Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Episode 470: A conversation with Kim Gruetter and Tonneli Gruetter of Whidbey Island’s Salty Acres Farm

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020
Tonneli (left) and Kim (right) at Salty Acres Farm, Coupeville, Washingon

In early 2019, I reconnected with Kim Gruetter of Salty Acres Farm at a Washington Flowers Project florists’ gathering. She reminded me that we’d had a few email exchanges back when I first launched Slow Flowers in 2014, and introduced me to her daughter Tonneli Gruetter. Together, with their spouses, Kim and Tonneli own Salty Ares Farm in the town of Coupeville, Washington, on Whidbey Island.

Kim’s husband and Tonneli’s father Paul Gruetter and Tonneli’s husband John Loughman, are definitely part of the diverse family-owned farm and little guy Sauvie is the youngest human living on the family farm.

Tonneli (left) and Kim (right), photographed on our visit to their fields at Greenbank Farm

We had a great conversation about what they both were doing and I learned it was not just flowers! Kim told me about the “salt” of Salty Acres, which is one of their signature agricultural products along with edible flowers. 

Tonneli, who calls herself a millenial, fascinated me with her story of working in the sales, marketing and branding in the tech industry, a fabulous skill set that she brings to Salty Acres.

A few months later, Travis Rigby of Florists’ Review asked me if had any suggestions for a new digital marketing position he had created. Did I know anyone who might be a good fit for the job? For some amazing reason, Tonneli popped into my memory and I introduced the two of them. For the past year, Tonneli has collaborated with Florists’ Review on all sorts of projects, including the magazine’s social media, which you can’t miss if you follow them on Instagram. Tonneli’s enthusiasm has spilled over into the floral community and to many, she is the face of Florists’ Review on its IG stories, events and sponsorships.

Salty Acres Farm operates at two locations on Whidbey Island. Left: at Greenbank Farm, a community-owned agriculture and tourism destination; right, at a historic farmstead in Coupeville.

When I knew I was going to have a minication getaway on Whidbey Island in late August, I invited myself to Salty Acres Farm. The farm is located on historic Penn Cove, outside the historic Coupeville. Here’s a bit more of their story, from the “about” page on Salty Acres’ website:

Originally brought to the island by the Navy, Tonneli and John thought their farming roots were somewhere in the past when the opportunity of a lifetime appeared: a new start at a historic farm on Penn Cove.  It didn’t take long before the magic of the place got to them, and their thoughts of Whidbey as just another Navy posting faded.

The honor stand on Penn Cove Road, designed and fabricated from an old pony cart by Paul Gruetter

Around this same time Kim and Paul were facing another story all too common for farmers.  Rising property costs and rapid urbanization were forcing farmers (themselves included) away from Oregon’s Willamette Valley where they had farmed for generations. Seeing this shift Tonneli and John urged her parents to visit Whidbey Island.  “Imagine a place where you can farm and the community supports you,” Tonneli urged her parents. 

For Paul, who learned to farm from his father who had immigrated to Oregon’s Sauvie’s Island to work the land, moving roots wasn’t. Upon arriving on Penn Cove it only took a single sunrise over the water to convince them, this was home and a new agricultural collective calling for  the whole family.

“Salty,” the vintage Japanese fire truck that shows up at farmers’ markets and other pop-up events. Kim and Tonneli also offer Salty as a fully staffed mobile flower cart experience. Customers book the truck to wow their event guests with fresh bouquets, floral confetti, & individually sized sea salt party favors. Booking includes use of PA system, spot lights, and sirens. (c) Tonneli Gruetter photograph

Today, Salty Acres, specializes in locally-grown flowers, small batch sea salt, foraged ocean greens, & specialty produce. From June to October customers can shop at their permanent farm stand on Penn Cover Road, at pop-up sales around the Coupeville area, and at their community greenhouse on the historic Greenbank Farm campus. 

