Debra Prinzing

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Episode 513: On “Growing Wonder,” garden roses for floral design with Felicia Alvarez of Menagerie Farm + Flower

July 7th, 2021

Today’s guest is Felicia Alvarez of Menagerie Farm + Flower (c) Jill Carmel Photography

June was a super-busy and invigorating month and I have lots to share with you! I’m recording the intro to today’s episode on July 5th. Yesterday, my husband and I arrived back in Seattle after driving home from the SF Bay Area, my car filled with Slow Flowers Summit supplies; my heart filled with love for our amazing community of members, supporters, sponsors, partners — and especially the small but mighty Slow Flowers team of creatives who work with me. Oh, and my mind spinning with ideas and inspiration from last week’s Slow Flowers Summit, our fourth and best one to date.

Our fabulous Slow Flowers Summit 2021 speaker lineup included (from left): Susan McLeary, Max Gill, founder Debra Prinzing, Pilar Zuniga (with her adorable daughter, Paloma), Jennifer Jewell, Abra Lee, Molly Oliver, Kelee Matsushita-Tseng, Emily Saeger and Lorene Edwards Forkner (c) Missy Palacol photography

You’ll hear much more in the coming weeks as I share recaps and resources from the Slow Flowers Summit 2021. Suffice it to say, the timing worked out wonderfully for an all-outdoor conference as we safely gathered at Filoli Historic House & Residence in Woodside, California.

Felicia Alvarez

To arrive there, I departed Seattle on Wednesday, June 23rd, giving myself two days to make the drive south.

It was a good time to be alone with my thoughts, and to schedule a few stops along the way. One stop was in Live Oak, California, located halfway between Chico and Sacramento.

I was lured to Menagerie Flower + Farm, where Felicia Alvarez lives with her family in the beautiful Sacramento Valley.

The farm raises field grown garden roses, specialty flowers, French prunes, assorted stone fruits, nuts and rice.

Menagerie Farm + Flower’s beautiful roses, including (left) Scarlett & Grace’s arrangement (c) Kelly Marie Photography and (right) Felicia’s montage of just-harvested garden roses

If you followed our 50 States of Slow Flowers podcast series in 2019, you heard a short interview with Felicia when I featured California, but honestly, I knew that 15 minutes could never cover all that she could tell us about her diversified family farm and especially about her roses.

Now, I had a very important reason to see Menagerie Farm + Flower in person! BLOOM Imprint, our book venture, is publishing Felicia’s first book this fall. We are so excited about Growing Wonder, which the book is called. You’ll hear all about this new project in our conversation — and learn how you can pre-order your own copy.

Here’s a bit more about Felicia Alvarez before we get started: On her website, she writes:  

“I’ve been farming for over two decades and every day I fall in love with the simplicity & nostalgia of life on the farm. My mission is simple – to grow exceptional flowers & foods with distinctive quality. As a third generation farmer, my favorite memories as a child were tending to my grandmother’s farm garden filled with fragrant garden roses. Her love of flowers made me an avid gardener and now accidental flower farmer. Today I farm French prunes, garden roses and specialty cut flowers with the help of my husband and two little sons in tow.

basket of roses
Felicia Alvarez on “Growing Wonder” (c) Jill Carmichael Photography

After more than a year of recording most of our episodes over Zoom, it was such a joy to sit at a picnic table next to Felicia’s barn and record live and in person. The ambient farm sounds only help to underscore that feeling of immediacy. I hope you enjoy this conversation, so let’s jump right in and get started!

Thanks so much for joining us today! What a lovely preview of Growing Wonder! You can pre-order your copy of Felicia’s book via a link to BLOOM Imprint – we’ll mail it to you in September after publication. In the meantime, there are a lot of resources available to you at Felicia’s website — check out links below and follow her on social media. 

Subscribe to Menagerie Farm + Flower’s Newsletter here.

Sign up for Menagerie Academy, Felicia’s membership for rose lovers, gardeners and growers. There are three levels of membership, depending on your own needs and goals.

Learn more about Felicia’s one-on-one coaching sessions for your rose aspirations. Single sessions, packages and on-farm sessions available.

Workshop details are here. Upcoming is an October 19th workshop at Menagerie Farm called “Elements of Rose Growing.”

Free Printable Resources and Educational Resources from Felicia, created for her students and coaching clients.


American Flowers Week 2021

We just wrapped up American Flowers Week, our 7th annual celebration, June 28th through July 4th. For all of you who participated, THANK YOU for sharing photos of your beautiful flowers, designs, farms and special activities.

Our botanical couture collection was the most extensive ever and we’ve collected one-dozen floral fashions in our special edition digital flip book — it’s free to read (click here for link).

AND, I’m going to say it right now: If you have any inspiration to grow and design a botanical couture garment for our 2022 collection, please get in touch right away. I find that summer races along so quickly that it’s easy to miss the tiny window of time between now and first frost during which you can harvest, create and photograph a wearable floral garment for next year! I won’t let you forget the opportunity to promote your flowers and floral art through this high-visibility member opportunity. Learn more at americanflowersweek.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.

Farmgirl Flowers Banner

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. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

sponsor logo bar

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

Today, we welcome Roadie.com as a new Podcast and Newsletter sponsor for 2021. Roadie is a same-day delivery platform that connects you and your flower deliveries with drivers already heading in the right direction. Roadie can handle the delivery of your fragile flowers and plants, so you can get back to creating masterpieces or helping them grow. Check out the link in today’s show notes for more details or visit https://www.roadie.com/small-business/florists-nursery

Flowerfarm.com, a leading wholesale flower distributor that sources from carefully-selected flower farms 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.

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 742,000 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:

Fern and Andy; Hedgehog Wallace; 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

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