Debra Prinzing

Debra Prinzing is a Seattle and Los Angeles-based Outdoor Living Expert. As a writer and lecturer, she specializes in interiors, architecture and landscapes. Debra is author of seven books, including Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm (St. Lynn's Press, 2013); The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers (St. Lynn's Press, 2012) and Stylish Sheds And Elegant Hideaways (Random House/Clarkson Potter, 2008). Her articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Country Gardens, Garden Design, Metropolitan Home, Sunset, Better Homes & Gardens and many other fine publications. 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

Week 31 // Slow Flowers Challenge (what happened to Week 30?)

August 10th, 2015

My Edwardian-inspired summer bouquet, clipped from local farms and gardens.

My Edwardian-inspired summer bouquet, clipped from local farms and gardens.

True confessions: I’m overwhelmed these days. The epic move last month from a huge house to a small condo (what to do with all that stuff?), combined with an intense travel schedule and a few overly voracious consulting projects . . . and I am scrambling to catch up. I can’t quite see the end of this tunnel until 2016.

The good news, however, is that flowers keep blooming and defining each season whether I clip and arrange them – or not!

This was my "practice" bouquet, using many of the same ingredients (only the sambucus foliage is missing).

This was my “practice” bouquet, using many of the same ingredients (only the sambucus foliage is missing).

Please accept this entry in the Slow Flowers Challenge, Week 31. We’ll just have to write off Week 30 as a lost cause (maybe I’ll double-up sometime soon to redeem myself)!

Melissa Feveyear (left) and Grace Hensley (right), at Dunnton Abbey.

Melissa Feveyear (left) and Grace Hensley (right), at Dunnton Abbey.

This past weekend I participated along with four other talented plantswomen and designers in an event called Dunnton Abbey Garden Party.

The play on words with the popular PBS series “Downton Abbey” was intentional, as the folks at one of Seattle’s most lovely private estate gardens, The E. B. Dunn Historic Garden Trust, held a lawn party inspired by the gentile fetes we’ve watched on Downton Abbey over the years.

It was all quite fitting, as Dunn Gardens date back to 1915, a contemporary period from Downtown Abbey’s first episodes.

Croquet, musicians, a vintage car show, people in period garb, a cake walk and many more activities were on hand. It was lovely and I especially enjoyed seeing everyone unplugged from modernity (although many did have their cell phones out to snap photographs, I’ll give you that).

Lacey Leinbaugh in her charming floral-bedecked hat!

Lacey Leinbaugh in her charming floral-bedecked hat!

Grace Hensley of eTilth, a Slow Flowers friend here in Seattle, coordinated the floral design demonstrations. She invited Lacey Leinbaugh of Blue Lace DesignMelissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers; Jennifer Carlson of Haven Illustrated and me to present “Edwardian Floral Design.”

We each were given a generous budget to shop for locally-grown flowers at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. A few weeks prior, we did a walk-through of the grounds at Dunn Gardens with co-curator Charles Price, pointing out stems, leaves and flowers that caught out eyes.

Charles judiciously cut those elements for us, too, so when I arrived with my own “bucket” of items from the Growers Market, there were dozens of other buckets overflowing with the truly local, of-the-moment, garden harvest. That added hydrangeas, phlox, ninebark, sambucus, rodgersia, ferns, hostas, fuchsias, monarda, meadow rue (Thalictrum sp.), crocosmia and more to the mix!

Guest of the garden party were invited to bid on our floral arrangements to take home with them.

Guests of the garden party were invited to bid on our floral arrangements to take home with them.

What is Edwardian floral design, anyway?

I honestly didn’t have time to do research in advance, but by the time I started my bouquet, I had a few thoughts to share.

I told the audience that the Edwardians were the original “Slow Flowers” florists because they only used local and in-season flowers, probably clipped from their own gardens.

Whether you were a member of the “upstairs” class relying on gardeners and hothouse blooms or a member of the “downstairs” class cutting from the edge of a meadow or woodland, the flowers reflected what nature had to offer.

The other idea I shared had to do with palette, and this was inspired by my textiles background. At the time, chemical textile dyes were not yet as popular or widespread as natural, plant-based dyes. And to me, that notion reflects a softer, muted, less vivid color scheme in textiles for apparel and interiors.

