Debra Prinzing

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Episode 430: Two Virginia floral voices: Shanda Zelaya of Flor de Casa Designs and Kate Meyer of Chatham Flower Farm

December 4th, 2019

Fifty States of Slow Flowers continues today with a stop in Virginia.

This year-long project is coming to a close and it has been so rewarding to bring you a large cross-section of voices and stories of passionate Slow Flowers Members.

I love it that we can approach conversations about floral ventures from two perspectives: from a designer’s point of view and from a grower’s viewpoint.

That’s what today’s interview accomplishes as we check in with two members in Virginia.

Today, I’m thrilled to feature Shanda Zelaya of Flor de Casa Designs, based in Arlington, Virginia (serving the DC Metro area in the Northern part of the state) and Kate Meyer of Chatham Flower Farm in Painter, Virginia (on the Chesapeak Bay/Eastern Shore). Together, they give us a portrait of to the city and the country and how flowers factor into both areas.

Studio wedding and event florist, Shanda Zelaya of Flor de Casa Designs

First, let me introduce Shanda Zelaya. We met in 2018 when she attended the Slow Flowers Summit in Washington, D.C., and we recently reconnected at Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock. I’m delighted that you can hear Shanda’s story and her path to floristry.

Born in Costa Rica, flowers have surrounded Shanda since infancy.  It wasn’t until she married her best friend in 2015 that she realized just how much she loved flowers.  A year later, Flor de Casa Designs was born.  Inspired by comments from a complete stranger, Shanda’s Northern Virginia based floral studio caters to brides that have a taste for natural beauty. ​

She specializes in fine art floral design and offers a design style for couples  wanting loose, organic, textured and free-flowing flower arrangements that take inspiration from the beautiful blooms we find in nature.  No roundy-moundy’s found here, folks, Shanda insists.

Shanda Zelaya of Flor de Casa Designs, one of our Virginia guests!

Flor de Casa Designs has been featured in several publications, including: Washingtonian Weddings, United with Love, Wedding Chicks and Baltimore Magazine (June 2019 Issue) among others. ​

Find and follow Flor de Casa Designs at these social places:

Flor de Casa Designs on Facebook

Flor de Casa Designs on Instagram

Flor de Casa Designs on Pinterest

That was fun! Hearing about anyone’s path to flowers is inspiring. Of course, each person’s story is unique. But there is often a common and universal thread that threads Shanda’s story to my story; my story to your story and on it goes. That is a  yearning to connect with nature, to express ourselves creatively and artistically, and to find a profession in balance with a lifestyle of beauty. Don’t you agree?

Kate Meyer and John Fitzpatrick of Chatham Flower Farm (left) and a field of their dahlias on Virginia’s Eastern Shore (right)

So that thread continues with our second guest, Kate Meyer of Chatham Flower Farm. Kate has an equally fascinating journey to share and you’ll find yourself wanting to put Virginia on your travel list for 2020 just to see where she farms and lives.

Kate Meyer and her husband John Fitzpatrick I knew they wanted to settle on the Eastern Shore a few years back when John came to harvest straw with his brother’s company Aden Brook. They had spent many summers there in Virginia during straw season, extending the length of time each year. After both spending many years traveling for work, Kate says they needed to feel grounded in a place of their own. It was just a matter of finding not only the perfect location, but a home as well.

The historic Chatham Flower Farm.

They found themselves unsuccessful after months spent trying to purchase another farm on the shore – and started a new search. In one day they looked at 13 properties and Chatham Farm was the last one they visited.

The barn serves many purposes, from farm-to-table dinners to art shows.

As Kate writes on Chatham Flower Farm’s web site: “We knew as soon as we walked in the door that we had found our home. This farm was perfect in virtually every single way and has given us an amazing base to build from. By adding our growing in the same ground, we are able to add to the farm’s long history. The land is the framework for our dream of growing beautiful Flowers, Lavender and Herbs, all while combining the Barn Studio , flower and artist workshops to support the history of this land and area of Virginia.”

Chatham Flower Farm’s late-summer harvest adorns tables during a Meet me at the Table community farm dinner.

Find and follow Chatham Flower Farm at these social places:

Chatham Flower Farm on Facebook

Chatham Flower Farm on Instagram

Chatham Flower Farm on Pinterest

Meet More Slow Flowers Members from Virginia

In all, there are 20 members – floral designers and flower farmers – in Virginia and we’ve been able to feature several of them here in the past — including Lisa Mason Ziegler of Gardener’s Workshop, Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studios, Bob Wollam of Wollam Gardens, Holly Heider Chapple of Hope Flower Farm and Jessica Hall and Chris Auville of Harmony Harvest Farm. Click on the links above to listen to those past Virginia episodes!

