed with Vivian Larson of Everyday Flowers (a past guest of this podcast) – and that’s where I saw her in action. Kelly, a 4-H superstar who’s herself now a college student, is just as committed to flower farming as her mom. Together the two make a dynamic team; they are now members of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, where the local floral community snaps up their gorgeous flowers.

Kelly, with one of her bouquet creations, grown & designed

Kelly, with one of her summer bouquet creations, which she grew & designed

Pam poses with 'Vincent Fresh' ~ a favorite sunflower she grew last summer.

Pam poses with ‘Vincent Fresh’ ~ a favorite sunflower she grew last summer.

Melissa Brown (c) Jenna Bechtholt Photography

Melissa Brown (c) Jenna Bechtholt Photography

After interviewing Pam and Kelly and taking a tour of their farm, I went to meet Melissa Brown of Flying Bear Farm. Melissa is a farmer-florist interested in growing flowers for her own floral design business.

We met up first on a parcel that a friend has invited Melissa to plant with flowers, which is where we recorded our podcast interview.

And then . . . Melissa took me to the Flying Bear Farm headquarters, just outside Langley. That’s where she and her husband Benjamin Courteau have just moved, along with Melissa’s parents Molly & David Brown, into a fabulous compound complete with a barn, two residences, an art studio, and lots of terra firma for growing flowers.

Melissa’s folks treated all of us to a delicious luncheon where the conversation only got better with more creative voices around the table.

Benjamin Courteau, field harvesting for Flying Bear Farm.

Benjamin Courteau, field harvesting Flying Bear Farm’s snapdragons

Here's the land that a friend has lent Melissa and Benjamin to grow flowers on Whidbey Island.

Here’s the land that a friend has lent Melissa and Benjamin to grow flowers on Whidbey Island.

A floral creation from Flying Bear Farm

A floral creation from Flying Bear Farm

A Flying Bear Farm tabletop design ~ lovely!

A Flying Bear Farm tabletop design ~ lovely!

Tobey Nelson of Vases Wild

Tobey Nelson of Vases Wild

After lunch, I grabbed some time with our final guest, Tobey Nelson of Vases Wild.

Tobey and I have been talking about this emerging Whidbey Island flower farming-floral design community for a couple of years so I credit her with pulling together my field trip.

She has an extensive background in landscape design, fine gardening and wedding & event florals, which makes Tobey particularly passionate about sourcing from local flower farms on Whidbey Island.

That said, it’s not unusual for her to jump on an early-morning ferry to come into Seattle where she shops for flowers grown by the farms of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Floral necklace by Vases Wild's Tobey Nelson (c) Suzanne Rothmeyer Photography

Floral necklace by Vases Wild’s Tobey Nelson (c) Suzanne Rothmeyer Photography

Wedding arbor by Vases Wild's (c) image by Scott O'Malley

Wedding arbor by Vases Wild’s (c) image by Scott O’Malley

Bridal bouquet by Vases Wild's Tobey Nelson (c) Mazagran Photography

Bridal bouquet by Vases Wild’s Tobey Nelson (c) Mazagran Photography

Please enjoy each guests’ unique perspective on growing flowers, island style. They are building a creative interdependence that is a small-scale model of what can and should happen in every community where flower farmers and florists come together.

Here’s how you can find & follow the Whidbey Island creatives:

Sonshine Farm, Pam Uhlig and Kelly Uhlig on Instagram

Flying Bear Farm, Melissa Brown and Benjamin Courteau on Facebook

Flying Bear Farm on Twitter

Flying Bear Farm on Pinterest

Flying Bear Farm on Instagram

Vases Wild, Tobey Nelson on Facebook

Vases Wild on Pinterest

Vases Wild on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today. Episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded more than 74,000 times and I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.

Until next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

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