Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘American Flowers Week’ Category

Episode 511: The Creative Journey, Finding Your Artistic Voice, Truth and Expression with floral artist and educator, Sue McLeary

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021
Susan McLeary (c) e.e. berger

In March 2017, I wrote a 10-page profile of Susan Mcleary for Florists’ Review magazine’s “Creativity” issue. It’s this article that inspired me to invite Sue to be our Keynote speaker at the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit, taking place next week on June 28-30th in the San Francisco Bay Area at the amazing venue, Filoli Historic House & Garden. Sue’s personal story of seeking, claiming and boldly nurturing her creative process and practice as an artist will inspire and embolden everyone who hears her at the Summit.

Susan McLeary
Susan McLeary — such an artist and inspiration!

Susan is a floral designer, artist and instructor who creates unusual, boundary-pushing floral art including elaborate floral wearables, large-scale installations, and her signature succulent jewelry. Her soulful, seasonally-inspired creations have been described as exquisite living artwork. A passionate teacher, Susan offers private design instruction for new and professional florists in her studio, on her online class platform, and through destination workshops.

Susan McLeary
Floral artist Susan Mcleary is a design influencer who advocates for foam-free practices in her large-scale botanical installations (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

Susan’s work has been featured on the cover of Fusion Flowers Magazine twice, and in leading industry publications and websites including Martha Stewart Weddings, Florist’s Review, My Modern Met, Refinery 29, SELF, Buzzfeed, Belle Armoire, Cosmopolitan, Ebony, and Grace Ormond Wedding Style. Susan is a member of Slow Flowers Society and Chapel Designers. Her first book, The Art of Wearable Flowers was released March 3, 2020. 

A few weeks ago, in anticipation of Sue’s keynote presentation The Creative Journey, she and I met up over Zoom to record this special episode. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. As I mention in the interview, Sue has appeared as a co-guest on two past episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast, but that was many years ago.

Learn More Here:
Susan McLeary on the Slow Flowers Podcast:
Episode 217 (October 2015)
Episode 220 (November 2015)

Read my 2017 article, A Curious Creative (pdf)

Here are the many ways to study with Sue McLeary:
Online Courses (a la carte)
The Essentials Toolkit (bundle)
The Virtual Studio (membership-based), includes Live Sessions and new courses. Total of 60 courses in the library to date

Susan McLeary (c) e.e. berger

As Sue mentioned, she launched a new course yesterday, June 22nd, called The Floral Mentor: A transformative floral learning opportunity.

Transform the 3 Key Areas of Your Floral Business in the Next 30 Days: 

  • The Heart – Cultivate your unique creative voice, overcome limiting beliefs, and cultivate a more purpose-driven floral business.
  • The Art – Unlock the magic of the principles of design to create more advanced, artful and balanced work every time.
  • The Business – Learn practical business, branding, and marketing skills to grow a more profitable and life-giving floral business.

The Floral Mentor opened on June 22nd and is available for signup through June 30th. In this course, Sue and her cohort of friends and colleagues help you master the art, the heart, and the business of floral design. It’s all about aligning your core values with your business, Sue explains. She writes: “Pull up a virtual chair in my personal studio to learn from me and some of my key mentors!” Sue introduces students her wonderful mentors who teach valuable lessons Sue has learned from each of them. Together, Sue and her mentors will help you create the art you’re truly capable of, build a fulfilling business you love, and join hands to move the floral industry forward together. I can get behind those aspirations! Maybe this course has your name on it, too. check it out!


American Flowers Week 2021

Next week is also our 7th annual American Flowers Week, June 28th through July 4th. Please help us celebrate! You can find all the free social media badges, logos, branding and other resources like a coloring map of all 50 USA-state flowers at americanflowersweek.com! Show your floral patriotism and post photos of your red, white and blue, or any other color of your seasonal and local floral harvest! Be sure to use the hashtag #americanflowersweek when you post! I’ll be doing just the same, friends.

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.

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

Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm that specializes 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.


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 738,000 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:

DelamineSkyway; 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 510: An American Flowers Week botanical couture tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Tammy Myers of LORA Bloom

Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

Here we are, less than two weeks until the fourth Slow Flowers Summit begins on Monday June 28th and continues through Wednesday June 30th.

We launched the Slow Flowers Summit in 2017 in Seattle, intentionally scheduling it to take place during American Flowers Week as the core event during our annual domestic flower holiday week.

And as the Slow Flowers Summit has expanded and improved, so has American Flowers Week, its original impetus. We’ve been celebrating already, as the buildup to American Flowers Week begins in June, leading up to that specific holiday week of June 28-July 4th.

This year’s special botanical couture promotion is a perfect one-dozen floral garments, created by flower growers, farmer-florists, designers, and members of the Slow Flowers community — all with the motivation of elevating flowers and sharing their talents with the public.

Tammy Myers, LORA Bloom (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Today, I’m excited to introduce Tammy Myers of LORA Bloom. Seattle-based, LORA Bloom is an online E-commerce and marketing platform that provides an additional sales channel for florists, giving them a marketplace where customers can find custom, one-of-a-kind designer arrangements for local delivery. LORA Bloom’s florist partners are aligned with Tammy’s own values of supporting local flower farms and offering foam-free designs. 
Read our October 2020 article about LORA Bloom in Slow Flowers Journal. Listen to Tammy’s first appearance on the Slow Flowers Podcast in Episode 201 (July 8, 2015), where you’ll learn more about her evolution from a studio florist to her present role as creator of the LORA Bloom platform.

Tammy’s original concept board for her American Flowers Week 2021 submission

And when I asked Tammy if she was up for designing a second American Flowers Week botanical couture look (she was a participating designer in 2019, as well), Tammy came up with a stunning project that included six of her LORA Bloom florists as collaborators.

RBG-inspired Botanical Couture, at the University of Washington (c) Missy Palacol Photography
Business in the front; Party in the back, with botanical surface design by Tammy Myers; dress by Riva Juarez
A reimagined judicial robe, seen in sketches by garment designer and this project’s model, Riva Juarez

The result is what we are calling a Floral Tribute to RBG — the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who Tammy considers a fashion icon and a female role model. Because Ginsburg died in 2020, the timing was significant to honor her now.

RBG collars from Time Magazine
Tammy’s inspiration: RBG’s collars, featured in Time Magazine (c) Elinor Carucci
Creative botanical collars:
Top row, from left: Lori Poliski, Flori and Anne Bradfield, Analog Floral
Middle row, from left: Maura Whalen, Casablanca Floral and Kristal Hancock, Sublime Stems
Bottom row, from left: Sophie Strongman, The Old Soul Flower Co. and Sharlet Driggs, Sharlet Floral

Floral Palette: Domestic U.S.-grown botanicals from Washington, Oregon and California
Creative Concept/Creative Direction: Tammy Myers, LORA Bloom, lorabloom.com,
@lorabloom.flowers
Model: Riva Juarez, rivaladiva.com, @rivaladiva
Hair/Makeup: Riva Juarez
Photography: Missy Palacol, Missy Palacol Photography, missypalacol.com, @missy.palacol
Collaborating Slow Flowers Society florists: Tammy Myers; Anne Bradfield, Analog Floral, @analog_floral; Maura Whalen, Casablanca Floral, @casablancafloral; Sharlet Driggs, Sharlet Floral, @sharletfloral; and Lori Poliski, Flori, @flori.flowers
Other florists: Sophie Strongman, The Old Soul Flower Co., @theoldsoulflowerco and Kristal Hancock, Sublime Stems, @sublimestems
Location: University of Washington Campus, Seattle, Washington

Thanks so much for joining us today! I love something that Tammy shared with me when I interviewed her for the story that appears in Slow Flowers Journal Botanical Couture special edition:

“In my research, I learned Ruth Bader Ginsburg had favorite pieces that communicated subtle messages of the Court’s decisions. We know that flowers speak in similar ways.”

Tammy myers, lora bloom

By the way, if you haven’t yet seen the free, 72-page special edition of Slow Flowers Journal, released on June 1st, you can find the link here. You’ll read all about the RBG Floral Tribute along with stories about the eleven other botanical couture looks created for American Flowers Week. Prepared to be wowed at all the beauty and talent in our collective community! Maybe it will trigger some ideas for you to get involved in 2022!


Next week:

Susan McLeary designing a fabulous floral ‘fro (c) Amanda Dumouchelle photography

Next week, you’ll hear my interview with Susan McLeary, our keynote presenter at the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit. It is guaranteed to inspire you, as Sue is such an important influence, an incredible floral artist, and a boundary-pushing leader in our community. I can’t wait to share our conversation with you – and for attendees of the Slow Flowers Summit to see Sue’s design demonstrations and hear her keynote, The Creative Journey: Finding Your Artistic Voice, Truth and Expression.

To me, the Slow Flowers Summit gives our community the opportunity to gather annually and celebrate domestic flower growing and sustainable floral design, to go deeper than it is possible in an online, virtual, social media kind of way; to have human contact; a mind-meld, as one of our past speakers described it; to push ourselves to consider new ideas and unique perspectives; and to hear from a diversity of voices in the floriculture and horticulture marketplace. There are still a few spaces left to attend the Slow Flowers Summit and you can find all those details at slowflowerssummit.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

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

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.