Photographed at Everyday Flowers in Stanwood, Wash. (c) Missy Palacol Photography

I wrote and recorded the introduction and transition segments for today’s episode last Friday, Black Friday, I guess, when everyone is supposed to be shopping or putting up holiday decorations. My husband walked into my office and found me at the computer at around 7:30 am and he said: “You’re already working?” I thought about it for a split second and answered: “It’s not work if I love what I’m doing.”

That’s truly how I feel. I bounce out of bed every morning eager to continue this passionate endeavor of nurturing my Slow Flowers relationships in our community and promoting the Slow Flowers Movement as far and wide as possible. It is an honor and a continual source of joy and satisfaction. And PS, I didn’t sit at the keyboard all day. I set aside plenty of time to plant the last 100 or so tulip and narcissus bulbs!

It has been a whirlwind season, not only because of the holidays, but because on Monday, December 2nd, we kicked off the Early Bird Ticket Sales for the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit. That’s right — take advantage of grabbing your registration for the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit and save $100 off your ticket price if you purchase by December 31st.

High Place at Filoli
FILOLI: the recently-renovated “High Place” at Filoli in Woodside, Calif., destination for the Slow Flowers Summit 2020

If you’ve not yet checked out details, you can find links to all the exciting news about our partnership with Filoli Historic House and Garden, our venue for days 1 and 2 of the Summit (that’s June 28 &29) and our fabulous speaker lineup. By the way, Day 3 is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour led by our friend Christina Stembel, CEO of Farmgirl Flowers. This is rare access, folks, available only to Summit attendees.

The Slow Flowers 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. This Podcast has been downloaded more than 553,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Our partnership with Florists’ Review is such a valuable one, providing a forum for beautiful and inspiring editorial content in the #slowflowersjournal section – month after month. Thanks to Florists’ Review, you can now order a subscription for yourself + give one as a gift this holiday season. Set your 2020 intention to enrich your personal and professional development! You can find the Buy-One-Gift-One special offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.

Our final sponsor thanks goes to Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com. You can also find a link to our latest article for the November Johnny’s Advantage newsletter. Johnny’s asked me to write about Sustainable Floral Design after hearing Tobey Nelson’s presentation at the 2019 Slow Flowers Summit. My Q&A with Tobey is inspiring and chock-full of “better choice mechanics and techniques for foam-free floristry” and more resources.

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

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

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

Bonus Episode: All About Filoli Historic House & Garden – our Venue for the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit

December 2nd, 2019

High Place at Filoli

FILOLI: the recently-renovated “High Place” at Filoli in Woodside, Calif., destination for the Slow Flowers Summit 2020

Today I’m bringing you a special edition of the Slow Flowers Podcast! We’re airing this segment on Monday, December 2, 2019, the day we open up Early Bird ticket sales for the 4th annual Slow Flowers Summit.

We have an incredible and inspiring lineup of speakers to introduce you to in the coming months, but first, to entice you further, I want to start with our Venue: Filoli.

Clockwise from top, left: Susan Mcleary, Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Molly Culver, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Jennifer Jewell, Pilar Zuniga and Emily Saeger

For 2020, the SUMMIT returns to the West Coast with a strategic partnership with Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside, Calif., outside San Francisco.

The Garden House at Filoli

We are so excited for the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the beauty and legacy of this Bay Area cultural institution. Summit attendees, speakers, sponsors and guests will spend two full days experiencing the historic residence, as well as Filoli’s legendary landscape and cutting gardens. We also will have unprecedented access to design a ‘floral takeover’ in ‘The House,’ California’s most triumphant example of the Georgian Revival tradition and one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century.

Our two FILOLI guests today: Kara Newport (left) and Emily Saeger (right)

I’m thrilled today to introduce two Filoli voices to share more about what you can expect at this amazing venue. First, please meet Kara Newport, CEO and Executive Director. Next, I will speak with Emily Saeger, lead horticulturist and the go-to cut flower expert at Filoli.

Kara Newport became the Executive Director of Filoli Center in August 2016. Previously, she served as Executive Director for Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, a developing public garden, from 2006 to August 2016. Before serving in this capacity, Kara’s career was focused on fundraising at organizations including Winterthur, Philadelphia Zoo, and Outward Bound. Kara has a BS in Botany and a graduate degree from the Longwood Program.

