Debra Prinzing

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

November 13th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maura Sheehy, Maura’s Cottage Flowers

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

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

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

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

More botanicals from Maura’s Cottage Flowers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dahlias at Meadowsweet Flowers

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

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

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

Sweet Peas at Meadowsweet Flowers

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

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

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

Maura’s Cottage Flowers on Facebook

Maura’s Cottage Flowers on Instagram

Meadowsweet Flowers on Instagram

Flower Flowers of Ireland on Facebook

Flower Farmers of Ireland of Instagram

Flower Farmers of Ireland on Twitter

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

Dahlia from Meadowsweet Flowers, an organic flower farm in Ireland

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

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

Georgia Monroe of Basecamp Farm Flowers — our TEXAS Voice

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

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

Find and follow Basecamp Farm Flowers at these social places:

Basecamp Farm Flowers on Facebook

Basecamp Farm Flowers on Instagram

Basecamp Farms’ new online store

Texas Living article about Basecamp Farms Flowers

The SLOW FLOWERS PODCAST is the weekly podcast about American Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. It’s all about making a conscious choice and I invite you to join the conversation and the creative community as we discuss the vital topics of saving our domestic flower farms and supporting a floral industry that relies on a safe, seasonal and local supply of flowers and foliage.

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers. The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 544,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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

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

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

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

(c) photography by Liz Brown @estorie

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

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

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

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

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

In The Field; Thingamajig
audionautix.com

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