With COVID this year, the women have had to adapt some of their offerings, especially on-farm events, workshops and their regular stall at the Coupeville Farmers’ Market. But the requests continue and they are currently reimagining what 2021 may look like. Keep an eye out for announcements by following Salty Acres on social media. 

Salty Acres Farm, tricked out for a private event. The farm’s agritourism offerings include salt making classes, flower farm tours, floral design workshop and cider making parties (pre-COVID, of course – and to be resumed as state guidelines allow) (c) Tonneli Gruetter photograph

Find and follow Salty Acres here:

Salty Acres on Facebook

Salty Acres on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today for my conversation with Kim and Tonneli. My head is spinning when I think about their energy and their passion – and how they seem to create entrepreneurial opportunities out of thin air.

I hope the time you spent with this episode is equally overflowing with new ideas. The thread of community is woven through all that this dynamic mom-and-daughter team are doing, along with Paul, who is equally involved in the operations of Salty Acres.

Check out some of Salty Acres’ collaborators and flower outlets, which we discussed in the episode:

3 Sisters Market
Captain Whidbey Inn
Go Marbley
Growing Veterans 
Their equation seems to begin with Flowers Plus [fill in the blank] Equals a Win-Win for everyone. It’s truly the Slow Flowers ethos.

Custom-silk bouquet ribbon – a collaboration between Salty Acres Farm and Go Marbley of Coupeville, Washington (with a bouquet from the Slow Flower Cutting Garden)

 

 

 

 

 

JOIN US AT THE SEPTEMBER SLOW FLOWERS MEMBER (VIRTUAL MEET-UP

TJ McGrath will be our guest presenter at the September 11 “Slow Flowers Member (Virtual) Meet-Up”

Now, More than Ever, Your Slow Flowers Membership Gives You an Important Story to Share with Your Community and Your Customers.  Our monthly Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up is coming right up this Friday, the 11th of September — on Zoom.

I’m excited that we’ll enjoy some seasonal design inspiration with special guest, TJ McGrath. TJ is the lead designer and content creator for the Blue Jasmine Floral studio, a Slow Flowers member studio led by Paulina Nieliwocki in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. All summer long, I’ve been enchanted by the floral designs that TJ posts on his personal IG feed @tjmcrathdesign. I asked him to demonstrate one of his signature foam-free arrangements and talk about his philosophy and style.

You’re invited to join us. Click here for details. Bring your insights and ideas to the community. I’ll share the link in today’s show notes — 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. And, like all of our member meet-ups, we’ll have some giveaways to sweeten the deal!

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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

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

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

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

This show has been downloaded more than 639,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Turning on the Lights; Wingspan; 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 469: Blending an artistic practice and commercial floristry, with Kat Claar of From Blossoms

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020
Floral artist and designer Kat Claar (c) Tell the Bees Photography (left); a paper-and-floral-sculpture (right)

Several months ago, Kathleen “Kat” Claar of From Blossoms reached out to reconnect. We originally met in March 2019 at the Philadelphia Flower & Garden Show when I shared a meal with a few Slow Flowers members and other locally-focused flower farmers and designers.

Kat wanted to share how she was coping with Pennsylvania’s then stay-at-home order, which imposed constraints on her floral work. Instead of feeling limited, though, Kat began to film video tutorials which she says allowed her “to succinctly and effectively share her creative process.” Well, I watched those sweet videos and was hooked on Kat’s highly personal style combining floral design with custom-cut paper shapes that result in contemporary abstract works of art.

As she told me, “I would love for more people to consider and notice a daffodil in a new way through my work, but I also think it would be applicable as a project that people could do themselves with something as easily-accessible as a colored piece of paper and a couple stems of flowers from their yard.”

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CEc8gpxj4O_/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Kat says this recent video is her highest production with puppets, silk flowers and shapes

“My goal is to draw attention to seasonal flowers, ones that are available to anyone really, and to help people see those flowers in new ways by playing with our perception of them.”