Emily Saegar’s eight years of horticultural experience blend production agriculture, landscape maintenance, garden and floral design.  She has worked for several notable Bay Area farms including, Fifth Crow Farm, Bluma Farm and Hidden Villa; and as Lead Horticulturist at Filoli she looks after the rose garden, cutting garden and orchard.  Her design aesthetic is a blending of her work experience – foraged and cultivated, wild and formal – always designed with seasonality and senescence in mind.  A strong believer in the healing powers of nature, through her gardens and floral design she hopes to facilitate this connection for all.  

(c) Gretchine Nievarez

As you will hear in our conversation, Emily was the instigator behind Filoli’s invitation to me to bring the Slow Flowers Summit to the Bay Area. We wanted to return to the West Coast and little did we know that she was working her influence and stirring up enthusiasm with Filoli’s leadership behind the scenes.

Thanks so much for joining my conversations with Kara and Emily — you’ll have a chance to meet them both when you join me at the Slow Flowers Summit. As I mentioned, Emily will be one of our presenters at the Summit, joining Kellee Matsushita-Tseng as moderator and fellow panelist Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers, on the Sustainable Farming x Floral Design panel.

Filoli’s amazing Historic House, the site of our Summit Floral Takeover! (c) Julie Bly DeVere

Follow these links for more details:

Full Program for June 28-30, 2020

Meet our Speakers

Registration: Your all-inclusive 2-1/2-day Summit experience is affordably priced at $599, including refreshments, meals and evening receptions. Slow Flowers members receive discounted pricing of $549.

Early-Bird Pricing: Starting today, take advantage of our Early Bird Ticket Promotion – now through December 31st. The EARLY BIRD Tickets are available to you at $100 off each level, so Slow Flowers members will pay $449 and general registration is $499.

If you’re not a Slow Flowers member, this means you can join Slow Flowers for as little as $50 annually and take advantage of member pricing — you’ll still save $50!

At Filoli, we will be surrounded by the natural beauty of the SF Peninsula, enriched by the cultivated formal landscape and prolific cutting gardens, and inspired by the artistry of our presenters.

I can’t wait to see you there!

Bonus: Here’s a story about the floral design workshop I taught at Filoli in 2016.

(c) Amy Bennett for Green Mountain Florist Supply.

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

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

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 429: A visit to Vermont with Liz Krieg of Maple Flower Farm

November 27th, 2019

This photo was captioned “Liz is Happy,” and I think you can see why! Meet Liz Krieg of Maple Flower Farm in Bethel, Vermont!

Fifty States of Slow Flowers continues today with a visit to Vermont — we are quickly working our way through the A-to-Z alphabetical list of U.S. states and it has been such a fabulous experience to bring you along with me.

Left: A huge fall arrangement from Maple Flower Farm; Right: A popular workshop session

I’ve been wanting to spend time with Liz Krieg of Maple Flower Farm, based in Bethel, Vermont. Much earlier this year I asked Liz if she would be my Vermont guest on this series — and of course she agreed. I expected to record the interview long-distance, as I sometimes need to do, but to my surprise, I ran into Liz at Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock in mid-October. So we set aside time during a break to record this interview. What I expected was to be a quick 15-minute conversation soon expanded into nearly an hour-long interview.

Liz began growing fresh cut flowers in 1989 in Vermont.

She was a total early adopter to cut flower growing – enthusiastically accepting an invitation to be the founding president of the Vermont Cut Flower Council

Liz says she “was the point girl for every farmer in the state who wanted to get rich quick.” She continues: “The flurry lasted about 2-4 years and local fresh cuts were a hard sell back then. None of the florists were ready to trust “local grown”. Out of the numerous wannabe flower farmers, only two of the original members are still in business today. The Vermont Cut Flower Council folded, most growers eventually gave up growing flowers and I was one of them.”

At the time, Liz was a young mother, a degreed horticulturist, and out of need she put her knowledge into building a successful landscape enterprise (complete with greenhouses), which she owned and operated for 20 years. Liz sold that business and she has turned her focus to her burgeoning home gardens. Flowers have always been key to my happiness.

She continues: “It was C. S. Lewis who said, ‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.’  In my case it is ‘dream an old dream.’ I was casting about for the next reinvention of ‘me.’ I realized that my fondest memories were, and are, the pink, dew-laden mornings picking armloads of flowers. Yeah, it sounds romantic, but it is proven that I am not faint of heart when it comes to hard work and I’ve earned the right to put a little fairy dust on it if I wish.”

