Debra Prinzing

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Episode 495: A farmer-florist creates a boutique business on a small island. Meet Lindsey Cummins of Dancing Flower Farm

March 3rd, 2021

Lindsey Cummins
Lindsey Cummins of Dancing Flower Farm on Lopez Island, Washington — showing off her first early spring bouquet of the year!

Last month, I was treated to a lovely *workcation* opportunity to join two friends at a home they rented to work remotely through the covid pandemic. They promised me my own bedroom and bathroom, a dining table with a view of sea, mountains and islands, an friendly golden retriever named Rocky (who seemed in constant need of a human beach-walking companion, lots of good conversation with adults and a dip in the hot tub each night. How could I refuse? I got my negative test and took a ferry to Lopez Island for four days.

Lopez Island
The restful view I enjoyed from my workcation spot on Lopez Island.

And yes, it was a workcation, but I enjoyed lots of R&R at the same time. I also made a point of visiting today’s guest, Lindsey Cummins of Dancing Flower Farm, the only Slow Flowers member on Lopez Island. I couldn’t pass up the chance to visit her homestead and learn more about how she and her young family are putting down roots while also growing flowers. It was especially gratifying to do something I used to do all the time, pre-covid: conduct in-person interviews of flower farmers and floral designers whenever and wherever I traveled. I will never again take that privilege for granted.

Lindsey, with her son Ira, at Dancing Flower Farm

My fresh-air conversation with Lindsey, which you’ll hear today, was only the third in-person episode I’ve recorded in 12 months. Wow. We are living in a world of Zoom and FaceTime, and while I’m grateful for the technology, I have to say that sitting on a picnic bench, sipping tea, chatting with Lindsey and appreciating her first early-spring arrangement on the table, well, that was a treat. Even when the skies opened and we were pummeled with an unexpected hailstorm — hey, it was all part of the experience, which you’ll hear midway through our conversation.

The Vase shelf
Lindsey has a potting and prep bench built onto the back of a vintage 1950s bus

Lindsey is the owner, grower and florist of Dancing Flower Farm, a micro specialty cut flower farm on Lopez Island in the Pacific Northwest.

She writes: I am deeply inspired by nature’s seasons.  I grew up being outside all of the time helping my mom in her vegetable garden, playing in her herb garden and being encouraged to explore. Those early years definitely made an impact on how I live my life now and how my floral designs continue to develop. I recently came across notes my mom had helped me write outlining my first business adventure at 8 years old, growing flowers to sell to our neighbors in my little red wagon. I grew Cosmos, Sweet Peas and Zinnias that year. It only took me twenty years to realize that that was my calling in life, though cooking, baking and landscaping helped me get to where I am today and are skills I value greatly! 

greenhouse at dancing flower farm
The new greenhouse at Dancing Flower Farm

I start each design as a tiny seed, corm, bulb or tuber, caring and tending them using naturally organic practices till they produce beautiful blooms. I am passionate about designing with only seasonal flowers and foliage that I grow or forage. Growing flowers gives me a sense of purpose, adding beauty to the world and seeing how they bring joy to people makes me happy. I feel every step of the growing process helps me design naturally abundant arrangements, letting the flowers elegantly move to form romantic pieces, from bouquets to installations. No occasion is too small for local flowers!

As well as offering fresh flowers I grow everlasting flowers that dry beautifully for creating special lasting pieces: flower crowns, hair combs, wreaths and bridal flowers, keeping color around all season long naturally. If you have an event that is happening during the winter when fresh flowers are not available I encourage you to ask about local dried flower options! 

Lindsey told me that she’s hoping to offer personal flower packages for Island elopements this season, as well as continuing to design for intimate wedding ceremonies. It was a lovely chat and I’m not sure when I’ll get to do that again — either take a ferry boat to an island OR visit a flower farmer or florist in person. I’m eagerly awaiting both of those special experiences.

Find and follow Dancing Flower Farm on Instagram


The BIG NEWS of this week is that over at BLOOM Imprint, our publishing branch of Slow Flowers, we have just opened up the online shop for pre-orders of Where We Bloom, the first book in our 2021 catalog! This book’s subtitle says it all: Intimate, Inventive, and Artistic Floral Spaces. You’re invited to join me and step inside the places where flowers come to life as Where We Bloom showcases the beautiful plant- and flower-filled settings of 37 Slow Flowers designers, farmer-florists, and growers. Each environment reflects the personality and aesthetic style of its owner, offering great ideas to inspire the design, organization, and functionality of your creative studio. Visit their spaces and read about their floral passions. I can’t wait to share this beautifully illustrated book with you — books will ship in April!