In addition to her own studio art practice, Kat is a wedding and event designer for a Philadelphia-based shop called Vault and Vine. We discuss how she balances the two sides of her floral career and how the commercial design work blends with a fine art practice.

Kat’s gold-metal award for floral design entry “Seeing Flowers” at the 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show really wowed me (pictured below with images (c) Love Me Do Photography).

I spent several days at the show and every time I walked past her display I stopped in my tracks, got out my camera and photographed the piece. There are definitely elements – albeit more detailed – of her paper cutout technique. 

Above: Kat’s floral entry at the 2020 Philadelphia Flower & Garden Show, featuring plexiglass shapes by Roxana Azar (c) Tell the Bees Photography.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CAxcyDegJ_2/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
A kids’ video with “Beedy” the puppet

Thanks so much for joining me today for my conversation with Kat Claar. I hope you take a moment to respond to those creative sparks or lightening bolts when they hit you!

Find and follow Kat at From Blossoms on Instagram

See the full video collection on Kat’s IGTV feed here.

September 2nd in my #slowflowerscuttinggarden

It’s the beginning of a new month and like me, you’re probably turning attention to September and beyond. The days here in Seattle are still quite warm, but I can feel the chill of autumn in the morning air and I have mixed feelings about it. I normally love autumn. With COVID limiting our indoor gatherings, we’ve been so reliant on time outdoors. What comes with the changing of the seasons? Some friends of mine just invested in an infrared heater for their deck, to extend their outdoor time as long as they can. I’m seriously ready to order head-to-toe rain gear from REI, to make sure I can be quasi-comfortable when I want to continue gardening during our typically wet season. We’re all adept by now at online everything, and my top wardrobe has expanded while I continue to basically wear the same black yoga pants that you’ll never see on a Zoom call. This is an endless season of change. I sincerely hope the Slow Flowers Podcast has been a source of companionship and encouragement to you — from a distance, as always. This show has been downloaded more than 637,000 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

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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

More thanks goes to 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.

Rooted Farmers, which 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.

(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:

Turning on the Lights; Children of Lemuel; 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 468: Slow Flowers’ Social Media Maven Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020
Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social, the talent and passion behind Slow Flowers’ social media

Whether we like it or not, establishing a social media presence is an essential business requirement. In any visually-driven marketplace, but especially in the floral world, we need to create Instagram and Facebook accounts that we want our brand, mission and values to be associated with.

I launched the first Slow Flowers business page on Facebook in 2013 when my book of that title was released. And I believe that I started the Slow Flowers Instagram account, called @myslowflowers, in 2015 (prior to that I had a personal account @dkprinzing — and it took Dani Hahn of Rose Story Farm to inform me that having a second account on Instagram was allowed!).

Debra and Niesha, photographed at the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit in Washington, D.C.

I muddled along for a few years posting a hodge-podge of images — all pretty, but there was no strategy. After meeting and working with today’s guest, things changed. As I discuss with her in this episode, she was definitely a game-changer, our secret sauce. Please meet Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social, the social media strategist and manager whose talents and creativity have magnified the message of Slow Flowers on Instagram and Facebook.

Niesha, on location at the Slow Flowers Summit in St. Paul, Minnesota (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Niesha and I first worked together as consultants to the Field to Vase Dinner Tour, a project I helped launch with Certified American Grown. We met up at a number of beautiful flower farms around the U.S. where I often hosted the VIP and media guests and Niesha managed the social media for each dinner.

Not long after I ended that contract in 2017, Niesha left her gig and started Fetching Social. I didn’t hesitate for a moment. I asked her to support Slow Flowers with a social media strategy. Niesha has been a vital member of the small but mighty Slow Flowers team and other than Andrew Brenlan, our podcast editor, Niesha been with me the longest. She basically acts as Slow Flowers Society’s freestanding social media department — and I’m so grateful for her talents.