Today, Liz grows fresh cut flowers in abundance! She is working this good earth, with harmless inputs and sustainable methods. The flowers shine brilliantly. The birds and bees are happy. What more is there? 

Gorgeous specialty tulips from Maple Flower Farm
Love the license plate: FLOWERZ

Thanks so much for joining me today for this very special conversation. Liz’s joy and passion are truly contagious and I can’t wait to visit her (PS, there is an Air BNB unit at Maple Flower Farm, so that is tempting!)

I think the most compelling message from Liz is that we can always reinvent ourselves. As she says: Dream and old Dream. Take heart from this lovely sentiment.

Maple Flower Farm’s new “Sugarhouse” where Liz and her husband will make REAL MAPLE SYRUP!

You can find and follow Liz Krieg of Maple Flower Farm at these social places:

Maple Flower Farm on Facebook

Maple Flower Farm on Instagram

Maple Flower Farm on Pinterest

Meeting Liz in person to record this interview was such a treat. The face-to-face opportunities to connect with and learn from one another is at the heart of Slow Flowers Community. In fact, it is one of the top-ranked reasons for attending the Slow Flowers Summit.

Clockwise from top, left: Susan Mcleary, Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Molly Culver, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Jennifer Jewell, Pilar Zuniga and Emily Saeger

I mention this because we announced the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit venue and speaker lineup earlier this week. You’ll want to tune in next week for our bonus episode on December 2nd where you’ll meet some of the key people involved in the fourth annual Slow Flowers Summit, which takes place June 28-30, 2020 at Filoli Historic House and Gardens just outside San Francisco.

This is a location change from our original plans — and due to some scheduling and logistic issues, the move was necessitated. I couldn’t be happier to partner with Filoli — you are invited to join the fun!

Thank you to our Sponsors

And thank you to our lead sponsor, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Our partnerships with Florists’ Review is such a valuable one, providing a forum for beautiful and inspiring editorial content in the #slowflowersjournal section – month after month. Thanks to Florists’ Review, you can now order a subscription for yourself + give one as a gift this holiday season. Set your 2020 intention to enrich your personal and professional development! You can find the Buy-One-Gift-One special offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 550,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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.

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

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

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

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

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 428: Utah’s Blossoming Floral Renaissance with Heather Griffiths of Wasatch Blooms and Ali Harrison and Lindy Bankhead of Florage Utah

November 20th, 2019

The Utah sunset at Lindy Bankhead’s Paisley Flower Farm in Cache Valley, Utah

The timing is perfect for today’s all-Utah episode. As we’re working our way through the A-to-Z alphabetical list of U.S. states, this week we land on Utah, sandwiched between last week’s Texas focus and next week’s Vermont focus!

You will recall that I visited Utah this past September to meet with a dynamic group of flower farmers and farmer-florists at Poppin’ Blossoms, where Laura Pittard hosted a wonderful gathering and joined me as a podcast guest. Well, I was so inspired by that visit and wanted to learn more. Today’s episode will be educational as I speak with the leaders of two groups of Utah flower farmers whose models are replicable in other markets.

Slow Flowers member Fawn Rueckert of Sego Lily Flower Farm (left) – presenting at a Utah Cut Flower Farm Association meeting

First you’ll hear from Heather Griffiths of Salt Lake City. She is the president of the Utah Cut Flower Farmer Association, a new nonprofit formed to promote local and sustainable floriculture by supporting local flower farms through education, outreach, and research programs.  Formed in May 2019, the association currently has 33 members, including certified farms and associated members. The group also focuses on educating flower lovers of the economic and environmental impact of local flowers, as well as the diversity of flowers available through Utah Flower Farms.

Lindy (left) and Ali (right) at a Florage Pop Up sale, selling Utah-grown flowers from their farms and from the farms they represent.

Next, you’ll meet Ali Harrison and Lindy Bankhead, two women who formed Florage, an informal flower cooperative based in Cache Valley, Utah, in the northeastern part of the state near Logan. Florage markets and distributes their own flowers as well as the production of several other farms. Florage is a Slow Flowers member organization committed to using sustainable and organic methods to lessen their footprint on the earth. No chemicals or preservative spays are used in bringing their gorgeous blooms straight from their gardens to the table.

The beautiful bounty of Utah botanicals — photographed at a recent Utah Cut Flower Farms Association

This is a juicy episode, packed with ideas and inspiration from three women who didn’t sit around and ask permission to forge ahead to create a market for locally-grown flowers in a state not often associated with ornamental horticulture or cut flowers.

