Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘American Grown’ Category

Episode 434 Slow Flowers’ 2020 Floral Insights & Industry Forecast, plus our final state focus: Wyoming

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020
Desert Collection, designed by Morgan Anderson, Ph.D., of The Flori.Culture (c) Macey Sierka

Happy New Year 2020! Last week’s podcast commemorated the close of 2019 with an extensive Year in Review episode. And while I couldn’t highlight and thank every single person who made last year a special one, I touched on many of the bright spots in our full year of Slow Flowers. Please go back and have a listen if you missed it.

I’m excited to share highlights from the sixth annual Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast — the 2020 edition, but before I do so, we have a special guest to welcome, Teresa Tibbets of Dandelion Floral, based in Lander, Wyoming.

All during 2019, our Fifty States of Slow Flowers series brought you a diverse range of voices and experiences from Slow Flowers members across the U.S. This ambitious series doubled the number of Slow Flowers Podcast guests we brought to you during the course of the year. Thank you to each of our state guests for their willingness to share their personal floral narrative with listeners. Together their stories amplified the thriving message that our Slow Flowers Movement is taking place everywhere and anywhere that people, gardens, soil and sunshine exist.

Click here to find the full list of our Fifty States of Slow Flowers guests, with links to the episode in which each appeared.

Teresa Tibbets with a bouquet of fall flowers (c) Kristy Cardinal Photography

Today, that series comes to a close today. Even though it’s January 1st 2020, due to a few scheduling hiccups, I couldn’t quite fit our final state – Wyoming – into 2019,  so today, please meet Teresa Tibbets of Dandelion Floral.

left: Teresa designing with her Wyoming-grown blooms (c) Kim Branagan Photography; right: this boutonniere is made with lisianthus, amaranth, and aspen (c) Teresa Tibbets

Teresa is a flower farmer and studio-based wedding and event florist who specializes in growing heirloom and ephemeral flowers. She also raises “xeric natives,” such as yarrow, coneflower and rudbeckia; and she forages locally for Aspen, juniper and sage.

left: June Peony Bouquet (c) Blushing Crow Studio; right: a Dandelion Floral bridal bouquet, photographed at Karisa Mountain Lake. The anemone and ranunculus was grown on Teresa’s farm in Lander, Wyoming (c) Apartment10

Teresa says: “My designs are inspired by nature’s form and structure, embracing the whimsical and wild. The aesthetic of the Rocky Mountains is loose and light, balancing the soft with prickly; the fine with bold. We take our cues from the deserts and the mountains. An arrangement full of lush, shiny, deep green foliage looks artificial and contrived here, in my opinion. Instead, we embrace the blue-grays of sage and juniper; the delicate texture of golden grasses and twinkling yellow-green of Aspen.”

A Dandelion Floral bouquet with lilac, tulips, and anemone, which Teresa calls “the harbingers of the beginning of the flower season.”

Find and follow Dandelion Floral at these social places:

Dandelion Floral on Facebook

Dandelion Floral on Instagram

It has been a privilege to feature this important series and I thank you for joining me. As I mentioned last week, we missed a few — namely Hawaii and Delaware — but I’ll do my best to add voices from those states in the coming months.

Next up: I’m excited to share highlights from the annual Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

This Forecast began six years ago and I’m more inspired than ever about the focus of this project. Since 2013, I have tracked and documented the shifts and changes in the Slow Flowers Movement, devoting considerable much time and resources during the past several years while also educating about and advocating for locally grown, seasonal and sustainable flowers. As a result, the awareness of our Movement has also increased. More farms are producing more domestic flowers; more designers are selecting domestic flowers as artistic elements of their work; and more consumers are asking for local flowers.

Traction, momentum and change can be measured incrementally, so you will notice that in this year’s 2020 Forecast some of the topics and key insights represent subtle rather than seismic shifts from past year’s themes, or at the very least, an expansion of them. 

I’ve titled the forecast Green Horizons.

To develop this report, I began by surveying Slow Flowers members and social media followers last fall, asking questions about their floral businesses, including emerging themes and topics important to them.

I drew further insights from my 2019 storytelling — first-person interviews for print and digital Slow Flowers Journal stories, interviews with more than one-hundred Slow Flowers Podcast guests, and attitudes gathered from conversations with thought-leaders in floral design, flower farming and related creative professions.

I hope you find these forward-thinking resources important and valuable. I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions about topics missed.

Download a PDF of the 2020 Forecast from Florists’ Review

Download a PDF of the 2020 Forecast from Canadian Florist

A sentence jumped out to me a few months ago as I read a Time magazine profile of Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia. It went like this: “Today’s customers want their dollars to go to companies that will use their money to make the world a better place.”

A fitting statement, given that Patagonia, which recently surpassed $1 billion in annual sales, donates 1% of its sales to environmental groups. To me, that story about Patagonia underscores a theme that resonates with that of our 2020 Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast:

“Belief-driven buyers choose a brand on the basis of its position on social issues.”

Time interview with Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia

If you think this is a fringe topic, you’re wrong. According to market consultancy Edelman, nearly 2 in 3 consumers are belief-driven buyers.

READ MORE…

Episode 432: Slow Flowers’ Holiday Music Special with Carolyn Kulb of Folk Art Flowers; plus, our state focus: West Virginia

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

It’s that time again, the annual Slow Flowers Holiday Music Special!

Floral design [(c) Suzanne Rothmeyer] by Carolyn Kulb, seen at right.

Today’s guest is Carolyn Kulb of Folk Art Flowers, based in Seattle. Carolyn and I met in the fall of 2018 and I’ve enjoyed watching how she fully participates in the benefits available to Slow Flowers members — from submitting designs to our monthly Slow Flowers Design Idea galleries on Houzz.com to showing up and volunteering for projects like an installation at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market to celebrate American Flowers Week.

Neon Brass Party, a Seattle “Honk” band — see today’s guest, Carolyn Kulb, wearing a hot pink hat and playing her violin towards the left

Last April, while chatting with Carolyn at the Whidbey Flower Workshop, I learned that she is not only an aspiring farmer-florist but also a musician. She plays and teaches violin and is a member of a HONK band called “Neon Brass Party,” here in Seattle.

I often try and feature a musical guest during the holiday season, so when I learned about Carolyn’s other artistic outlet, I asked if she would join me and share some of her talents for this episode.

You’ll hear portions of a violin piece that Carolyn played for me in person. Here is a link to listen to her digital music compositions.

Roses and peonies, designed by Carolyn Kulb of Folk Art Flowers

But mostly, today we talk flowers — including the trials and challenges facing a startup farmer-florist.

I hope you’ll enjoy the conversation. Carolyn says she started Folk Art after a long journey doing work that did not match her strengths. She continues:

Spring Hellebores by Folk Art Flowers

“Early on I worked with the Peace Corps, which was incredible mostly because I got to work with farmers all day. I kept climbing the ladder, including jobs that let me travel, but I was miserable behind a desk. What I did love about my career was working with other farmers in the field and connecting with people and nature, so I decided to start doing more of that.