Niesha manages all of Slow Flowers’ visual social media — on Instagram, Facebook and for our events, like the Slow Flowers Summit

Here’s a bit more about Niesha Blancas:
With a personality as colorful as her creativity, Niesha loves to think outside the box for new and exciting ways to showcase her clients’ stories. After graduating from Fresno State with a double major in Public Relations and Fashion Merchandising, Niesha has dipped her toes in various waters, many in which happen to be social-worthy: food, flowers, wine, travel, fashion, and events.

And more about Fetching Social:
Why settle for anything less than fetching? Fetching Social is your business’s ally. We understand that social media can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially while you’re running your own company. Let us do what we do best so you can get back to business. If you want to compare bucket list adventures, debate the existence of unicorns, or talk one-on-one with Niesha for her branding advice, DM her on Instagram or email her at fetchingsocial@gmail.com.

Last summer, Niesha was a featured presenter at the 2019 Slow Flowers Summit in St. Paul. She presented on Social Media and I’ve got a bonus for you. You can watch Niesha’s presentation — VISUAL STORYTELLING FOR SOCIAL MEDIA – part of a 3-speaker panel with Kalisa Jenne-Fraser and Missy Palacol, below.

Find and follow Fetching Social:

Check out Fetching Social’s JumpStarter Package

Download Fetching Social’s JumpStarter Package below:

Fetching Social on Instagram

Fetching Social on Facebook

Niesha is a vital member of the Slow Flowers Community

Thanks so much for joining me today for my conversation with Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social. I hope you consider reaching out to Niesha to talk about your own social media needs. She has an extensive menu of services suitable for any budget or wish list you might have.

I can honestly say that Niesha’s expertise, professionalism and passion for the Slow Flowers Community is worth every penny — she is priceless and influences so much of what I undertake!

Coming up in just two weeks is the second annual Sustainable Flowers Workshop, led by Slow Flowers member Becky Feasby of Prairie Girl Flowers in Calgary, Alberta. I was so looking forward to being there in person with Becky, the other instructors and the attendees

Not to be deterred, Becky is proceeding with the workshop, September 8 & 9, which will be held in Calgary at the Rosemont Community Hall. She’ll be joined by fellow Canadian, floral designer, artist, photographer and author Christin Geall of Cultivated by Christin. Tobey Nelson and I will join virtually via Zoom. Not quite the same thing, but since Tobey and I cannot cross the U.S.-Canadian border, we’re going to make it as fun and engaging as the Zoom platform will allow!

There are a few spaces left for this awesome workshop. I’ll have the full itinerary and signup information in today’s show notes. I know it will be a smashing event!

Thank you to our sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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

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.

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.

Debra and Niesha together in Boulder, Colorado

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:

The Wooden Platform; Heartland Flyer; 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 467: Local Flowers for California’s Wine Country, with Santa Rosa floral designer Olivia Rivas of Papillon

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Olivia Rivas of Papillon. We first met when I was invited to spend a few days touring the Sonoma County local flower scene as a guest of North Bay Flower Collective in the spring of 2016.

That trip yielded a series of Slow Flowers Podcast episodes, but I wasn’t able to record an interview with Olivia. On the other hand, I do recall our memorable car ride and great conversation as she shuttled me from one venue to another on that visit. Later, when Olivia was in Seattle to attend a workshop with Ariella Chezar, we enjoyed another melding of the floral minds over a meal.

I am very much inspired by Olivia’s personal journey, recently featured in my Q&A with her that you can read in the August issue of Florists’ Review. You can read that story here:

Like many of us, pursuing a life of and vocation immersed in flowers became Olivia’s second career. I know you’ll find her story inspiring, as she was determined to educate herself as a designer and to find her own place in the profession.

We’ve been corresponding and chatting quite a bit recently, and I was also interested in Olivia’s decision-making process around running a business during the COVID-19 pandemic — so I’ve asked her to share about those choices. You’ll find lots to which you can relate, as these are topics we are all living out in real time.