There are only two more days to grab your free ticket to attend Fleurvana’s Regeneration and Sustainability Summit, taking place online March 5-7. You’ll hear from more than 20 fabulous presenters and presentations, including the course Robin Avni and I are co-presenting: The Journey From Blog to Book. 

We have packed so much into our 40-minute mini-course and we’re especially excited to unveil our 28-page workbook that accompanies the session. This is a valuable tool to help anyone develop their concept and evaluate whether it’s a potential book. The free workbook is only available to Fleurvana registrants, so check it out.


And coming next week, you’re invited to join me for a very special webinar hosted by American Institute of Floral Designers and Slow Flowers Society on Tuesday, March 9th 4 pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern. It’s an honor to moderate this presentation in collaboration with three of the AIFD regional presidents, including two who are Slow Flowers members. The topic is “From Farm to Florist,” and will discuss the benefits and best practices to incorporate locally-grown flowers into every day designs and event work. I’m thrilled to say that four Slow Flowers members will join the discussion to share their stories and advice for florists. This event is free and open to the public.


Thank you to our Sponsors

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 850 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major Sponsors:

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 Syndicate Sales.com

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.

Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.com.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 697,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

On a Lopez Island hike with my friends’ sweet dog, “Rocky.”

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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:

The Basket; Turning On the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 494: How does Rooted Farmers’ marketplace work? An update from founder Amelia Ihlo and insights from farmer-florist Haley Billipp of Eddy Farm and Connecticut Flower Collective

February 24th, 2021

Growers’ bunches from Amelia Ihlo of Reverie Flowers and Rooted Farmers

Today, we have two great guests involved in Rooted Farmers. You first met Amelia Ihlo, founder of this innovative platform for selling flowers,  a little more than a year ago when Rooted Farmers launched. What a year to launch, right? As the resilience of flower farmers large and small was tested in 2020, it was surprisingly a good year for launching the new Rooted Farmers platform.

Here’s the “buyer view” showing varieties and availability on Rootedfarmers.com

New ways to showcase floral inventory for wholesale or retail sales – on Rootedfarmers.com

Recently, when I had a chance to see a full demo of all the new features that have been built into the inventory and sales tools that Rooted Farmers offers, I asked Amelia if she would share an update with Podcast listeners. At the same time, I suggested we invite a customer, aka a user of the platform, to share the farmer point of view. Amelia immediately recommended our second guest – Haley Billipp of Eddy Farm in Newington Connecticut. It was serendipity because ever since meeting Haley a few years ago at a gathering of Connecticut flower farmers and florists, I’ve wanted to learn more about Eddy Farm and her involvement in the new Connecticut Cut Flower Collective.

intuitive pricing features
Intuitive pricing prompts are one of the newest features on Rootedfarmers.com

Here’s a bit more about both women:

Amelia Ihlo, founder of Rooted Farmers

Amelia Ihlo is the owner of Reverie Flowers, a Slow Flowers member farm based in Etna, New Hampshire. Reverie grows specialty cut flowers, forages for abundant native species, and is wholly committed to sustainable practices in every decision that we make.

In 2019, Amelia began shaping the idea for Rooted Farmers and you can hear the story in Episode 438 from January 2020. Slow Flowers endorses the Rooted Farmers platform and we are happy to announce that for 2021, Amelia is extending the free membership credit to Slow Flowers members. Use the promo code SLOWFLOWERS2021 when you sign up. We will have these details and some screen shots of how the platform works in today’s show notes, as well.

The Billipp family at Eddy Farm (c) Jim Billipp

Owned by Andy and Haley Billipp, Eddy Farm is a 60 acre, fourth generation family owned and operated farm in central Connecticut, just minutes from Hartford.