We’re thrilled that our Podcast sponsor, Mayesh Wholesale Florist, is also a Supporting Sponsor of the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit. 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.


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 736,000 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:

Skyway; Great Great Lengths; 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 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

Wednesday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Wednesday, 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 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

Wednesday, 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

Episode 487: Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast for 2021

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

The Pursuit of Nature

This Forecast began seven years ago in 2014 when I began documenting shifts and changes in the Slow Flowers Movement. I recently described the origins of this important exercise in my new online course, Taking Stock and Looking Ahead [P.S. follow this link to learn how you can take this free course as my gift to you.]

Here’s how I remember it:
In 2014, when I launched slowflowers.com as an online directory of American flowers and the growers and florists who supplied them, I worked with two talented public relations friends to get the word out to the media. While planning a visit to meet with lifestyle and garden magazine editors in New York, one of the PR experts urged me to create a Power Point slide deck that included an overview of floral trends I associated with the emerging Slow Flowers movement.

In creating that deck, which became my first forecast for 2015 (see above), I learned a few important lessons. I share this in the context of the social media term “impostor syndrome,” because it’s no surprise — we all feel that sometimes. When Lola and Marla encouraged me to write a trend forecast, at first I thought: Who am I to forecast trends? Isn’t that a role only for the experts?

Their response: You have a point of view and it’s based on hundreds of interviews that you conduct for articles and for your Podcast over the course of each year. See what bubbles up from those topics and themes that excites you about the year to come.

I realized that since I was the one who conducted those interviews and wrote those articles, I was viewing trends through my own lens and filter — the Slow Flowers perspective.

When I shared that Power Point deck with editors and had positive responses (as in, they took it seriously during our meetings), I later decided to post the 10 insights on my blog and record a Slow Flowers Podcast episode about it. You can go back and listen to episode 174 from December 31, 2014

The Power Point deck I shared with editors became a blog post and, as I mentioned, the Podcast show notes. Then I shared it with Slow Flowers members in my monthly newsletter. And then a few floral trade publications picked it up.

As a result, I became an “Accidental Forecaster”, and that has elevated Slow Flowers’ unique and relevant viewpoint in the floral marketplace. I’ve learned some valuable lessons. We’re no longer waiting for Martha Stewart or Oprah or Chip and Joanna to tell us what’s on trend. Each of us can speak with an authentic voice about our observations, key cultural shifts and new creative directions in the floral space. In the end, the forecast is a tool; a roadmap that helps me and others consider what is around the bend or across the horizon. It sparks conversation and sometimes, to be honest, it sparks controversy.

The Pursuit of Nature


So let’s get started! I have 10 insights to share with you for the year to come. I’m calling our 2021 Report: “In Pursuit of Nature,” and you can understand why, right?

As we enter 2021, at least in the short term, not much will feel different from the past nine months. And if there is anything we’ve learned since mid-March 2020, it’s the essential and irreplaceable role of flowers and plants for our survival. And that’s why my outlook is deeply connected to humankind’s pursuit of nature — and how floral entrepreneurs like you can and should tap into and enhance that pursuit through your efforts.

I learned about the term “Biophilia” in October 2019 when I interviewed Tom Precht and Sarah Daken of Grateful Gardeners. Tom is a big advocate of Biophilia and he opened my eyes to its relevance as we make personal and business decisions that impact our planet’s survival. He discussed the definition when I interviewed him, but here it is again, according to Merriam Webster:
Biophilia: “a hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature

All you have to do is read the headlines of 2020 to see a collective shift toward nature, plants, the environment – and yes, flowers.

A recent article in the Washington Post caught my attention. The headline reads: The isolation of the pandemic caused her to form a new and intense relationship to nature. She was hardly alone. The benefits of being outdoors for your physical and mental well-being are well documented, but in this coronavirus era, they may be immeasurable.”

A Forbes headline reads: “Nature Is Good For Your Mental Health, Sometimes”

The University of Washington shared this research: “Dose of nature at home could help mental health, well-being during COVID-19” The report stated:

“Studies have proven that even the smallest bit of nature — a single tree, a small patch of flowers, a house plant — can generate health benefits,” said Kathleen Wolf, a UW research social scientist in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “Look closely in your neighborhood, and the bit of nature you may have taken for granted up until now may become the focus of your attention and help you feel better.”


What are we watching for in 2021? The Slow Flowers Community’s experiences of 2020 definitely inform what is top of mind for 2021. Over the past several years, as we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to educate consumers and professionals alike; and thankfully, we are coming off a year when the attention of many turned to the Slow Flowers Movement.

Locally-grown, seasonal and sustainable flowers answer questions about a safe and reliable supply of flowers. Awareness our Movement continues to increased as floral consumers and florists alike shifted their focus to what’s closer to home. Panic over the international floral supply chains has quickly turned to a subtle but significant and newfound understanding that if we don’t nurture and support our local flower supply, there may come a day when farmland has been converted to real estate developments; where commitment to a safer, more sustainable earth has been displaced by convenience.

The anecdotal feedback I’m hearing is heartening. I received an email recently from a leader in, shall I say, “mainstream” floristry, who wrote:

“After two decades of thinking traditional wholesaler connections were the only way to run a floral studio or shop, I’m slowly starting to learn about local flower-farmers and am constantly in awe of their entrepreneurial spirit, and can’t imagine how much hard work goes into what they do. For that, I want to give them as much business as I can! I know that you had a big hand in getting this trend in motion and I thank you for that!”

As we seek new and diverse voices in the Slow Flowers Movement, I believe we will continue to witness a positive shift to a more progressive, inclusive, conscious marketplace for the flowers you grow and design with. And we will continue to document the shift with stories, interviews and resources to encourage you.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey, more than 200 of you, who I mentioned during last week’s “Year in Review” report, is triple past year’s participation.

In addition to the Survey, which asked members to share about their floral businesses, including emerging themes and topics important to them, this Forecast is informed by my 2020 storytelling — first-person interviews for print and digital Slow Flowers Journal stories, interviews with more than one-hundred Slow Flowers Podcast guests, and conversations with thought-leaders in floral design, flower farming and related creative professions.

I hope you find these insights and the 2021 forecast valuable to you. You may hear some themes that resonate with you and I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions about what you agree with and what topics you wish we included.

You can Download a PDF of the 2021 Forecast here:


#1 Floral Wellness

Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers in Brooklyn created the “Seasonal Flower Project” in 2020 — a popular local-flower subscription program that supported her favorite farms and put those flowers in the hands of people eager to connect with nature. Listen to our interview with Molly in Episode 451

The yearning for a connection to nature is truly unprecedented in our society, something many of you witnessed first-hand when Mother’s Day 2020 shattered prior years’ records for floral sales. Demand added up to three words: People. Need. Flowers.

In past Forecasts, I’ve touched on similar themes, including the popularity of Aromatherapy Bars (2018) and the Year of the Houseplant (2019). Floral Wellness is more sweeping in its meaning. More than ever, consumers and their senses are drawn to your blooms. They are drawn for fragrance and scent, for medicinal qualities, for skin and body care benefits, for nutritional meals, palette-satisfying beverages, and for — above all — their mental health.

I define Floral Wellness as
An embrace of the therapeutic importance of flowers, both in our own environments and as a meaningful way to share with others. Floral Wellness nurtures a positive and habitual desire to have flowers in our lives and as an expression of our desire for others to also experience flowers’ emotional, physical, mental and psychic value.

This idea can be manifested in ways both simple and accessible to your clients, as well as more ambitious endeavors. From the rise of flower workshops (in person at a safe distance or in many virtual forms) to the explosion of CSA subscriptions as more consumers desired more flowers, Floral Wellness took root in 2020 and is yours to nurture and enhance with new offerings to your community in 2021.

A few comments bubbled up from our 2021 Member Survey that underscore this idea and I’ll share them here:

“People want more flowers!”
“More local and more of it!”
“I believe local will become more desired.”
“People want to bring more flowers into their homes and are getting into floral design as a hobby.”
“Flowers bring smiles and happiness in times when we need it most.”
“I think people will be more oriented towards decorating their living spaces. Also, gifting flowers to loved ones.”

“Customers may start treating themselves with fresh flowers.”
“As work-from-home becomes normalized, the interest in gardening/flowers/natural world grows.”
“I’m seeing a desire for more beauty and more positivity.”

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Use a megaphone to share your story, your flowers, and your belief that flowers are essential to our wellness and health.


#2 The Virtual Florist

All images from “Designer’s Choice,” a July 2020 Slow Flowers Journal Report in Florists’ Review — featuring (clockwise, from top left): greenSinner, Maple + Mum, Floral Alchemy, Sellwood Flower Co. and Studio Artiflora

What do I mean by the Virtual Florist? We’re living in a world of “virtual” everything, so the term is truly relevant and timely. In the Slow Flowers Community, we spent 2020 covering the ascent of virtual floristry, through our podcast interviews, in Slow Flowers Journal stories, and during our weekly and monthly Slow Flowers member virtual meet-ups. For the Virtual Florist, innovation and creativity meet a marketplaces of Covid-imposed limitations and constraints.

The Virtual Florist
is adaptable, flexible and inventive in finding ways to successfully deliver flowers to his or her community.
The Virtual Florist utilizes technology and serves customers’ needs where they are. The Virtual Florist disrupts “definitions” of what type of florist you may have been in the past.