“After moving to Seattle, I joined the Sustainable Farming Education Program at Tilth Alliance, which is an incubation program for beginner farmers. I joined a farm to experience a full season in action, and started growing flowers in my backyard. I also did a lot of arranging and experimentation to improve my craft, and designed full-service flowers for several weddings. (I also joined two bands, which is another story!) After this wonderful incubation period of creativity and learning, I finally decided to start Folk Art Flowers. I am so excited and grateful to be able to share some of my joy with you by bringing you beautiful, local, and sustainably produced flowers.”

A lavish dahlia bouquet, designed by Carolyn Kulb of Folk Art Flowers

As a design studio, Folk Art Flowers offers a flower subscription service, individual arrangements, wedding and event flowers, and more. Carolyn sources flowers locally through family farms in the Pacific Northwest, farms that employ sustainable growing practices. In the winter months, she occasionally sources botanical ingredients from California, saying: “I believe in American-grown flowers and will never use flowers that are flown in from another country.”

As you’ll hear from Carolyn, in 2019 with new leased land, she began to realize her dream to grow all of her own florals. Her commitment to sustainability includes everything from growing flowers using organic practices to recycling vases. It also includes a philosophy of building soil health naturally, avoiding the use of pesticides through integrated pest management, using only organic fertilizers, providing habitat for wildlife and bees, and rotating crops.  

Another fun Neon Brass Party band photo with Carolyn at far left

Find and follow Folk Art Flowers at these social places.

Folk Art Flowers on Facebook

Folk Art Flowers on Instagram

Folk Art Flowers on Pinterest

Thank you so much for joining my conversation with Carolyn! I love hearing her story and I know that 2020 will be a big, bountiful year as she develops her new farmland. This is the message that appears on Folk Art Flowers’ web site: “We are a member of the Slow Flowers community, and our flowers are local, meaning that you are supporting local farmers in your community in addition to supporting a small, woman-owned business. Since we use farm flowers, you’ll get to see the seasons change based on what we select for you.  And we might be biased, but we think we create the most beautiful arrangements out there.” — I couldn’t love this sentiment more!

Tamara Hough of Morning Glory Flowers (left), our West Virginia guest; Tamara’s botanical artwork – in process (right)

Fifty States of Slow Flowers continues today with a stop in West Virginia. You’ll hear from Tamara Hough of Morning Glory Flowers, our West Virginia guest in the 2019 Fifty States of Slow Flowers series. A few months ago, we commissioned Tamara, a flower farmer, botanical artist and new Slow Flowers member to design our American Flowers Week branding for 2020! I’m so excited for you to learn more about Tamara and the special role she is playing as our guest artist.

Tamara Hough of Morning Glory Flowers

You can see Tamara’s playful and charming floral ladies, faces and fashions that she posts on her Instagram feed . This artwork captured my imagination as a perfect way to represent the spirit of American Flowers Week! I asked Tamara to create an original illustration with three botanically-styled women to represent the best of Slow Flowers and American Flowers Week. She designed a trio of gals in beautiful floral headpieces, with bits and pieces from the garden used to create all the facial features — and their fashionable looks!

A trio of floral ladies celebrate floral female friendship, by Tamara Hough of Morning Glory Flowers

Check out our American Flowers Week 2020 branding artwork — and download your own badges and graphics here (thanks to Jenny Diaz for the beautiful typography!). Click here to find Tamara’s Etsy shop where you can order prints and cards.

The Early Bird promotion for the Slow Flowers Summit continues through the end of this month and I’m so encouraged by the incredible response we’ve had — passionate and progressive floral folks from nine states from East to West and one Canadian Province have already registered! We encourage you to take advantage $100 off the Member or General registration for the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit and purchase your ticket to the Slow Flowers Summit by December 31st.

If you’ve not yet checked out details, you can find links to all the exciting news about our partnership with Filoli Historic House and Garden, our venue for days 1 and 2 of the Summit (that’s June 28 &29) and our fabulous speaker lineup. By the way, Day 3 is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour led by our friend Christina Stembel, CEO of Farmgirl Flowers. This is rare access, folks, available only to Summit attendees. As I said, check out those details in today’s show notes.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 558,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

Thanks to Florists’ Review, you can now order a subscription for yourself + give one as a gift this holiday season.

Set your 2020 intention to enrich your personal and professional development!

Click here for the Buy-One-Gift-One special offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

FarmersWeb. 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 www.farmersweb.com

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August – and even September. Thank you to the many farmers and growers who have been part of this operation to supply peonies throughout the United States and Canada.

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

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:
Glass Beads; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field; Acoustic Shuffle
Music from: audionautix.com                                                                                                                                                       

Episode 431: Meet Rebecca Slattery of Persephone Farm in Washington State

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
Rebecca Slattery, owner of Persephone Farm in Indianola, Wash., photographed during a summer 2019 Outstanding in the Field “farm-to-table” event (c) Ilana Freddye photograph

Fifty States of Slow Flowers continues today with a full episode devoted to Washington, my home state. As I mentioned last week, this year-long project is coming to a close and it has been so rewarding to bring you diverse voices and stories of passionate Slow Flowers Members.

Washington’s Slow Flowers Community is one of the most active, for many reasons. One of which is that I have been writing about and working closely with Pacific Northwest flower farmers and floral designers for the past decade, beginning when I was writing The 50 Mile Bouquet between 2009 and 2012. During that time, in 2011, in fact, I met today’s guest, Rebecca Slattery of Persephone Farm.

Rebecca and the mythological Persephone story as depicted on a mural painted by a former farm intern.

The idea of Slow Flowers as a book, or any other format, had yet to be hatched. But I was thrilled to be invited to Persephone Farm in Indianola, Wash., a ferry ride across the Puget Sound from Seattle or Edmonds. I actually kind of volunteered my services to help with making centerpieces and bouquets for a friend’s daughter’s wedding, which took place at a nearby wedding venue on the Kitsap Peninsula. That bride had persuaded Rebecca to let her out-of-town family and friends set up floral design production on tables next to the barn, and of course, to purchase flowers from her fields.

When I arrived, I met Rebecca, but also her husband Bill Richards. In one of those very small-world surprises, Bill and I were acquainted with one another through Seattle’s newspaper world. I knew Bill for his byline in two local dailies, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer where I was a home and garden columnist during the first decade of the 2000s. Having earlier worked on the editorial teams for the Wall St. Journal and the Washington Post, Bill was legendary in local journalism circles. I remember having a nice chat with Bill while my friends set up their flowers.

As you will hear Rebecca and I discuss, Bill died in 2014, and his spirit is still very much evident at Persephone. I was so touched to have met him and equally grateful that I could return to Persephone to share a meal with Rebecca, takea walk through the late autumn landscape and growing grounds, and have a beautiful conversation with her, which you will now hear.