Haley and Andy grow a mix of vegetables and cut flowers, and sell produce and cut flowers through their roadside farm stand. Eddy Farm offers event floral design and on farm floral design workshops, as well as selling crops to restaurants and floral designers.

eddy farm flowers
Left: Harvesting lisianthus at Eddy Farm (c) Tiny Human Photography; a floral installation by Eddy Farm (c) Haley Billipp

Andy and Haley have known each other since they were tiny, as their mothers and fathers were good friends. They met up in Boulder when they both moved there after college. They soon moved together to a little house on the Colorado plain and began hunting and growing all the food they ate. They learned to preserve and butcher and grow, and when Lucy offered them a place at the farm in Connecticut, they knew it was the next logical step for the kind of land based life they wanted to live, and here they are! They now farm and raise two young children at this very special place. There is a rich history behind this modern-day agricultural enterprise —Read more of their story here.

How sellers manage their customer offerings on Rootedfarmers.com

Thanks so much for joining me today as Amelia, Haley and I discussed new ways for growers to sell more flowers — both at the wholesale and retail levels. It’s an exciting time and I wanted to remind you that I published a story about Rooted Farmers as part of a six-part Slow Flowers Journal series that ran last fall  called: “New Floral Marketing Models and Platforms.” I’ll share a link to that article for you to check it out and learn even more.


More announcements before we wrap up:

First if you listened to last week’s interview with Shawn Michael Foley and Gina Thresher of Fleurvana, you may recall that we have a book giveaway for the first 10 listeners who register for a Free ticket to attend this online conference taking place March 5-7. You’ll hear from more than 20 fabulous presenters and presentations, including the course Robin Avni and I are co-presenting: The Journey From Blog to Book. 

The first 10 listeners who register for a Free Ticket to attend Fleurvana will receive a signed copy of Shawn Michael Foley’s new book, I Just Want To DesignThe Designer’s Survival Guide to Falling in Love with Your Business. We will run the promotion through this Sunday, February 28th,  and announce the winners on March 3rd, right before the next Fleurvana Virtual Summit begins.

Also in our show notes,  you can find the replay video link for the February 18th Webinar presented by Johnny’s Seeds and Slow Flowers. More than 1500 people attended the free webinar led by Johnny’s floral expert Hillary Alger and me. It was a fabulous conversation as we covered four of the 10 Slow Flowers Insights and Forecast themes. If you missed joining the webinar presentation, you can still go back and watch the replay video.


And coming right up, you’re invited to join me for a very special webinar hosted by American Institute of Floral Designers and Slow Flowers on Tuesday, March 8th 4 pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern. It’s an honor to moderate this presentation in collaboration with three of the AIFD regional presidents, including two who are Slow Flowers members. The topic is “From Farm to Florist,” and will discuss the benefits and best practices to incorporate locally-grown flowers into every day designs and event work. I’m thrilled to say that four Slow Flowers members will join the discussion to share their stories and advice for florists. This event is free and open to the public. You can find the registration link in today’s show notes. Hope to see you there!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

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.

Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 694,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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:

Game Hens; Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 493: What is Fleurvana? Join Debra Prinzing’s Conversation with co-founders Shawn Michael Foley and Gina Thresher

February 17th, 2021

My conversation with today’s guests is helping me to turn my gaze to spring 2021, with a new version of the Fleurvana Online Summit, a multi-day online floral conference that Shawn Michael Foley and Gina Thresher debuted in August of 2020. I’ll tell you more about them before we jump to the full episode, but first, the headlines:

This is the third Fleurvana conference and the theme is “Regeneration and Sustainability,” entirely fitting for a new year and a new season of growth. Fleurvana is dedicated to producing easy-to-obtain education in floral design, business, marketing and other creative topics. Launched with a mission to help fellow florists and designers during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic in 2020, Fleurvana continues to share a virtual beacon of hope for this profession. And moving into 2021, the series continues with a goal of regeneration, rebuilding and sharing inspiration with others — connected through a mutual love of flowers.

With more than 20 presentations from leaders in the floral industry and related fields, the upcoming Fleurvana takes place online, March 5-7. Read on to learn how you can sign up for a FREE registration ticket and enter our book giveaway!

Shawn Michael Foley (left) and Gina Thresher (right)

Here’s a bit more about Shawn and Gina:
Shawn Michael Foley is a floral artist, life coach, photographer, and transformational author who helps designers and creatives navigate through their career and personal roadblocks. Shawn has been in the floral industry for over fourteen years, and his floral art is internationally recognized and published. He has worked heavily in the wedding and event industry and has designed and worked on hundreds of weddings.