This means you might own a retail flower store, but you’ve added an online shop; or, you’re studio-based, but you now offer everyday flowers through contact-free curbside delivery; or, you’ve never grown flowers before, but this year you’ve planted thousands of tulip bulbs to sell from your front porch using only your neighborhood’s Facebook page to get out the word (that’s a real story about one of our members!)

The Virtual Florist consults, teaches and inspires in new ways, too. Virtual floristry is more egalitarian and transparent. Anyone can turn on a camera and film a demonstration or tutorial for IGTV, Facebook Live, YouTube and on other platforms — the field is more level than before. It’s not just the “big names” who are attracting audiences, especially because the return to expensive, in-person workshops will be slow and gradual.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Dial up your imagination. What may have began as a coping mechanism to stay busy or stimulate creativity is now a new business opportunity. Develop and invest time and resources into at least one virtual component of your floral enterprise. Be ready to connect with your community whose shopping habits have dramatically changed, perhaps forever.


#3 Flowers in a Box

Mail-order Floral Offerings from Slow Flowers members, clockwise from top left: Petals by the Shore, Postal Petals, Harmony Harvest Farm and Flora Fun Box

Shipping flowers is nothing new, but until this moment, only a few successful companies were getting it right.

In our 2018 forecast, I identified the early adopters behind this shift with the insight “Flower Farmers Launch Direct-Ship Wholesale Programs,” so what’s new about “Flowers in a Box?”

Now, based on necessity, we are witnessing more models, most consumer-direct, designed to move local and seasonal flowers from point A to point B, with more Slow Flowers members experimenting in the world of boxed and shipped blooms.

Slow Flowers members who had never before shipped flowers began to do so in 2020. The first report we shared about this shift can be heard in early April when I interviewed Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm about the decision to ship early spring flowers when local farmers’ markets and on-farm sales were impossible. It was a survival strategy that foreshadowed a strategic business shift. You can find a link to that conversation in Episode 448.

Flowers in a Box covers a diversity of methods and formats, from overnight shipping of bulk flowers, arrangements, floral packages for weddings and more.

Members are also experimenting with the shipping of dried flowers and live plants. And others are mixing design tutorials into the mix (a nod to Insight #2 and The Virtual Florist).

This past fall, we published a six-part Slow Flowers Journal series, called New Floral Marketing Models and Platforms. I’ll share the link for you to go back and read the series in case you missed it. One of the series’ most interesting themes – to me – explores how designers and flower farmers are partnering to create boxed floral collections for home-based floral enthusiasts. Check out my stories about Petals by the Shore, Postal Petals and Flora Fun Box as examples.

We will be tracking more of this “Flowers in a Box” phenomenon moving into 2021, relying on our membership in CalFlowers, the only national trade group that offers flower farmers and floral designers access to deep discounts on overnight shipping rates. CalFlowers has joined the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit 2021 as a Supporting Sponsor, and we will be sharing more about this organization in future programs.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Ask yourself: What can you put in a box — perishable or non-perishable — and offer to customers who are not in your physical market, but who want to share and experience your brand?


#4 Botanical Activism

Scenes from Slow Flowers initiatives around the U.S., clockwise from top left: Portland, Maine, installation; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, installation; Slow Flowers’ social media badge; Detroit, Michigan, installation; and Say Their Names Memorial in Kirkland, Washington

2020 was a year in which I stepped back to evaluate whether my beliefs and values were in alignment with our brand. And I know this was the case for many of you, as well.

We highlighted “Cause-Related Flowers” in our 2018 Forecast, citing the news that more flower farmers and florists were investing their talents to help nonprofits and others in their communities through floral philanthropy efforts.

The contributions of so many of our members – growers and designers alike – continue to impact our communities. It began with the simple question: Did you donate your flowers to any causes or charities this past year? So many of you can answer in the affirmative.

But something is different now. We’ve all been touched by the awareness that the social and environmental landscape is dramatically changing. And if we do not step up to walk the talk in our own floral enterprises, I believe we are only deceiving ourselves.

I define Botanical Activism as one expression of social enterprise.
For Slow Flowers members, this takes shape in many ways:

Writing a statement of purpose for
your brand
Committing resources to racial equity, inclusion and representation in your business practice

Using your flowers to speak volumes about the issues you care about, from climate change to human rights.

And yes, you may occasionally feel the sting of criticism. I’ve seen it in social media posts, along the lines of this comment: “I just want to see beautiful flowers and I come here for a respite away from the conflict and disagreements I watch or hear on the news. Why do you have to be so political here on a floral feed?”

I believe we can no longer stay comfortable in our safe flower worlds when others are suffering discrimination or injustice. I’m not saying we need to become full-time activists. We have businesses to run, bills to pay, households to support, of course. But even in small and subtle ways, we can be Botanical Activists to signal our values and beliefs.

Your answers in the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey revealed your beliefs and passion for causes important to your brands:

  • 61% of our Members say they are taking steps to create Inclusion, Representation and Equity policies for their businesses
  • 53% of our Members are aligning their brands with human rights and social justice messaging/activities
  • 46% of our Members’ businesses have participated in cause-related activities to support Black Lives Matter and antiracism campaigns

In 2020, I witnessed the manifestation of these values across the Slow Flowers membership, inspired by so many of you, your efforts to take a stand for social justice, and to show positive support through your flowers.

Moving forward, this isn’t optional. It’s essential. For Slow Flowers, we are adding a sixth statement to the Slow Flowers Manifesto, originally written in 2017 and published on Slow Flowers Journal. Every one of the five original statements in our Manifesto could be considered by some to be radical and norm-busting in the conventional sense. They include:

Slow Flowers commits to the following practices:

  • To recognize and respect the seasons by celebrating and designing with flowers when they naturally bloom
  • To reduce the transportation footprint of the flowers and foliage consumed in the marketplace by sourcing as locally as possible
  • To support flower farmers small and large by crediting them when possible through proper labeling at the wholesale and consumer level
  • To encourage sustainable and organic farming practices that respect people and the environment
  • To eliminate waste and the use of chemical products in the floral industry

Today I am adding a sixth statement, long in coming and inspired by the actions of many of our members and colleagues in the green profession:

To proactively pursue equity, inclusion and representation in the floral marketplace, intentionally valuing
Black floral professionals
(farmers, floral designers and vendors) in our business practice with as much support as we give to environmental sustainability.

I recently came across a wonderful affirmation from SF-based diversity and inclusion expert Arthur Chan of Arthur Chan Consulting and it resonates with this new addition to our Manifesto.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Belonging implies community and my pledge to each of you is to model this value in all of Slow Flowers’ actions, programs, content and investments, not just for 2021 but beyond. As I said last week in our year-in-review, until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in, more needs to be done. So, in the coming year, we will be highlighting your Botanical Activism — what causes are your flowers supporting? How are you enhancing your community and sharing your values? Please keep me posted as I seek stories of equity and inclusion, and continue the conversation.


# 5 Theatre of the Tabletop

Designs from left: Tobey Nelson, Tobey Nelson Weddings & Events; Susan Chambers, BloominCouture; Dawn Clark and Mary Coombs, A Garden Party LLC; Beth Syphers, Crowley House Flower Farm; and Kelli Galloway, Hops Petunia Floral

The inspiration for this insight arrived in my in-box in October, when a college friend of mine sent a link from The Guardian, a UK daily newspaper. The headline read: “‘Napkins are the new fashion’: the improbable rise of tablescaping”

Written by lifestyle reporter Hannah Marriott, the article captured my imagination, as she likens tabletops to our own personal stage for artistic expression.

She wrote: ” . . . it was in lockdown, perhaps inevitably, that tablescaping became a phenomenon. With so many of us working from home, our social lives disappearing and desperate for some comfort, our focus on our homes was never sharper.

The article continues: “Tablescaping, a small joy that can take a few minutes or a few hours, and makes dinnertime instantly prettier, is part of this national self soothing.”

Gate Cottage Garden botanical tabletop collection @scottwittmanartsculpture

The person who shared this article with me, my friend Scott Wittman, is a creative director who has spent his own COVID year exiled in the Kent countryside away from his London office. He has invested all of his free time photographing the blooms in his garden to document the passing of time, season by season. It helps that his pre-Georgian cottage is surrounded by an acre of a traditional English garden planted about 40 years ago — that’s priceless inspiration!

Scott’s garden and his photography project led him to produce an entire product line for the table, including dishes and linen tablecloths and napkins adorned with his graphic and polychromatic botanical photography. He plans on debuting the “Gate Cottage Garden” collection at the 2021 Chelsea Flower Show and I’ve been urging Scott to figure out distribution in the U.S. For now, check out images of his garden-inspired table accessories in our show notes and follow him on IG at @scottwittmanartsculpture

As I pulled together insights for 2021, I couldn’t forget this old-new idea of tablescaping and it came up again in several conversations, including, most recently with Susan Chambers, Slow Flowers florist based in San Francisco. She described to me how her business BloominCouture has changed in 2020, with more residential floristry accounts than ever.

“It goes beyond flowers,,” Susan says. “So much of what I’m hearing my clients say (is) that they want to understand, not just the floristry, but creating that moment at the table. They want me to create the vision, the pomegranates down the table, the privet berries dripping out of the arrangement. They’re wanting that me to come in and create that moment for them before the dinner party.”