Persephone Farm’s blooms are arranged in colorful metal olive oil tins

Here’s a bit more about Persephone Farm. The 6.5 acre farm in Kitsap County includes a little less than 2 cultivated acres, a yurt meadow, barn, packing shed, wooded area, open fields and habitat for birds and other wildlife. Biodiversity is key to the farm’s success. As Rebecca says, Persephone provides customers with a wide array of vegetables and flowers while maintaining a balanced ecosystem in the gardens.

The Persephone Farm logo (left) + a watercolor of Rebecca’s farmers’ market stall, painted by a local plein air artist

Rebecca uses careful crop rotations, homemade compost, cover crops, beneficial insectaries and patient observation to avoid synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Though not certified organic, her practices are stricter than the national organic standards. Deep ecology, closed loop systems and sustainability are the aim. And I love her term: “moreganic.”

Rebecca hosted a sold-out farm-to-table event for Outstanding in the Field last summer, including leading a pre-dinner farm tour (c) Ilana Freddye

Persephone Farm has been a pioneer in the Community Supported Agriculture movement— starting with 11 subscribers in 1991, making it one of the longest-running programs in the country. From the first week of June through the end of October, subscribers receive an armload of fresh-picked seasonal vegetables, herbs and flowers from Persephone Farm.

Dinner next to the floral fields at Persephone Farm (c) Samantha Parquette

No traditional florist can match the just-picked quality of seasonal blossoms straight from the garden. Rebecca and her crew grow many dozens of varieties of annuals, perennials, herbs, bulbs, shrubs, ornamental grasses and unusual specialty botanicals — for local weddings and events. In addition to designing for wedding clients, Persephone farm offers fabulous fresh flowers by the bucket to the DIY customer. A highlight for many couples is a visit to the farm to stroll through the fields, selecting favorite flower combinations a week or two prior to the wedding. Brides, grooms, mothers and others have all told us that, in retrospect, their visit to Persephone Farm was the most enjoyable check mark they put on their wedding To Do list.

Thanks so much for joining me today for a visit to Persephone Farm. What a special, extended episode and experience for me – a luxury to return and to have a leisurely conversation to share with you.

Find and follow Persephone Farm at these social places:

Persephone Farm on Facebook

Persephone Farm on Instagram

I can’t close out today’s episode without a reminder to you that we’re in the midst of an Early Bird promotion for the Slow Flowers Summit.

You’ll want to take advantage $100 off the Member or General registration for the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit and purchase your ticket to the Slow Flowers Summit by December 31st.

Check out more details and all the exciting news about our partnership with Filoli Historic House and Garden, our venue for days 1 and 2 of the Summit (that’s June 28 &29) and our fabulous speaker lineup.

By the way, Day 3 is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour led by our friend Christina Stembel, CEO of Farmgirl Flowers.

This is rare access, folks, available only to Summit attendees. As I said, check out those details in today’s show notes.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 556,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS


Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Our partnership is such a valuable one, providing a forum for beautiful and inspiring editorial content in the #slowflowersjournal section – month after month. Thanks to Florists’ Review, you can now order a subscription for yourself + give one as a gift this holiday season. Set your 2020 intention to enrich your personal and professional development! You can find the Buy-One-Gift-One special offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Our first 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.

NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

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.

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:
Glass Beads; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com                                                                                                                                                       

Episode 430: Two Virginia floral voices: Shanda Zelaya of Flor de Casa Designs and Kate Meyer of Chatham Flower Farm

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Fifty States of Slow Flowers continues today with a stop in Virginia.

This year-long project is coming to a close and it has been so rewarding to bring you a large cross-section of voices and stories of passionate Slow Flowers Members.

I love it that we can approach conversations about floral ventures from two perspectives: from a designer’s point of view and from a grower’s viewpoint.

That’s what today’s interview accomplishes as we check in with two members in Virginia.

Today, I’m thrilled to feature Shanda Zelaya of Flor de Casa Designs, based in Arlington, Virginia (serving the DC Metro area in the Northern part of the state) and Kate Meyer of Chatham Flower Farm in Painter, Virginia (on the Chesapeak Bay/Eastern Shore). Together, they give us a portrait of to the city and the country and how flowers factor into both areas.

Studio wedding and event florist, Shanda Zelaya of Flor de Casa Designs

First, let me introduce Shanda Zelaya. We met in 2018 when she attended the Slow Flowers Summit in Washington, D.C., and we recently reconnected at Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock. I’m delighted that you can hear Shanda’s story and her path to floristry.

Born in Costa Rica, flowers have surrounded Shanda since infancy.  It wasn’t until she married her best friend in 2015 that she realized just how much she loved flowers.  A year later, Flor de Casa Designs was born.  Inspired by comments from a complete stranger, Shanda’s Northern Virginia based floral studio caters to brides that have a taste for natural beauty. ​

She specializes in fine art floral design and offers a design style for couples  wanting loose, organic, textured and free-flowing flower arrangements that take inspiration from the beautiful blooms we find in nature.  No roundy-moundy’s found here, folks, Shanda insists.

Shanda Zelaya of Flor de Casa Designs, one of our Virginia guests!

Flor de Casa Designs has been featured in several publications, including: Washingtonian Weddings, United with Love, Wedding Chicks and Baltimore Magazine (June 2019 Issue) among others. ​

Find and follow Flor de Casa Designs at these social places:

Flor de Casa Designs on Facebook

Flor de Casa Designs on Instagram

Flor de Casa Designs on Pinterest

That was fun! Hearing about anyone’s path to flowers is inspiring. Of course, each person’s story is unique. But there is often a common and universal thread that threads Shanda’s story to my story; my story to your story and on it goes. That is a  yearning to connect with nature, to express ourselves creatively and artistically, and to find a profession in balance with a lifestyle of beauty. Don’t you agree?

Kate Meyer and John Fitzpatrick of Chatham Flower Farm (left) and a field of their dahlias on Virginia’s Eastern Shore (right)

So that thread continues with our second guest, Kate Meyer of Chatham Flower Farm. Kate has an equally fascinating journey to share and you’ll find yourself wanting to put Virginia on your travel list for 2020 just to see where she farms and lives.

Kate Meyer and her husband John Fitzpatrick I knew they wanted to settle on the Eastern Shore a few years back when John came to harvest straw with his brother’s company Aden Brook. They had spent many summers there in Virginia during straw season, extending the length of time each year. After both spending many years traveling for work, Kate says they needed to feel grounded in a place of their own. It was just a matter of finding not only the perfect location, but a home as well.

The historic Chatham Flower Farm.

They found themselves unsuccessful after months spent trying to purchase another farm on the shore – and started a new search. In one day they looked at 13 properties and Chatham Farm was the last one they visited.

The barn serves many purposes, from farm-to-table dinners to art shows.