Shawn is an accredited member of AIFD and PFCI. He is well known for his Human Form Project, an anthology showcasing unique and sensual floral designs enhancing the natural beauty of the human body. He was also selected as one of the 2016 Mayesh Design Stars. He has presented, showcased and taught on both national and international platforms to the design community including State Associations, The Philadelphia International Flower Show, AIFD National Symposium and his own high-level workshops.

By fusing his floral design background and his Reiki Master Teacher training, Shawn created his coaching platform the Artistic Journey, which guides creative minds to re-fall in love with their art and their business. He now lives in Fort Worth, TX, where his design and coaching practice is based.

Shawn is joined by Gina Thresher of From the Ground Up Floral. She’s a returning guest of this Podcast, and a Slow Flowers member who is accredited by AIFD and EMC, European Masters Certification. Gina co-created Fleurvana with Shawn and has collaborated on the development and curriculum of the conference series, as well as presented at each of them.

The Journey from Blog to Book: with Debra Prinzing (left) and Robin Avni (right)

I credit Gina for inviting me to join Fleurvana as an instructor and Regeneration will be my third appearance in this unique educational format. As I mentioned, I’m super excited for you to join the course Robin Avni and I are co-presenting: The Journey From Blog to Book. 

BLOOM Imprint is the floral book publishing arm of Slow Flowers!

The course is designed for every creative person we’ve met who dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book. As a tangible “artifact,” there is amazing social validation that comes with having a book about your work. A book can narrate your story, teach your concepts and document your work. We believe successful books are driven by a Passion that answers the following: What are you compelled to share? What do you have to offer that will make the world a better place? What is your unique point of view? This course will introduce you to the basic checklist to guide you through our book development idea process and cover our Visual & Verbal Storytelling philosophy at BLOOM Imprint.

The first 10 listeners who register for a Free Ticket to attend Fleurvana will receive a signed copy of Shawn Michael Foley’s new book, I Just Want To Design: The Designer’s Survival Guide to Falling in Love with Your Business.

We will run that promotion through Sunday, February 28th and announce the winners on March 3rd, right before the next Fleurvana Virtual Summit begins.

And as Shawn and Gina discussed, you can attend Fleurvana LIVE for free if you register via the course ticket link in my show notes. Those free sessions are open only for a small window each day of the conference, so if you think you want to enjoy at your leisure, you can purchase the VIP bundle for a modest amount. That gives you all-access to the 20+ presentations but an invitation to an exclusive Q&A roundtable with instructors each day, March 5-7. I hope to see you there!


Last week, we hosted Sean and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden and authors of The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers. We invited listeners to share their comments following the show notes at debraprinzing.com for episode 492 and all those who took the time to comment were entered into a drawing for a giveaway of The First Time Gardener. We had a random drawing of names and our winner is: Leigh James, who wrote this: “I wish I had known about propagation earlier. I could’ve had so many more plants by now.”

Ah, so true, Leigh! Thanks to Quarto Books for the donation and we’ll get your address to them this week!


Thank you to our Sponsors!

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major Sponsors:

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.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.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.

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 691,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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:

Daymaze; Highride; Vienna Beat; Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 492: For Beginning Flower Gardeners, a conversation with authors and podcasters Allison and Sean McManus of Spoken Garden

February 10th, 2021

GIVEAWAY Details Below — Share a Comment and Your Name Will Be Added to the Drawing for The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got spring gardening on my mind! The hellebores are already blooming; the daffodil bulbs are pushing out of the soil an inch or so. I can even see the tiniest bump of my peonies’ deep maroon tips at the crown of each plant. So, sure we’re still 39 days until spring arrives, but who’s going to let the calendar hold us back, right?

A major spring ritual for me has always been participation in local and national garden and flower festivals. Sadly, this year, the closest thing to an indoor spring garden show is going to be over Zoom. Gain inspiration from the replay video of our February 5th Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-up, featuring two of our members who are major hellebore experts.

Thank you to Pam Youngsman of Poppy Starts Inc. and Riz Reyes of RHR Horticulture for a fantastic presentation. They share volumes about what to grow, how to grow, how and when to harvest and how to design with hellebores.