Here’s more about all three of these guests:

Heather Griffiths of Wasatch Blooms, based in Salt Lake City, Utah

Slow Flowers member Heather Griffiths owns Wasatch Blooms, a Salt Lake City-based “urban flower farm.” She writes this on her “about” page: “When you hold my flowers, when you breathe them in deep, I want you to feel the immense love and connection that I do. I want the flowers I grow to convey the message of profound love for each other, the earth, and ourselves. Because Love is what drives me to grow flowers. I grow sustainably to feed the soil and benefit my community and environment. I blend permaculture ethics with market gardening to grow flowers that do more than decorate the table, but that also protect our pollinators and create a diverse ecosystem for the unseen members of our community. Farming is my passion and my calling. Farming is my artistic expression. Flowers are my heart wrapped in petals.”

Ali Harrison of Paradise Valley Orchard and Florage

Ali Harrison owns Paradise Valley Orchard with her husband Lorin. Their flower passion is fueled by the desire to bring natural beauty and art into the lives of clients. Paradise Valley Orchard is a mid-century apple orchard and small farm that serves as a backdrop for the weddings and events. As an artist and self-proclaimed hippie, Ali uses her creativity on the farm daily. Finding solace in getting her hands dirty, Ali sees the farm as her canvas and the flower garden her palette.

Lindy Bankhead of Paisley Flower Farm and Florage

Lindy Bankhead owns Paisley Flower Farm in Cache Valley, Utah. She is passionate about growing flowers and vegetables as organically as possible. Lindy feels blessed to not only be able to raise her four young children alongside the flowers, but to also deliver freshly-cut stems to local florists and customers—people who value the high quality and sustainability of the vibrant blooms. She came to flower farming in 2012, equipped with a degree in Landscape Architecture from USU, a Master Gardener Certification, and years of experience working at local greenhouses and nurseries. With the help of her patient husband and family, she’s transformed their 100-year old farm into a gorgeous, thriving cut flower operation.

Lindy Bankhead, photographed among her flower fields at Paisley Flower Farm

Here’s where you can find and follow today’s guests:

Wasatch Blooms on Facebook

Wasatch Blooms on Instagram

Utah Cut Flower Farms Association on Instagram

Paradise Valley Orchard on Facebook

Paradise Valley Orchard on Instagram

Paisley Flower Farm on Facebook

Paisley Flower Farm on Instagram

Florage on Instagram

The beauty of Utah as an agricultural state at Paradise Valley Orchard

Thanks so much for listening in on today’s inspiring conversations. I have a big grin on my face as I reflect on the energy and enthusiasm shared by these floral entrepreneurs in Utah. There’s lots more to come from this conversation and I’m already eager to plan future episodes triggered by some of the topics discussed today —  from learning more about Dr. Melanie Stock’s cut flower research at the Utah State University to hearing how an established cut flower farm like Bindweed has changed hands from its founders to new owners Ali and Lorin Harrison. Not enough time today, but I hope to revisit Utah and the Slow Flowers members there in 2020. Stay tuned!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 547,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Our partnership with Florists’ Review is such a valuable one, providing a forum for beautiful and inspiring editorial content in the #slowflowersjournal section – month after month. Thanks to Florists’ Review, you can now order a subscription for yourself + give one as a gift this holiday season. Set your 2020 intention to enrich your personal and professional development! Click here to find the Buy-One-Gift-One special offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.  Mayesh recently launched a brand new ecommerce web site. I’m particularly excited about The Product Planner, the newest eCommerce addition, which allows florists to create recipes for events that then calculate the number of stems needed, generating a quote for that order. There’s also ramped up navigation designed to find quality flowers and more educational resources.

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

(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And if you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

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

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 427: Two Inspiring Voices from Flower Farmers of Ireland; plus, our state focus: Texas

November 13th, 2019

If you’ve followed along with me for any length of time, you won’t be surprised to know that my trusty digital recorder is always tucked into my backpack when I travel. That’s because I’m on the alert for great Slow Flowers Podcast guests to share with you.

When I joined Holly Chapple at Flowerstock last month, I fully intended on connecting with a few Slow Flowers members to interview for this podcast. You’ve already heard my conversation with Kendra Schirmer of Laurel Creek Florals in South Carolina a few weeks ago — she was part of the Fifty States of Slow Flowers series. And coming up, you’ll meet Liz Krieg of Vermont’s Maple Flower Farm, who I also interviewed while at Flowerstock.