As Kate writes on Chatham Flower Farm’s web site: “We knew as soon as we walked in the door that we had found our home. This farm was perfect in virtually every single way and has given us an amazing base to build from. By adding our growing in the same ground, we are able to add to the farm’s long history. The land is the framework for our dream of growing beautiful Flowers, Lavender and Herbs, all while combining the Barn Studio , flower and artist workshops to support the history of this land and area of Virginia.”

Chatham Flower Farm’s late-summer harvest adorns tables during a Meet me at the Table community farm dinner.

Find and follow Chatham Flower Farm at these social places:

Chatham Flower Farm on Facebook

Chatham Flower Farm on Instagram

Chatham Flower Farm on Pinterest

Meet More Slow Flowers Members from Virginia

In all, there are 20 members – floral designers and flower farmers – in Virginia and we’ve been able to feature several of them here in the past — including Lisa Mason Ziegler of Gardener’s Workshop, Andrea Gagnon of LynnVale Studios, Bob Wollam of Wollam Gardens, Holly Heider Chapple of Hope Flower Farm and Jessica Hall and Chris Auville of Harmony Harvest Farm. Click on the links above to listen to those past Virginia episodes!

Photographed at Everyday Flowers in Stanwood, Wash. (c) Missy Palacol Photography

I wrote and recorded the introduction and transition segments for today’s episode last Friday, Black Friday, I guess, when everyone is supposed to be shopping or putting up holiday decorations. My husband walked into my office and found me at the computer at around 7:30 am and he said: “You’re already working?” I thought about it for a split second and answered: “It’s not work if I love what I’m doing.”

That’s truly how I feel. I bounce out of bed every morning eager to continue this passionate endeavor of nurturing my Slow Flowers relationships in our community and promoting the Slow Flowers Movement as far and wide as possible. It is an honor and a continual source of joy and satisfaction. And PS, I didn’t sit at the keyboard all day. I set aside plenty of time to plant the last 100 or so tulip and narcissus bulbs!

It has been a whirlwind season, not only because of the holidays, but because on Monday, December 2nd, we kicked off the Early Bird Ticket Sales for the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit. That’s right — take advantage of grabbing your registration for the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit and save $100 off your ticket price if you purchase by December 31st.

High Place at Filoli
FILOLI: the recently-renovated “High Place” at Filoli in Woodside, Calif., destination for the Slow Flowers Summit 2020

If you’ve not yet checked out details, you can find links to all the exciting news about our partnership with Filoli Historic House and Garden, our venue for days 1 and 2 of the Summit (that’s June 28 &29) and our fabulous speaker lineup. By the way, Day 3 is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour led by our friend Christina Stembel, CEO of Farmgirl Flowers. This is rare access, folks, available only to Summit attendees.

The Slow Flowers 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. This Podcast has been downloaded more than 553,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Our partnership with Florists’ Review is such a valuable one, providing a forum for beautiful and inspiring editorial content in the #slowflowersjournal section – month after month. Thanks to Florists’ Review, you can now order a subscription for yourself + give one as a gift this holiday season. Set your 2020 intention to enrich your personal and professional development! You can find the Buy-One-Gift-One special offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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.

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.

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

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:
Glass Beads; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 429: A visit to Vermont with Liz Krieg of Maple Flower Farm

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019
This photo was captioned “Liz is Happy,” and I think you can see why! Meet Liz Krieg of Maple Flower Farm in Bethel, Vermont!

Fifty States of Slow Flowers continues today with a visit to Vermont — we are quickly working our way through the A-to-Z alphabetical list of U.S. states and it has been such a fabulous experience to bring you along with me.

Left: A huge fall arrangement from Maple Flower Farm; Right: A popular workshop session

I’ve been wanting to spend time with Liz Krieg of Maple Flower Farm, based in Bethel, Vermont. Much earlier this year I asked Liz if she would be my Vermont guest on this series — and of course she agreed. I expected to record the interview long-distance, as I sometimes need to do, but to my surprise, I ran into Liz at Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock in mid-October. So we set aside time during a break to record this interview. What I expected was to be a quick 15-minute conversation soon expanded into nearly an hour-long interview.

Liz began growing fresh cut flowers in 1989 in Vermont.

She was a total early adopter to cut flower growing – enthusiastically accepting an invitation to be the founding president of the Vermont Cut Flower Council

Liz says she “was the point girl for every farmer in the state who wanted to get rich quick.” She continues: “The flurry lasted about 2-4 years and local fresh cuts were a hard sell back then. None of the florists were ready to trust “local grown”. Out of the numerous wannabe flower farmers, only two of the original members are still in business today. The Vermont Cut Flower Council folded, most growers eventually gave up growing flowers and I was one of them.”

At the time, Liz was a young mother, a degreed horticulturist, and out of need she put her knowledge into building a successful landscape enterprise (complete with greenhouses), which she owned and operated for 20 years. Liz sold that business and she has turned her focus to her burgeoning home gardens. Flowers have always been key to my happiness.

She continues: “It was C. S. Lewis who said, ‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.’  In my case it is ‘dream an old dream.’ I was casting about for the next reinvention of ‘me.’ I realized that my fondest memories were, and are, the pink, dew-laden mornings picking armloads of flowers. Yeah, it sounds romantic, but it is proven that I am not faint of heart when it comes to hard work and I’ve earned the right to put a little fairy dust on it if I wish.”

Today, Liz grows fresh cut flowers in abundance! She is working this good earth, with harmless inputs and sustainable methods. The flowers shine brilliantly. The birds and bees are happy. What more is there? 

Gorgeous specialty tulips from Maple Flower Farm
Love the license plate: FLOWERZ

Thanks so much for joining me today for this very special conversation. Liz’s joy and passion are truly contagious and I can’t wait to visit her (PS, there is an Air BNB unit at Maple Flower Farm, so that is tempting!)

I think the most compelling message from Liz is that we can always reinvent ourselves. As she says: Dream and old Dream. Take heart from this lovely sentiment.

Maple Flower Farm’s new “Sugarhouse” where Liz and her husband will make REAL MAPLE SYRUP!

You can find and follow Liz Krieg of Maple Flower Farm at these social places:

Maple Flower Farm on Facebook

Maple Flower Farm on Instagram

Maple Flower Farm on Pinterest

Meeting Liz in person to record this interview was such a treat. The face-to-face opportunities to connect with and learn from one another is at the heart of Slow Flowers Community. In fact, it is one of the top-ranked reasons for attending the Slow Flowers Summit.

Clockwise from top, left: Susan Mcleary, Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Molly Culver, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Jennifer Jewell, Pilar Zuniga and Emily Saeger

I mention this because we announced the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit venue and speaker lineup earlier this week. You’ll want to tune in next week for our bonus episode on December 2nd where you’ll meet some of the key people involved in the fourth annual Slow Flowers Summit, which takes place June 28-30, 2020 at Filoli Historic House and Gardens just outside San Francisco.

This is a location change from our original plans — and due to some scheduling and logistic issues, the move was necessitated. I couldn’t be happier to partner with Filoli — you are invited to join the fun!

