Debra Prinzing

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Episode 509: From Cutting Gardens to Flowers for the Home, a Conversation with the Horticulture Team at Filoli Historic House & Garden, Jim Salyards, Kate Nowell and Haley O’Connor

June 9th, 2021

The Wedding Garden at Filoli Historic House & Garden (c) Gretchine Nievarez

Over the past year, you’ve heard from many of the panelists and personalities scheduled to present at the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit, scheduled for June 28-30, which is right around the corner. And today, I’m bringing you straight to our Summit destination, Filoli Historic House & Garden based in Woodside, California, where we will gather for the first two days of the conference.

Filoli’s remarkable Georgian Revival architecture (c) Gretchine Nievarez

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

From left, today’s guests: Jim Salyards, Kate Nowell and Haley O’Connor of Filoli’s Horticulture Staff

For now, I’d love to introduce you to the horticulture team at Filoli, because they are the ones whose involvement in the Slow Flowers Summit will ensure a thoroughly immersive plant and floral experience.

Today, join me in a conversation with Jim Salyards, Kate Nowell and Haley O’Connor.

Jim Salyards is the director of horticulture, a 26-year veteran of Filoli!

Kate Nowell is the horticulture production manager, with about one decade at Filoli, and Haley O’Connor is Filoli’s new formal garden manager who joined about six months ago.

Let’s jump right in and take an audio (virtual) botanical tour with three talented plants people.


Attendees of the Slow Flowers Summit will have full access to the beautiful grounds at Filoli Historic House & Garden during our workshops and immersive floral experiences

Thank you so much for joining our conversation today! There are still a few spaces left to attend the Slow Flowers Summit and you can find all those details at slowflowerssummit.com. We are so excited to welcome our attendees to a safe, in-person, COVID-compliant and mostly outdoor setting at Filoli Historic House and Garden. The countdown begins!

The Garden House at Filoli

And by the way, if you’re not attending the Summit, watch Slow Flowers Society on Facebook, Slow Flowers Society and Slow Flowers Summit on Instagram for live feeds coming to you from the Slow Flowers Summit, including a behind-the-scenes tour that I will lead on setup day, Sunday, June 28th.


Something really fun happened this past week as I traded places at the microphone and answered questions posed to me rather than being the person asking those questions. Our good friend Jennifer Jewell, producer and host of Cultivating Place, an award-winning public radio program and podcast, invited me to join her to discuss all things Slow Flowers. I’ll share the link to that episode in today’s show notes. You’ve heard Jennifer here as a past guest and you may already subscribe to Cultivating Place. If not, please check out her amazing, inclusive and expansive weekly radio program about plants, people, place and other conversations about natural history and the human urge to garden. Jennifer is coming to the Slow Flowers Summit as our capstone speaker on day two — and I’m so honored that she shared our story – your story – the story of Slow Flowers – on her terrific show.


Our 2021 Botanical Couture Collection for American Flowers Week 2021

As you know, in the buildup to American Flowers Week, June 28-July 4, there is much to celebrate. This Friday, you’re invited to join our Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up, June 11th at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. The topic: Botanical Couture for American Flowers Week 2021 Collection. The guests? Several of the creatives responsible for this year’s expansive and flourishing fashion collection! Get a peek at the behind the scenes and hear from the creatives — Slow Flowers member farmers, designers and floral artists who rose to the open call for floral wearables. We have one-dozen looks in all this year — a feat of talent, ingenuity and inventiveness! Can’t wait for you to join us — all the details and the link to log in are available in today’s show notes. See you there!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 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 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

sponsor logo bar

For each Podcast episode this year, we thank three of our Major Sponsors.