Here’s how you can find and follow Olivia Rivas of Papillon:

Olivia Rivas on Facebook

Papillon on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today for my conversation with Olivia Rivas of Papillon. I want you to read a few comments she shared in our Florists’ Review article because they are so relatable and timely:

Q: How have you adapted to stay-in-place orders?
A: This has been the most insane, extreme and confounding year I’ve ever encountered – in life and in business. The quarantine and shelter-in-place orders have been important and necessary, but it’s also been heartbreaking. I’ve had to lay off all of my employees and we closed the store for half of March and all of April. We had a very strong Mother’s Day and now I’ve started to come back to life, although with only one employee – me. With the new challenges of social distancing, wearing masks and trying to maintain no contact, I decided to move everything online. The process of getting everything I sell — soap, jewelry, plants, vases, stationary, and now masks — loaded onto my website has been time consuming and tedious, but I truly believe that this is the world now. A florist can still be unique, based on what you offer and how you present it, and I decided that if I’m going to survive this, I have to have a specific curated shopping experience ready.

Q: Advice for others who want to adopt the Slow Flowers mission?
A: I can’t say enough about the importance of using local flowers in our shop. We live in a world where you can buy tulips anytime, but I believe using flowers out of season takes away that “specialness.” I also encourage people to use less harmful materials when conducting their flower business. It may take a little more time at first, but the results will make you personally healthier and help you do a small part for our future. I urge people to visit the @nofloralfoam page on Instagram for more information and for how-to instruction on no foam mechanics.

Coming up this weekend, beginning on Sunday, August 23 and continuing through Wednesday, August 26th, I’m participating as an instructor in an online conference called the Fleurvana Virtual Summit. Founded by Shawn Michael Foley and Gina Thresher, Fleurvana offers great content for anyone who wants to enhance their floral career!

Now through Saturday August 22nd, you can get a free ticket to attend the LIVE sessions.

You can watch 30 presentations tailored to you — Elevate your floral career and business! I’ll be presenting on “Creative Vocabulary to Enhance Your Brand,” and three other Slow Flowers Members are also presenting, including Gina Thresher of From the Ground Up Floral, Tonneli Gruetter of Salty Acres Farm and Jim Martin of Compost in My Tea.

If you miss out on grabbing a ticket to the LIVE sessions, you can register after the fact for an affordable VIP pass to watch the presentations at your own pace.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 634,000 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

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Heliotrope; Heartland Flyer; 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 466: Black Sanctuary Gardens with Leslie Bennett of Oakland-based Pine House Edible Gardens

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
Left: Leslie Bennett in her Pine House Edible Gardens-designed Oakland backyard
(c) Rachel Weill

Today’s special guest returns to the Slow Flowers Podcast after her 2017 appearance. Leslie Bennett is an award-winning garden creator whose Pine House Edible Gardens designs and installs beautiful, productive edible landscapes that provide bountiful harvests of organic fruits, vegetables, cutting flowers and herbs — and that create space for more beauty, peace and connection in clients’ lives. Pine House also maintain gardens, harvests and processes garden-grown food, and teaches clients the skills to do it themselves.

Edibles and cut flowers (citrus, blueberries, fig, protea, poppies) flourish in anAlameda front yard (c) Caitlin Atkinson

As a Black woman owned business and multi-racial, queer inclusive, majority female team, Pine House Edible Gardens stands for more than just healthy food and beautiful landscapes, and this is one reason I invited Leslie back to the show — to discuss her firm’s commitment to making gardens accessible to all through its equity pricing program and the Black Sanctuary Gardens project. As Leslie writes on the company’s web site: “We believe an edible garden can be a transformative space to grow and practice the better ways and world we want for ourselves and for our communities.”

The 2017 Slow Flowers Summit presentation features (from left): Chantal Aida Gordon, Leslie Bennett, Riz Reyes and Nicole Cordier
The speaker lineup at our first Slow Flowers Summit, including Leslie Bennett (far right)

In 2017, Leslie joined the first Slow Flowers Summit in Seattle as a speaker on the topic of inclusion and representation in floriculture and horticulture. She is definitely a mentor of mine as I strive to make the Slow Flowers community an inclusive, supportive and accessible place for Black flower farmers and Black floral professionals.

The first Black Sanctuary Garden project, created for a community leader in East Oakland
(c) Rachel Weill

Slow Flowers has had the privilege of sharing our resources to support anti-racist programs and to support new members through our Professional Development Fund for Black Farmers and Florists. One of the programs we were moved to support financially is the Black Sanctuary Gardens program that Leslie began a few years ago through Pine House Edible Gardens. I wanted you to learn more about this program because I believe it is a model that anyone who wants their creative enterprise to be guided by values- and mission-. As I watch how Leslie uses her talents and resources to support her beliefs, it inspires me to want to do the same with Slow Flowers.

A front garden landscaped with edible plants in Atherton, Calif. (c) David Fenton

Thanks so much for joining my conversations with Leslie — our most recent one and the replay of Episode 302.

One thing Leslie said that struck me so powerfully and it needs to be restated: This is not charity. This is giving back what has been taken. Land, generational wealth, historic and systemic racism. Operating very humbly will take us forward.

The 2020 campaign page . . . with donations soon reaching the $30k goal!

The current Go Fund Me Campaign for Black Sanctuary Gardens is close to reaching its 2020 campaign goal of $30,000, but the fundraising continues because this will be an ongoing design/installation series. You can read more about Black Sanctuary Gardens at Pine House Edible Gardens’ web site, but I’d like to highlight a few details. Leslie writes:

“Inspired in part by Alice Walker’s naming of the garden as a site for black women’s spirituality, creativity and artistic work, landscape designer Leslie Bennett and her team work to design, install and care for a series of low to no-cost Black Sanctuary Gardens for Black women and Black communities. Visual curation and photographic documentation of the women and communities in their garden spaces is a secondary, integral part of the project as we create imagery that more accurately and inclusively reflects the relationship of Black women and communities with their gardens.

An entry garden in Los Altos, Calif., features low-water, edible and native California plantings (c) Caitlin Atkinson
Edible garden in Hillsborough, Calif. (c) David Fenton

The primary goal of Black Sanctuary Gardens is to create garden spaces for Black women to rest and be restored. This space is so needed, given the racism and sexism that Black women experience as part of daily American life. A further goal is to define, uphold and celebrate Black community spaces, amidst gentrification and displacement of historically Black communities in Oakland. 

Black Sanctuary Gardens is an exciting opportunity to develop gardens that are reflective of our brilliant Black community and supportive of our specific cultural experiences, while offering real sanctuary for Black people to commune, converse, collaborate, heal, rest, and be nourished.

Left: An enclosed kitchen garden with fruit trees and vegetable beds in Oakland Hills (c) Caitlin Atkinson; A bountiful planting from Pine House Edible Gardens

After we recorded today’s interview, Leslie and I continued to discuss the many important reasons for centering a business around Black wellness, creativity and community. It has inspired me to find words to state the importance of these values in the Slow Flowers movement. While I’m proud that our stated Manifesto values sustainability, local sourcing of flowers, and supporting family farms, I realize I want to more explicitly and actively support equity in our Black farming and floristry community. Look for an update to the Slow Flowers Manifesto in the coming days — as we put values and beliefs into words.  

Here’s how you can find and follow Leslie Bennett and Pine House Edible Gardens:

Pine House Edible Gardens on Facebook

Pine House Edible Gardens on Instagram

More about Black Sanctuary Gardens

Now, more than ever, your Slow Flowers Membership gives you an important story to share with your community and your customers.

Our monthly Slow Flowers Meet-Ups continue this Friday on August 14th (9 am PT/Noon ET) and you’re invited to join us – virtually – via Zoom.

If you missed last month’s Meet-Up, you can find  video from our July 10th Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up with featured guests wedding designer and stylist Joy Proctor, founder and creative director of Joy Proctor Design and Slow Flowers members and wedding and event designers Adam Rico and Alicia Rico of Dallas-based Bows and Arrows Flowers. Learn about the first @saytheirnamesmemorial in Portland, Oregon, installed on Juneteenth (June 19th) by Joy and a group of friends, artists, designers and craftspeople, and created in several other cities including Dallas and Atlanta by Bows and Arrows Flowers.

Gina Thresher (left) and Tonneli Gruetter (right)

This week’s guests include Gina Thresher of From the Ground Up Floral and Tonneli Gruetter of Salty Acres Farm — they’re among the instructors in a new virtual floral conference taking place in late August called Fleurvana Virtual Summit. You’ll hear more from Gina and Tonneli and learn how you can grab a free registration for the four-day conference August 23-26 — I’ll be speaking at Fleurvana, too. You’re invited to join us on Friday!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 632,000 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!

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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

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.

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.

(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:

Homegrown; 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 462: Blueberries to Eat and Arrange. How HB Farm’s Heather Schuh transitioned to cut flowers when the blueberry market collapsed

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

I’m so happy to share my conversation with Heather Schuh of HB Farm with you today. We recorded it last Saturday after the July “Best of” Workshop that Slow Flowers produced for the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market where HB Farm is a member-grower.

It was serendipitous that we would be in the same place on the same day — Heather presented about blueberry, blackberry and raspberry cuts for foliage, along with Kristy Hilliker of B&B Family Farm who gave a fabulous lavender talk. Following their educational presentations, Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers designed a lush and abundant summer arrangement using the berry foliage and lavender, along with companion stems. The presentations can be found on the Growers Market’s IGTV feed:

Part One: Lavender with B&B Family Farm and Berry Foliages with HB Farm

View this post on Instagram

Hear from B&B Family Lavender Farm and HB Farms

A post shared by SEA Wholesale Growers Market (@seattlewholesalegrowersmarket) on

Part Two: Floral design demonstration with Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers

I say it was serendipity that brought Heather and me together to record — socially-distanced on opposite sides of the room — because this is an interview that took one year to accomplish! I had reached out to Heather to set up an interview last summer, only to discover that the date I wanted to visit HB Farm was also the date that Heather was hosting her son’s wedding at her farm (oh, and designing the flowers, too).

I’m so glad we make it work this past week and I learned a lot about this serial entrepreneur who has a background in timber, home construction and interior design. For Heather, it started with blueberries and she has come full circle to return to blueberries, but in a modern, design-forward way.

Heather loves growing a wide range of crops – in addition to blueberries. Here she is with an armload of scented geranium foliage

Here’s a bit more about Heather Schuh and HB Farm:

Her family has been farming the land that is currently HB Farm since the 1940’s.  During that time the ground has seen several crop successions. Heather remembers helping plant raspberries there in 1975 and when the raspberry market changed in the early 80’s all of the farmland was converted to Blueberries.  

She says this: The biggest lessons I have learned from farming is that it isn’t easy, and to be ready to innovate and make changes due to market demands and conditions.  

In 2015 the market for Blueberries was inundated with overproduction.  Farms that were planted throughout northern Washington State and even to the South started to produce everything they had planted approximately 5 years earlier. Suddenly, the need for small producers to sell their products to larger wholesaler simply dried up, leaving family farms like HB Farm stuck with Blueberries that no one wanted.  

After much discussion and the desire to continue to farm, Heather and her husband Brandon decided to dig up and sell as many of their blueberry plants as they could, after which they began converting their fields to flowers.

That next chapter continues today. Heather calls farming a “lifestyle” summed up by rising early to harvest and do all of the watering and chores associated with farming and going to bed late when your body is aching from all of the hours of hard work.  

She believes this work ethic was passed down by her parents and grandparents, adding “Family Farms are a beautiful part of this nation’s history and I am so happy that we are able to continue our families legacy…with Flowers!”