Maura Sheehy of Maura’s Cottage Flowers in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland
Fiona Liston, Meadowsweet Flowers, Dunnaman, Croom, County Limerick, Ireland

But I could never have predicted meeting Fiona Liston of Meadowseet Flower Farm (left) and Maura Sheehy of Maura’s Cottage Flowers (above), the two women I want to introduce you to right now.

As you’ll hear us discuss, one chilly night at Holly and Evan Chapple’s Hope Flower Farm, I found myself sitting on a log-bench around the campfire — next to Maura and Fiona. We had a lovely conversation about why they decided to attend Flowerstock and their personal floral journeys.

Maura and Fiona told me they were members of the core group who recently founded Flower Farmers of Ireland — and of course, my interest was piqued!

They agreed to join me the following afternoon during a break so I could record this episode. I’m so excited to share the back-story of Ireland’s local flower renaissance and the increasing popularity of farmer-florists like Maura and Fiona.

Before we get started, here’s a little more background about Flower Farmers of Ireland.

We are an all-Ireland support and advice group for the country’s commercial cut-flower and foliage growers. Our aims are to promote the cultivation, marketing, sale and use of Irish-grown cut-flowers and foliage and to support and act as an advocate for the growers. We promote the growing of seasonal Irish cut-flowers and foliage in a sustainable manner with respect for the environment and the people working in the industry. We intend to be a national voice for the development of this industry in Ireland.

Maura Sheehy, Maura’s Cottage Flowers

Maura Sheehey is the award-winning artisan flower farmer and florist who runs Maura’s Cottage Flowers which caters for weddings, corporate floral requirements, local deliveries and flower arranging classes.

Maura grows flowers and designs for local business clients and destination weddings, among other customers.

Located on an idyllic,  sheltered hillside site just outside Tralee in County Kerry, Maura takes great pride in farming the same parcel of land that has been tended by several generations before. She manages the flower-farm sustainably  and offers a bespoke service creating arrangements that are unique yet distinctive with an eye for color. Her flowers are scented, natural and always reflect the seasons.

After rearing seven children, Maura followed her dream to study horticulture through distance learning with The Organic College in Dromcollogher, County Limerick.

More botanicals from Maura’s Cottage Flowers

Today, Maura’s passion for  flowers is evident in every element of her designs. Customers have called her creations “original, breathtaking and stunning”. She loves to feel that her floral creations convey a message of thoughtfulness to the recipients for any occasion.

The above two photos feature event design by Maura’s Cottage Flowers (c) Ciara o Donnell

In 2017 she launched “Bloom with Maura,” offering classes to individuals and groups on flower-arranging in her studio and beyond. In addition to flower-farming and floristry, Maura is a columnist with Country Living magazine and she often contributes to other publications. She has received a number of prestigious awards, though her my most treasured the The Kerryman Business award for Heritage and Environment.

Fiona Liston, photographed while designing at the Firenza Flower workshop, 2018, at Springfield Castle, Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick.  (c) Belle and Beau Photography

Fiona Liston owns Meadowsweet Flowers, a unique floristry design service that uses homegrown  flowers to create vintage and rustic-style bouquets and floral arrangements.

Fiona lives with her husband John on an organically-certified  beef and dairy farm in Dunnaman, Croom, part of rural County Limerick. They are passionate about protecting the natural environment and working with nature to encourage  wildlife such as birds, bees, butterflies, and hedgehogs.

Dahlias at Meadowsweet Flowers

Nature has always been a source of inspiration for Fiona. With a degree in Fine Art from the Limerick School of Art & Design, and a certificate in Interior Design, she has developed a keen eye for color, texture and form,  and her customers  often  comment on the natural flair and creativity evident in my floral displays.

Fiona supplies flowers to restaurants, businesses and homeowners in the Croom, Adare, Ballingarry, Bruff, Bruree, Charleville and Limerick city areas.

Her greatest  passion lies in designing wedding flowers and through Meadowsweet Flowers’ bespoke design services.

Sweet Peas at Meadowsweet Flowers

I’m so delighted to introduce you to my new friends from across the Atlantic, part of the ever-expanding movement that’s radically redefining the global cut-flower industry by producing locally-grown, seasonal, scented blooms for people who love their flowers to look and smell as if they were freshly picked from the garden that morning. It’s a Slow Flowers Celebration, Irish style.