Flowerfarm.com, is a leading wholesale flower distributor that sources from carefully-selected growers to offer high-performing fresh flowers sent directly from the farm straight to you. You can shop by flower and by country of origin at flowerfarm.com. Find flowers and foliage from California, Florida, Oregon and Washington by using the “Origin” selection tool in your search. It’s smarter sourcing. Learn more at flowerfarm.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.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 734,000 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

Debra Prinzing

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:

Flattered; 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 508: Horticulture, pop culture and Black American floral legends with Abra Lee of Conquer the Soil

June 2nd, 2021

Today, we continue our series to highlight the talented speaker lineup for the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit, taking place June 28th-30th at Filoli Historic House & Garden in Woodside, California, with an extended conversation I’m excited to share with you.

Abra, pruning roses as a volunteer at the Georgia Governor’s Mansion

Please meet Abra Lee, horticulturist, author, speaker and founder of the media platform called Conquer the Soil. Based in Atlanta, Abra says she is a self-proclaimed horticulturist extraordinaire that is half country bumpkin, half bougie, occasionally extra, and inherently Southern. She writes: “The opportunities I’ve been fortunate to experience during my career in the garden industry have far surpassed my ancestors’ wildest dreams!”

Abra, leading the horticulture program at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Educated at Auburn University College of Agriculture in Auburn, Alabama  with a B.S. in Horticulture and a distinguished Leadership in Public Horticulture Fellow from  Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Abra takes notes on plants + pop culture and shares her observations across her blog and social media. Count on Abra to bring her distinct perspective to horticulture, popular culture, fashion, celebrity, and the history of Black gardeners.

Her impressive professional path began as a city arborist, which led to landscape management roles at two major international airports (in Atlanta, followed by Houston), and as a University of Georgia Extension Agent.

Meet the women of the Negro Garden Clubs of Virginia, circa 1932, featured in Conquer the Soil’s IG Feed

Years of research into the history of Black American gardeners propelled Abra to collect her research into a new book, scheduled for publication in the fall of 2022.

The forthcoming book is called Conquer the Soil – Black America and the Untold Stories of Our Country’s Gardeners, Farmers, and Growers

Conquer the Soil profiles 45 hidden figures of horticulture—the Black men and women whose accomplished careers in the plant world are little known or untold. Among them are Wormley Hughes, an enslaved African-American who was head gardener at Monticello and dug Jefferson’s grave; Annie Vann Reid, an ex-teacher turned entrepreneur in South Carolina who owned a five-acre greenhouse and nursery in the 1940s that sold millions of plants and seeds; and David August Williston, a graduate of Cornell University and the first African-American landscape architect, a student of Liberty Hyde Bailey, and the designer of the Tuskegee University campus. Abra’s lively text will be enriched by illustrations of each individual, making this forthcoming book as beautiful as it is critically important.
In Conquer the Soil, Abra Lee–a rising star in the plant world–gives these women and men the spotlight they deserve and enriches our collective understanding of the history of horticulture. 

A Conquer the Soil IG post — picking up on news about “The Gardener,” a forthcoming Batman villain

As we discuss in today’s epsiode, Abra has an infectous passion about the people she’s discovered through her research. She has lectured extensively on African-Americans and Ornamental Horticulture, gathering her research of 600 years of history from pre-colonial Africa to today and the artistic contributions of Black gardeners, horticulturists, educators and landscape architects to the green profession. While continuing her research for her upcoming book on the subject, Abra has unearthed an incredible narrative of Black Americans in floristry. She will share these stories of people, their flowers and their entrepreneurism in a new talk for the Slow Flowers Summit audience.

Sneak peek of Mrs. Blanche Hurston, one of the women you’ll meet in Abra Lee’s presentation at the Slow Flowers Summit (from Conquer the Soil’s IG feed)

Her presentation, The History of the Black American Florist, will inspire our attendees with her storytelling gifts as she brings their untold stories to life, giving voice to the important history about Black pioneers in horticulture, floriculture, landscape architecture and botany.

Some of the fun Conquer the Soil merchandise that Abra will bring to our Book & Art Table at the Slow Flowers Summit; from left: Famed florist Lucille Caine orchid hat pop-art poster, Conquer the Soil tote, Music x Flowers tote (a historic florist said these words, but you’ll have to hear about that from Abra!)