Thank you to our Sponsors

And thank you to our lead sponsor, Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Our partnerships with Florists’ Review is such a valuable one, providing a forum for beautiful and inspiring editorial content in the #slowflowersjournal section – month after month. Thanks to Florists’ Review, you can now order a subscription for yourself + give one as a gift this holiday season. Set your 2020 intention to enrich your personal and professional development! You can find the Buy-One-Gift-One special offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

FarmersWeb. 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 www.farmersweb.com

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August – and even September. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 550,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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.

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.

(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 American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

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

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

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

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 428: Utah’s Blossoming Floral Renaissance with Heather Griffiths of Wasatch Blooms and Ali Harrison and Lindy Bankhead of Florage Utah

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
The Utah sunset at Lindy Bankhead’s Paisley Flower Farm in Cache Valley, Utah

The timing is perfect for today’s all-Utah episode. As we’re working our way through the A-to-Z alphabetical list of U.S. states, this week we land on Utah, sandwiched between last week’s Texas focus and next week’s Vermont focus!

You will recall that I visited Utah this past September to meet with a dynamic group of flower farmers and farmer-florists at Poppin’ Blossoms, where Laura Pittard hosted a wonderful gathering and joined me as a podcast guest. Well, I was so inspired by that visit and wanted to learn more. Today’s episode will be educational as I speak with the leaders of two groups of Utah flower farmers whose models are replicable in other markets.

Slow Flowers member Fawn Rueckert of Sego Lily Flower Farm (left) – presenting at a Utah Cut Flower Farm Association meeting

First you’ll hear from Heather Griffiths of Salt Lake City. She is the president of the Utah Cut Flower Farmer Association, a new nonprofit formed to promote local and sustainable floriculture by supporting local flower farms through education, outreach, and research programs.  Formed in May 2019, the association currently has 33 members, including certified farms and associated members. The group also focuses on educating flower lovers of the economic and environmental impact of local flowers, as well as the diversity of flowers available through Utah Flower Farms.

Lindy (left) and Ali (right) at a Florage Pop Up sale, selling Utah-grown flowers from their farms and from the farms they represent.

Next, you’ll meet Ali Harrison and Lindy Bankhead, two women who formed Florage, an informal flower cooperative based in Cache Valley, Utah, in the northeastern part of the state near Logan. Florage markets and distributes their own flowers as well as the production of several other farms. Florage is a Slow Flowers member organization committed to using sustainable and organic methods to lessen their footprint on the earth. No chemicals or preservative spays are used in bringing their gorgeous blooms straight from their gardens to the table.

The beautiful bounty of Utah botanicals — photographed at a recent Utah Cut Flower Farms Association

This is a juicy episode, packed with ideas and inspiration from three women who didn’t sit around and ask permission to forge ahead to create a market for locally-grown flowers in a state not often associated with ornamental horticulture or cut flowers.

Here’s more about all three of these guests:

Heather Griffiths of Wasatch Blooms, based in Salt Lake City, Utah

Slow Flowers member Heather Griffiths owns Wasatch Blooms, a Salt Lake City-based “urban flower farm.” She writes this on her “about” page: “When you hold my flowers, when you breathe them in deep, I want you to feel the immense love and connection that I do. I want the flowers I grow to convey the message of profound love for each other, the earth, and ourselves. Because Love is what drives me to grow flowers. I grow sustainably to feed the soil and benefit my community and environment. I blend permaculture ethics with market gardening to grow flowers that do more than decorate the table, but that also protect our pollinators and create a diverse ecosystem for the unseen members of our community. Farming is my passion and my calling. Farming is my artistic expression. Flowers are my heart wrapped in petals.”

Ali Harrison of Paradise Valley Orchard and Florage

Ali Harrison owns Paradise Valley Orchard with her husband Lorin. Their flower passion is fueled by the desire to bring natural beauty and art into the lives of clients. Paradise Valley Orchard is a mid-century apple orchard and small farm that serves as a backdrop for the weddings and events. As an artist and self-proclaimed hippie, Ali uses her creativity on the farm daily. Finding solace in getting her hands dirty, Ali sees the farm as her canvas and the flower garden her palette.

Lindy Bankhead of Paisley Flower Farm and Florage

Lindy Bankhead owns Paisley Flower Farm in Cache Valley, Utah. She is passionate about growing flowers and vegetables as organically as possible. Lindy feels blessed to not only be able to raise her four young children alongside the flowers, but to also deliver freshly-cut stems to local florists and customers—people who value the high quality and sustainability of the vibrant blooms. She came to flower farming in 2012, equipped with a degree in Landscape Architecture from USU, a Master Gardener Certification, and years of experience working at local greenhouses and nurseries. With the help of her patient husband and family, she’s transformed their 100-year old farm into a gorgeous, thriving cut flower operation.

Lindy Bankhead, photographed among her flower fields at Paisley Flower Farm

Here’s where you can find and follow today’s guests:

Wasatch Blooms on Facebook

Wasatch Blooms on Instagram

Utah Cut Flower Farms Association on Instagram

Paradise Valley Orchard on Facebook

Paradise Valley Orchard on Instagram

Paisley Flower Farm on Facebook

Paisley Flower Farm on Instagram

Florage on Instagram

The beauty of Utah as an agricultural state at Paradise Valley Orchard

Thanks so much for listening in on today’s inspiring conversations. I have a big grin on my face as I reflect on the energy and enthusiasm shared by these floral entrepreneurs in Utah. There’s lots more to come from this conversation and I’m already eager to plan future episodes triggered by some of the topics discussed today —  from learning more about Dr. Melanie Stock’s cut flower research at the Utah State University to hearing how an established cut flower farm like Bindweed has changed hands from its founders to new owners Ali and Lorin Harrison. Not enough time today, but I hope to revisit Utah and the Slow Flowers members there in 2020. Stay tuned!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 547,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Our partnership with Florists’ Review is such a valuable one, providing a forum for beautiful and inspiring editorial content in the #slowflowersjournal section – month after month. Thanks to Florists’ Review, you can now order a subscription for yourself + give one as a gift this holiday season. Set your 2020 intention to enrich your personal and professional development! Click here to find the Buy-One-Gift-One special offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

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.  Mayesh recently launched a brand new ecommerce web site. I’m particularly excited about The Product Planner, the newest eCommerce addition, which allows florists to create recipes for events that then calculate the number of stems needed, generating a quote for that order. There’s also ramped up navigation designed to find quality flowers and more educational resources.

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.