Maura Sheehy (left) and Fiona Liston (right), photographed during their trip from Ireland to Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock

Here’s how to find and follow Maura and Fiona:

Maura’s Cottage Flowers on Facebook

Maura’s Cottage Flowers on Instagram

Meadowsweet Flowers on Instagram

Flower Flowers of Ireland on Facebook

Flower Farmers of Ireland of Instagram

Flower Farmers of Ireland on Twitter

Thanks so much for listening in on this lovely conversation with Maura Sheehy and Fiona Liston — what a true delight it was for me to spend time laughing and sharing with these two new friends.

Dahlia from Meadowsweet Flowers, an organic flower farm in Ireland

I think you’ll love this description that I want to share from the Flower Farmers of Ireland “about” page on its web site. I know it will resonate with you:

Seasonal, scented, freshly-harvested Irish cut flowers and foliage, grown with love and arranged with flair…this is what’s at the heart of the  Flower Farmers of Ireland association, whose members can be found all around Ireland, from the wilds of west Cork to the damp meadowlands of Leitrim. Whether it’s a bouquet of sweetly perfumed narcissi in spring, a delicate tangle of roses and scented sweet pea in summer, a fiery-hued arrangement of dahlias, in autumn or a wintry Christmas wreath embellished with decorative seedheads,  we pride ourselves on growing and arranging the freshest and most beautiful seasonal blooms and foliage for market as well as for both public and private events. 

Georgia Monroe of Basecamp Farm Flowers — our TEXAS Voice

And today we are continuing our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – with Georgia Monroe of Basecamp Farm Flowers in Millican, Texas.

Located just 10 miles from South College Station, Basecamp Farms  grows specialty cut flowers for the Brazos Valley and surrounding region.  Georgia and her husband Jordan grow and sell seasonal, high quality blooms to florists in the Brazos Valley and North Houston, as well as selling flowers to the public and hosting farm events.

Find and follow Basecamp Farm Flowers at these social places:

Basecamp Farm Flowers on Facebook

Basecamp Farm Flowers on Instagram

Basecamp Farms’ new online store

Texas Living article about Basecamp Farms Flowers

The SLOW FLOWERS PODCAST 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. The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 544,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Our partnership is such a valuable one, providing a forum for beautiful and inspiring editorial content in the #slowflowersjournal section – month after month.

Thanks to Florists’ Review, you can now order a subscription for yourself + give one as a gift this holiday season. Set your 2020 intention to enrich your personal and professional development! Click here to find the Buy-One-Gift-One special offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com. You can also find a link to our latest article for the November Johnny’s Advantage newsletter. Johnny’s asked me to write about Sustainable Floral Design after hearing Tobey Nelson’s presentation at the 2019 Slow Flowers Summit. My Q&A with Tobey is inspiring and chock-full of “better choice mechanics and techniques for foam-free floristry” and more resources.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.

Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.

(c) photography by Liz Brown @estorie

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

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

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

In The Field; Thingamajig
audionautix.com

Episode 426: Ponderosa & Thyme’s Katie Davis; plus, our state focus: Tennessee

November 6th, 2019

Katie Davis of Ponderosa & Thyme (right) with one of her hand-tied, seasonal bouquets. Portrait of Katie (left): Ivy and Gold Photography

I’m delighted to introduce you to Katie Davis of Ponderosa & Thyme.

Katie and I first met in the spring of 2014 while attending a Little Flower School workshop at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens in Salem, Oregon. I was there to produce an article about the class for Country Gardens magazine and Katie, a hometown gal, was one of the many talented designers who attended.

Katie and I joined up about 3 years ago this month — at Mayesh Wholesale Florist in Portland.

A few years later, when Mayesh Wholesale Florist planned its Portland, Oregon-branch’s grand re-opening, Katie and I were invited to present design demonstrations at the party (above). It was such a thrill to share that experience with her — and it certainly gave me a new appreciation for Katie’s artistry and affinity for designing with color, texture and nature as her muse.

Ponderosa & Thyme joined Slow Flowers as a member in 2018 and I’ve been wanting to interview Katie and share her amazing story with you ever since. As I say in our conversation, it’s silly that Katie and I live in adjacent states and yet have waited this long to record this episode.

Let’s blame this lapse in part to our mutual busy travel schedules. Katie has been a nomadic floral design educator for the past several years and well, you know I’m always on the road myself.

Flowers and Fruit, designed by Katie Davis (c) Kim Branagan Photography

To be fair, though, she is not a nomad, but an artist whose desire is to develop and lead experiences and opportunities centered around creativity, authenticity, and personal growth. Floristry is the artistic medium Katie uses to facilitate these experiences.