Sean McManus and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden

Another perennial ritual of spring is the arrival of a new crop of gardening books. Here at Slow Flowers Podcast, we know we have as many gardener-florists as farmer-florists who listen and learn. And today, I’m happy to welcome first-time authors, Sean and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden. This talented husband-wife duo are busy behind the microphone and camera, teaching ornamental gardening to beginning and curious home gardeners. They have spent the past year writing The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers 

The book will be released in March and one lucky listener will win a copy for their bookshelf! Listen to the end of the episode to hear how to add your name to our random drawing and giveaway.

Sean and Allison are the gardening pros behind the popular website, YouTube channel and podcast Spoken Garden. They offer clear, fact-based information, presented in a friendly and accessible way. With step-by-step instructions and full-color illustrations, new gardeners will learn how to select, plant and tend for outdoor plants, the best techniques, how to mulch correctly, pruning do’s and don’ts, tips for effective, eco-friendly gardening, and much more.

Peek inside the pages of their new book:

Here’s a little bit more about Sean and Allison:

Sean has a Master’s in Environmental Horticulture from Washington State University and possesses several other horticulture, landscaping, or gardening-related certificates. Sean has over 8 years of experience in Industrial Garden Maintenance and 12+ years operating a private landscape and consulting company. With over two decades in the field, he dreams to fulfill his lifelong passion for educating others about horticulture and gardening.

Allison has a Master’s in Teaching and is a National Board certified middle school science educator. Through trial and error over the past 10+ years, she has successfully maintained several vegetable gardens and beds full of flowers. She loves attracting all kinds of pollinators and is proud of the fact that their yard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat. She has a passion for photography, animals, writing, traveling, creating content, and lifelong learning.

You can learn more from this talented duo by subscribing to the Spoken Garden Podcast.

and watch their Daily Garden Content on Spoken Garden’s YouTube Channel.

Sign up for Sean and Allison’s 30-day Garden Bootcamp.

Find Spoken Garden on Facebook

Follow Spoken Garden on Instagram

I know you’ll enjoy their story and be inspired to add to your ornamental garden this spring. Thanks so much for joining me today as Sean and Allison McManus shared their encouragement for beginning gardeners, and actually anyone who wants to develop a more enriching and fulfilling ornamental garden! If you want to be added to the giveaway drawing for their new book, The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers , be sure to post a comment in the show notes below — please share what did you wish you knew when you were a beginning gardener?


Coming up on Thursday, February 18th at 2 pm Eastern, Slow Flowers is teaming up with Johnny’s Selected Seeds to produce a free webinar for flower farmers, farmer-florists and floral designers interested in knowing more about our Floral Insights and Industry Forecast for 2021.

I’ll be joining Johnny’s flower team, Hillary Alger and Joy Longfellow, as we dive into current and upcoming themes in the floral marketplace. We will review four of the top Insights from the Slow Flowers 2021 Forecast and hear more from Hillary, who will share findings from Johnny’s recent survey of flower seed customers — commercial cut flower farmers. We’ll share a nice back-and-forth discussion and as a bonus, Hillary plans to share an update about seed supply and new floral variety breeding programs. You may already have registered – and if so, I’ll see you there. As of today’s air date, the event may be full, but Johnny’s will have a complete recording available on Monday, February 22nd — and I’ll share it with you in a future episode.


And registration is open for the Fleurvana Virtual Summit (March 5th-7th), focusing on Sustainability and Regeneration, which also takes place online. Robin Avni, my partner in BLOOM Imprint, have developed a new course for aspiring floral book authors with a presentation called The Journey From Blog to Book. Our course is designed for every creative person we’ve met dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book.  Registration is free and there are also options to purchase larger packages.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.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.

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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 688,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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:

Horizon Liner; These Times; Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 491: The 19-year evolution of a retail florist with Kelly Marie Thompson of Chicago-based Fleur Inc.

February 3rd, 2021

Kelly Marie Thompson of Fleur Inc., shown here on a farm in Tuscany, scouting her upcoming Italy workshop

If you want to walk through a case study of a boutique retail florist and special events florist, today’s guest is here to share! I’m so pleased to welcome Kelly Marie Thompson, owner of Fleur Inc., based in Chicago. Fleur Inc is a diversified lifestyle boutique and special event design studio.

Wedding flowers by Fleur Inc.

Kelly formed the enterprise 19 years ago when she was just 22 years old and has based Fleur Inc. on the value of delivering extraordinary experiences, and offering a curated collection of  home goods, fine jewelry, floral, and custom design. 

Fleur Inc.’s Chicago Storefront

Kelly Marie shares this message on Fleur Inc.’s web site:

Simply stated, we can’t imagine our lives without nature.  Flowers and foliage are our language; they are the way we emote, and the way we evoke the senses.  Our mission is to collaboratively work with our clients in order to craft an experience that stirs the heart, creates a mood & tells a story.  With imagination and technique, we weave every petal, frond and vine into the next chapter, committed to creating extraordinary experiences.”

An upcoming Valentine’s Day image (left); Kelly Marie Thompson of Fleur Inc. (right)

Fleur Inc. is a member of the Slow Flowers Society and has been featured in many online blogs and print magazines including Martha Stewart Weddings, Vogue, Town and Country, Better Homes & Gardens, The Knot and was named one of the top 63 floral designers by Martha Stewart.

An uncommon wedding palette featuring dark, jewel tones by Fleur Inc.

Find and follow Fleur Inc. at these social places:

Fleur Inc. on Instagram

Fleur Inc. on Twitter

Check out Kelly Marie’s online course (see intro video above), “The Art of Growing an Extraordinary Floral Business,” which debuted about one year ago. She has compiled all of her experiences and lessons learned over the past nearly 20 years in retail and event floral design into a six-part online course. Click here for more details.

Learn more about Kelly’s coaching practice through Be Sage Consulting. Maybe this is just the resource you need with the new year — and how wonderful to learn from a fellow Slow Flowers practioner!

Find more details about A Tuscan Gathering ~ Flowering with Kelly Marie Thompson, upcoming, June 5-9, 2022.


Before we wrap, I have a couple important announcements:

All about Hellebores! The topic of our February Slow Flowers (Virtual) Member Meet-Up!

You’re invited to join me this Friday, February 5th at our February Slow Flowers Member Meetup — virtually.

We typically meet on the 2nd Friday of each month, but due to the overlap with Valentine’s weekend, we’re going to gather one week early.

I’m over the moon with our topic for February, which is all about the cultivation of hellebores as cut flowers and floral design with hellebores.

Our guests are both expert plantspeople and Slow Flowers members. You’ll meet Pam Youngsman of PoppyStarts Inc., a plant broker who has spent her entire career connecting garden centers with uncommon perennials, and who now supplies flower farms with those plants; and Riz Reyes, past guest of this podcast, who owns RHR Horticulture. Riz grows hundreds of hellebores in the landscapes he designs and frequently incorporates hellebores into his floral design.

Follow this Zoom link to join us on Friday, February 5th at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. If you miss the session, no worries! We will record it for replay viewing.


Next up, Robin Avni, my partner in BLOOM Imprint, and I are getting ready for a new course for all you aspiring floral book authors! We are joining the Fleurvana Virtual Summit March 5-7, focusing on Sustainability and Regeneration, with The Journey from Blog to Book. The course is designed for every creative person we’ve met dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book. As a tangible “artifact,” there is amazing social validation that comes with having a book about your work. A book can narrate your story, teach your concepts and document your work. We believe successful books are driven by a Passion that answers the following: What are you compelled to share? What do you have to offer that will make the world a better place? What is your unique point of view?


Thank you to our Sponsors

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major and Podcast Channel Sponsors. Our first sponsor thanks goes to new channel sponsor Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

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.

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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 686,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. January 2021 ended up being our most popular month ever for the Slow Flowers Podcast — with nearly 12,000 individual episode downloads. WOW! As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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:

Spunk Lit; Turning On the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 490: The launch of BLOOM Imprint, Slow Flowers’ new publishing venture, with co-founders Debra Prinzing and Robin Avni

January 27th, 2021

It’s a very exciting day for Slow Flowers and this episode is devoted to some BIG NEWS. I’m thrilled to tell you all about it! I’ve invited Robin Avni, past guest of this podcast, to join me as together we tell you all about our new collaboration — the formation of a boutique book publishing project called BLOOM Imprint.

Debra Prinzing (left) and Robin Avni (right)

BLOOM Imprint emerges from our 15-year professional relationship and friendship. A decade ago, Robin and I collaborated with a talented group of women on a multi-year content and lifestyle consulting project, “Real Women, Real Life.” During that time, we also teamed up to give a presentation on The Female Gardener: Mommy to Maven for the Independent Garden Center Show and co-authored white papers and trend reports about female consumers. 

Fast-forward to 2019-2020, when Robin and I produced Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One, a compendium of the “best of” editorial stories and imagery featured in the “Slow Flowers Journal” section of Florists’ Review magazine. That’s where I previously served as contributing editor and Robin served as managing editor of books, producing 10 book titles related to the floral industry.

We’re announcing the launch of BLOOM Imprint today, with me serving as editorial director and Robin serving as creative director. This venture is committed to developing books that express visual and verbal storytelling in equal measures. By pairing my love of the written word and editorial narrative and Robin’s visually strong creative direction talent, we are pretty jazzed about what we have in store for sharing the people, places, flowers and art of our Slow Flowers Community through a new lineup of books.

Read our Press Announcement Here:


Where We Bloom: Our first title

We believe that “setting” is an important facet to making art — and nothing could be truer for floral designers and floral artists. This book profiles the people, art and creative work spaces of designers and makers.

The subtitle is: Thirty-Six Intimate, Inventive and Artistic Studio Spaces Where Floral Passions Find a Place to Blossom

Step inside the personal environments where flowers come to life. “Where We Bloom” showcases beautiful plant- and flower-filled settings of Slow Flowers designers, farmer-florists and growers. Each setting reflects the personality and aesthetic style of its owner, offering great ideas to inspire the design, decor, organization, and of course, functionality of your creative space.

Publication Date: April 2021
Pre-ordering information will be shared soon!


Between us, Robin and I have produced and published more than 20 lifestyle, design, architecture, floral and gardening titles. We formed BLOOM Imprint as a boutique publishing company with the mission of identifying creative entrepreneurial book ideas and growing them — from the seed of an initial concept to a finished product. As we publish new authors and consult with aspiring ones, we believe that producing a book is ultimately one of the most affordable marketing endeavors available to creatives.

From our “Who We Are” page on BLOOMImprint.com — learn about our backgrounds and experiences, and read what people say about working with us!

Let me tell you a little more about Robin Avni and then we’ll jump right in and get started:

A creative veteran in the media + high-tech industries, Robin’s experience includes 15+ years in the publishing industry and eight years at Microsoft in design and creative management. She has successfully managed innovative, award-winning design teams and high-profile projects as well as receiving numerous national design and photography editing awards for her own work. Robin has produced 10 books, including collaborating with Debra on the Slow Flowers Journal. 

In 2004, following Microsoft, she founded bricolage*, a consultancy specializing in creative strategy, content development, and arts advocacy. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, national advertising agencies and award-winning media properties, applying timely actionable insights to their businesses.  ​Robin received a BA in journalism from Indiana University, Bloomington and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan; she holds a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington. 

Listen to my December 2018 Slow Flowers Podcast Episode with Robin — a segment called “How creatives can be authentic in a digital age.”

Anticipation! Here are our first five books in the BLOOM Imprint catalog, with titles from Debra Prinzing, Felicia Alvarez, Holly Heider Chapple, Teresa J. Speight and Cynthia Zamaria!

Thanks so much for joining Robin Avni and me as we shared a conversation about BLOOM Imprint.

Follow BLOOM Imprint at these social places:

BLOOM Imprint on Instagram

BLOOM Imprint on Facebook

BLOOM Imprint on Pinterest

Listen to our fun Floral-Inspired Playlist, created to commemorate the launch of BLOOM Imprint.

And remember, you can join us at the Fleurvana Virtual Summit March 5-7, focusing on Sustainability and Regeneration, where Robin and I will present an original new course, From Blog to Book Proposal. The course is designed for every creative person we’ve met dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book. As a tangible “artifact,” there is amazing social validation that comes with having a book about your work. A book can narrate your story, teach your concepts and document your work. We believe successful books are driven by a Passion that answers the following: What are you compelled to share? What do you have to offer that will make the world a better place? What is your unique point of view?


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

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.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 683,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right here at debraprinzing.com

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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:

Heartland Flyer; Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com