(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 American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And if you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

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

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

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

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

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maura Sheehy, Maura’s Cottage Flowers

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

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

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

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

More botanicals from Maura’s Cottage Flowers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dahlias at Meadowsweet Flowers

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

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

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

Sweet Peas at Meadowsweet Flowers

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

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

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

Maura’s Cottage Flowers on Facebook

Maura’s Cottage Flowers on Instagram

Meadowsweet Flowers on Instagram

Flower Flowers of Ireland on Facebook

Flower Farmers of Ireland of Instagram

Flower Farmers of Ireland on Twitter

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

Dahlia from Meadowsweet Flowers, an organic flower farm in Ireland

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

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

Georgia Monroe of Basecamp Farm Flowers — our TEXAS Voice

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

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

Find and follow Basecamp Farm Flowers at these social places:

Basecamp Farm Flowers on Facebook

Basecamp Farm Flowers on Instagram

Basecamp Farms’ new online store

Texas Living article about Basecamp Farms Flowers

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

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

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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

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

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

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

(c) photography by Liz Brown @estorie

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

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

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

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

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

In The Field; Thingamajig
audionautix.com

Episode 426: Ponderosa & Thyme’s Katie Davis; plus, our state focus: Tennessee

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019
Katie Davis of Ponderosa & Thyme (right) with one of her hand-tied, seasonal bouquets. Portrait of Katie (left): Ivy and Gold Photography

I’m delighted to introduce you to Katie Davis of Ponderosa & Thyme.

Katie and I first met in the spring of 2014 while attending a Little Flower School workshop at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens in Salem, Oregon. I was there to produce an article about the class for Country Gardens magazine and Katie, a hometown gal, was one of the many talented designers who attended.

Katie and I joined up about 3 years ago this month — at Mayesh Wholesale Florist in Portland.

A few years later, when Mayesh Wholesale Florist planned its Portland, Oregon-branch’s grand re-opening, Katie and I were invited to present design demonstrations at the party (above). It was such a thrill to share that experience with her — and it certainly gave me a new appreciation for Katie’s artistry and affinity for designing with color, texture and nature as her muse.

Ponderosa & Thyme joined Slow Flowers as a member in 2018 and I’ve been wanting to interview Katie and share her amazing story with you ever since. As I say in our conversation, it’s silly that Katie and I live in adjacent states and yet have waited this long to record this episode.

Let’s blame this lapse in part to our mutual busy travel schedules. Katie has been a nomadic floral design educator for the past several years and well, you know I’m always on the road myself.

Flowers and Fruit, designed by Katie Davis (c) Kim Branagan Photography

To be fair, though, she is not a nomad, but an artist whose desire is to develop and lead experiences and opportunities centered around creativity, authenticity, and personal growth. Floristry is the artistic medium Katie uses to facilitate these experiences.

Katie is known for nurturing supportive and inspiring learning environments that are immersive, intimate, beautiful, and warm. She values environments where people can be truly present and connect honestly with themselves and others, in their pursuit of artistic expression and a sustainable life. 

Left: Seasonal and foraged elements (c) Orange Photographie from a Ponderosa & Thyme Workshop; Right: Katie (c) Kim Branagan Photography

Katie Davis is an internationally acclaimed florist based in Salem, Oregon, the heart of the Willamette Valley. Since founding Ponderosa & Thyme in 2011, Katie has become known for her textural designs inspired by nature. Her floral designs use the most luxurious and beautiful flowers available while incorporating locally foraged, unique, and sensory plants into each arrangement. The result is a visually breathtaking experience.

An installation made in Portland, Oregon by Ponderosa & Thyme (c) Maria Lamb Photography; Model: Muse Management

Katie’s design aesthetic could be best described as playful, romantic, herb-y, and fragrant. In addition to creating florals for intimate weddings, Katie and her team host incredible workshops worldwide for florists and other creatives to explore the art of floral design. Ponderosa & Thyme continues to offer wedding and event services, specializing in intimate and heartfelt experiences.

With a heart for education, Katie has been teaching floral design since 2014, serving clients across the globe. Flowers are a language of their own, and while teaching in English, Katie is able to cross cultures with her thoughtful and emotional approach. Just as comfortable teaching the basics as she is pushing experienced professionals to expand their creative boundaries, Katie loves to help people grow, discover, and connect.‍

Left: Cool-toned and ephemeral florals by Katie Davis for a Ponderosa & Thyme photo shoot (c) Sierra Ashleigh Photography; Right: Katie Davis in her new Salem, Ore., workshop space (c) Ivy and Gold Photography

The PONDEROSA WORKSHOP RETREATS have taken Katie to Italy, Scotland, France, Australia and New York. She has also been invited to teach in Korea, Mexico and across the U.S.

With the advent of 2020, the Ponderosa Classroom in Salem, Oregon, is gearing up for a full series of workshops, including one-day and two-day intensive sessions that focus on specific skills, techniques and designs to facilitate artistic expression in floral design.

In our conversation, you’ll hear Katie discuss her decision in 2018 to lease a brick and mortar location in her beautiful hometown.‍ I’m thrilled to share our chat with you.

Find and follow Ponderosa & Thyme at these social places:

Ponderosa & Thyme on Facebook

Ponderosa & Thyme on Instagram

Ponderosa & Thyme on Pinterest

An installation made in Portland, Oregon by Ponderosa & Thyme (c) Maria Lamb Photography; Portrait, Sarah Pearson (left), Ponderosa & Thyme business manager; Katie Davis (right)

Thank you so much for joining my conversation today with Katie Davis of Ponderosa & Thyme. My heart is filled with admiration and affection for Katie and I’m delighted you joined us.

Be sure to check out the Ponderosa Classroom Online, a new project that Katie created as a response to requests for affordably-priced, in-depth online education, monthly Floral Meditations to inspire your creativity, recipes for arrangements, Information and online discussions on relevant business and creative topics, Access to music playlists, Access to full length IG Live Video Replays from @ponderosa_and_thyme, high-quality content accessible 24/7, connection and community with like-hearted flower friends– and more. Monthly memberships are just $9.99 USD per month, and annual memberships are only $99 USD per year — you can find more details here.

Flowers grown and designed by Laura Bigbee-Fott of White’s Creek Flower Farm (left) and Laura (right)

And today we are continuing our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – with Laura Bigbee-Fott of White’s Creek Flower Farm in White’s Creek, Tennessee.

Peonies at White’s Creek Flower Farm

Established on Earth Day in 2012, Whites Creek Flower Farm is an artisanal permaculture flower farm just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Whites Creek is a historic rural area;

What a generous and beautiful selection of Tennessee-grown blooms!

Laura’s flowers are lovingly grown and organically managed.

She grows many unusual varieties, specializing in an English country garden aesthetic.

Her bouquets are elegant and imbued with a sense of whimsy. And they are raised with a profound respect for the ecosystem of which they are a part.

Find and follow Laura at White’s Creek Flower Farm at these social places:

White’s Creek Flower Farm on Facebook

White’s Creek Flower Farm on Instagram

White’s Creek Flower Farm on Twitter




Thank you so much for joining me today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 537,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

In fact, for the month of October 2019, which we just wrapped up, more than 13,700 episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast were downloaded – an all-time record!

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community — the Buy One Gift One holiday promotion!