Tablescaping can be the ultimate Slow Flowers expression, as your florals enhance human interactions, mark occasions both special and ordinary, and celebrate the art of dining. Many of you design tablescapes for styled shoots — some of the most adventurous and theatrical meals imaginable. Let’s celebrate the objects we cherish, and create palettes that honor both how food is grown and the origin of the floral decor. I view the theatre of the tabletop as a way to honor the gift of time.

Tablescape designed by Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse and Laura W. Tibbitts of Midcoast Blooms

This insight’s key takeaway for you: How can you combine your flowers and floral designs into a full package? Hannah Marriott’s article in The Guardian triggers so many ideas that you’ll want to explore in 2021. She writes: “Thanks to social distancing and unbridled screen time, the ‘tablescapes’ hashtag now has 455,000 Instagram posts and counting, and it is lifting sales during the crisis. In lockdown, with the hospitality industry on pause, tablescaping took a different direction. For one thing, it provided an income stream – or at least a trickle – to companies whose businesses might have capsized in the crisis.”


#6 Reversing Climate Change

Slow Flowers’ member farms, from left Seattle Wholesale Growers Market dahlia farm shown against the September 2020 wildfire smoke; Stacey Denton of Flora Farm in Ashland, Oregon, using high tunnels to grow sweet peas; at Red Twig Farms in Johnstown, Ohio, low-tunnels for crop protection

Last year, in the 2020 Floral Insights & Industry Forecast, I featured Climate Change for the first time with an insight titled “Responding to Climate Change.” The urgency felt by the Slow Flowers Community is heightened as we move into 2021. Your responses to Climate Change questions in the Slow Flowers Survey reveal that urgency. It can seem overwhelming, but our individual actions and the policies we collectively support are powerful tools to employ as a community.

Last year, Forty-four percent of our survey respondents said they were adjusting growing practices to adapt to climate change. In this year’s Survey, 54% of Members say they are aligning their brands with climate change messaging/activities.

We also asked you to share about How Has Climate Change Affected You and Your Business? Here is a recap:

  • Nearly 60% of you cite weather irregularities (too much or too little rain)
  • 30% say abnormally warm OR abnormally cold spring seasons
  • 25% cite early frost arrival
  • Nearly 20% blame disaster-related damage (wildfire, flooding, hurricane, hailstorms, tornados and other weather tragedies)
  • Another reason cited includes extended hot periods with no precipitation. 

One respondent put it this way: “Weather seems more extreme and unpredictable.”

Another wrote: “It’s not at disaster level yet, but the damaging winds and rains devastated my cosmos and the smoke from the fires sullied my white roses and strawflowers.”

What can we do? What active steps are you taking to address Climate Change in your farm, shop or studio? We know about and have covered the importance of No-Till Farming Methods, Cover Crops, Crop Rotation, Raised Beds, Water efficient irrigation. We know florists are more actively than ever rejecting single-use plastics and other chemical-based products in their designs.

What else? In the coming year, Slow Flowers commits to more reporting on your efforts to reverse climate change, efforts that will inspire others and will empower our members to take positive action in small and large ways.

For now, this insight’s Key takeaway for you: Educate yourself. Join me in seeking meaningful change as we strive to protect our climate, environment, communities and planet.


#7 Beyond the Hobbyist

Deeper Learning, clockwise from top left: Farmer-Florist workshop taught by Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm; a similar workshop taught by Liz Kreig of Maple Flower Farm; Cutting Garden Design with Longfield Gardens & Slow Flowers; wreath design workshops taught by Sarah Nixon of My Luscious Backyard; and Debra Prinzing floral design to fellow Garden Writers

The DIY trend has been with us for a decade, and according to my friend and publishing partner Robin Avni, after that length of time a trend that was once new, such as do-it-yourself, folds into the broader culture and becomes mainstream. Originally, I wanted to call this insight “Beyond DIY: Figure it Out” and I turned to Robin to help me flesh it out. My idea was that since more consumers than ever are seeking new knowledge, floral enterprises need to be attuned to this reality in order to offer them what they’re seeking.

But a conversation with Robin gave me a new term: Beyond the Hobbyist. Robin is my go-to expert when I want to understand what’s happening in the consumer marketplace; she spent many years working in consumer research managing a portfolio of Fortune 500 clients as a Senior Director and Lead Consumer Strategist at Iconoculture, and as a Senior Ethnographer at The Hartman Group, where she engaged in primary consumer qualitative research. And those of you who have a copy of my new book Slow Flowers Journal-volume one will know of Robin’s influence as a visual designer — she is the creative director for that publication and my partner in the BLOOM Imprint, the new book-publishing arm of Slow Flowers.

According to Robin, DIY is everywhere, and thus, no longer new. “People feel they can access information on YouTube and figure things out themselves, from painting their walls to building a deck to designing an outdoor space,” she explains.

As an insight, though, Beyond the Hobbyist embodies so much more than DIY, more than saving money or exploring a hobby, Robin explains. “It’s about embracing a skill that gives you a sense of pride and feeds your soul. It’s about having a deeper, long-lasting connection to a skill, such as flower gardening and floral design.”

She continues: “People want to learn new skills, but then, they want to fold it into their lifestyle. They want to go beyond something superficial. They want to know that when they gather flowers from the farm-stand they can replicate at home what they learned in your design class; thanks to your class, they understand why it’s important to support the stems and change the water regularly.”

Easy, mechanics from the professional to Beyond the Hobbyist

I suspect this sentiment is a driving force behind the popularity of product lines like Holly x Syndicate’s egg and pillow mechanics, available not just to the trade, but to the enlightened floral enthusiast who wants to use the same tools and supplies that the pros use. Similarly, having the ability to order single units of the Floral Genius pin-frogs means these professional tools are getting into the hands of anyone who wants to elevate their floral design practice.

Beyond the Hobbyist is all about intentionality rather than a random DIY experience.

We will continue to witness this urge to both know a skill AND understand the why and how behind it, Robin explains. “For example, once a customer experiences a flower farm, they want more. They don’t necessarily want to be a flower farmer, but they want to understand how to grow their own cut flowers, and nurture that practice through the seasons for their own enjoyment and to share with friends and family.”

A polychromatic series: Seeing Color in the Garden @gardenercook

We talked about this further and what came to mind is the desire among many consumers to have a “Daily Practice.” And that led to my friend Lorene Edwards Forkner, Seattle Times gardening columnist, author and artist. Lorene’s Instagram feed @gardenercook features her daily practice called #seeingcolorinthegarden. Lorene is a past guest of this podcast and she will share her story and talents at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, leading participants in her mindful practice of painting small watercolor studies of plants and other items she collects from nature. You can see more in our Slow Flowers Mercantile, where we have a digital download gallery of Lorene’s work.

While learning a new skill and adopting a practice is useful for all floral professionals, the key takeaway from this insight is actually a challenge question to you: How do you help your customers and clients embrace a more meaningful connection to flowers? How can you create and nurture opportunities that go beyond DIY hobbies and convert your customers into floral practitioners?

When you draw back the curtain and share insider knowledge that your clients and customers can incorporate into their lifestyles, you build deeper engagements. People want to know the professional skills of growing and design; they don’t necessarily want to adopt a new profession, but you can interpret and empower them with skills, knowledge and confidence.

Learning and gathering knowledge is more important than ever. What services, products and experiences can you offer to your marketplace in 2021? What are you teaching and sharing? A final thought, one that I learned while developing online courses for the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop. Teach what you know. Nothing is more authentic.


#8 Marketplace Inclusion & Farmland Equity

Top Row: Slow Flowers Members who recently presented at the Young Farmers & Cooks Conference: Julius Tillery, Black Cotton U.S.; Taij & VC Cotten, Perry-winkle Farm; Aishah Lurry, Patagonia Flower Farm; and Julio Freitas, The Flower Hat
Bottom Row: #BlackFloristFriday social media campaign, created by Talia Boone of Postal Petals and Quote from Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm

This insight is closely connected to Insight #4 – Botanical Activism, while also addressing two themes essential to the future survival of the floral economy.

The first topic – Marketplace Inclusion — speaks to the importance of proactively changing our business practices to support floral enterprises owned by the BIPOC community, (that’s Black, indigenous and people of color). For so long, I focused my energies on the belief that our floral profession would survive if only consumers learned to ask “where were these flowers grown” and “what growing practices were used to grow them?”

If there is one important lesson from the racial awareness and awakening of 2020, it’s that my values demand that I ask a different set of questions, such as: “how can I support and shine a light on florists, flower farmers, vendors and customers who look different than me, a middle-aged white woman?” “How can I invest in the success of underrepresented and overlooked talent, and in doing so, ensure their success and my success are equally valued?”

At Slow Flowers, we enter 2021 with an embrace of inclusivity, representation and equity in our profession. As I discussed last week, our Professional Development Fund devotes resources to invite Black farmers and florists to join the Slow Flowers Society. YOU are encouraged to participate in this endeavor by nominating Black farmers and florists in your community to be part of our efforts — please reach out with your suggestions!

Until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in, we will not be sustainable.

I have learned much from garden designer and Slow Flowers advocate Leslie Bennett, who earlier this year joined me as a return podcast guest. Leslie owns Pine House Edible Gardens, an Oakland-based design-build landscaping studio. She is the creator of Black Sanctuary Gardens, which believes that gardens are places that provide respite and restoration; healing and inspiration. The Black Sanctuary Gardens project creates and documents garden sites where Black women’s creativity, spirituality, and human experience can be cultivated and nurtured. 

Slow Flowers donated to the Black Sanctuary Gardens project in 2020 and we feel grateful to learn from the example Leslie is modeling — using her talents and resources to design and build gardens where transformative change can take place, and where we can work to grow the world we want for ourselves and for our communities. 

Leslie and the team behind the Black Sanctuary Gardens project are curating their time and talent to create safe and beautiful garden spaces that celebrate Black women’s humanity and the communities they hold dear within the Oakland, California area. Financial contributions allow them to provide their gifts at low to no-cost to these valued community members. This is a model I’d love to see replicated across the community in other regions.

Soul Fire Farm – a life-giving hub for education, advocacy and activism

The second theme included in Insight # 7 is Land Equity. Joining progressive voices in domestic agriculture to advocate for land equity is a cause I believe will benefit the Slow Flowers community as we see much-needed diversity and representation in flower farming.

In 2020, we financially supported Soul Fire Farm. Based in Grafton, New York, Soul Fire Farm was co-founded by past Podcast guest Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black. She is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer, author, and food justice activist whose mission is to end racism in the food system and reclaim an ancestral connection to land. As co-Executive Director of Soul Fire Farm, Leah is part of a team that facilitates food sovereignty programs – including farmer trainings for Black and Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system.

Soul Fire Farm recently provided us with a list of well-established Black-led farming organizations and I’ll share it in today’s show notes for you to check out. Please consider following and supporting the farming organizations in your community as we move into 2021, while seeking a more diverse Slow Flowers community that benefits all.


#9 Opposite Palettes

Contrasting and Complementary Palettes from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

Last year, 24% of our Slow Flowers Survey respondents cited YELLOW as their top color prediction for 2020. Yellow edged out all other colors by single-digit percentages, but there was still no clear standout, leading me to predict a Polychromatic Palette for 2020.

Here we are in January 2021, and Pantone already has declared “Illuminating,” a glowing shade of yellow, as one of two colors for 2021.

For the 2021 survey, both Yellow and Orange topped your list. Specific percentages break out as follows:

Shades of Yellow (23%) “Yellow for optimism.” Mustards and mauves.” “From rich masala yellow in curries to lavish buttercream yellow on cupcakes, the comfort of food will translate to floral expressions.”

Shades of Orange (19.5%) “I think we are seeing hints of orange, and yellow with pinks and blush.” “Everything across the range of citrus tones to fruity apricot.”

Shades of Green (14%) “The clean feeling of green, with foliage in an array of green tones and various shapes.”

Shades of Purple & Violet (13%) “I think we will see a trend towards subdued jewel tones that play off of each other.” “I find the possibilities with purple are both complimentary and contrasting and love finding those matches. People also seem to really gravitate to the purple tones, or at least, that’s what I think, maybe because I like purple flowers so much!”

Shades of Red (4.5%) “Reds, burgundy, pinks monochromatic.”

Shades of Blue (3%) “Mellow, soft blues — the world needs calming tones in these crazy times.”

So what notable color palette do we predict will influence flower farming and floral design in the coming year?

I flipped to the color section of my book Slow Flowers to see what I wrote back in 2013. I quoted Harold Piercy, former principal of the Constance Spry Flower School in England, who wrote this in 1983: ” . . . in flower arranging, I have always found it advisable to discard any prconceptions about colours.” He went on to write: “Keep an open mind and do not be ruled by the colour wheel. You may hit upon unexpected satisfactory results during your experiments.”

Yellow Roses from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

I dove deep into the comments that you shared in response to the survey’s Question#23 — Describe in more Detail Your Floral Palette Prediction.

I have to give a huge congratulations to the many Slow Flowers Survey responses that were spot on about YELLOW. In 2017, Slow Flowers’ Floral Forecast predicted soft yellows in an insight titled: “Beyond Blush.” It has taken four years since then for Pantone to agree! Let me include a few of your comments here so you can congratulate yourself on nailing Pantone’s color declaration for 2021 — an important emerging floral palette we forecasted here years ago!

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

“I’m only wishing. I have lemon chiffon peonies that I would love to see a bump in desire for.”
“Into yellow lately.”
“Cream-mustard; pale yellow. Happy shades.”
“More sunny, happy color.”
“Bright, positive, with an endless summer-like feeling.”
“Pale yellows to golden tones.”
“Yellow is inherently cheery and I think people will want more good cheer. Also, floral designers have been trying to sell clients on yellow and mustard forever — maybe this is our year that clients will finally go for it!”
“Orange or yellow. We need some brightness in 2021!”
“Soft, buttery yellows.”
“Yellow is building momentum! And there are so many shades that blend well with the popular muddy/neutral palettes.”
“Soft, light, buttery yellow.”
“Seeing more demand for yellow flowers.”
“2020 has been a dark year and I think we could all use a little sunshine in our future.”
“Warm yellows — amber, mustard, butter – seen alone or with accents in deeper shades.”
“After the Pandemic, we want LIFE! We will want color and variety. Yellow was a very big color in fashion just before the Pandemic and I think it will be picked up again after.”
“I think the soft yellows and warm golden colors are what we need for 2021! We need a soft glowing hug after 2020!”

Orange & Blue(ish) dial up the palette contrast! (c) Debra Prinzing design and photograph

Clearly, we all love yellow. But of course, we do not want to follow Pantone. Let’s move beyond a single hue and explore what’s coming next:

I predict the most exciting floral palettes will feature Complementary or Contrasting Colors. With color pairs that reside opposite each other on the color wheel — combinations and variations of of course Yellow + Purple, but also interpretations of Red + Green; Orange + Blue.

What do you think of “Opposite Palettes”? A few survey comments jumped out to me in agreement:

“Oranges reaching out in different directions — yellow, reds, or complementary purple.”
“Purples combined with pale yellows, oranges and whites.”
“I find the possibilities with purple are both complimentary and contrasting and love finding those matches.”
“Pink, peach, coral, orange, yellow and then contrasting with blue.”

Red & Green Complements (c) Debra Prinzing design and photograph

What is the key insight here?
Simply, that we live in a colorful floral world and we need to experiment more! And find ways to excite customers and clients with new, shall we say, contrasts and complements, on the horizon!

At the core of it, this insight reinforces the importance of selling color as a much-desired product. Remember, you and your flowers are ready to meet consumers’ hunger for more color in their lives.


#10 Star Quality

From Left: Fleurs de Villes designs by Tobey Nelson and Thomasi Boselawa; Kristen Griffith VanderYacht of Big Flower Fight; Ace Berry, AIFD, PFCI – a finalist on Full Bloom; the Full Bloom judging panel

All of a sudden, miraculously in 2020, celebrity florists are taking center stage alongside chefs and fashion designers!

Whatever you think about floral competition television, seeing flowers and plants in the hands of professional designers on programs like Netflix’s “Big Flower Fight” and HBO’s “Full Bloom” definitely felt validating. We are witnessing flowers – elevated — in mainstream TV programming! That’s news worth celebrating!

I lived vicariously through both programs and was honored to host Big Flower Fight’s head judge Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht as a guest on the Slow Flowers Podcast and profile him for a Florists’ Review cover story earlier this year.

I also enthusiatically rooted for Ace Berry, AIFD, PFCI, another past guest of this podcast, who competed in HBO’s “Full Bloom.” I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t watched to the finale, but you can learn much more about Ace in Episode 421, originally aired in October 2019.

Nine Slow Flowers members designed floral fashions for the 2020 Fleurs de Villes Exhibit at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival
DESIGN CREDITS (c) samanthasmith.photo for Fleurs de Villes
Top row, from left: Casablanca Floral, Flirty Fleurs and Garden Party Design
Center row, from left: Hazel Landscapes & Design, LORA Bloom, Smashing Petals
Bottom row, from left: Terra Bella Flowers & Mercantile, Tiare Floral Design, Tobey Nelson Weddings & Events

I felt quite the same sense of pride earlier this year when the popular Fleurs de Villes exhibition came to Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. With flowers transformed into wearable fashions displayed on a parade of mannequins — it clearly was the most popular feature of the flower and garden festival. The success of Fleurs de Villes is similar to the buzz created by the two floral competition shows I just mentioned.

I was delighted to interview Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley, the creatives behind Fleurs de Villes – which I called a Bespoke Floral Phenomenon, on the Slow Flowers Podcast this past February.  Much like the response people have when they see the photo shoots of real models wearing botanical couture for our American Flowers Week campaigns that Slow Flowers began commissioning in 2016, the botanical couture on Fleurs de Villes’ three-dimensional mannequins takes floral fashion to a new level. 

What is the magic? I believe that seeing flowers used as an artistic expression ignites the imagination of those who view them. Beyond the sheer scale and beauty of floral installations, massive topiary and botanically-dressed mannequins, flowers are the starting point that connect many consumers with the natural world. And who can argue with that?