That yummy palette! Note the almost-pink lisianthus, as beautiful as a rose.

That yummy palette! Note the almost-pink lisianthus, as beautiful as a rose.

The tea-stained, sepia-toned palette of my imagined Edwardian bouquet was reflected in the flowers and foliage. I began with a blush-and-faded mix of ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas taking on a slightly pink tinge; not-quite-pink lisianthus blooms; pale terracotta draping amaranthus, and strawberry-colored gomphrena.

The darker accents lent a moodiness to the arrangement: Deep maroon dahlias; dark purple sedum heads; purple sambucus foliage; and berry-black Rex Begonia foliage, variety ‘Shadow King Rothko’.

Rex begonias carry the day, accenting the pale and dark blooms.

Rex begonias carry the day, accenting the pale and dark blooms.

Whether it’s truly Edwardian or not, the bouquet felt like a period piece in the black-and-silver Goodwill vase!

Here is a list of the ingredients, with my thanks to each farmer who grew them:

From Diane & Dennis at Jello Mold Farm, Mt. Vernon, Washington:

From Vivian at Everyday Flowers, Stanwood, Washington:

From the Dunn Garden Borders: Sambucus foliage

From Seattle Wholesale Growers Market: Rex Begonia, variety ‘Shadow King Rothko’

Enjoy these photos from my fellow designers, each of whom did a magnificent job!

Grace thoroughly embraced the Edwardian spirit and she made these adorable paper-cone poseys to sell from her basket as she strolled the lawn in her period attire.

Grace thoroughly embraced the Edwardian spirit and she made these adorable paper-cone poseys to sell from her basket as she strolled the lawn in her period attire.

Melissa Feveyear's bouquet wowed everyone! She chose a pearly pink and coral palette with a few characteristic surprises.

Melissa Feveyear’s bouquet wowed everyone! She chose a pearly pink and coral palette with a few characteristic surprises.

Lacey Leinbaugh's beautiful summer bouquet used periwinkle accents to play off the vase color. Love this!

Lacey Leinbaugh’s beautiful summer bouquet used periwinkle accents to play off the vase color. Love this!

Jennifer Carlson went all in for the dramatic raspberry amaranth to wow the audiences.

Jennifer Carlson went all in for the dramatic raspberry amaranth to wow the audiences.

Rooster Ridge and its two generations of women flower farmers in Aptos, California (Episode 205)

August 5th, 2015

Nancy Abramson (left) and her daugher/partner Haley Wall.

Nancy Abramson (left) and her daugher/partner Haley Wall.

The charming rooster of Rooster Ridge. If you look closely, you'll see Nancy's signature on this original watercolor.

The charming rooster of Rooster Ridge. If you look closely, you’ll see Nancy’s signature on this original watercolor.

Last month we visited Santa Cruz, California, to hear from Christof Berneau of the UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

On that same trip I met up with mom & daughter flower farmers Nancy Abramson and Haley Wall of Rooster Ridge Farm, a USDA Certified Organic and California Certified Organic farm located in nearby Aptos.

I briefly met Nancy and Haley in 2012 when they attended the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers annual conference in Tacoma, where I had been invited to speak about The 50 Mile Bouquet. I remember their unbridled enthusiasm and at the time I recall thinking what a great “story” they would be.

I gazed upon this lovely scene while recording our podcast interview. It was taken from the deck of Nancy and Curt Abramson's home in Aptos, California

I gazed upon this lovely scene while recording our podcast interview. It was taken from the deck of Nancy and Curt Abramson’s home in Aptos, California

Haley's impromptu bouquet that features just-picked cultivars and items foraged from Rooster Ridge.

Haley’s impromptu bouquet that features just-picked cultivars and items foraged from Rooster Ridge.

Fast-forward to 2015 and we reconnected through Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co., a recent podcast guest. Teresa hosted a Slow Flowers/Slow Coast gathering in the Santa Cruz area when I was there in March and Nancy and Haley attended.

They reminded me that I had an open invitation to visit them at Rooster Ridge.

That visit took place in June. Nancy and Haley welcomed me and led a wonderful walking tour of the grounds, which includes orchards, a vineyard, cutting gardens and production fields.

