Debra Prinzing

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Episode 501: The Wild Mother of Oklahoma City, on floral art, activism and storytelling. Meet floral siblings Lauren Palmer, Leah Palmer and Callie Palmer

April 14th, 2021

the wild mother team
The Wild Mother Creative Studio, based in Oklahoma City; from left, Callie Palmer (seated, left); Lauren Palmer (standing) and Leah Palmer (seated, right) | All photography (c) Rachel Maucieri @maucierivisualsco

Today, I have a very special episode for you and I’m thrilled to share it! Please meet the three siblings who together are called The Wild Mother: Leah Palmer, Lauren Palmer and Callie Palmer. They are based in Oklahoma City and call their enterprise a Creative Studio, which encompasses their tagline “More than Just Flowers.”

flowers and designers
The Creative Studio is multidisciplinary and collaborative across other art forms, most often expressed to the public through floral design

Here’s a bit of an introduction, adapted from their website’s “About” page:

The Wild Mother Creative Studio is owned by Afro-Indigenous sisters and floral artists Lauren Palmer and Leah Palmer, located in the heart of Arts district, Downtown, OKC. Their love and honor of culture, storytelling, and their affinity for natural elements and color theory lend themselves to producing their “Floral Stories.” It’s an added bonus that they get to work alongside their younger sister, Callie. The Wild Mother’s offerings include full service wedding and event floral, curbside carryout floral for large-scale events, and holiday floral offering.

the wild mother in studio
The Wild Mother women and their studio space, based in the Oklahoma City Arts District

The Wild Mother has positioned their entire business as a legacy project—using flowers and floral art installations to heal their lineage forwards and backwards; to send honor to their ancestors whose experiences in America were tragic; and to build a world for their future descendants that is more beautiful, more equitable, and more just.

I first learned about The Wild Mother from Susan McLeary who encouraged me to attend a free webinar hosted by the studio at the beginning of this year. Called “More than Just Flowers,” the webinar was outlined as: A Panel Discussion for Creatives on Building Affirming, Equitable and Just Brands. Moderated by Leah and Lauren, with help from Callie, the session covered meaningful representation in the wedding & creative industry; a discussion of exploitation versus appreciation; goals for building an anti-racist brand and considerations for BIPOC clients. 

A number of floral community voices participated, including Sue McLeary and Kristin Griffith-VanderYacht, who you’ve met here on the Slow Flowers Podcast. Other panelists included a number of people from related disciplines such as event planning, marketing and branding and fine art curation. It was a powerful gathering with honest and open dialogue designed to inspire and challenge attendees who want to be intentional and inclusive with the way they shows up in the world.

Next, The Wild Mother launched The Lay of the Land, an online course for creatives interested in digging deeper in the topic of building an affirming, equitable and just brand.


send flowers to greenwood social media graphics

I’m eager for you to meet Leah, Lauren and Callie. One of the reasons I asked them to join me today was to introduce their upcoming project called Send Flowers to Greenwood. This is an ambitious series of floral installations that will commemorate the Greenwood Massacre of 1921.  Oklahomans and the rest of country are only now beginning to acknowledge what took place 100 years ago in Tulsa, when the vibrant, successful Black-owned Greenwood District, known as “Black Wall Street,” was destroyed and many of the people who lived there lost their homes, businesses, and lives due to an attack by Klan members and others who wanted to eliminate the existence of brown and black people in their city.

send flowers to greenwood graphics

Taking place at the end of May, The Wild Mother’s  #SendFlowersToGreenwood will be both a virtual and physical outpouring of love, light, and life for Greenwood Tulsa and the descendants of victims of the Greenwood Massacre of 1921.

Wow. Just wow. I’m so pleased we had this conversation today and I  thank you for joining us. There are so many small and large ways to get involved and support The Wild Mother and Send Flowers to Greenwood you can find those details in our show notes.

donate to send flowers to greenwood

The Wild Mother encourages all of us to post images of flowers on social media from May 10 through June 7 and dedicate that post with the hashtag #sendflowerstogreenwood. I love this pure gesture of respect and humanity and I am eager to participate. I hope you will, too.