For Fleurs de Villes, show-goers were invited to vote for their favorite design. For Big Flower Fight and Full Bloom, viewers rooted for their favorite contestants. There’s buy-in when the audience has a stake in the outcome, and ultimately, more people know more about flowers, which takes us full circle to our Insight #1 — Floral Wellness.

I hope to see all of these floral celebrity projects return to our lives in 2021, but I will offer a vocal plea for one change: Please, No FLORAL FOAM. As we’ve urged the mainstream floral profession for years: please wean yourself from a dependence on foam. Be truly creative and find alternative mechanics to express your art!

It can be done; believe me, we’ve consistently documented no-foam mechanic strategies on this podcast and in our other Slow Flowers channels. For goodness sake’s, even the famed Chelsea Flower Show has declared future exhibitions to be foam-free.


If you’re interested in showing off your own Star Quality, I invite you to join the 2021 American Flowers Week botanical couture creative team. Our creators are Slow Flowers member florists and flower farmers who and produce wearable botanical couture photographed on live models for publication.

On Friday, January 15th, you’re invited to join me for a free webinar and Learn how YOU can participate in American Flowers Week 2021

Hear advice and tips from Slow Flowers member designers and growers! We will discuss how each created an iconic botanical couture look for American Flowers Week, including flower sourcing, model selection and photography. You can join the Webinar to learn whether this opportunity is right for you! The Webinar takes place 9am Pacific/Noon Eastern on Friday, January 15, 2021.


Okay, what an inspiring list of 10 insights! Thank you for reviewing this list with me today. I  want to pause here to marvel at what has happened since I began writing down what I viewed on the horizon for the Slow Flowers movement and its followers and members.

The simple act of speaking, writing and sharing one’s perspective is a personal superpower, one you can also claim, because each of us has an utterly unique world view. While it seems trite to seek out COVID’s “silver linings,” you may find meaningful truths to interpret from the past year’s chaos. Use them as a foundation for your 2021 planning. Yes, you want to make resolutions and set goals. You can also set your Intention. And intention can be our rudder to guide us through choppy waters and uncertain times. That’s clearly what we need in this moment.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 800 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.

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.

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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 675,000 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 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:

Heliotrope; Vittoro; Open Flames; Shift of Currents; Surly Bonds; 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 486: Slow Flowers’ 2020 Year in Review

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

Welcome to the final episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast for 2020. As I have done since the beginning of 2014, I’m turning the spotlight on our year of Slow Flowers. Next week, on January 6th, I’ll bring you the annual report for our 2021 Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

Last year at this time, we celebrated a successful 2019 with more members, more participation and more Slow Flowers blooming in the marketplace. Speaking for myself, there was a definite feeling of anticipation in the air, as we turned the calendar to a new year and a new decade. We felt optimism and creative inspiration.

We wanted to celebrate and embrace a progressive climate for local, seasonal and sustainable flowers in agriculture and design . . . and could see on the horizon a floral climate where Slow Flowers increasingly took center stage.

The year kicked off with some exciting opportunities to connect with members, including speaking twice in Oregon — first, for the PNW Cut Flower Growers Meet-Up in Corvallis, and next at the Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show in Eugene.

In late February, I returned to the fabulous Northwest Flower & Garden Festival to produce the floral stage for the third year in a row. I welcomed six Slow Flowers Members to teach sold-out, hands-on floral design workshops called “Blooms & Bubbles.” We welcome the beautiful Fleurs de Villes floral couture installation with eight of the fashions created by Slow Flowers members who showcased their talents. Slow Flowers sponsored Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers, for an all-domestic floral gown — Here’s my interview with Melissa in which we discuss her studio, art practice and floral fashion!

Also at the flower festival, I joined a panel presentation moderated by fellow podcaster Jennifer Jewell, author of the new book: The Earth in Her Hands, profiles of 75 extraordinary women working in the world of plants, as one of those profiled (PS you can hear that full conversation moderated by Jennifer on Episode 443).

2020 Trend Summit speakers, from left: Susan McLeary, Hitomi Gilliam, Francoise Weeks, Holly Chapple, Debra Prinzing, Leatrice Eiseman and Gregor Lersch (c) Collin Gilliam

A few weeks later in mid-March, the reality of the Covid-19 Pandemic began to sink in. I was in Vancouver, B.C., at Hitomi Gilliam’s Trend Summit, and at the time, I had no idea it would be my last in-person opportunity to speak to a floral audience. Here we are, nine months into it and we’ve all accepted the new norms required to fight the pandemic, keep ourselves and others safe from infection, and use our energy and resources to hang onto our livelihoods.

In response, we found ways to stay connected this year. I sought and invited you to share your personal “Stories of Reslience” for our Slow Flowers Podcast and Virtual Member Meet-Ups. Learning how you personally tackled and creatively addressed such huge challenges has been a major source of inspiration to me and other. And similarly, our definition of thriving has greatly changed.

Month by month, we forged ahead. We forged ahead through the Pandemic, through a racial justice awakening, through the increasing threat of Climate Change. We looked in the mirror and asked ourselves: “Are we doing enough to walk the talk?” “Are we communicating our values through our actions?” We also found and nurtured community in new ways. We spent more time at home than ever before. We re-evaluated what’s truly important.

And in doing so, I believe we have gotten stronger. In late October, I gathered with Karen Thornton, our operations/membership and events manager at either end of a huge conference table and we were joined via Zoom by Niesha Blancas, our social media manager and Becky Feasby, our new Slow Flowers Canada associate, for our 2021 planning retreat. We started the day discussing the Year in Review. You know, that exercise was so affirming. It was so valuable to not only itemize the accomplishments I felt were important, but to hear from my colleagues about the highlights that excited them.

And we came up with a pretty amazing list. It is essential to stop and take stock in the year that’s coming to a close. This year it’s especially important! I’d like to walk you through our list and invite you to join me in celebrating what the entire Slow Flowers Community has accomplished together:

SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT

Our original panel of speakers includes, (clockwise from top, left): Susan Mcleary, Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Molly Culver, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Jennifer Jewell, Pilar Zuniga and Emily Saeger

Last week, I sent out an email to our registrants, members and followers with a Slow Flowers Summit update — you can find it here. Top items of note:

The Slow Flowers Summit 2021 is moving forward with confidence!

We know for certain that the management at Filoli Historic House & Garden are taking the utmost precaution in making it safe for guests to visit their grounds, despite ever-changing policies for public gatherings in their county and state. For the Summit specifically, we are shifting plans to have an all-outside conference, made possible by Filoli’s incredible gardens, and infrastructure such as an outdoor meeting space where seating is socially-distanced, an outdoor stage and boosted Wi-Fi, among other logistics being attended to, as well as all accommodations for outdoor catering and service.

Two new speakers are joining the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit! Abra Lee of Conquer the Soil (left) and Max Gill of Max Gill Design (right)

The other big news is that we’ve invited two additional speakers to join our expanded educational program, rounding out an already amazing lineup. That means author and speaker Abra Lee of Conquer the Soil and floral designer Max Gill will be part of the program when we all gather June 28-30, 2021. I truly cannot wait!

Member and Social Media COMMUNICATIONS

Thanks to the talents of our social media manager Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social, our engagement hit 98 million impressions, with a 13 million reach in 2020. One of the most meaningful things Niesha has done – and this requires a serious investment of time – is to find ways to highlight as many members as possible, by showcasing your flowers and designs in our social media posts and stories. I am in awe of the attention to detail that Niesha brings to this effort. For example, each month, we highlight new and renewing members, usually 40 to 50 of you, and that means Niesha digs deep into your social media feeds or websites to find just the right photograph to represent you and your brand. We just surpassed 30k IG followers — all organic growth thanks to the time and attention that Niesha takes to showcase and engage with you!

VIRTUAL MEET-UPS

At the end of March, I upgraded our Zoom account to accommodate longer meetings and a larger group of participants. It felt like a desperate act at the time – we just had to DO SOMETHING, right? Like you, I was in a bit of a fog, trying to figure out how to navigate the new COVID landscape while running a floral enterprise. That Zoom tool allowed us to host the first “Virtual” Member Meet-Up on Friday, March 27th, with more than 60 of you in attendance. We attempted to give everyone a chance to say hello and check in with our community.

As Karen, Niesha and Lisa Waud, who helped us with membership for the first half of 2020, and I learned more about virtual meetings, and as we heard from you about the state of your floral enterprise, we continued to improve and refine those meetings. We met weekly as a community, each Friday, through the end of May.

We hosted a series of guests, from members who shared their strategies for contact-free deliveries and product sourcing to outside experts on wellness and mindfulness. And we dabbled with break-out rooms, which is a more manageable for smaller groups to converse and connect. After eight weekly meet-ups, by the beginning of June, we shifted to monthly sessions —  to date, there have been seven monthly Meet-Ups attracting more than 350 members.

You seem to love our floral design demos and crop-specific topics, as well as our speakers, our giveaways and the important lifeline to connect with kindred spirits. Most of the Meet-Ups were recorded and you can find the playback videos on YouTube where there have been hundreds of views, reaching  those who couldn’t attend in real time. The Virtual Meet-Ups will continue into 2020 — our first of the year is scheduled for Friday, January 8th – so stay tuned for more details in the January newsletter and on social media. Hope to see you there!

AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK

American Flowers Week, June 28-July 4, took place against the COVID backdrop but you were not deterred in participating! We showcased five beautiful botanical couture fashion looks for 2020 featuring orchids from Hawaii, peonies from Alaska, local flora from South Dakota, dahlias from Washington State and annuals from Maine.

The opening pages of Slow Flowers Journal coverage of American Flowers Week botanical couture features one of Sarah Pabody’s dahlia dresses, photographed in the fields at Triple Wren Farms (c) Katherine Buttrey

Florists’ Review published the photography of these incredibly creative floral stylings in the June issue and we picked up some local press, interested in telling the story of locally-grown flowers in their markets.

Several of you joined the momentum led by Lisa Waud to use local flowers for public installations in their community– from Milwaukee and Detroit to Portland, Maine, with the goal of raising awareness, supporting flower farmers and celebrating beauty at a time when everyone so needed it.

Plans are already underway for 2021 and we have just unveiled our new branding by illustrator Jeanetta Gonzales, so please save the dates. During June 28-July 4 we will be celebrating our seventh annual American Flowers Week campaign. You can order bouquet labels anytime in our Slow Flowers Mercantile Shop — find the link here.

MEMBERSHIP

We had excellent growth in Slow Flowers Society membership for 2020 — truly inspiring and an indication that more flower farmers and floral designers want to align with our mission and values as a way to communicate their brand identity to customers.

We began 2020 with just over 600 members and we are wrapping up the year with 811 members — that’s 30% growth at an uncertain time.

I’m grateful to both Lisa Waud and Karen Thornton who have invested quite a bit of time in building our member database and outreach programs. It sounds like a minor “win,” but I find it so incredibly valuable to use one dashboard to find out about each one of you, where you’re located, how long you’ve been a member, and more!

CAUSES AND COMMUNITY

In June after the nation witnessed the senseless murder of George Floyd and after feeling so many other waves of sorrow, grief and shock about unaddressed racial injustice, I was moved to take personal action. On behalf of Slow Flowers Society, I donated $5,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit that fights for law enforcement reform and improvements to the legal system on behalf of underrepresented persons.

I called on our members to take their own steps to fight racism while also fighting for inclusivity, representation and equity in our profession. And so many of you shared your actions and steps. We launched the Professional Development Fund for Black Farmers and Florists to join the Slow Flowers Society and in doing so, we’ve used those funds to sponsor six new members to join. It’s a start – and one we hope to continue in the future, until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in. Thank you to those who joined this effort.

ANNUAL MEMBER SURVEY

It was a year of ambition, to be sure. If you took our 2021 member survey, you will know to what I refer.

More than 216 of you took the survey during the month of October; that was triple the previous year’s engagement. We learned so much about you and I’ve been posting the insights by category – as a series, which you can find a Slowflowersjournal.com.

Of note: 74% of you rate the value of your Slow Flowers membership as high or very high! I’m so grateful for your support.

There is definitely an opportunity to grow that percentage and demonstrate to you the value of your membership investment. I believe that the more you engage, the more value you enjoy, so please put in the time and effort to participate in the many opportunities and programs we offer!

OPERATIONS

Check out the Slowflowerssociety.com site!

Slow Flowers Society is growing up as an organization and that is reflected in the programs and systems we have in place to run things more smoothly — and improve our responsiveness to you! With a COVID scale back of Karen Thornton’s consulting for her corporate event clients, we took advantage of her talents and time to bring her onboard as our Operations and Membership manager, on top of the Event management she’s handled since 2018. Thank you, Karen! You have improved and streamlined so many processes, moved us to Google for Business, taken the lead on finance and budget management, and run so many behind-the-scenes details that the list is too large to share here. Our team also includes Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social, whose responsibilities have expanded to include managing our FB Community and the addition of Becky Feasby of Prairie Girl Flowers in Calgary, Alberta, to manage our growing Slow Flowers Canada membership program. Wow! All so cool, right?!

One of the cool things Karen has built is our online Slow Flowers Mercantile store. It began as a place where you could purchase signed copies of my three most recent books, and it has expanded to include American Flowers Week bouquet labels, Slow Flowers Society items including plant tags, our book mark and blank journals, and some special artwork from friends of Slow Flowers. We hope to grow the shop to feature our favorite makers and vendors as we move into 2021!

PUBLICATIONS

Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One; image courtesy My Garden Over Floweth
(c) Urbren Branding Co.

The year 2020 witnessed the expansion of my teaching and publishing, all designed to encourage, support and showcase the amazing people involved as Slow Flowers members. In June, we celebrated the publication of Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One, which is a compilation of the best Slow Flowers Journal articles, features and profiles that appeared in Florists’ Review from 2017 to 2019. One hundred twenty eight pages are filled with the talents of more than 80 Slow Flowers growers, farmer-florists and floral designers. And we can’t wait for you to see and read what’s inside. Thank you to Florists’ Review and Wildflower Media for publishing this lovely book and thank you to the amazing team, including creative director Robin Avni and book designer Jenny Diaz.


This project was so rewarding and demonstrates a tangible opportunity to share stories of our Slow Flowers Community, so I am here to announce that Robin and I have formed a joint venture to develop more books to continue the mission of Slow Flowers. Our project is called BLOOM Imprint and it serves as the publishing arm of Slow Flowers Society. We have five books in development and we hope to announce those titles and authors in early 2021. Some of you already may have seen our call for submissions for our first book: Where we Bloom, which I will be writing, which will showcase more than 30 Slow Flowers members and their studios, workshops, greenhouses and flower stands. That book will be published in March 2020 and you’ll be able to pre-order it soon.

EDUCATION

And to support everyone from aspiring writers to floral professionals who desire to improve their own content through the written word, I launched the first Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling as an online course in early November. Sixty of your registered for the online course and spent the month of November working through the modules, lessons and worksheets at your own pace. A highlight for me were the weekly “Office Hours” sessions – of course via Zoom – when students and I met to discuss writing challenges and achievements. Thank you to all who participated.

The next session of Slow Flowers Creative Workshop begins January 6th and I’ve created a coupon code for Slow Flowers members to enjoy $100 off the $297 registration. If you’re not a member, I have a $50 off coupon code for you — so take advantage of those benefits and join in!

Slow Flowers Society Members: Save $100 off regular tuition of $297 with this Coupon Code: SFMEMBER100

Non-members save $50 off regular tuition of $297 with this Coupon Code. SAVE50


And speaking of online courses, I want to share details about a new free course — my year-end gift to you: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead. How to Write a Year in Review and Future Forecast for Your Brand

For the past seven years, I have turned the calendar page to the New Year by first revisiting the one coming to a close. This ritual has becomes my regular “Year-in-Review” practice as I take stock of what has happened in the prior 12 months, how my efforts supported my mission and the relationships I developed along the way.

This exercise becomes the springboard for my second ritual of the season: Writing the Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast Report.

Now, I’ve created a FREE online course sharing my process and methods for both of these valuable tools. After you take this mini-course, you’ll have the building blocks to write your own YEAR-in-REVIEW and FLORAL FORECAST. 

Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll have two new narratives that you can use for blog posts, newsletter articles and other content to support your brand. By reflecting on highlights of the past year, you can learn so much about your true priorities, passion, purpose and (one hopes) what’s most profitable in terms of trading your time for income.

Whether it’s for personal or professional reasons, as this year comes to a close, I encourage you to take time to write a creative Year-In-Review. When you do this, a narrative emerges, one that can guide your insights for next year’s Floral Forecast.

You’re hearing my year in review right now — and I encourage you to sign up for the FREE course so you can write your own year in review.

And next week, we’ll talk about what’s in store in 2021. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have a process and method for assessing the cultural shifts that help me forecast floral themes and topics we’ll experience in the year to come.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

This is the weekly podcast about Slow 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, online directory to 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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 673,000 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. The year 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us.

We have continued to deliver fresh, original content to you through the Slow Flowers Podcast, week in and week out — since 2013!

Not counting all of the time invested in developing the topics, guests and content, we spend more than $10k annually to bring you this award-winning internet radio program. Your financial support can ensure we continue into 2021. If every listener contributes just $2, those funds would add up quickly to cover our out-of-pocket costs to record, edit, host and promote the Slow Flowers Podcast. Would you consider making a year-end donation? 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

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:

Castor Wheel Pivot; Glass Beads; Heartland Flyer; Rabbit Hole; Silk and Silver; Taoudella; 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 460: Meet The Big Flower Fight’s head judge Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, owner of Seattle-based design studio Wild Bloom

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020
Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht on the set of “The Big Flower Fight” (c) Netflix

I’m so thrilled to introduce you to floral celebrity Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, the savvy and charismatic head judge on Netflix’s The Big Flower Fight and owner of Seattle-based design studio Wild Bloom.

After binging on all eight episodes of The Big Flower Fight when it debuted in late May, I have to say that Kristen is the heartbeat of this fun, new reality floral and garden design competition. He sets the tone for “friendly” competition by offering each design team his advice, guidance and sometimes painful but necessary reality-checks.

On location with Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, floral influencer and head judge of “The Big Flower Fight”

I really enjoyed Kristen’s presence on The Big Flower Fight. He served as the resident floral design expert, as well as the show’s stylish personality whose commentary moved things along during each one-hour episode. When the show launched I didn’t know much about Kristen, although I had been following his Wild Blume Instagram account once I discovered him through other Seattle florists I followed.