Find and follow Abra Lee and Conquer the Soil at these social places:

Conquer the Soil on Instagram

Conquer the Soil on Facebook


Slow Flowers Summit 2021

2021 speakers Slow Flowers Summit
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

Thank you so much for joining our conversation today! There are still a few spaces left to attend the Slow Flowers Summit and you can find all those details at slowflowerssummit.com. We are so excited to welcome our attendees to a safe, in-person, COVID-compliant and mostly outdoor setting at Filoli Historic House and Garden. The countdown begins!


American Flowers Week 2021

Our 2021 Botanical Couture Collection!

You’re hearing this Podcast on June 2nd and this week we’re kicking off the anticipation of American Flowers Week! American Flowers Week takes place June 28-July 4 each year, we’re heading into our 7th annual campaign!

Create your own American Flowers Week activities and events — use our branding, logos, free downloads and all the content available at Americanflowersweek.com to promote your floral enterprise. See the home page for our “Media Resources” and “Free Downloads” menus.

Read about the designers, growers and creatives behind one-dozen Botanical Couture looks for American Flowers Week 2021!

This year, Slow Flowers Society has partnered with our publishing arm, BLOOM Imprint, to produce a special Botanical Couture edition of Slow Flowers Journal. The 72-page digital magazine is available FREE to you – you’ll be inspired and amazed at the collective talent of the Slow Flowers community of creatives — flower growers, floral designers, and their teams who produced one dozen distinctly different botanical fashions. You can find the link to our special edition in today’s show notes at debraprinzing.com — and download social media graphics of each floral ensemble for your own use.

I want to share an invitation specifically for flower farmers who may be planning a special promotion, pop-up sale, workshop or other way to celebrate American Flowers Week. I’ll be writing a story about what flower farmers are doing during the campaign for an upcoming issue of Growing For Market — and I’m looking for ways to feature you and your plans. Please get in touch if you have something in the works! You can shoot me a note at debra@slowflowers.com.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 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 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

sponsor logo bar
5-channel-sponsor-block

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

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.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 732,000 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

Debra Prinzing
(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:

Lumber Down; Heartland Flyer; 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 507: Slow Flowers Summit Preview with Kellee Matsushita-Tseng and Emily Saeger on Sustainable Farming x Floral Design

May 26th, 2021

The Slow Flowers Summit is one month away — it’s really impossible to believe as I speak that sentence, especially after having to postpone the 2020 Summit, which would have been our fourth consecutive year holding a live, in-person gathering to celebrate Slow Flowers Society and American Flowers Week.

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

Alas, as each of you knows, little took place last year. However, as we entered 2021, with the availability of vaccinations and some incredibly creative event planning by Karen Thornton, our Summit event manager along with the leadership at Filoli Historic House & Garden, we now can joyously proclaim that the Slow Flowers Summit 2021 will take place on June 28-30th.

You have met many of our speakers on past episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast, but in the coming weeks you will hear from several others. Consider this an introduction and a preview of their presentations coming up.

Today, I invited two of the three panelists who are part of Sustainable Farming x Floral Design – what I envisioned as a conversation about how sustainable farming practices influence design choices, aesthetics and style. Hear each presenter’s personal journey through farming to floral design, and enjoy visual inspiration as each demonstrates a signature arrangement using all locally-grown seasonal flowers.​

Sustainable Farming x Floral Design Panel
The Slow Flowers Summit’s Sustainable Farming x Floral Design Panel (from left): Emily Saeger, Kellee Matsushita-Tseng and Molly Culver

Kellee Matsushita-Tseng will be moderating the panel, joined by Emily Saeger and Molly Culver. Today’s episode features a conversation with Kellee and Emily. Molly was unable to join us but I have a bonus for you — links to Molly’s past appearances on the Slow Flowers Podcast:
Episode 172: Brooklyn Grows Flowers! Meet Molly Oliver Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers
Episode 412: The Flowering of Brooklyn with Molly Oliver Flowers
Episode 451: From Grower to Designer to Consumer: How two floral models are changing and adapting, with Yvonne Ashton of Mayesh Wholesale Florist and Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers

First, I’ll tell you a bit more about Kellee and Emily – and then we will jump right into the conversation:

Kellee Matsushita-Tseng is a queer, fourth generation Japanese-Chinese farmer. They are an educator and instructor at CASFS (The Center For Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems) at UC Santa Cruz, training folks to grow a variety of fabulous fruits, flowers, and vegetables. They train growers in flower production, design, and sales for fresh markets and special events. They believe that cut flowers should be accessible to everyone, both for their cultural and spiritual significance, as well as for their beauty and sensory delight. Kellee is delighted to be part of creating a flower movement that is rooted in social and environmental justice. They are currently enamored by our native Matilija poppies, and excited to continue exploring design possibilities with other great natives.
Follow KELLEE on Instagram @bravenewseed

Emily Saeger is a Filoli Horticulture Alumni and currently pursuing a Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington. She has eight years of horticultural experience blend production agriculture, landscape maintenance, garden and floral design.  She has worked for several notable Bay Area farms including, Fifth Crow Farm, Bluma Farm and Hidden Villa.
Prior to entering the Landscape Architecture program in the fall of 2020, Emily served as the Lead Horticulturist at Filoli, where she looked after the rose garden, cutting garden and orchard.  Her design aesthetic is a blending of her work experience – foraged and cultivated, wild and formal – always designed with seasonality and senescence in mind.  A strong believer in the healing powers of nature, through her gardens and floral design she hopes to facilitate this connection for all.  
Follow EMILY on Instagram @emilyadelias 

Thank you so much for joining our conversation today! There are still a few spaces left to attend the Slow Flowers Summit and you can find all those details at slowflowerssummit.com. We are so excited to welcome our attendees to a safe, in-person, COVID-compliant and mostly outdoor setting at Filoli Historic House and Garden. The countdown begins!


A few announcements:

Two gorgeous peony arrangements featuring the floral art of Brandon Scott McLean

If you missed last week’s Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up with Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies and Brandon Scott McLean of East Hill Floral — two peony experts from Homer Alaska — we have the playback video to share with you!

Save the date for our next Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up on June 11th. More details to come but the theme is American Flowers Week!


Our American Flowers Week 2021 artwork from Los Angeles illustrator Jeanetta Gonzales

Speaking of American Flowers Week, which takes place June 28-July 4 each year, we’re heading into our 7th annual campaign! I want to share an invitation specifically for flower farmers who may be planning a special promotion, pop-up sale, workshop or other way to celebrate American Flowers Week. I’ll be writing a story about what flower farmers are doing during the campaign for an upcoming issue of Growing For Market — and I’m looking for ways to feature you and your plans. Please get in touch if you have something in the works! You can shoot me a note at debra@slowflowers.com.


And finally, we have just drawn the winners for the May 12th book giveaway featuring Niki Irving’s new book, Growing Flowers. Niki is a longtime Slow Flowers member, a farmer-florist and owner of Flourish Flower Farm in Asheville, North Carolina. We discussed Growing Flowers, her first-ever book, and issued a giveaway challenge to our listeners. Thanks to the generous donation from Mango Publishing, we have two copies to give away to listeners. We asked you to post a photo of one or more of the flowers you are growing, and use the #growingflowrs hashtag, as well as tagging @flourishflowerfarm@slowflowerssociety and @mangopublishing. We rounded up all of your posts and did a random drawing for the two books. Congratulations to Jenni Hulburt and Flower Folly Farm. We’ll be in touch to get your addresses for receiving a free copy of Growing Flowers. I know you’ll enjoy Niki’s new book!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 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 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.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 730,000 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

Debra Prinzing
(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:

Heartland Flyer; 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 506 Great News about a new Regional Wholesale Hub with Old Dominion Flower Cooperative

May 19th, 2021

flowers at Old Dominion Flower Cooperative
Spring selection of blooms at Old Dominion Flower Cooperative

I’ve documented the emergence and rise of regional wholesale flower hubs for more than a decade — you’ve heard it all on the Slow Flowers Podcast!