Find and follow The Wild Mother at these social places:
The Wild Mother on Instagram

The Wild Mother on Facebook


Join me for a BONUS Slow Flowers Event on April 16th

Ellen Frost

A couple of other Slow Flowers opportunities are coming right up. On Friday, April 16th, we have a BONUS Meet-Up scheduled at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers. The topic: Domestic Flower Sourcing Strategies When Supplies are Limited. Considering the current panic around floral availability and product supply-chain in the floral industry, Ellen and The Gardeners’ Workshop are reintroducing their online course Ellen “Growing Your Business With Local Flower Sourcing” and in anticipation, Ellen is joining Slow Flowers this Friday to answer your questions about flower sourcing when supplies are limited.

The names of all Slow Flowers members who attend will be entered into a drawing for one free registration to the course (valued at $495) which begins April 26th. Ellen has added new content to the 2021 curriculum, including a Bonus Session: “What we can do NOW during this unprecedented global flower shortage.”


By the way, if you missed last week’s April Meet-Up on Sustainable Floral Design with Tobey Nelson and Becky Feasby, you can find the replay video above. On EARTH DAY, Thursday, April 22nd, I’ll host an interactive Q&A with these two passionate women as part of an IG Live session about sustainable floristry at noon Pacific/3 pm Eastern. You’re invited to join us there!


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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. Our first thanks goes to Rooted Farmers. 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.

Our next sponsor thanks goes to 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.

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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 714,000 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


(c) Mary Grace Long Photograph

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:

For We Shall Know Speed; 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 500: Celebrating Episode 500 and the publication of Where We Bloom, with BLOOM Imprint’s Robin Avni and designer Cynthia Zamaria of Toronto’s House & Flower

April 7th, 2021

Here’s the COVER with the book jacket flap fully opened to reveal Cynthia Zamaria’s charming floral studio. (c) Robin Stubbert

Welcome to a very special episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast — Episode 500 — in our weekly podcast series about Slow Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. Since we launched this special program in July 2013, I have regularly featured the voices of influencers, stylemakers, pioneers and heroes in the Slow Flowers Movement — and today we celebrate an impressive milestone with Episode 500!

Meet Cynthia Zamaria, looking so content in her creative space, featured in Where We Bloom (c) Robin Stubbert

It’s been a busy and exciting week here at the Slow Flowers Society! In January, I introduced you to creative director Robin Avni, my partner and co-founder of BLOOM Imprint, the book publishing branch of Slow Flowers Society. You can listen to our conversation from January’s Episode 490 here, in which we discuss the goal of telling stories by and about Slow Flowers members through the medium of books!

BLOOM Imprint’s first title is at the printer right now and we can’t wait to tell you all about it. Where We Bloom is an information and idea-packed volume filled with 37 intimate and inspiring floral studios, workshops, storefronts and growing spaces like greenhouses and barns — all home to creative floral enterprises of Slow Flowers members.

You may have seen the cover art because I’ve shared a few sneak peeks across social media and in Slow Flowers’ newsletter, but today I’m excited to introduce you to the woman responsible for the delightfully engaging space featured as our cover destination to illustrate the concept of Where We Bloom.

Please meet Cynthia Zamaria, Toronto-based designer, flower grower and stylist whose studio is called Cynthia Zamaria House & Flower. Cynthia will share a bit about her journey with flowers and the three of us will discuss the central themes of Where We Bloom, about which I write in the introduction:

There is also the intangible feeling of security and comfort that creative individuals may feel when they can escape to a destination where their ideas flourish and, yes, blossom!

Debra Prinzing, where we bloom

Let me tell you a bit more about Robin and Cynthia:

Based in Gig Harbor, Washington, Robin Avni is a creative veteran in the media + high-tech industries. Her experience includes more than 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 received numerous national design awards and photo editing honors for her own work. Robin has produced 10 books, including collaborating with Debra on the Slow Flowers Journal.  

Robin Avni, co-founder and creative director of BLOOM Imprint

In 2004, following Microsoft, she founded bricolage*, a consultancy specializing in creative strategy, content development, and trend analysis for home + garden. 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. 

Find and follow Robin Avnia & BLOOM Imprint at these social places

Robin Avni on Instagram

BLOOM Imprint on Instagram


Cynthia Zamaria (c) Lisa MacIntosh

Based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Cynthia Zamaria is an interior and floral designer known for character-filled spaces and carefree flower displays. With an infectious creative spirit and a belief that we all need more beautiful in our lives, Cynthia shares inspiration as an interior and floral editorial stylist, content contributor, writer and workshop teacher. Her work is regularly featured in leading lifestyle media. ​

An advocate of the Slow Flower Movement, Cynthia sustainably grows small-batch speciality blooms and designs unfussy seasonal arrangements. This soulful aesthetic spills into Cynthia’s interiors which are true-to-the-space, trendless mash-ups of scale, texture and colour.​

Cynthia and her husband Graham Loughton share a passion for saving forgotten houses and have restored a range of period properties. A former public relations executive, Cynthia now devotes her time to family and creative projects from her home base in Toronto.

Find and follow Cynthia Zamaria at these social places:

Cynthia Zamaria on Facebook

Cynthia Zamaria on Instagram

Cynthia Zamaria on Pinterest


Sneak peek to more inside pages:

“Modern Homestead,” owned by Lori Poliski of Flori (c) Missy Palacol
“Backyard Room of her Own,” owned by Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral
(c) Alessandra Brescia
“Arizona in Bloom,” owned by Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm (c) Kayla Simpson Lewis
“Living Among the Lavender,” owned by Jennifer and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow
(c) PepperHarrow

Thanks so much for joining me today. You can pre-order a signed copy of Where We Bloom at BLOOMImprint.com and we are offering bulk discounts to retailers — so reach out if you’re interested in quantities. Don’t forget to join Robin and me, along with many of the talented Slow Flowers members featured in Where We Bloom at our Virtual Book Launch party on Tuesday, April 27th at 4 pm Pacific/7pm Eastern. We’ll be sharing some giveaways and introducing you to a few creatives featured in our pages. Join us via this link!

If you’re in the Seattle area, please come out and say hello, at two upcoming booksigning events — we’ll be wearing our masks and observing careful social-distancing practices! On May 1st, 2-4 p.m., Gillian Mathews and Ravenna Gardens, Seattle’s boutique home and garden emporium, will host a signing and we expect that some of the creatives featured in Where We Bloom will join us! On May 8th, 1-3 p.m., we’ll be at PaperDelights in Burien, just outside Seattle, where we are joining Teresa Rao of Belle Petale at her Mother’s Day floral popup. Teresa is featured in the pages of Where We Bloom so we’re thrilled to share this event with her!

To find out what’s next for BLOOM Imprint, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media – I’ll have the links for you in today’s show notes. Later this year, BLOOM Imprint will publish two exciting books by Slow Flowers members. First, we’ll release an essential guide to rose growing from Felicia Alvarez of Menagerie Farm + Floral; and then we’ll publish Holly Chapple’s long-awaited first book, A Life in Flowers. And we have four other titles in the catalog for 2022, including as you heard, Cynthia Zamaria’s book, House & Flower. What a dynamic lineup of creativity!


Above: Tobey Nelson (left) and Becky Feasby (right),
photographed at the 2019 Sustainable Flowers Workshop Photos by Ian Gregory: @ianmgregory

And save the date for this Friday’s April member meet-up for the Slow Flowers Community. That’s right, on Friday, April 9th, join our monthly meet-up via Zoom. The time is always 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. This month, we welcome two Slow Flowers leaders who will share their approach to Sustainable Floral Design and green practices. Learn more about the definition of “sustainability” in floral design and gain insights about how you can adapt your floral enterprise to be safe, healthy and beautiful!.
You’ll learn from Tobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events & Design and Sustainable Floral Design (Whidbey Island, Washington) and Becky Feasby of Prairie Girl Flowers and Sustainable Flowers Workshop (Calgary, Alberta, Canada). You can find the Zoom link to join us in today’s show notes and come prepared to ask your important questions about this important shift in floristry. We’ll have some fun giveaways, and you might win one of our drawings! See you there!

Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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:
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.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 711,000 times by listeners like you. We wrapped up the month of March with 13.5k downloads — wow — that’s the highest in the past year. 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:

One Little Triumph; Turning on the Lights; Color Country; Loopy; 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 499: Katherine Raz of The Fernseed, a modern plant shop and floral studio in Tacoma, Washington

March 31st, 2021

Floral and Plant retail entrepreneur Katherine Raz of The Fernseed (left) and a peek at the shop’s Stem Bar (c) Devon Michelle Photography (right)

I’m excited about today’s guest, not only because her enterprise is located right in my backyard, in Tacoma, Washington. Please meet Katherine Raz of The Fernseed. The Fernseed is a modern plant shop and floral studio with two storefront locations in Tacoma.

Grab N Go Stem Bar at The Fernseed (c) Devon Michelle Photography

This boutique is home to lush, verdant, uncommon plants for home interiors and floral bouquets and vase arrangements for the home and gift-giving. I love how clearly Katherine states The Fernseed’s services: Beautiful Houseplants, Handmade Pots, Local Flowers and Daily Delivery.

Katherine launched The Fernseed in 2018 as an online store that sold unique handmade designs for potting and displaying houseplants, and she opened the first brick-and-mortar location in April, 2019.

Inside The Fernseed (c) Devon Michelle Photography

She’ll share how The Fernseed was forced to close for nearly three months during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Katherine and her team launched nationwide shipping, local delivery, and several new products offerings, including plant grams and plant-along-at-home kits.

The Fernseed’s floral designer Oriana Di Fede

In September, 2020, The Fernseed opened a second storefront location on Tacoma’s historic South Tacoma Way. The shop now offers a floral stem bar and floral arrangements for grab-and-go pickup, and local delivery, 60% of which are sourced from small flower farms in Washington, Idaho, California, Oregon, and British Columbia. Between them, Katherine and her all-female team own and care for more than 400 houseplants — in their personal collections!

Engaging customers with plants (c) Devon Michelle Photography
. . . . and with flowers! (c) Devon Michelle Photography

I’m so inspired and encouraged by the entrepreneurial story Katherine has shared about diversification, changing course and taking risks! I know you’ll love learning about Katherine’s journey as she has evolved and expanded organically, sustaining her business against the challenges of a global pandemic and emerging stronger.

Here’s how to find and follow The Fernseed:
Fernseed on Facebook
Fernseed on Instagram
Fernseed on Pinterest


Dating back to the launch of the Slow Flowers Podcast, in July 2013, we have recorded a rich history of conversations with amazing people in the world of plants, flowers and design. We feel so proud of each one of our guests, many of whom can say their very first podcast appearance happened here! And when other accolades come their way, we take pride in those achievements, too. So this week, I want to give a shout-out to two of our past Slow Flowers Podcast guests who are distinguished recipients of the 2021 Great American Gardeners Award from The American Horticultural Society, announced earlier this month.

Perla Sophia Curbelo, of Puerto Rico’s AgroChic

As a past Great American Gardener Award recipient, I know how special it is to receive this achievement and recognition! Huge congratulations to Perla Sofia Curbelo-Santiago of AgroChicGarden Podcaster and Radio Show Host, San Juan, P.R. for receiving the B.Y. MORRISON COMMUNICATION AWARD – which recognizes effective and inspirational communication—through print, radio, television, and/or online media—that advances public interest and participation in horticulture. Hear our August 2018 interview with Perla in episode 364.

Lisa Waud (c) ee berger photograph

And Major Props to floral installation artist and creator of the famed Flower House Detroit, Lisa Waud, recipient of the FRANCES JONES POETKER AWARD – which recognizes significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform, and to the public.  Lisa is currently working with Slow Flowers on membership projects and she has appeared on the Slow Flowers Podcast on a number of occasions.
Episode 181 (February 2015)
Episode 334 (January 2018)
Episode 411 (July 2019)
You heard them here first and now they’re receiving accolades from the top horticultural association! Picture me here with a big smile on my face — so happy for you both, Perla and Lisa!


Thank you to our Sponsors!

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.

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. Our first thanks goes to 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.

Our next sponsor thanks goes to 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.

Our next sponsor thanks goes to 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 709,000 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

(c) Mary Grace Long Photograph

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; Glass Beads; 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 498: It’s a family affair with Dru Rivers of Full Belly Farm and Hannah Rose Muller of Full Belly Floral

March 24th, 2021

Hannah in the flower fields
Hanna Rose Muller of Full Belly Floral (c) Sarah Ching Photograph

Today’s guest have been on my wish list to interview ever since we met in person at a Slow Flowers gathering in 2018, hosted by Scott Paris of High Hand Nursery, past guest of this podcast.

Please meet Dru Rivers, co-founder of Full Belly Farm, one of the first certified organic farms in California, and her daughter Hannah Rose Muller, who created their sister venture Full Belly Floral. They are based in Guinda, in Northern California’s Capay Valley. Full Belly is committed to fostering sustainability on all levels, from fertility in their soil and care for the environment, to stable employment for farm workers. Striving to be good stewards of their farm, the folks at Full Belly Farm want this and future generations to be nourished by the healthy and vibrant food they produce.

Dru Rivers of Full Belly Farm
Dru Rivers, the matriarch of Full Belly Farm (c) Hannah Rose Muller Photograph

Full Belly Farm has been growing a wide variety of certified organic flowers for over 30 years. The farm sells flowers at multiple farmers markets, to wholesale distributers, and through their CSA.

Hannah Muller began Full Belly Floral in the hopes that local and seasonal flowers could help brighten the days of those individuals who are celebrating a special occasion.

Hannah in the flower fields at Full Belly Farm
Growing flowers against the stunning backdrop of Northern California’s Capay Valley (c) Emily Merrill Photograph

Here’s a little bit more about Hannah:

She writes on Full Belly Floral’s website: that her love for flowers started at a very young age, continuing:

When I was little, my mother would spend hours picking buckets filled with flowers to arrange for countless orders and farmers markets. While she worked, her hands a blur of clippers and blooms, I napped in the back of trucks and in boxes, exhausted from my days of exploring. 

The flower harvest
The Flower Harvest at Full Belly Farm

As I got older, I began to share in my mother’s enthusiasm for arranging flowers at various community events and farmers markets. To this day, there is no one I have more fun designing with than her. In the past three years, I have grown my love for flowers into a branch of Full Belly Farm that offers local and sustainably grown and arranged flowers for weddings and events.

My passion for designing, and my intent to continue the important practice of using locally sourced flowers has led me back to the fields of Full Belly Farm, and to the one place I have ever truly felt at home. Nothing makes me feel more fulfilled than working with flowers, and helping to bring my client’s vision to life.

Dinosaur Kale and tulips
CSA bouquets featuring Full Belly Farm’s dinosaur kale and seasonal tulips

This is such a lovely conversation with two women spanning the history of Full Belly Farm. I know you’ll enjoy meeting them!

Find and follow Dru and Hannah at these social places:

Full Belly Farm on Facebook and Instagram

Hannah Rose Muller/Full Belly Floral on Instagram @farmerhands

at the design studio
At the Full Belly Floral design studio (c) Emily Merrill Photograph

That was fun, right?! What a great conversation — so inspiring to think about the many ways that flower farming and floral design brings added value to a food-growing operation. Did you hear Dru mention that flowers are Full Belly Farm’s number-two crop?! And the flower CSA subscriptions tripled in 2020! You can’t argue with that news!


Slow Flowers Summit 2021
Our fabulous speaker lineup includes (top row), Susan McLeary, Emily Saeger, Molly Culver; (middle row), Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Max Gill; (bottom row), Abra Lee, Pilar Zuniga, Jennifer Jewell + our host, Slow Flowers Society’s Debra Prinzing

You might have heard me mention to Dru and Hannah how I’m looking forward to seeing them this June at the Slow Flowers Summit, which takes place at Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside, California, just south of San Francisco.

Yes, folks, we are 100% committed to hosting a safe, covid-compliant, all-outdoor conference on June 28-30, 2021 – and you are invited to join us!

We are working closely with the administration and horticulture staff at Filoli to ensure a successful Summit for all. It will require some adjustments, but we’re ready for them! Our sessions will move to an outside venue with monitors for the powerpoint presentations and carefully served, individually-portioned meals to ensure everything is safe for all. The grounds at Filoli are stunning and the weather will be perfect, so we can gather, socially-distanced, and learn, connect, share ideas and experience community.

If you’re interested in joining us, please check out the links that I’ll have in today’s show notes. And check out the Slow Flowers Summit “news” page, with two new speaker profiles of Abra Lee and Max Gill, interviewed by contributor Myriah Towner. I am so ready for this year’s Summit! It has been great connecting with everyone over Zoom and online this past year, but nothing can replace the human connection!


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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.

Thanks also 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.

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.

Rooted Farmers, our Premier Sponsor for the Slow Flowers Summit and Slow Flowers Society. 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.

(c) Mary Grace Long Photograph

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 706,000 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 497: Meet Jill Brooke, floral journalist and creator of Flower Power Daily

March 17th, 2021

A quick note for you garden-lovers! We are giving away five virtual tickets to the Great Grow Along, a new, three-day, virtual gardening festival taking place this weekend, March 19-21  – online, of course. The Great Grow Along features more than 40 sessions across six topic tracks and YOU might win a free ticket to attend. The first five listeners who post a comment below will receive the complimentary registration, valued at $29.95. Be sure to tell us what’s growing in your garden in the comment section.  If you miss out on this giveaway, the folks at the Great Grow Along have also shared a $5 off promo code for all of our listeners to join in: that code is: SlowFlowersDiscount. Several past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast are in the lineup — and you’ll want to grab their presentations, including Lorene Edwards Forkner, Sue Goetz, Kelly Norris and Allison and Sean McManus. And our friend Teri Speight of Cottage in the Court, author of a forthcoming book for BLOOM Imprint, will also be presenting. Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate a new season!


Meet today’s guest: Jill Brooke

Jill Brooke of Flower Power Daily

I’m so happy to welcome Jill Brooke to the Slow Flowers Podcast today. She is the creator and editorial director of Flower Power Daily, an online news site for all things flowers. Jill and I were introduced to one another about a year ago through our mutual friends at Fleurs de Villes, the floral fashion exhibition that was staged at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in 2020.

We’ve chatted by phone a few times and I appreciate it when Jill sends me newsy emails about how flowers are showing up in our world. Jill has a journalist’s uncanny ability to identify and unearth (pun intended) the floral angle to any news topic of the day. If it’s a trending hashtag, on any subject, Flower Power Daily will elevate the conversation through flowers. A few examples to illustrate my point: In the performing arts, she wrote about the Barcelona Opera Playing to Flowering Plants Instead of People; in fashion, Flower Power Daily recently covered the new Kenzo and Vans shoe collaboration featuring floral prints. In politics, sports, wellness and mental health, food and wine, and beyond– Flower Power Daily interprets every subject through a floral lens. It’s a way to view the world that I wholeheartedly endorse! We all want flowers to be universally important, and the stories covered by Flower Power Daily underscore this truth — that humans need flowers. 

Here’s a bit more about Jill Brooke: She has been a CNN correspondent, an Editor in chief at Travel Savvy, Avenue and Show Circuit, a columnist for the New York Post, Ad Week and Metropolitan Home, and her work has appeared in the New York Times, and many women’s magazines.

With all this professional experience, Jill says nothing has ever felt as right as Flower Power Daily, which she established in February 2019.

Jill  gathered seasoned professionals who share the same passion for flowers and respect nature’s gifts and insights to help curate the stories, videos and images you can find each day at Flower Power Daily. You can visit Flower Power Daily’s website, subscribe to its newsletter and follow more flower posts on Instagram — and I’ll share those links in today’s show notes.

As Jill says: If you look at life through the prism of flowers- you will be happier. She believes that flowers are here for a reason and teach great life lessons. Flowers comfort and congratulate; they express sentiments without many words. No matter what is going on in your life – flowers are here for you. 

Thanks so much for joining me today. Talking with Jill is entirely invigorating — her energy level is bound to boost anyone else’s metabolism, too. And it’s all because of flowers. Flower Power Daily recognized Slow Flowers last summer with a story titled ‘Five Americans Making History in the Flower World.”

Subscribe to Flower Power Daily’s weekly newsletter

Follow Flower Power Daily on Instagram


Click on the link below to read more about the just announced nominations for “Aspire Design and Home magazine’s ‘Best Dressed Rooms in TV and Film Awards.'” Jill is quoted in the press announcement, saying “Because we are spending so much time indoors, we’re all talking about what TV shows to watch and ways to redecorate. People are appreciating and focused on design more than ever, so it’s a perfect marriage and perfect timing” for an awards program honoring the fabulous interiors of TV shows and films. The awards will be announced on April 22nd.


Jennifer Jewell, creator and host of “Cultivating Place: Conversations on the Natural World and the Human Impulse to Garden”

This week, I want tell you about Jennifer Jewell, creator and host of “Cultivating Place,” a public radio program and podcast. Jennifer is a past guest of this prodcast and she will be speaking at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit in June. Click here to subscribe to “Cultivating Place” Podcast.


Earlier this month, Slow Flowers and AIFD teamed up to record a webinar called “From Farm to Florist,” featuring Brad Siebe, general manager of Seattle Wholesale Growers Market; Cassie Plummer of Jig-Bee Flower Farm; Diane and Lillian Calhoun of Calhoun Flower Farms; Amelia Ihlo of Rooted Farmers; Gina Thresher, AIFD, EMC of From the Ground up Floral and Renee Tucci AIFD — all Slow Flowers Members, as well as Marisa Guerrera AIFD of Debbie’s Bloomers.

Together, we discussed the benefits and best practices to incorporate locally-grown flowers into everyday designs and event work. It was a fantastic session and I love the meeting of the minds between florists and flower farmers. Click above to watch the video!


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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. Our first thanks goes to 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.

Our next thanks goes to 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.

Our final thanks goes to 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 703,000 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.

(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 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:

Pat Dog; Thannoid; 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 496 Growing a Slow Flowers Farm-ily – a beautiful story from Perry-winkle Farm, where Mike Perry and Cathy Jones mentor and co-farm with Taij and Victoria Cotten

March 10th, 2021

Victoria and Taij Cotten at Perry-winkle Farm
Cathy Jones captured an iPhone photo of that “meeting” between Taij and Victoria Cotten and me at the ASCFG conference in September 2018 (I just found this photo on her IG feed!)

In 2018, at the most recent Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers’ national conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, I met a young couple named Taij and Victoria Cotten. It was serendipity that placed us together at the banquet table, the night of ASCFG’s 30th Birthday Celebration, in fact. I learned that Taij and Victoria were invited to the conference by their mentor, Cathy Jones, who joined them at that table. I learned a little bit about their unique co-farming experience, and that’s what you’ll hear more about in today’s conversation.

Cathy Jones and Mike Perry of Perry-winkle Farm

This is a story of two couples, one farm, and one special friendship between the generations. Cathy Jones and her husband Mike Perry founded Perry-winkle Farm thirty-plus years ago on land in Chatham County, outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Their farm products include vegetables, herbs, cut flowers, and fresh eggs from pastured hens, which they sell at three regional farmers’ markets: Fearrington Village (seasonally) and 2 Carrboro Farmers markets (Wednesday-seasonally and Saturday- year round).

More photos from Perry-winkle Farm: Cathy Jones with her flowers and Mike Perry with his world-famous chicken eggs

As first-generation farmers, they began the process of converting over-worked dairy crop land into a sustainable vegetable operation with little more than a few hand tools, a walk-behind tiller and subscriptions to Organic Gardening and New Farm magazines.  They sought advice from other local growers and started attending conferences and workshops to broaden their “education”.  A few years later, Perry-winkle Farm became one of the first farms in Chatham County to be “Certified Organic”.