FarmersWeb. 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 www.farmersweb.com

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August – and even September. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.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:
Home Home at Last; Betty Dear; Gaenaby 
Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 425: Flowers in Washington’s San Juan Islands with Erin Shackelford of Camas Designs and Jenny Harris of Catkin; plus, our state focus: South Dakota

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019
Slow Flowers visits the San Juan Islands
Slow Flowers visits the San Juan Islands! From left: Erin Shackelford of Camas Designs; Jenny Harris of Catkin; her rose-growing partner Elaine Frazel; and Debra Prinzing

The San Juan Islands are home to many beautiful gardens and homes, romantic wedding venues and, of course, flowers.

A few weeks ago, the San Juan County Master Gardeners Foundation brought me to the island for their fall workshop. What an privilege to deliver the keynote presentation on the Slow Flowers story — and the fact that two Slow Flowers members who live on San Juan Island were in attendance made the experience even better!

Today, you will meet them both. I arrived early enough on October 18th to connect with floral designer Erin Shackelford of Camas Designs and grower-designer Jenny Harris of Catkin who you will hear in today’s episode.

roses on the san juan islands
Beautiful, healthy and enticing David Austin garden roses, grown by Jenny Harris of Catkin and her client & friend Elaine Frazel

Jenny had invited us to tour the garden where she grows David Austin garden roses for local floral customers, including Camas Designs. The property is an extension of Jenny’s friends and garden design clients Elaine and Miles Frazel. Elaine and Jenny collaborate on their small-scale garden rose venture. After the tour, Elaine graciously warmed us up with mugs of tea and hosted us around her dining table for this recording. You’ll hear from Erin, Jenny and a few comments from Elaine! Hope you can keep everyone’s voices straight!

more roses
Just-picked roses from Jenny Harris of Catkin and Elaine Frazel

Here’s a bit more about our San Juan Island guests:

Erin Shackelford of Camas Designs

Camas Designs’ motto is “locally sourced happiness.” Erin’s studio primarily sources from local farms and she believes a direct path to happiness is one with simplicity at its core. As co-owner of Camas Designs, along with her artist/educator husband Robert Shackelford, Erin creates floral arrangements for weddings and special events in the San Juan Islands and greater Seattle area. Partnering with local farmers to capture the beauty of the season, Erin designs with nature, sun, and clients as close collaborators. She creates designs that embody the couple, the environment of their event, and the mood they wish to instill for guests.

Flower cart and flower truck
Camas Designs’ iconic flower delivery truck along with the custom-made flower cart that helped to launch Erin’s “chapter two” floral business.

Erin’s passion is flowers and their ability to convey feelings, emotions, and meanings beyond the realm of words. She has created bouquets for neighbors, friends, and strangers (often anonymously) since she was eight-years-old. After decades in corporate America, Erin’s revelation was her heart is only fulfilled when immersed within the elegance and simplicity of nature. Happiness for Erin is found creating floral designs for others, and whenever possible, sourcing the flowers locally from farmers she calls friends.

A Camas Designs’ bridal bouquet incorporating roses grown by Jenny and Elaine, as well as other San Juan Island-grown flowers from Dancing Seeds Farm, Mama Bird Farm and Aurora Farm.

She writes this on the Camas Designs web site: “We’re proud to be part of the “slow flower” movement meaning the majority of our flowers are sourced from farms within our region. This local sourcing ensures your wedding florals are one of a kind and contain the freshest ingredients around. Whether it’s a beautiful café au lait dahlia, a vine with swirling tendrils or seed pods to add just the right amount of texture, we likely know the farmer that grew each stem and we bring that personal touch to your bouquet, arrangements and more.

One of the evocative floral scenes featuring Erin Shackelford’s florals with photography by Kestrel Bailey — featured in the October 2019 issue of Florists’ Review

I’ve recently written about one of Erin’s design projects, a moody autumn styled photo collaboration, for the October issue of Florists’ Review. You can read the article here:

A Moody Tale

Jenny Harris of Catkin

Jenny Harris and I first met more than 15 years ago when she lived on nearby Lopez Island and ran a Bellwether Perennials, a nursery for unusual perennials and shrubs suited to the island environment, as well as a landscape design business. She has since relocated to San Juan Island and describes herself as “a grower of plants, teacher of gardening.”

More of Jenny’s talents are on display in Elaine Frazel’s San Juan Island garden

About two years ago, Jenny reached out with this note: Debra: “I’ve unintentionally created an obsession, in the best possible way, in a client turned friend for pursuing growing cut flowers.” She went on to reveal her interest in growing roses, shrubs/woodies, and perennials for the local San Juan Island market only, writing: “no annuals for me nowadays,” and added, “we’ve just read your 50 Mile Bouquet and might very well be headed in that direction!”

It’s so rewarding to reconnect with Jenny in person earlier this month after so much time has passed and to pick up exactly where we left off, sharing similar interests in environmental stewardship and soul-enriching plants.

A floral arrangement, grown and designed by Jenny Harris of Catkin.

Through Catkin, Jenny’s work is holistic, highlighting the native and natural, low-water use, organic, conscious and harmonious approach to living with and caring for plants and other beings.

She writes: “I believe that gardening and gardeners can have significant positive influence on the myriad stresses upon our earth and her family of living creatures. I have been creating gardens, helping others in their own gardens and learning and sharing about plants since 1989 ; most of those years in the San Juan Islands though my formative time was in an old garden in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. While I have formal horticultural training I have found my greatest learning has come from working alongside more learned and elder gardeners and the plants and gardens themselves. I learn something in every garden and from every gardener I meet. I bring to my life’s work an interest in plants that extends far beyond the confines of a particular ecosystem; what matters to me is that a plant can not only survive where it finds itself but thrive within a plant, human and animal community.”

It’s all about roses!

With Elaine Frazel, Jenny’s relatively new rose-growing project currently includes 13 varieties of David Austin roses and a few old ones. They take orders for 12-stem bunches — mixed or sometime single variety — during the growing season to supply floral designers, businesses and individuals interested in weekly, biweekly or monthly pickup. These are truly special flowers grown naturally with love on San Juan Island.

More local and seasonal blooms in a vivid bouquet by Camas Designs. They feature roses from Jenny and Elaine (c) La Vie Photography

Thank you so much for joining my conversation today on our lovely and inspiring tour of the San Juans, especially San Juan Island where Camas Designs and Catkin are based. Find and follow Erin and Jenny at these social places:

Camas Designs on Facebook and Instagram

Catkin on Instagram

I am in so inspired by the conscious choices my two guests have made to establish lives and businesses in an environmentally precious place on the planet. I hope you have learned at least one lesson from their stories and I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please reach out and share them in the comment section below.

flowers by monica pugh
Flowers grown and designed by our South Dakota guest, Monica Pugh of Floras and Bouquets

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Moníca Pugh of Floras and Bouquets, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Moníca and her husband Glenn Pugh tend to an urban flower farm where, as she says, “they concentrate on stuffing as many perennials in our front and back yard as possible.” They also rent a small garden space west of town to grow our annuals and have recently expanded to a neighbor’s borrowed lot.