Watch Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht on Mornings with Mayesh

Several weeks ago, Mayesh Wholesale’s Yvonne Ashton invited Kristen to be her guest on her Facebook show, Mornings with Mayesh. It was so great to virtually meet Kristen during that interview. You can watch the Facebook Live replay above.

Florist to the Stars, Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht (photo, courtesy of KGV)

I appreciated Kristen’s transparency and authenticity as a black floral professional, especially since that interview took place right after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. It was and is such an emotionally wrought time, and Kristen didn’t deflect any questions from Yvonne and those posed by the Mornings with Mayesh audience. He gained my immense regard and respect by speaking directly to these issues.

Later, I messaged Kristen and asked if he would be open to my interviewing him for a Florists’ Review article. Look for my profile and Q&A with Kristen, coming up in the August issue, which you can find online at floristsreview.com. Please enjoy our extended conversation, recorded via Zoom last month.

Episode Two of Netflix’s “The Big Flower Fight,” featured botanical fashion.

First, here’s a bit more about Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht of Wild Bloom:

Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht specializes in the creation of unique floral arrangements that celebrate enchanting flowers and natural beauty. He is the owner and creative director of Wild Bloom by Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht. His career began in New York City where he worked for some of the top designers in the industry. Since opening his own studio, Kristen’s flowers have been in major publications across the US, including Martha Stewart Weddings, Traditional Home Magazine, and The Knot, and seen on Good Morning America and E! Network. His flowers for actress Julianne Hough were featured on the front cover of People Magazine.

Kristen describes his design philosophy as a combination of editorial with a sensibility for distinctive and organic perspectives. He has an exquisite and rich design eye which has helped to transform the role that florals play in weddings and events. In addition to his extensive portfolio, his studio also provides private classes and workshops for emerging floral artists and enthusiasts.

Kristen views floristry as a gateway to a happier more sustainable life that focuses on bridging the gap between nature and modern living. He continues his work towards elevating the artistry of floral design as a fine art while expanding his design portfolio to include gardening, house plants and home decor. 

Wild Bloom design services are available worldwide for weddings, events, workshops, private classes, advertising campaigns, product shoots and fashion featured in print and digital publications.

Season One Trailer of “The Big Flower Fight”

Thanks so much for joining today’s conversation. You can follow Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht on Instagram.

If you’re as eager as I am to see The Big Flower Fight “season two,” be sure to post your favorite photos from the show and tag Netflix, Kristen, and use the hashtag #thebigflowerfight. Let’s do what we can to ensure that the mainstream media continues to provides programming for people like us: lovers of flowers and plants!

The sixth annual American Flowers Week is underway and we have lots of fun content to share with you, socially distanced, of course.

Kim’s peony gown for American Flowers Week 2020

Earlier this week, on Sunday, June 28th, I went LIVE on Facebook to visit Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies in Fairbanks, Alaska, as we toured her peony fields and learned more about Kim’s botanical couture peony gown, created for American Flowers Week.

Watch Part One of our Live Interview Here

Watch Part Two of our Live Interview Here

On Monday, June 29th, our social media manager Niesha Blancas brought Filoli Historic Home & Garden to us LIVE via Instagram. That was just one of the stories and videos Niesha captured as our field correspondent. She was at Filoli to commemorate what was to be the 4th annual Slow Flowers Summit. With concerns over travel and large group gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we rescheduled the Slow Flowers Summit to June 28-30, 2021 — the exact same dates one year from now. But thanks to Niesha only living a few hours away from Filoli, she drove to this beautiful location just for us. . . and you can find links to her posts in today’s show notes.

On Tuesday, June 30th, I hosted a group conversation with Tammy Myers of LORA Bloom and her collective of Seattle area florists who collaborated on an American Flowers Week promotion. It was so fun to hear from several of LORA Bloom florists who, like Tammy, are Slow Flowers members. They created this promotion to help raise awareness about the importance of domestic flowers, and to raise funds for important charities — including the Seattle nonprofit Solid Ground.

Watch the LORA Bloom-Slow Flowers LIVE segment here

And more great things continue through July 4th.

You can find the full schedule of activities at americanflowersweek.com. Please join me in sharing your seasonal and local flowers to elevate awareness about domestic flowers. Get involved and support this initiative to promote and educate consumers about the source of their flowers. Download free American Flowers Week graphics, badges and other resources at americanflowersweek.com.

Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

And thank you to Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Read our stories at slowflowersjournal.com.

More 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.

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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 620,000 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.

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:

Turning on the Lights; Pinky; 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 459: Modern Montana with Remy Brault of Labellum, a retail flower shop in Bozeman, Montana

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020
Remy Bault, floral artist and entrepreneur
A beautiful centerpiece by Remy Brault, of Labellum

Please meet Remy Brault of Labellum, a contemporary floral boutique based in Bozeman, Montana.

Remy and I first met in September 2017 at a conference called Rocky Mountain Gardening Live, produced by Rocky Mountain Gardening magazine. She shared a beautiful tabletop floral demonstration featuring all Montana-grown flowers, and later led a fun hands-on workshop to teach participants how to make miniature floral pieces as place settings. I was there to talk about the Slow Flowers Movement from a gardener’s point of view.

Wild, bold, natural — the Labellum style reflects Remy’s contemporary aesthetic and geographic inspiration

Soon after that, Remy joined Slow Flowers as a member and I’ve been wanting to have her as a guest on the Podcast for quite a while. It seems like perfect timing to do that right now, with something fun to celebrate — including her centerpiece and bridal bouquet featured in The Slow Flowers Journal Book.

Two pieces, designed by Remy Brault — illustrating the range of her floral art

Here’s more about Remy Brault and Labellum:

Labellum is a retail flower shop in downtown Bozeman, which also specializes in event florals. With a style that is hip, modern and organic, Remy writes this on Labellum’s web site: “We love mixing natural elements and incorporating rich textures into our work. With artistry and imagination, each arrangement tells a story and is as unique as our clients. We are inspired by the ever changing seasons with all of their natural textures.

Inside Labellum, where plants and vases play a large role in the inventory, too.

Impact is everything and our footprint matters to us. We work with gardeners and farmers in our area during the warmer months in Montana to combine as many vibrant local flowers as possible into our designs. We also grow many flowers on our own and whenever possible we love foraging respectfully and ethically in the forest or along the river beds for awesome drift wood, rocks, and anything that has fun textures and shapes. We have recently become beekeepers and added two bee hives to our little ever changing urban ‘farm.’ Our hope is to help with pollinating our neighborhood,  increasing bee populations and of course produce a delicious organic wildflower honey.” 

Feminine flowers, designed with a sculptural approach for both a bouquet and a centerpiece arrangement, by Labellum

By the way, the word “Labellum” is the center petal of an orchid. A beautiful name and brand for an organically-focused floral shop.

One of Remy’s tabletop arrangements, featured in the new Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One, from Ch. 5: Farm to Tabletop (c) Fran Ze Photography
A bridal bouquet featuring icelandic poppy, foxglove, corn cockle, candytuft, scabiosa, nigella, dusty Miller and phlox, from Ch. 6: Slow Weddings (c) Norman and Blake Photography

Above, please enjoy two stunning creations by Remy Brault in Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One book.

Find and follow Remy Brault at these social places:

Labellum on Facebook

Labellum on Instagram

Today, on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, we’re kicking off my new book, the Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One, and I couldn’t be more excited to share the news with you! I’m celebrating the launch in a few ways — in-person with my Seattle community at a socially-distanced book-signing event at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, and online, with our Slow Flowers Community everywhere via a virtual book launch on Zoom. Click here to order copy of Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One — our bookstore is open for orders.

The virtual Launch Party and Happy Hour will take place at 4 pm Pacific/7 pm on June 24th and we will welcome many special guests who appear in the book’s pages. Here’s the invitation — and you’re invited to join us!

Eighty Slow Flowers members are featured in the pages of the new Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One Book

In coming weeks, I’ll be showcasing the talents and stories of many of the members featured in our new book — and if you’re interested in submitting your floral designs and the story of your floral enterprise for possible inclusion in Slow Flowers Journal – Volume Two, please reach out! We are beginning to plan our next book in the series and would love to consider you for its pages. More details to follow later this summer, but you can submit you ideas to: debra@slowflowers.com.

On Sunday, June 28th, we kick off the sixth annual American Flowers Week, with a full calendar of online, virtual events. Keep an eye out for details on our Slow Flowers Facebook and Instagram pages, as we will announce new content, interviews, design demonstrations, floral installations and tours each day, June 28th through July 4th!

Share your story, your farm, your floral designs during #americanflowersweek

Here’s how you can help out the campaign:

Take photos of your flowers — on the farm, in the studio, and in your customers’ hands.
Post those photos to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (or all three!) and please tag #americanflowersweek and #slowflowers, in addition to the tags you usually use. On Instagram & Twitter we are @myslowflowers. On Facebook, we are SLOW FLOWERS.

Download free American Flowers Week graphics, badges and other resources at americanflowersweek.com

See you on Social Media during June 28-July 4 and Enjoy those Red, White & Blue Blooms!

Thank You for Listening!

Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

And thank you to Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Read our stories at slowflowersjournal.com.

FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at  farmersweb.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.

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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 617,000 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.

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:

Heartland Flyer; Glass Beads; 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