Katie is known for nurturing supportive and inspiring learning environments that are immersive, intimate, beautiful, and warm. She values environments where people can be truly present and connect honestly with themselves and others, in their pursuit of artistic expression and a sustainable life. 

Left: Seasonal and foraged elements (c) Orange Photographie from a Ponderosa & Thyme Workshop; Right: Katie (c) Kim Branagan Photography

Katie Davis is an internationally acclaimed florist based in Salem, Oregon, the heart of the Willamette Valley. Since founding Ponderosa & Thyme in 2011, Katie has become known for her textural designs inspired by nature. Her floral designs use the most luxurious and beautiful flowers available while incorporating locally foraged, unique, and sensory plants into each arrangement. The result is a visually breathtaking experience.

An installation made in Portland, Oregon by Ponderosa & Thyme (c) Maria Lamb Photography; Model: Muse Management

Katie’s design aesthetic could be best described as playful, romantic, herb-y, and fragrant. In addition to creating florals for intimate weddings, Katie and her team host incredible workshops worldwide for florists and other creatives to explore the art of floral design. Ponderosa & Thyme continues to offer wedding and event services, specializing in intimate and heartfelt experiences.

With a heart for education, Katie has been teaching floral design since 2014, serving clients across the globe. Flowers are a language of their own, and while teaching in English, Katie is able to cross cultures with her thoughtful and emotional approach. Just as comfortable teaching the basics as she is pushing experienced professionals to expand their creative boundaries, Katie loves to help people grow, discover, and connect.‍

Left: Cool-toned and ephemeral florals by Katie Davis for a Ponderosa & Thyme photo shoot (c) Sierra Ashleigh Photography; Right: Katie Davis in her new Salem, Ore., workshop space (c) Ivy and Gold Photography

The PONDEROSA WORKSHOP RETREATS have taken Katie to Italy, Scotland, France, Australia and New York. She has also been invited to teach in Korea, Mexico and across the U.S.

With the advent of 2020, the Ponderosa Classroom in Salem, Oregon, is gearing up for a full series of workshops, including one-day and two-day intensive sessions that focus on specific skills, techniques and designs to facilitate artistic expression in floral design.

In our conversation, you’ll hear Katie discuss her decision in 2018 to lease a brick and mortar location in her beautiful hometown.‍ I’m thrilled to share our chat with you.

Find and follow Ponderosa & Thyme at these social places:

Ponderosa & Thyme on Facebook

Ponderosa & Thyme on Instagram

Ponderosa & Thyme on Pinterest

An installation made in Portland, Oregon by Ponderosa & Thyme (c) Maria Lamb Photography; Portrait, Sarah Pearson (left), Ponderosa & Thyme business manager; Katie Davis (right)

Thank you so much for joining my conversation today with Katie Davis of Ponderosa & Thyme. My heart is filled with admiration and affection for Katie and I’m delighted you joined us.

Be sure to check out the Ponderosa Classroom Online, a new project that Katie created as a response to requests for affordably-priced, in-depth online education, monthly Floral Meditations to inspire your creativity, recipes for arrangements, Information and online discussions on relevant business and creative topics, Access to music playlists, Access to full length IG Live Video Replays from @ponderosa_and_thyme, high-quality content accessible 24/7, connection and community with like-hearted flower friends– and more. Monthly memberships are just $9.99 USD per month, and annual memberships are only $99 USD per year — you can find more details here.

Flowers grown and designed by Laura Bigbee-Fott of White’s Creek Flower Farm (left) and Laura (right)

And today we are continuing our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – with Laura Bigbee-Fott of White’s Creek Flower Farm in White’s Creek, Tennessee.

Peonies at White’s Creek Flower Farm

Established on Earth Day in 2012, Whites Creek Flower Farm is an artisanal permaculture flower farm just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Whites Creek is a historic rural area;

What a generous and beautiful selection of Tennessee-grown blooms!

Laura’s flowers are lovingly grown and organically managed.

She grows many unusual varieties, specializing in an English country garden aesthetic.

Her bouquets are elegant and imbued with a sense of whimsy. And they are raised with a profound respect for the ecosystem of which they are a part.

Find and follow Laura at White’s Creek Flower Farm at these social places:

White’s Creek Flower Farm on Facebook

White’s Creek Flower Farm on Instagram

White’s Creek Flower Farm on Twitter




Thank you so much for joining me today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 537,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

In fact, for the month of October 2019, which we just wrapped up, more than 13,700 episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast were downloaded – an all-time record!

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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

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

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

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
Home Home at Last; Betty Dear; Gaenaby 
Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field Music from:
audionautix.com