Luscious and local in South Dakota!

Moníca continues: “I got started in the flower business because of adventure and always wanting to follow my instinctual heart for growth.  Growing various perennials and annuals has always been a labor of love for me, so I thought I would gather my seasonal blooms and bring them to a farmer’s market that I was already attending. When they didn’t sell well, I followed my instinctual heart to a local specialty store, who placed their first order of artisan bouquets that same week. Thus, Floras & Bouquets was born.

Wedding flowers in South Dakota
Wedding flowers in South Dakota, from Floras and Bouquets

Follow Floras and Bouquets at these social places:

Floras and Bouquets on Instagram

Floras and Bouquets on Facebook

The annual fields at Floras and Bouquets, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 534,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our sponsors:

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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.

NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

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.  

(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 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:
LaBranche; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 424: A conversation with Sarah Daken and Tom Precht of Maryland’s Grateful Gardeners, plus, our state focus: South Carolina

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Tom Precht and Sarah Daken

Grateful Gardeners: Tom Precht and Sarah Daken, photographed on my October 13th visit to Boyds, Maryland

Why and how do a full-time attorney and a PhD research scientist make the leap into flower farming as their side hustle?

You’re in for a real treat today as you’re invited to sit in on my lively and engaging conversation with Tom Precht and Sarah Daken of Grateful Gardeners, based in Boyds, Maryland. As a couple, Tom and Sarah exude passion and enthusiasm for their relatively new flower farming journey, one on which they embarked in 2018. In large part, their inspiration began with Tom’s mother, Diana Precht, owner of Rocky Mountain Blooms in Loveland, Colorado, who is an expert dahlia grower and new Slow Flowers member.

Flowers and Family at Grateful Gardeners.

As Sarah shared with me in an email, “Diana is one of the most beautiful souls I know. I am so lucky to have her in my life. She was our inspiration for this entire flower journey and I know she takes great pride in seeing Tom embrace her love of dahlias. Dahlias are her legacy to us and she gets to observe us fall in love with them in her lifetime, which is so meaningful. We now all share this flower farming journey and regularly troubleshoot together, share tubers, discuss pest control, etc. We’re so grateful for the way flowers have further connected us.”

You will hear how Sarah and Tom balance their full-time, demanding and stressful professions with co-parenting three children in a blended family —  all while starting down the path of flower farming. It is an inspiring story and I really appreciate this couple’s honesty and transparency in sharing the origins of Grateful Gardeners. We will have to circle back in a few years for an update, for sure.

Serendipitously, I met them both at the very beginning when I was Kelly Shore’s guest at the second annual American Flowers Week flower-crown party held at M&M Plants and Flower Farm on June 27, 2018. Two days later, Tom and Sarah attend the 2nd Slow Flowers Summit in Washington, D.C., where we heard a little more of their new floral venture.

This fall, when I knew I would be traveling through the DC Metro area in mid-October, en route to Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock festival, I reached out to Grateful Gardeners to see if they were up for a visit.

Tom and Sarah fetched me from the train station in Baltimore and took me to see their young Maryland flower-growing operation. After touring the beautiful fields where annual flowers, foliages and lots of dahlias were still flourishing, pre-frost, we sat down in Tom and Sarah’s living room to record our conversation.

An acre of blooms at Grateful Gardeners

The couple planted their first flowers here last summer, setting up raised beds, planting rows of annuals and erecting a seed-starting structure, as they began to take over portions of Sarah’s mother’s one-acre property.

It soon made sense for Tom and Sarah to buy grandma’s house and move there with their children, just a few months ago. So now, instead of a 40-minute round trip commute to tend to their flowers, they are living where their flowers grow. Fortunately, transition hasn’t disrupted the younger children’s schooling and Tom and Sarah say the change has immediately made things more efficient and effective. When we pulled into the driveway of the charming brick ranch house, the first thing we did was visit the brand new walk-in cooler that Tom and his dad recently finished building. Seriously, a game changer!

Sarah also shared this with me: “Buying the house where we farm means we are “all in” and on-site, which has been life altering. No more commuting every day to the fields!”

Tom and Sarah are in love with growing dahlias, among other beauties. Right: Their local Whole Foods displays Mason jar bouquets from Grateful Gardeners

Please enjoy this conversation and take a moment to follow Sarah and Tom at Grateful Gardeners’ Instagram feed — and reach out with your words of encouragement and advice! Interviews like these reinforce my belief that the Slow Flowers Podcast is an ideal vehicle to share inspiring voices and personalities with the broader floral community. I’m humbled that you have taken time to listen today and I invite you to share your feedback in the comment section below!

Find and follow Grateful Gardeners on Instagram

Farmer-Florist Kendra Schirmer of Laurel Creek Florals in Sunset, South Carolina

Now, let’s take a virtual visit to South Carolina and meet Kendra Schirmer of Laurel Creek Flowers as I continue uur theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers. Based in Sunset, South Carolina, Kendra is an event florist and flower farmer who describes her aesthetic as “naturalist floristry that is consciously sourced and infused with whimsy.”

Grown, designed and styled by Kendra Schirmer

Originally hailing from the Appalachian mountains of north-western New Jersey, Kendra spent most of her childhood making snow angels or romping barefoot in the woods looking for fairies in the wild columbine blooms. Her parents always had some shady gardens along the edges of these woods, yet her own desire to tend to plants didn’t come until much later. 

After attending Bard College and studying Photography/Environmental Studies, she lived in Nashville for almost 9 years before meeting her farmer man. Craving the cleaner air and star-gazing opportunities of country life, Kendra and Sam moved to a lovely farmhouse back in Appalachia in 2013 to break ground on farming dreams. Tomatoes and cows and just a small patch of zinnias blossomed into an expanded flower garden.

Kendra’s kitty, “Mullein” poses with her season’s first ranunculus crop (left); Kendra with her bouquet and her own custom, hand-dyed ribbon

As Kendra fell completely head over heels for all things floral & design she expanded her offerings to wedding design in 2015 and has never looked back! She seeks inspiration from designers all over the world and saves new ideas to bring a unique take on design to her clients. She is always adding new seed packets (too many really) to the wishlist and popping in interesting perennials on any scrap of property she can dig into.

More local flowers from Kendra Schirmer, including her Columbine tattoo!

Find and follow Laurel Creek Florals:

Laurel Creek Florals on Instagram

Laurel Creek Florals on Facebook

Laurel Creek Florals on Pinterest

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 532,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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

Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com. I’m so excited to get my recent order into the garden very soon — in addition to tulips and narcissus, I’m planting anemones for the first time, so stay tuned! I’ll be sure to share an update of my anemone crop next spring in the #slowflowerscuttinggarden.

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.

Photographed at Everyday Flowers in Stanwood, Wash. (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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: