Debra Prinzing

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

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conquer the Soil on Instagram

Conquer the Soil on Facebook


Slow Flowers Summit 2021

2021 speakers Slow Flowers Summit
Our fabulous speaker lineup includes (top row), Susan McLeary, Emily Saeger, Molly Culver; (middle row), Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Max Gill; (bottom row), Abra Lee, Pilar Zuniga, Jennifer Jewell + our host, Slow Flowers Society’s Debra Prinzing

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


American Flowers Week 2021

Our 2021 Botanical Couture Collection!

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

sponsor logo bar
5-channel-sponsor-block

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

Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm, specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.

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


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 732,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

Debra Prinzing
(c) Mary Grace Long photograph

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Lumber Down; Heartland Flyer; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 505: Growing Flowers with Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm

Wednesday, May 12th, 2021
Niki and William (left); Niki Irving (right), photographed at Flourish Flower Farm

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

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

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

Just released: “Growing Flowers,” by Niki Irving

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

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

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

Click here to order a signed copy from Niki

Find and follow Flourish Flower Farm at these social places.

Flourish Flower Farm on Facebook

Flourish Flower Farm on Instagram

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

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

  • Post a photo of one or more flowers you are growing and be sure to use the hashtag #growingflowers
  • Follow & tag @flourishflowerfarm, @slowflowerssociety and @mangopublishing.
  • We’ll gather up all of the posts on May 21st and announce the book recipients in our May 26th episode of Slow Flowers Podcast. Can’t wait to see your photos!

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

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

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


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

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

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

Follow these rules to enter:


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

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

Thank you to Red Twig Farms, based in Johnstown, Ohio, a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.

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


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 724,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

Debra Prinzing
(c) Mary Grace Long photography

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Donnalee; Entwined Oddity; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

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

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021
Jennifer Jewell, author, radio host and garden advocate

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Subscribe to Cultivating Place here

Find and follow Jennifer Jewell at these social places:

Cultivating Place on Facebook and Instagram

Listen to our past episodes featuring Jennifer Jewell:

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

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


Our fabulous speaker lineup includes (top row), Susan McLeary, Emily Saeger, Molly Culver; (middle row), Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Max Gill; (bottom row), Abra Lee, Pilar Zuniga, Jennifer Jewell + our host, Slow Flowers Society’s Debra Prinzing

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


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

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

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

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


Thank you to our Sponsors!

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

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

Rooted Farmers. Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.com.

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

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 722,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

Debra Prinzing
(c) Mary Grace Long

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Dance of Felt; Skyway; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 500: Celebrating Episode 500 and the publication of Where We Bloom, with BLOOM Imprint’s Robin Avni and designer Cynthia Zamaria of Toronto’s House & Flower

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021
Here’s the COVER with the book jacket flap fully opened to reveal Cynthia Zamaria’s charming floral studio. (c) Robin Stubbert

Welcome to a very special episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast — Episode 500 — in our weekly podcast series about Slow Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. Since we launched this special program in July 2013, I have regularly featured the voices of influencers, stylemakers, pioneers and heroes in the Slow Flowers Movement — and today we celebrate an impressive milestone with Episode 500!

Meet Cynthia Zamaria, looking so content in her creative space, featured in Where We Bloom (c) Robin Stubbert

It’s been a busy and exciting week here at the Slow Flowers Society! In January, I introduced you to creative director Robin Avni, my partner and co-founder of BLOOM Imprint, the book publishing branch of Slow Flowers Society. You can listen to our conversation from January’s Episode 490 here, in which we discuss the goal of telling stories by and about Slow Flowers members through the medium of books!

BLOOM Imprint’s first title is at the printer right now and we can’t wait to tell you all about it. Where We Bloom is an information and idea-packed volume filled with 37 intimate and inspiring floral studios, workshops, storefronts and growing spaces like greenhouses and barns — all home to creative floral enterprises of Slow Flowers members.

You may have seen the cover art because I’ve shared a few sneak peeks across social media and in Slow Flowers’ newsletter, but today I’m excited to introduce you to the woman responsible for the delightfully engaging space featured as our cover destination to illustrate the concept of Where We Bloom.

Please meet Cynthia Zamaria, Toronto-based designer, flower grower and stylist whose studio is called Cynthia Zamaria House & Flower. Cynthia will share a bit about her journey with flowers and the three of us will discuss the central themes of Where We Bloom, about which I write in the introduction:

  • The importance of devoting space to the pursuit of one’s art
  • The way environments can inspire individual expression and reflect one’s aesthetic style
  • The ways one’s studio or workshop can inspire the senses.

There is also the intangible feeling of security and comfort that creative individuals may feel when they can escape to a destination where their ideas flourish and, yes, blossom!

Debra Prinzing, where we bloom

Let me tell you a bit more about Robin and Cynthia:

Based in Gig Harbor, Washington, Robin Avni is a creative veteran in the media + high-tech industries. Her experience includes more than 15 years in the publishing industry and eight years at Microsoft in design and creative management. She has successfully managed innovative, award-winning design teams and high-profile projects as well as received numerous national design awards and photo editing honors for her own work. Robin has produced 10 books, including collaborating with Debra on the Slow Flowers Journal.  

Robin Avni, co-founder and creative director of BLOOM Imprint

In 2004, following Microsoft, she founded bricolage*, a consultancy specializing in creative strategy, content development, and trend analysis for home + garden. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, national advertising agencies and award-winning media properties, applying timely actionable insights to their businesses. ​

Robin received a BA in journalism from Indiana University, Bloomington and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan; she holds a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington. 

Find and follow Robin Avnia & BLOOM Imprint at these social places

Robin Avni on Instagram

BLOOM Imprint on Instagram


Cynthia Zamaria (c) Lisa MacIntosh

Based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Cynthia Zamaria is an interior and floral designer known for character-filled spaces and carefree flower displays. With an infectious creative spirit and a belief that we all need more beautiful in our lives, Cynthia shares inspiration as an interior and floral editorial stylist, content contributor, writer and workshop teacher. Her work is regularly featured in leading lifestyle media. ​

An advocate of the Slow Flower Movement, Cynthia sustainably grows small-batch speciality blooms and designs unfussy seasonal arrangements. This soulful aesthetic spills into Cynthia’s interiors which are true-to-the-space, trendless mash-ups of scale, texture and colour.​

Cynthia and her husband Graham Loughton share a passion for saving forgotten houses and have restored a range of period properties. A former public relations executive, Cynthia now devotes her time to family and creative projects from her home base in Toronto.

Find and follow Cynthia Zamaria at these social places:

Cynthia Zamaria on Facebook

Cynthia Zamaria on Instagram

Cynthia Zamaria on Pinterest


Sneak peek to more inside pages:

“Modern Homestead,” owned by Lori Poliski of Flori (c) Missy Palacol
“Backyard Room of her Own,” owned by Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral
(c) Alessandra Brescia
“Arizona in Bloom,” owned by Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm (c) Kayla Simpson Lewis
“Living Among the Lavender,” owned by Jennifer and Adam O’Neal of PepperHarrow
(c) PepperHarrow

Thanks so much for joining me today. You can pre-order a signed copy of Where We Bloom at BLOOMImprint.com and we are offering bulk discounts to retailers — so reach out if you’re interested in quantities. Don’t forget to join Robin and me, along with many of the talented Slow Flowers members featured in Where We Bloom at our Virtual Book Launch party on Tuesday, April 27th at 4 pm Pacific/7pm Eastern. We’ll be sharing some giveaways and introducing you to a few creatives featured in our pages. Join us via this link!

If you’re in the Seattle area, please come out and say hello, at two upcoming booksigning events — we’ll be wearing our masks and observing careful social-distancing practices! On May 1st, 2-4 p.m., Gillian Mathews and Ravenna Gardens, Seattle’s boutique home and garden emporium, will host a signing and we expect that some of the creatives featured in Where We Bloom will join us! On May 8th, 1-3 p.m., we’ll be at PaperDelights in Burien, just outside Seattle, where we are joining Teresa Rao of Belle Petale at her Mother’s Day floral popup. Teresa is featured in the pages of Where We Bloom so we’re thrilled to share this event with her!

To find out what’s next for BLOOM Imprint, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media – I’ll have the links for you in today’s show notes. Later this year, BLOOM Imprint will publish two exciting books by Slow Flowers members. First, we’ll release an essential guide to rose growing from Felicia Alvarez of Menagerie Farm + Floral; and then we’ll publish Holly Chapple’s long-awaited first book, A Life in Flowers. And we have four other titles in the catalog for 2022, including as you heard, Cynthia Zamaria’s book, House & Flower. What a dynamic lineup of creativity!


Above: Tobey Nelson (left) and Becky Feasby (right),
photographed at the 2019 Sustainable Flowers Workshop Photos by Ian Gregory: @ianmgregory

And save the date for this Friday’s April member meet-up for the Slow Flowers Community. That’s right, on Friday, April 9th, join our monthly meet-up via Zoom. The time is always 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. This month, we welcome two Slow Flowers leaders who will share their approach to Sustainable Floral Design and green practices. Learn more about the definition of “sustainability” in floral design and gain insights about how you can adapt your floral enterprise to be safe, healthy and beautiful!.
You’ll learn from Tobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events & Design and Sustainable Floral Design (Whidbey Island, Washington) and Becky Feasby of Prairie Girl Flowers and Sustainable Flowers Workshop (Calgary, Alberta, Canada). You can find the Zoom link to join us in today’s show notes and come prepared to ask your important questions about this important shift in floristry. We’ll have some fun giveaways, and you might win one of our drawings! See you there!

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 850 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major Sponsors:
Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at longfield-gardens.com.

Red Twig Farms, based in Johnstown, Ohio. Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 711,000 times by listeners like you. We wrapped up the month of March with 13.5k downloads — wow — that’s the highest in the past year. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

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

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

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

Music Credits:

One Little Triumph; Turning on the Lights; Color Country; Loopy; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 493: What is Fleurvana? Join Debra Prinzing’s Conversation with co-founders Shawn Michael Foley and Gina Thresher

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

My conversation with today’s guests is helping me to turn my gaze to spring 2021, with a new version of the Fleurvana Online Summit, a multi-day online floral conference that Shawn Michael Foley and Gina Thresher debuted in August of 2020. I’ll tell you more about them before we jump to the full episode, but first, the headlines:

This is the third Fleurvana conference and the theme is “Regeneration and Sustainability,” entirely fitting for a new year and a new season of growth. Fleurvana is dedicated to producing easy-to-obtain education in floral design, business, marketing and other creative topics. Launched with a mission to help fellow florists and designers during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic in 2020, Fleurvana continues to share a virtual beacon of hope for this profession. And moving into 2021, the series continues with a goal of regeneration, rebuilding and sharing inspiration with others — connected through a mutual love of flowers.

With more than 20 presentations from leaders in the floral industry and related fields, the upcoming Fleurvana takes place online, March 5-7. Read on to learn how you can sign up for a FREE registration ticket and enter our book giveaway!

Shawn Michael Foley (left) and Gina Thresher (right)

Here’s a bit more about Shawn and Gina:
Shawn Michael Foley is a floral artist, life coach, photographer, and transformational author who helps designers and creatives navigate through their career and personal roadblocks. Shawn has been in the floral industry for over fourteen years, and his floral art is internationally recognized and published. He has worked heavily in the wedding and event industry and has designed and worked on hundreds of weddings.

Shawn is an accredited member of AIFD and PFCI. He is well known for his Human Form Project, an anthology showcasing unique and sensual floral designs enhancing the natural beauty of the human body. He was also selected as one of the 2016 Mayesh Design Stars. He has presented, showcased and taught on both national and international platforms to the design community including State Associations, The Philadelphia International Flower Show, AIFD National Symposium and his own high-level workshops.

By fusing his floral design background and his Reiki Master Teacher training, Shawn created his coaching platform the Artistic Journey, which guides creative minds to re-fall in love with their art and their business. He now lives in Fort Worth, TX, where his design and coaching practice is based.

Shawn is joined by Gina Thresher of From the Ground Up Floral. She’s a returning guest of this Podcast, and a Slow Flowers member who is accredited by AIFD and EMC, European Masters Certification. Gina co-created Fleurvana with Shawn and has collaborated on the development and curriculum of the conference series, as well as presented at each of them.

The Journey from Blog to Book: with Debra Prinzing (left) and Robin Avni (right)

I credit Gina for inviting me to join Fleurvana as an instructor and Regeneration will be my third appearance in this unique educational format. As I mentioned, I’m super excited for you to join the course Robin Avni and I are co-presenting: The Journey From Blog to Book. 

BLOOM Imprint is the floral book publishing arm of Slow Flowers!

The course is designed for every creative person we’ve met who dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book. As a tangible “artifact,” there is amazing social validation that comes with having a book about your work. A book can narrate your story, teach your concepts and document your work. We believe successful books are driven by a Passion that answers the following: What are you compelled to share? What do you have to offer that will make the world a better place? What is your unique point of view? This course will introduce you to the basic checklist to guide you through our book development idea process and cover our Visual & Verbal Storytelling philosophy at BLOOM Imprint.

The first 10 listeners who register for a Free Ticket to attend Fleurvana will receive a signed copy of Shawn Michael Foley’s new book, I Just Want To Design: The Designer’s Survival Guide to Falling in Love with Your Business.

We will run that promotion through Sunday, February 28th and announce the winners on March 3rd, right before the next Fleurvana Virtual Summit begins.

And as Shawn and Gina discussed, you can attend Fleurvana LIVE for free if you register via the course ticket link in my show notes. Those free sessions are open only for a small window each day of the conference, so if you think you want to enjoy at your leisure, you can purchase the VIP bundle for a modest amount. That gives you all-access to the 20+ presentations but an invitation to an exclusive Q&A roundtable with instructors each day, March 5-7. I hope to see you there!


Last week, we hosted Sean and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden and authors of The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers. We invited listeners to share their comments following the show notes at debraprinzing.com for episode 492 and all those who took the time to comment were entered into a drawing for a giveaway of The First Time Gardener. We had a random drawing of names and our winner is: Leigh James, who wrote this: “I wish I had known about propagation earlier. I could’ve had so many more plants by now.”

Ah, so true, Leigh! Thanks to Quarto Books for the donation and we’ll get your address to them this week!


Thank you to our Sponsors!

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

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

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

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

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 691,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

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

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

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


Music Credits:

Daymaze; Highride; Vienna Beat; Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 492: For Beginning Flower Gardeners, a conversation with authors and podcasters Allison and Sean McManus of Spoken Garden

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

GIVEAWAY Details Below — Share a Comment and Your Name Will Be Added to the Drawing for The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got spring gardening on my mind! The hellebores are already blooming; the daffodil bulbs are pushing out of the soil an inch or so. I can even see the tiniest bump of my peonies’ deep maroon tips at the crown of each plant. So, sure we’re still 39 days until spring arrives, but who’s going to let the calendar hold us back, right?

A major spring ritual for me has always been participation in local and national garden and flower festivals. Sadly, this year, the closest thing to an indoor spring garden show is going to be over Zoom. Gain inspiration from the replay video of our February 5th Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-up, featuring two of our members who are major hellebore experts.

Thank you to Pam Youngsman of Poppy Starts Inc. and Riz Reyes of RHR Horticulture for a fantastic presentation. They share volumes about what to grow, how to grow, how and when to harvest and how to design with hellebores.

Sean McManus and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden

Another perennial ritual of spring is the arrival of a new crop of gardening books. Here at Slow Flowers Podcast, we know we have as many gardener-florists as farmer-florists who listen and learn. And today, I’m happy to welcome first-time authors, Sean and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden. This talented husband-wife duo are busy behind the microphone and camera, teaching ornamental gardening to beginning and curious home gardeners. They have spent the past year writing The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers 

The book will be released in March and one lucky listener will win a copy for their bookshelf! Listen to the end of the episode to hear how to add your name to our random drawing and giveaway.

Sean and Allison are the gardening pros behind the popular website, YouTube channel and podcast Spoken Garden. They offer clear, fact-based information, presented in a friendly and accessible way. With step-by-step instructions and full-color illustrations, new gardeners will learn how to select, plant and tend for outdoor plants, the best techniques, how to mulch correctly, pruning do’s and don’ts, tips for effective, eco-friendly gardening, and much more.

Peek inside the pages of their new book:

Here’s a little bit more about Sean and Allison:

Sean has a Master’s in Environmental Horticulture from Washington State University and possesses several other horticulture, landscaping, or gardening-related certificates. Sean has over 8 years of experience in Industrial Garden Maintenance and 12+ years operating a private landscape and consulting company. With over two decades in the field, he dreams to fulfill his lifelong passion for educating others about horticulture and gardening.

Allison has a Master’s in Teaching and is a National Board certified middle school science educator. Through trial and error over the past 10+ years, she has successfully maintained several vegetable gardens and beds full of flowers. She loves attracting all kinds of pollinators and is proud of the fact that their yard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat. She has a passion for photography, animals, writing, traveling, creating content, and lifelong learning.

You can learn more from this talented duo by subscribing to the Spoken Garden Podcast.

and watch their Daily Garden Content on Spoken Garden’s YouTube Channel.

Sign up for Sean and Allison’s 30-day Garden Bootcamp.

Find Spoken Garden on Facebook

Follow Spoken Garden on Instagram

I know you’ll enjoy their story and be inspired to add to your ornamental garden this spring. Thanks so much for joining me today as Sean and Allison McManus shared their encouragement for beginning gardeners, and actually anyone who wants to develop a more enriching and fulfilling ornamental garden! If you want to be added to the giveaway drawing for their new book, The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers , be sure to post a comment in the show notes below — please share what did you wish you knew when you were a beginning gardener?


Coming up on Thursday, February 18th at 2 pm Eastern, Slow Flowers is teaming up with Johnny’s Selected Seeds to produce a free webinar for flower farmers, farmer-florists and floral designers interested in knowing more about our Floral Insights and Industry Forecast for 2021.

I’ll be joining Johnny’s flower team, Hillary Alger and Joy Longfellow, as we dive into current and upcoming themes in the floral marketplace. We will review four of the top Insights from the Slow Flowers 2021 Forecast and hear more from Hillary, who will share findings from Johnny’s recent survey of flower seed customers — commercial cut flower farmers. We’ll share a nice back-and-forth discussion and as a bonus, Hillary plans to share an update about seed supply and new floral variety breeding programs. You may already have registered – and if so, I’ll see you there. As of today’s air date, the event may be full, but Johnny’s will have a complete recording available on Monday, February 22nd — and I’ll share it with you in a future episode.


And registration is open for the Fleurvana Virtual Summit (March 5th-7th), focusing on Sustainability and Regeneration, which also takes place online. Robin Avni, my partner in BLOOM Imprint, have developed a new course for aspiring floral book authors with a presentation called The Journey From Blog to Book. Our course is designed for every creative person we’ve met dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book.  Registration is free and there are also options to purchase larger packages.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.com.

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

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 688,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

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

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

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


Music Credits:

Horizon Liner; These Times; Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 490: The launch of BLOOM Imprint, Slow Flowers’ new publishing venture, with co-founders Debra Prinzing and Robin Avni

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

It’s a very exciting day for Slow Flowers and this episode is devoted to some BIG NEWS. I’m thrilled to tell you all about it! I’ve invited Robin Avni, past guest of this podcast, to join me as together we tell you all about our new collaboration — the formation of a boutique book publishing project called BLOOM Imprint.

Debra Prinzing (left) and Robin Avni (right)

BLOOM Imprint emerges from our 15-year professional relationship and friendship. A decade ago, Robin and I collaborated with a talented group of women on a multi-year content and lifestyle consulting project, “Real Women, Real Life.” During that time, we also teamed up to give a presentation on The Female Gardener: Mommy to Maven for the Independent Garden Center Show and co-authored white papers and trend reports about female consumers. 

Fast-forward to 2019-2020, when Robin and I produced Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One, a compendium of the “best of” editorial stories and imagery featured in the “Slow Flowers Journal” section of Florists’ Review magazine. That’s where I previously served as contributing editor and Robin served as managing editor of books, producing 10 book titles related to the floral industry.

We’re announcing the launch of BLOOM Imprint today, with me serving as editorial director and Robin serving as creative director. This venture is committed to developing books that express visual and verbal storytelling in equal measures. By pairing my love of the written word and editorial narrative and Robin’s visually strong creative direction talent, we are pretty jazzed about what we have in store for sharing the people, places, flowers and art of our Slow Flowers Community through a new lineup of books.

Read our Press Announcement Here:


Where We Bloom: Our first title

We believe that “setting” is an important facet to making art — and nothing could be truer for floral designers and floral artists. This book profiles the people, art and creative work spaces of designers and makers.

The subtitle is: Thirty-Six Intimate, Inventive and Artistic Studio Spaces Where Floral Passions Find a Place to Blossom

Step inside the personal environments where flowers come to life. “Where We Bloom” showcases beautiful plant- and flower-filled settings of Slow Flowers designers, farmer-florists and growers. Each setting reflects the personality and aesthetic style of its owner, offering great ideas to inspire the design, decor, organization, and of course, functionality of your creative space.

Publication Date: April 2021
Pre-ordering information will be shared soon!


Between us, Robin and I have produced and published more than 20 lifestyle, design, architecture, floral and gardening titles. We formed BLOOM Imprint as a boutique publishing company with the mission of identifying creative entrepreneurial book ideas and growing them — from the seed of an initial concept to a finished product. As we publish new authors and consult with aspiring ones, we believe that producing a book is ultimately one of the most affordable marketing endeavors available to creatives.

From our “Who We Are” page on BLOOMImprint.com — learn about our backgrounds and experiences, and read what people say about working with us!

Let me tell you a little more about Robin Avni and then we’ll jump right in and get started:

A creative veteran in the media + high-tech industries, Robin’s experience includes 15+ years in the publishing industry and eight years at Microsoft in design and creative management. She has successfully managed innovative, award-winning design teams and high-profile projects as well as receiving numerous national design and photography editing awards for her own work. Robin has produced 10 books, including collaborating with Debra on the Slow Flowers Journal. 

In 2004, following Microsoft, she founded bricolage*, a consultancy specializing in creative strategy, content development, and arts advocacy. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, national advertising agencies and award-winning media properties, applying timely actionable insights to their businesses.  ​Robin received a BA in journalism from Indiana University, Bloomington and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan; she holds a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington. 

Listen to my December 2018 Slow Flowers Podcast Episode with Robin — a segment called “How creatives can be authentic in a digital age.”

Anticipation! Here are our first five books in the BLOOM Imprint catalog, with titles from Debra Prinzing, Felicia Alvarez, Holly Heider Chapple, Teresa J. Speight and Cynthia Zamaria!

Thanks so much for joining Robin Avni and me as we shared a conversation about BLOOM Imprint.

Follow BLOOM Imprint at these social places:

BLOOM Imprint on Instagram

BLOOM Imprint on Facebook

BLOOM Imprint on Pinterest

Listen to our fun Floral-Inspired Playlist, created to commemorate the launch of BLOOM Imprint.

And remember, you can join us at the Fleurvana Virtual Summit March 5-7, focusing on Sustainability and Regeneration, where Robin and I will present an original new course, From Blog to Book Proposal. The course is designed for every creative person we’ve met dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book. As a tangible “artifact,” there is amazing social validation that comes with having a book about your work. A book can narrate your story, teach your concepts and document your work. We believe successful books are driven by a Passion that answers the following: What are you compelled to share? What do you have to offer that will make the world a better place? What is your unique point of view?


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at mayesh.com.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

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


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 683,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right here at debraprinzing.com

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Heartland Flyer; Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 463: REPLAY Soul Fire Farm’s Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020
Replay Episode with Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm and author of “Farming While Black.”

Today, we are celebrating the 7th Anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast. I want to take a moment and marvel at the significance and what this means to me — the significance of sharing so many wonderful conversations with listeners over the years, since launching this little project on July 23, 2103.

The timing of this podcast’s debut was just a few months after the publication of the book Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm, when I introduced the first-ever podcast for the floral marketplace. I began to invite guests to share their voices, ideas and inspiration. From domestic flower farmers to designers taking a seasonal and sustainable approach to their floral art, I’ve have pursued unique programming for you.

For 362 consecutive weeks, this has been the podcast you can rely on to bring you stories of American flowers and the people who grow and design with them. This podcast actually pre-dates the launch in May 2014 of 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.  Slowflowers.com began with about 250 members across the U.S. and it has evolved into the Slow Flowers Society with 750 sustaining members across North America, members who, like you, care about making a conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

(c) Mary Grace Long

So we have a lot to celebrate and a lot to be grateful for. We’ve shared conversations on topics important to progressive, sustainably-minded floral entrepreneurs and I’m excited to continue the strong momentum as this show is more popular than ever. Episodes have been downloaded by listeners like you more than 625,000 times over the past seven years, and we currently enjoy 10k to 12k monthly downloads. So while metrics aren’t everything, they are one important indicator of the relevance of our content.

I want to pause and thank all of our current Slow Flowers Podcast sponsors, just to remind you that their contributions sustain the production and distribution of this show.

Thank you to:
Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers
Longfield Gardens
Rooted Farmers
Syndicate Sales
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Mayesh Wholesale Florist
The Gardener’s Workshop
Florists’ Review

Meet Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm

We are in a season of challenge and change, and I want to bring you what I believe is a very special and timely replay episode from our archives. It has always been my goal to produce a fresh new episode every week, and but for a few exceptions, I’ve been able to do so. But with the heightened awareness about the fight against systemic racism and Slow Flowers’ stated commitment to support Black flower farmers and florists, we want to turn the focus on their voices, including revisiting past interviews you may have missed. In the coming months, we want to shine a light on Black pioneers and leaders in the Slow Flowers Community, members and friends. We have several new guests booked for the coming months, but today, I want to re-introduce you to Leah Penniman.

Pollinator flowers at Soul Fire Farm

I am so incredibly excited to rebroadcast my January 23, 2019, conversation with Leah as we discussed her new book, “Farming While Black, Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land,” published October 2018 by Chelsea Green Publishing.

Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim an ancestral connection to land. As co-Executive Director, Leah is part of a team that facilitates powerful food sovereignty programs – including farmer trainings for Black and Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system.

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

Leah holds an MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University. She has been farming since 1996 and teaching since 2002. The work of Leah and Soul Fire Farm has been recognized by the Soros Racial Justice Fellowship, Fulbright Program, Omega Sustainability Leadership Award, Presidential Award for Science Teaching, NYS Health Emerging Innovator Awards, and Andrew Goodman Foundation, among others. All proceeds from the sale of Farming While Black will be used to support Black Farmers.

Soul Fire Farm is a Black, indigenous, and people of colorcentered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. Soul Fire Farm raises and distributes life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid.

With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of ancestors, the farm works to reclaim its collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system.

Soul Fire brings diverse communities together on its healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice. Leah and her colleagues are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.

Please buy this book and educate yourself about the Black farming community.

Thanks so much for joining my conversation with Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm and Farming While Black, originally broadcast as Episode 385 on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. As I mentioned in the interview, Farming While Black is required reading for all farmers, and for anyone who wants to have a deeper insight into the racism and injustice in our country’s agricultural history. I highly recommend it — Leah’s passion and spirit jumps off the page as she inspires, informs, instigates and shares her important life’s work as well as her incredibly smart farming advice.

I invited Leah to return to the Slow Flowers Podcast this week and give us an update about Soul Fire Farm’s work, but due to the demands of farming and activism, her schedule didn’t work with ours. I’m grateful that Soul Fire Farm sent us an extensive list of new resources and action items to help the Slow Flowers Community get more involved in social justice work to support Black-owned farms.

Soul Fire Farm on Facebook

Soul Fire Farm on Instagram

Their message read as follows: We are humbled by the outpouring of support we have received from you in the last couple weeks, instilling us with hope for a more just future amidst the grief we feel about the continued legacy of anti-Black police violence in our nation.

Here is a list of action steps you can take right now.

Additional resources:

FAQ page

COVID-19 response

2019 annual report

Policy demands

Food and Land Sovereignty Resource List for Covid-19

BIPOC-led How To Videos, Gardening Projects, and Online Learning Resources

As a show of support from the Slow Flowers Podcast, we have made a $250 donation to Soul Fire Farm and sent Leah and her team a one-year membership in Slow Flowers. We are eager to learn and listen — and I invite you to join me in this important endeavor.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Bombadore; Skyway (acoustica); Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field; Acoustic Shuffle
audionautix.com

Revisiting our Stylish Sheds

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

Published in 2008, Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways is more relevant than ever!

In 2008, after a year of scouting the country for “stylish sheds” with my wonderful collaborator, Seattle photographer Bill Wright, and after months of interviewing shed owners, designers and builders, then writing 50k words or some ridiculous amount of text, Clarkson Potter (Random House) published Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways.

We loved that book so much. We loved how beautiful Bill’s photography was, capturing the personalities and stories of each shed owner, not to mention unique geographical and architectural characteristics of each shed. We loved storytelling through my interviews, conversations that dug deep into the psyche of hideaways, retreats and shelters.

Bill and I were truly ahead of our time. We saw around the corner and we believe that Stylish Sheds captured a shift in how people viewed their gardens and the once-neglected huts or sheds that stood there.

Our book documented that lovely shift toward viewing sanctuary not as somewhere you have to travel to, but somewhere that exists just steps away from your backdoor.

Stylish Sheds Well, 2008 was a financial disaster and the bottom fell out of the real estate market. Our timing could not have been predicted. Ten years later, a number of copycat books emerged on the marketplace. And Bill and I just sat their and thought: Wow, we were visionaries! The promotional machine we needed in the lifestyle media marketplace was in its own crisis when Stylish Sheds was published. That was the era when magazines like House & Garden, Cottage Living, Domino and others suddenly folded.

Eventually, nearly 20k copies of Stylish Sheds were shipped to booksellers, more than any other book I ever wrote. But then, it went out of print a few years later. You can still find this special title on your library shelf and through online sellers of used books.

We were quite suprised recently when Lyda Kay Ferree, a lifestyle writer for a group of magazines in the South, contacted us to see if she could excerpt a few of Bill’s photos and interview me for an April 2020 Home & Garden feature for VIP Jackson Magazine and one of its sister publications.

Lyda Kay definitely “gets” this book. When she contacted me to set up the phone interview, she wrote: “I am fortunate to live in an historic district in a 100-year-old home, complete with the original potting shed with brick walls. (It has electricity but no running water.) I had saved an article about your book as I am getting ideas for my potting shed.”

Well, we had a lovely conversation about Stylish Sheds, and Lyda Kay’s article appears here, with photography graciously provided by Bill. Seeing those beautiful and diminutive structures we documented brings back a flood of memories of that year — between summer of 2006 and summer of 2007 — when Bill and I produced 35 photo shoots in 52 weeks.

Itinerant seekers of inspiration, we felt like we were on a treasure hunt, gathering the best tiny architecture and design ideas to share in our book’s pages.

Lyda Kay has shared the PDF of her article and you can download or read it here. We’re so pleased that she reached out and helped to remind us of this special book and the memories of creating it. Thank you, Lyda Kay!

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

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020
From left: Lorene Edwards Forkner, Christin Geall, moderator Jennifer Jewell and Debra Prinzing at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Jennifer Jewell—Creator and host of the public radio program (and podcast) Cultivating Place, is a past guest of this podcast.

Now, she is also an author and is on tour to promote her book, The Earth in Her Hands, which has the subtitle: 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants.

This past week, Jennifer was in Seattle to speak at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival and, among other appearances, she led a panel discussion that we recorded for today’s episode.

Hot off the Press: Jennifer Jewell’s new book, “The Earth in Her Hands”

In writing The Earth in Her Hands, Jennifer learned how the women profiled creatively navigated the challenging ideal of work-life balance. The main lesson? Balance is not a destination but an ongoing and highly dynamic process.

NWFGF Panel, from left: Lorene Edwards Forkner, Christin Geall, Jennifer Jewell and Debra Prinzing

In the panel, of which I was a part, Jennifer focused our conversation on many common challenges, coping mechanisms, and solutions that follow women through their careers in the plant world.

Along with me, the panel included two other past guests of this podcast, so the voices and personalities may be familiar to you. You’ll also hear designer and author Christin Geall, of Cultivated (who I invited on the podcast just a few weeks ago), and Lorene Edwards Forkner, author, artist, and Seattle Times garden columnist, and creator of the #seeingcolorinthegardenproject.

These women graciously agreed to this recording and I’ll just jump right in and let you listen as if you were in the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival audience last week.

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

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

Particularly interested in the intersections between gardens, the native plant environments around them, and human culture, she is the daughter of garden and floral designing mother and a wildlife biologist father. Jennifer has been writing about gardening professionally since 1998, and her work has appeared in Gardens Illustrated, House & Garden, Natural Home, Old House Journal, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, and Pacific Horticulture. She worked as Native Plant Garden Curator for Gateway Science Museum on the campus of California State University, Chico, and lives and gardens in Butte County, California.

Listen to Jennifer Jewell on the Slow Flowers Podcast (Episode 397) April 2019

Cultivating Place on Facebook

Cultivating Place on Instagram

Christin Geall of Cultivated by Christin, designing with a no-foam method

Christin Geall lives on Vancouver Island, along the western edge of Canada. She is a gardener, designer, writer and teacher who grows flowers and shares her designs through Cultivated by Christin, a creative studio launched in 2015.

Christin’s eclectic background includes pursuits that are equal parts physical and intellectual. She apprenticed on a Martha’s Vineyard herb farm, interned at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and homesteaded on a remote island in British Columbia. Academic studies in ethnobotany, environmental science and a creative writing MFA led to editorships, university-level teaching and a regular gardening column for local newspapers.

Today, Christin’s artistic focus centers around her urban flower farm-design studio in USDA Zone 8, the tiny hub of a multifaceted floral business.

Listen to Christin Geall on the Slow Flowers Podcast (Episode 440) February 2020

Cultivated on Facebook

Cultivated on Instagram

Lorene Edwards Forkner (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Lorene Edwards Forkner is a columnist for the Seattle Times weekly gardening column called GROW. She is author of five garden books, including The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening: Pacific Northwest, and Handmade Garden Projects, bestselling titles from Timber Press.

Lorene owned a popular and beloved boutique specialty nursery in Seattle for more than a decade, called Fremont Gardens; she has served on the boards of a number of horticultural organizations, has edited a horticulture journal and is the designer of two gold medal display gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival.

Most recently, Lorene’s creative life can be found on Instagram, where @gardenercook she shares a series called “Seeing Color in the Garden.” She started this project on April 3, 2018 as part of #the100dayproject as #100DaysofSeeingColorintheGarden. She continued her series with #Another100 DaysofSeeingColorintheGarden.

Listen to Lorene Edwards Forkner on the Slow Flowers Podcast (Episode 409) July 2019

LEF on Facebook

LEF on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining today’s episode featuring Jennifer Jewell and two women, who along with me are featured in The Earth in Her Hands, Christin Geall and Lorene Edwards-Forkner.

As a special bonus, we’re giving away a copy of The Earth in Her Hands, courtesy of Timber Press, Jennifer’s publisher.

To enter, please leave a comment below about an Extraordinary Woman who influenced your personal relationship with plants. We’ll draw one recipient from among the posted comments on Sunday, March 8th and announce the winner in our March 11th episode. Please note: this giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian entrants.

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

If you liked the subject of this episode, you’re invited to dig deeper with two of the panelists  because they are coming to the Slow Flowers Summit in the SF Bay Area at Filoli- the historic garden and home that is hosting us on June 28-29th. Jennifer Jewell will be our Slow Flowers Summit capstone speaker – and she will speak more expansively on women’s role in shaping our plant world and beyond, as well as sign copies of her new book. Lorene Edwards Forkner will also be one of our Slow Flowers Summit presenters and I’m so excited for you to experience seeing color in the garden through her eyes as you develop your own sensibility and observational skills, learning from color in the garden — from the landscape to the centerpiece.

It will be a special experience and I can’t wait for you to join us!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 583,000 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.

Longfield Gardens 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.

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.

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.

I am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (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:

Gaena; Glass Beads by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field; Paper Wings
Music from:
audionautix.com