We have witnessed, encouraged and featured on the Slow Flowers Podcast numerous other regional efforts to bring flowers from the field to the florist and consumer in innovative ways — from legal cooperatives to privately-held wholesaler operations; from casual meet-ups to marketing collectives.

My deepest ties are with the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative whose origins date to 2010 when a group of growers came together at a regional ASCFG meeting held at Charles Little & Co. in Eugene, Oregon. Fortunately, I was there and witnessed those first, ambitious, optimistic conversations that yielded what we here in Seattle enjoy today. At the time, there were only two other models to which the founders of Seattle Wholesale Growers Market could look: Oregon Flower Growers Association, which has a long history in the Portland market, having been founded in the 1940s; and Fair Field Flowers, a small but mighty collective of Wisconsin and Illinois growers serving Madison and Milwaukie florists. Fair Field Flowers ceased operating as a collective on January 1, 2019, but many of the flower farmers who participated still grow and sell flowers; just independently.

And now, we have a new example to highlight. Let’s welcome two of the founders of Old Dominion Flower Cooperative, a Washington, D.C.-area local flower cooperative.

Flowers for springtime at Old Dominion Flower Cooperative
Seasonal bouquets and growers’ bunches

My guests are Melissa Webster, founder, and Megan Wakefield, director of operations — two growers who are part of this group that launched publicly at the end of January.  Soon thereafter, Old Dominion joined Slow Flowers Society and reached out to introduce themselves. Here are some statistics from a few months ago — I wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers have grown in all categories:

Old Dominion Flower Cooperative is a community marketplace that brings together local growers, designers, and flower lovers by providing top-quality, seasonal, sustainable, diverse, and locally-grown cut flowers and foliages. They aim to make these floral products accessible to designers and the public, while also respecting the efforts of their local farming community. 

Flowers and people
Old Dominion Flower Cooperative is a community-based hub for growers and florists in Northern Virginia, West Verginia, Maryland and the Distirict of Columbia

Old Dominion Flower Cooperative started in the winter of 2020 with a series of conversations led by local flower growers and floral designers in the greater D.C.-area about how to fill a gap they saw in the local floral industry. They identified that a lot of fantastic flower growers in the area were having trouble breaking into the wholesale market and even more designers and flower shops that want to use local flowers but were having a hard time finding consistent sources of blooms.

With an emphasis on education and high-quality floral product Old Dominion started a six-week training program for member farmers in March. Taught by their mentor Barbara Lamborne from Greenstone Fields and Laura Beth Resnick from Butterbee Farm, topics covered include harvesting, quality control, growing for designers, and conditioning.

I’m excited to share this conversation with you today. Before we get started, let me tell you a little more about Megan Wakefield (left) and Melissa Webster (right)

Melissa Webster is the owner of Old Soul Flower Company. She has been growing for her community for over eight years and is passionate about good stewardship of the land. Melissa received her M.A. from Georgian Court University where she studied food access; soon after she was the farm manager at Common Good City Farm in downtown Washington DC. Melissa spent time as the education director at National Farmers Union where she worked with farmers around the country. Melissa is a strong advocate for beginning and female producers. Melissa owned Ladybell Farms in West River MD, before moving to Great Falls, VA in 2019 with her husband (Ben) and three dogs (Riley, Brixton, and Bean).

Megan Wakefield is the owner of Walking Wild Gardens, based in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. She started gardening with her grandmother when young and later owned a small herbal shop on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. She says her love of gardening, plants, tea, and herbs are all due to her grandmother’s influence. In law school, Megan started getting interested in where her food came from. As a first-year lawyer, she started volunteering on a local farm on weekends. Soon, she was hooked and left her 9-5 legal job to work on farms.
Today, Megan owns Walking Wild Gardens. She teaches gardening workshops, offers consultations, blends tea and builds beautiful gardens. In the end, everything I do is about building relationships with plants.

Thank you so much for joining my conversation today! We are committed to nurturing this new business model for wholesale flower hubs and the stories continue.

Find and follow Old Dominion Flower Cooperative on Instagram and Facebook


Join this week’s Slow Flowers Member (Virtual) Meet-Up

Beth Van Sandt (left) and Brandon Scott McLean (right)
Slow Flowers Meet-Up Logo Art

We have a very special Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up coming up very soon and I want to give you all the details.

It’s all about PEONIES and we’re meeting virtually – on Zoom – as we’ve done for more than a year, folks! Join me, Friday, May 21st – 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern and meet two Slow Flowers members from Alaska’s peony country! Grower Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies  and designer Brandon Scott McLean of East Hill Floral will share their knowledge and talents — and introduce us to the upcoming Alaska peony season. Beth and Brandon will come to us LIVE from the greenhouse at East Hill Floral. Learn about the selection, cultivation and post-harvest “best practices” for peonies from Beth. Watch an inspired floral design demonstration from Brandon!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 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 thank three of our Major Sponsors:

Our first sponsor 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.

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 727,000 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

Debra Prinzing
(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:

A Palace of Cedar; On Our Own Again; 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 505: Growing Flowers with Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm

May 12th, 2021

Niki and William (left); Niki Irving (right), photographed at Flourish Flower Farm

Let’s welcome Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm of Asheville, N.C., a longtime Slow Flowers member, a flower farmer, florist, educator and now, author.

Just-picked North Carolina flowers, so beautiful! Photographed at Flourish Flower Farm.

Niki and her husband William own a nine-acre specialty cut flower farm nestled in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Niki farms more than 300 varieties of cut flowers and foliage and creates seasonally-inspired designs for weddings and special events. She sells her flowers wholesale both locally and nationally, motivated by  a belief that flowers make the world a more beautiful, joyful place.

Just released: “Growing Flowers,” by Niki Irving

Let’s jump into the conversation and talk all about Niki’s new book, “Growing Flowers.”

Niki (right) and a floral display at Flourish Flower Farm (left)

Enjoy these photos of Niki, a talented farmer-florist, and read through the Table of Contents to help you see the range of comprehensive information Niki shares in her new book.

Click here to order a signed copy from Niki

Find and follow Flourish Flower Farm at these social places.

Flourish Flower Farm on Facebook

Flourish Flower Farm on Instagram

A charming “Goody Box,” available from Niki’s website. Order details here.

Thanks to the generous donation from Niki’s publisher, we have two copies to give away to listeners. Here are the instructions:


Camellia Faire’s concept for the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show exhibit 2021
More of Maura’s beautiful inspiration . . .

Before we meet our featured guest, I want to share a short bonus conversation with Maura Feeney of Camellia Faire Floral Studio, based in Philadelphia. You may know this talented floral artist by her former studio name Maura Rose Events, now rebranded as Camellia Faire.

Maura is a returning designer at this year’s PHS Philadelphia Flower Show and Slow Flowers is supporting her installation. Currently, she is seeking Slow Flower member growers to provide blooming plants to use at their exhibit called Rooted + Gathered. Maura isn’t asking for a donation — she has a budget to purchase the plants, and you’ll have promotional credit and receive photography from the exhibit. Check out details above and reach out to Maura at info@camelliafaire.com.


We’ve been talking all about floral books this week and so here’s another chance to participate in an online contest and win a copy of my new book Where We Bloom.

Details Flowers Software, one of our Resource section sponsors for the book is running a Where We Bloom Instagram Giveaway for the month of May.

Details challenges you to share your creative studio space by posting a photo on IG with the hashtag #wherewebloomdetails. Three top winners will receive a copy of Where We Bloom along with a FREE subscription to Details software.

Follow these rules to enter:


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 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 thank three of our Major Sponsors.

Thank you to Red Twig Farms, based in Johnstown, Ohio, 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.

Our next sponsor 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 724,000 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

Debra Prinzing
(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:

Donnalee; Entwined Oddity; 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 504 A Conversation with Jennifer Jewell, host of public radio’s Cultivating Place and capstone presenter at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit

May 5th, 2021

Jennifer Jewell, author, radio host and garden advocate

I’m delighted to welcome back return guest Jennifer Jewell to the Slow Flowers Podcast for our lovely, wide-ranging conversation about what defines a garden, where those gardens are, who are the gardeners who tend to them and how we are both emerging from 2020 with a much clearer understanding of the roles women play in making the earth a better, safer, more inclusive and accessible place for all.

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

Here’s a bit more about Jennifer:
She is a gardener, garden writer, and gardening educator and advocate. She is the host of the national award-winning, weekly public radio program and podcast Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History & the Human Impulse to Garden.

Jennifer is particularly interested in the intersections between gardens, the native plant environments around them, and human culture. Her work has appeared in Gardens Illustrated and House & Garden, among others. She formerly served as the native plant garden curator for the Gateway Science Museum at California State University at Chico.

Her book, The Earth in Her Hands, 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants was published in 2020.


A selection of my favorites from Jennifer’s newest book, Under Western Skies:

From Under Western Skies, “Silicon Valley and Nature Renurtured,” featuring the gardens of Ronald Koo and Miwa Hayash’s Los Altos garden, designed by Leslie Bennett of Pine House Edible Gardens (c) Caitlin Atkinson
“Boise Valley,” the garden of Mary Ann and Delos Newcomer (c) Caitlin Atkinson
“Palouse Garden,” designed by Suzanne St. Pierre and Scotty Thompson (c) Caitlin Atkinson

Jennifer’s newest book (produced with photographer Caitlin Atkinson) is Under Western Skies: Visionary Gardens from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast, available from Timber Press next week.

Subscribe to Cultivating Place here

Find and follow Jennifer Jewell at these social places:

Cultivating Place on Facebook and Instagram

Listen to our past episodes featuring Jennifer Jewell:

Episode 397: On Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden with Jennifer Jewell of Public Radio’s Cultivating Place

Episode 443: Women at Work: Making a Living While Following Your Plant Passion, with author Jennifer Jewell and three of the 75 women profiled in her new book, “The Earth in Her Hands”


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

And there is still time to register for the Slow Flowers Summit to join me, Jennifer Jewell, and a fabulous lineup of designers, floral artists, sustainable growers, writers, thinkers and doers, and kindred spirits in the progressive floral community. The Summit takes place June 28-30 in the SF Bay Area and we will have an all-open-air conference with covid-compliant precautions in place. Hope to see you there!


The May Slow Flowers Newsletter just dropped this week and if you haven’t found it in your in-box, here is the link. Two highlights include a link to our full report on the Cut Flower questions that Slow Flowers underwrote as part of the 2021 National Gardening Survey — as you may recall, we featured this study recently in Episode 502.

Grower Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies  and designer Brandon Scott McLean of East Hill Floral 

And you can find a preview and more details about our MAY Slow Flowers Member “Virtual” Meet-Up — Meet two Slow Flowers members from Alaska’s peony country! Grower Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies  and designer Brandon Scott McLean of East Hill Floral will share their knowledge and talents — and introduce us to the upcoming Alaska peony season. Beth and Brandon will come to us LIVE from the greenhouse at East Hill Floral. Learn about the selection, cultivation and post-harvest “best practices” for peonies from Beth. Watch an inspired floral design demonstration from Brandon!

*New date (this month only) Friday, May 21st – 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern


Thank you to our Sponsors!

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 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 thank three of our Major Sponsors.

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.

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.

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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 722,000 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.

Debra Prinzing
(c) Mary Grace Long

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:

Dance of Felt; Skyway; 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