We enjoyed some delicious refreshments on the deck of the family home. And then we recorded this podcast.

This is a bountiful 20-acre place where flowers, herbs and fruit flourish. The farm is a labor of love for Nancy, and now, for Haley, who is also providing floral design services for brides and other local clients. You can find Rooster Ridge’s harvest at Aptos area farmers’ markets and pop-up flower stands in the community.

Landscape, wild places, and formal planting rows are all here in this beautiful place.

Landscape, wild places, and formal planting rows are all here in this beautiful place.

Haley staffs a Rooster Ridge pop-up stand in the community.

Haley staffs a Rooster Ridge pop-up stand in the community.

A Haley-designed floral arrangement using Rooster Ridge-grown organic flowers

A Haley-designed floral arrangement using Rooster Ridge-grown organic flowers

From cut flowers to citrus and avocados to an abundance of herbs, Rooster Ridge is deeply connected to its region. Florists, supermarkets, and farmers market customers are delighted with the quirky, uncommon ingredients gathered into the mixed bouquets.

Our podcast interview asks Nancy and Haley to share how they grow, market and design, and how they develop new market opportunities.

Thanks for joining me today as we toured an organic California cut flower farm where sustainable practices and growing profitable crops are guiding principles.

As Nancy so aptly said,

“Being a farmer is a lifestyle choice. “

The 2014 flower farm wedding of Haley and Bobby Wood.

The 2014 flower farm wedding of Haley and Bobby Wood.

Another adorable wedding photo with Haley's homegrown and designed bouquet - straight from her own farm.

Another adorable wedding photo with Haley’s homegrown and designed bouquet – straight from her own farm.

I’m so glad she and her family has found a way to make a living from their land, and to share their beautiful flowers with their community, offering seasonal and local alternatives to imported stems.

Listeners like you have downloaded this podcast nearly 59,000 times. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

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

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

Shade Plants for Floral Design with Author Ken Druse (Episode 204)

July 29th, 2015

While recording our conversation for this podcast episode I asked Ken if he would design a shade-lover's floral arrangement and share a photo. Here's what he harvested from his garden earlier this week. Beautiful!

While recording our conversation for this podcast episode I asked Ken if he would design a shade-lover’s floral arrangement and share a photo. Here’s what he harvested from his garden earlier this week. Beautiful! See footnotes for ingredient list.

Hear from Ken Druse, who shares his love of shade gardening and all its joys.

Hear from Ken Druse, who shares his love of shade gardening and all its joys.

Author/photographer, lecturer and radio host Ken Druse has contributed to nearly every garden and home design magazine in America.

He is probably best known for his books, which the New York Times called “bibles for serious gardeners.”

The American Horticultural Society chose his book, The Passion for Gardening, as best book of the year; and the Wall Street Journal recommended it as one of the “five garden books to own.”

Ken has authored 20 gardening books, including recent titles PLANTHROPOLGY: The Myths, Mysteries, and Miracles of My Garden Favorites and Natural Companions: The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Companions, which features both Ken’s photography and that of digital artist Ellen Hoverkamp.

Solomon's seal (Polygonatum hybridum), a popular spring "cut" for floral design.

Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum hybridum), a popular spring “cut” for floral design.

In 2004, the Garden Club of America awarded Ken the Sarah Chapman Francis medal for lifetime literary achievement. In 2013 Garden Writers Association awarded Ken the gold medal for photography and the silver medal for writing. In 2013, the Smithsonian Institute announced the acquisition of the Ken Druse Collection of Garden Photography, comprising 100,000 images of American gardens and plants.

Digitalis purpurea 'Alba' from p. 179.

Digitalis purpurea ‘Alba’ from p. 179.

I have interviewed Ken for stories about his work that appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, so it is with great pleasure that I welcome him to the Slow Flowers Podcast. Ken is a pioneer of gardening podcasts, having been on the air for a decade with his national podcast and public radio show “Ken Druse Real Dirt,” which listeners can hear through their computers and iPods.

web_cover New Shade copy 3 - Copy We’re here today to discuss Ken’s timely new book, The New Shade Garden: Creating a Lush Oasis in the Age of Climate Change, published in May by Stewart Tabori & Chang.

Ken reveals the low-stress environment of shade (cooler temperatures; fewer water demands) and how shade is extremely beneficial for our plants, our planet and us.

The thriving garden of the future might just exist in the understory!

I come to floral design from the residential garden and a love of plants. And the floral designers in my world are always on the lookout for uncommon, ephemeral lovelies.

Guess what? Many of those special fronds, flowers, leaves and branches can be found in the shade garden. Learning from a master like Ken Druse is a huge treat — I hope you found what he shared as inspiring as I did.

I highly recommend this comprehensive guide to “all things shade.” For gardeners and floral designers alike, “The New Shade Garden” is packed with inspiration and with ideas for having a lush, textural and fragrant garden where many colors exist!

logo KDRD plain And just for fun, to get a flavor of Ken’s wonderful and welcoming interview style (and to hear his radio-perfect voice!) here are links to the two Ken Druse Real Dirt episodes where I appeared as his guest:

May 11, 2012, “Field to Vase”

March 22, 2013, “The Local Flower Movement’s Champion”

From page 223 of The New Shade Garden: Ken repurposed an outdoor fireplace as a staging platform for his summering houseplants.

From page 223 of The New Shade Garden: Ken repurposed an outdoor fireplace as a staging platform for his summering houseplants.

On his web site, Ken writes:  Spending time in nature, especially nurturing plants, strengthens our connection with the natural rhythms of life. In the garden, we often experience a kind of “meditation therapy”–weeding actually becomes a time to sort through the other parts of our busy lives. 

Hosta clausa in all of its glory brightens up any dark spot in the garden. From page 80.

Hosta clausa in all of its glory brightens up any dark spot in the garden. From page 80.

I couldn’t agree more, and like Ken, I see the garden as a metaphor for life.

On August 15th, if you are in the Northeast, you have a chance to hear Ken Druse lecture on shade; take his hands-on garden-photography workshop; shop a rare-plant sale; and tour the garden of fellow garden writer, editor and podcaster Margaret Roach in Copake Falls, New York as part of the Garden Conservancy Open Day in her area. Here are details for purchasing tickets and to find the full day’s schedule.

Follow Ken Druse on Facebook here.

Find Ken Druse on Great Garden Speakers here.

A pale-colored wall illuminates the garden where a Magnolia grandiflora tree is espaliered.

A pale-colored wall illuminates the garden where a Magnolia grandiflora tree is espaliered.

Ken Druse’s “The New Shade Garden” floral arrangement includes:

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

Foliage from three different hostas

Flowers from two hosta varieties

Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ (slightly faded to green)

Pachysandra terminalis ‘Variegata’

And “whips” (actually flower spikes) from Persicaria virginiana ‘Painter’s Palette’

Listeners like you have downloaded this podcast nearly 58,000 times. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

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

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

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

Week 29 // Slow Flowers Challenge

July 25th, 2015

Dahlias, zinnias, scabiosa, stock, baby's breath and oakleaf hydrangea foliage

Dahlias, zinnias, scabiosa, stock, baby’s breath and oakleaf hydrangea foliage

Sweetest color; finest texture -- pink baby's breath

Sweetest color; finest texture — pink baby’s breath

It’s so hard to believe we have arrived at Week 29, but the flowers tell us it is so.

Much is blooming early here in the Pacific Northwest. The flower farmers report that their crops are exploding weeks ahead of past seasons. It’s good news for the floral designers who yearn for local dahlias to take center stage in their creations — now through the first frost.

I love the tawny palette that started with this pinky-coral dahlia grown by my friends Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall of Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon., the source of some of the most prolific offerings at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

That pink baby’s breath, which they also grow, literally took away my breath! I had to play with it and I love its blush-pink color echo of the dahlias.

The view from my new urban balcony - a ceramic stool is the ideal pedestal for my summer bouquet

The view from my new urban balcony – a ceramic stool is the ideal pedestal for my summer bouquet

Love how all these berry colors and pastels play together beautifully!

Love how all these berry colors and pastels play together beautifully!

Jello Mold also grows this terrific pale yellow zinnia, part of the Zinderella series of zinnias that produces a dense mound of double petals on top, available in many cool colors.

The rest of this arrangement is equally alluring, given the high-quality, seasonal blooms.

I love having the confidence that each stem was grown by a Salmon Safe-certified flower farmer using sustainable practices!

The remaining ingredients include:

Apricot cactus zinnias (Zinnia elegans ‘Pinca’), grown by Vivian Larson of Everyday Flowers

Pincushion flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Black  Knight’), grown byGonzalo Ojeda of Ojeda Farms

Stock in an ombre range of peach hues, grown by Sarah and Steve Pabody of Triple Wren Farms

Oakleaf hydrangea foliage, clipped from a neighbor’s shrub.

Together these soft colors are feminine and romantic.

Together these soft colors are feminine and romantic.

If you love this pin-striped vase as much as I do, please check out the work of Seattle ceramic artist Kristin Nelson of Kri Kri Studios.

This vase is part of her Vit Ceramics collection and I love that it’s as local and hand-crafted as the flowers it contains! This “Eve” vase is the perfect height and proportions for floral arranging. Click here to read Kristin’s description of how she created this lovely vessel.

Kate's dahlias -- from her garden to my vase

Kate’s dahlias — from her garden to my vase

As I mentioned, Dahlias are peaking here in Seattle. I had to share this delicious bouquet of just-picked dahlias, given to me by my friend (and bookkeeper) Kate Sackett.

After our recent meeting, she invited me to see her dahlias. What a treat to bring some of them home. Aren’t the colors and forms divine?!!!

It’s the Second Anniversary for the Slow Flowers Podcast with American Flowers Booster Kasey Cronquist (Episode 203)

July 22nd, 2015

second-birthday-cake-with-two-candles-214x300 Today’s episode celebrates the 2nd anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

This podcast has been downloaded more than 57,000 times during the course of two years — 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 numbers alone, but here is a telling metric: On our first year anniversary, I remember being thrilled that 15,000 individual episodes had been heard.

In our second year, for the same 12-month period, 42,000 individual episodes have been downloaded — that’s nearly triple the frequency.

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.

Kasey Cronquist, seen here celebrating American Grown Flowers at the Field to Vase Dinner in Monterey Bay, California last month.

Kasey Cronquist, seen here celebrating American Grown Flowers at the Field to Vase Dinner in Monterey Bay, California last month.

I’ve invited Kasey Cronquist to be my 2nd anniversary guest, a role he is repeating after last year’s first anniversary episode.

I joined flower farmer Mike A. Mellano (left) and Kasey Cronquist (right) to celebrate the Field to Vase Dinner at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, Calif., this past April.

I joined flower farmer Mike A. Mellano (left) and Kasey Cronquist (right) to celebrate the Field to Vase Dinner at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, Calif., this past April.

It’s fitting to have you hear from Kasey especially because he’s one of the most significant people in the local flower movement. He has certainly influenced my journey through America’s fields and design studios and he’s been a kindred spirit in the cause about which we care so deeply – saving and nurturing the domestic cut flower industry – from field to vase.

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

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

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 Flowers brand program.

Efforts of Kasey Cronquist and others have led to the creation of this very special national brand for domestic flowers.

Efforts of Kasey Cronquist and others have led to the creation of this very special national brand for domestic flowers.

To learn more about Kasey, listen to our previous recorded interviews:

Episode 107 (September 18, 2013) American Grown Flowers from a California Point of View

Episode 151 (July 23, 2014) An All-American Celebration for our One-Year Anniversary

Here’s where you can find and follow him:

Kasey Cronquist’s Field Position Blog

Twitter: @kaseycronquist and @cagrown

Instagram: @kaseycronquist

TAKE ACTION!!! Here’s how to support the efforts of the Congressional Cut Flower Caucus by asking your own Representative to join!

I’m eager to begin Year Three, sharing more conversations with listeners like you.

THANK YOU for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing as part of the Slow Flowers Community. And a very special thanks to the flower farmers, floral designers, authors, educators and marketers whose voices have appeared on the Slow Flowers Podcast this past year.

F2Vheadergraphic I’m sharing a $35 off promotional discount for you to attend any of the remaining six Field to Vase Dinners in 2015. Reserve your seat at the flower-laden table by clicking here and use the code SLOWFLOWERS.

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

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

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

Week 28 // Slow Flowers Challenge

July 20th, 2015

Just-picked Colorado-grown flowers at the peak of summer.

Just-picked Colorado-grown flowers at the peak of summer.

Chet Anderson of The Fresh Herb Co., sharing his beautiful and locally-grown bouquets and bunches at Boulder Co. Farmers' Market.

Chet Anderson of The Fresh Herb Co., sharing his beautiful and locally-grown bouquets and bunches at Boulder Co. Farmers’ Market.

Bouquets from The Fresh Herb Co. that caught my eye at the Longmont Farmers' Market, their second venue.

Bouquets from The Fresh Herb Co. that caught my eye at the Longmont Farmers’ Market, their second venue.

Love this beautiful periwinkle blue bachelor button (Centaurea cyanus)

Love this beautiful periwinkle blue bachelor button (Centaurea cyanus)

This week’s Slow Flowers Challenge comes to you from the flower farms of Colorado!

I spent several days last week as a guest of Chet and Kristy Anderson, owners of The Fresh Herb Co., based in Longmont, Colorado. We featured the Andersons and their beautiful farm, flowers and philosophy in The 50 Mile Bouquet – in a chapter called “Rocky Mountain Flowers.”

You can learn more about this couple in our Slow Flowers Podcast episode that aired earlier this year.

Returning to Colorado was a delightful excuse to play with flowers picked from fields just steps away from the back door. I was there to co-host the fourth Field to Vase Dinner of 2015 – farm-to-table dining experiences held on flower farms across the country.

Chet and Kristy graciously welcomed this very special gathering at The Fresh Herb Co. Eighty lucky guests enjoyed a delicious meal, local wine and an unparalleled setting next to the gurgling Left Hand Creek. Flowers were on the table and the conversation was all about American grown flowers, the Slow Flowers movement, and the important reasons to focus on domestic, local, seasonal and sustainable flowers. Check out this beautiful and engaging blog post about the dinner from Boulder photographer Kirsten Boyer, “Slow Flowers and Slow Friendships.”

SFC_28_July 2015_Boulder 049

Love the delicate solidago as a textural element that plays off the bolder flower forms, including gladiolas and sunflowers.

When Chet was asked to speak, he uttered a very simple sentence that resonated with me: “Without people buying our flowers, we wouldn’t exist!”

I deeply believe in his statement. And this is what motivates me, to honor and value the lives and work of flower farmers like Chet and Kristy.

I share this lovely bouquet and I really can’t take credit for the design. This is a market bouquet similar to those that they harvest, gather and sell each week at the Boulder and Longmont Farmers’ Markets. 

I combined flowers from two Colorado farms to fill this vase. The Corona clippers are a bonus!

I combined flowers from two Colorado farms to fill this vase. The Corona clippers are a bonus!

Love this t-shirt worn by gladiola flower farmer Matt Carson of 934 Farms LLC

Love this t-shirt worn by gladiola flower farmer Matt Carson of 934 Farms LLC

While in Boulder, I had a fun chance to speak about the Slow Flowers Movement and local, American-grown flowers at an evening sponsored by the Boulder Co. Farmers’ Market.

The Market also promoted the Field to Vase Dinner by giving away two free tickets. The winner was Matt Carson of 934 Farms LLC, based in Milliken, Colorado. A relatively new flower farmer, Matt and his wife Jonie grow gladiolas and also sell them at the Boulder Co. Farmers’ Market.

I couldn’t make it to their farm, about 45 minutes outside Boulder. But I did get to shop at Matt’s stall and purchase some gorgeous glads from him on Saturday morning. It was a treat to add those tall, elegant stems to the bouquet given to me by Nick Anderson, Chet and Kristy’s son.

I’ll try and list all of the flowers included below.

Orangyy zinnias + orangy glads - a perfect combo!

Orangy zinnias + orangy glads – a perfect combo!

Colorado-grown LOCAL and SEASONAL bouquet:

From The Fresh Herb Co.: Oriental lilies, zinnias, goldenrod (Solidago sp.), bachelor’s buttons and MINT!!! Boy, does it smell glorious!

From 934 Farm LLC: Eight variously-hued gladiolas