One of the mobile Chicken Houses at Perry-winkle Farm

Over the years they have trained and benefited from the help of many employees.  Working with motivated “learners” remains one of the most positive aspects of the farm’s activities. And when it comes to selling their beautiful, field-grown cut flowers, Perry-winkle creates mixed bouquets for farmers’ market sales. What Cathy, Mike, Victoria and Taij they really love is using their design skills to fashion arrangements for weddings, parties, and other special events. They also offer “custom or farmer’s choice” buckets of their flowers.

Click here to read more about Perry-winkle Farm in an article from NC State Extension’s Debbie Roos

more scenes from Perry-winkle Farm
More scenes from Perry-winkle Farm: Mike and Cathy with Taij and Victoria (left); the Cotten kids, Carleigh and Titus (right)
More photos from Perry-winkle Farm
A gallery of the beautiful harvest from Perry-winkle Farm

Here’s more about Taij and Victoria Cotten:

After responding to a Craigslist ad for Valentine’s Day in 2017 at Preston Flower Shop, Taij and Victoria were hooked on flowers. They quit their jobs and traveled North Carolina’s Piedmont farming region, talking with any farmer that had time or space for them. They quickly realized they wanted to farm. 

Now farming alongside their mentors/farm-ily Michael Perry and Cathy Jones of Perry-winkle farm, the couple helps sustainably farm 4 acres in Northern Chatham County, specializing in seasonal vegetables, specialty cut flowers and pasture laying hens. Taij and Victoria reside in Chatham County, NC with their two adorable, flower-loving children: Carleigh (6) and Titus (1)

At the Farmers’ Market with Perry-winkle Farm

You may recall that Taij and Victoria were featured panelists on the flower farming panel as part of last December’s Young Farmers & Cooks Conference hosted by Stone Barns Center for Sustainable Agriculture, which I moderated — and later shared as a Slow Flowers Podcast episode 484 on December 16th. They shared part of their story then, but we were pressed for time to include all the panelists, so I promised to circle back and devote an entire episode to Perry-winkle Farm. 

It is inspiring to learn how a new generation of flower farmers is being nurtured and supported! Thanks for sharing your story, Cathy, Mike, Taij and Victoria!

Thanks so much for joining me today. I am inspired by the story of Mike and Cathy, Taij and Victoria, and I can’t wait to see more from this amazing farm-ily, a potential model for other established farms in need of young talent and enthusiasm.

Find and Follow these flower farmers:
Perry-winkle Farm on Facebook
Perry-winkle Farm on Instagram
The Cottens on Instagram


This Friday, we are hosting the March Slow Flowers Member (virtual) Meet Up — and all Slow Flowers Society members are invited to log in via Zoom for a fantastic session! You’ll meet three Slow Flowers members who will share all about Dye Plants and Natural Pigments from Botanical Ingredients. Learn how you can grow dye plants for your own projects or to market to other artists.

Elaine Vandiver of Old Homestead Alpacas and Gholson Gardens
Lourdes Casanares-Still of Masagana Flower Farm and Tinta Studio
Julie Beeler of Bloom and Dye

Our special guests include Elaine Vandiver of Old Homestead Alpacas and Gholson Gardens (Walla Walla, Washington); Julie Beeler of Bloom and Dye (Trout Lake, Washington); and Lourdes Casañares-Still of Masagana Flower Farm and Tinta Studio (La Broquerie, Manitoba).

I want to emphasize that your Slow Flowers Membership Gives You an Important Narrative and Mission to Share with Your Community and Your Customers. And joining our monthly meet-up is one very popular benefit that has emerged in the past year . . . educating, connecting and inspiring hundreds of you. I can’t wait for this incredible lineup of savvy growers and artists to share their information with our community.


Thank you to our Sponsors!

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.

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 also thank three of our Major Sponsors. Our first thanks goes to 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.

It’s fitting that our next sponsor thanks goes to Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, through which I met these lovely humans at Perry-winkle Farm. 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 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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 700,000 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’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.

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

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:

Alustrat; 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