Annabelle hydrangeas are another top crop from HB Farm

Here’s how to find and follow Heather Schuh and HB Farm:

HB Farm on Facebook

HB Farm on Instagram

In the coming weeks, as Heather mentioned, the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market will roll out a new and improved website. I’ll make sure to share a link when that goes Live, so you can see all of the botanicals, flowers, and foliage, from HB Farm and the other amazing farmers who are part of the cooperative.

Last Friday July 10th we held the monthly Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up, our second monthly gathering via Zoom, which follows the eight consecutive weekly Meet-Ups that began in late March with the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Pandemic continues to be top-of-mind for us all, and connecting virtually is one way to check in and listen, learn, encourage and grow with the Slow Flowers community.

Click above to watch the replay video from last week’s meet-up. It was profoundly inspiring.

Our attendees learned about the first @saytheirnamesmemorial in Portland, Oregon, created two weeks ago by top wedding designer Joy Proctor and a group of friends, artists, designers and craftspeople. Their goal was to use art to honor hundreds of Black men and women whose lives were taken unjustly. Since then, the memorial has been recreated in several more cities, including Dallas, Seattle, Lexington and Austin, with up to 10 more planned throughout the country. 

Dallas creatives Alicia and Adam Rico, Slow Flowers members and owners of Bows and Arrows Flowers, were part of the team of that installed #saytheirnamesmemorial tributes in Dallas. They have since brought the installation to Atlanta and Naples, Florida. These passionate and gifted wedding professionals discussed the idea of #floralactivism and how they are using beauty and art to raise awareness, change attitudes and protest injustice in their communities and beyond. 

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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

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.

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. Its 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 Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 624,000 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.

(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:

Turning on the Lights; Dance of Felt; 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

Episode 461: Oregon’s Pollinate Flowers on growing, design and creating community, with owners John Peterson, Jeremi Carroll and Zach Goff

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020
Pollinate’s flowers for Oregon’s wine country (left); the men of Pollinate, from left: Zach Goff, John Peterson and Jeremi Carroll

John Peterson, Jeremi Carroll and Zach Goff welcomed me to Pollinate’s gardens in Dundee, which is in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, about 40 miles southwest of Portland.

I wore my mask and enjoyed following them along the paths and through the beds and borders of their overly abundant, integrated garden where flowers and food thrive in community. When it came time to record our conversation, we sat safely apart from each other under a tree in the garden, with chairs arranged around a table where I placed the digital recorder. Nothing beats recording a podcast episode in the garden!

Pollinate began when John (left) and Jeremi (right) chased their dreams of growing a “food forest” from a suburban rental house outside Portland to a beautiful, 2.5-acre gardens in Dundee, Oregon

The path to flowers began for John and Jeremi in 2009 when they lived in the Portland suburbs and  planted a beautiful garden in the backyard of a rental house.

As the story is told on Pollinate’s web site, it quickly became clear by the juxtaposition between their vibrant garden and the Astroturf on the property’s front lawn, that their intentions had overgrown the available gardening space. The fence surrounding that tiny suburban yard was a physical  limitation; yet, Jeremi and John discovered they had cultivated an obsessive love of nature’s abundance and diverse beauty. They set their sights on a new property and developed a plan to take a broken piece of land that they could “re-wild” into a bio-diverse habitat for flora and fauna alike. 

Over recent years, the focus on growing food, fruit and herbs has expanded to flowers for pollinators and humans alike

In the summer of 2012, armed with textbook theories and a single dull shovel, the men moved to 2.5 acres in Dundee, and they began to turn that dream into reality.

Over the past several years, they focused on building permanent, no-till beds surrounded with lush perennial plantings, which together develop habitat where life thrives. Their efforts have created a regenerative ecosystem; a healthy environment for plants, animals, insects and microbes as Pollinate grows beautiful varieties of luscious, nutrient-dense produce and vibrant cut flowers that customers feel good about shoving their faces in to take a sniff.

More Pollinate flowers (left) and the dynamic team behind them (right), Zach Goff, John Peterson and Jeremi Carroll

As John and Jeremi began to focus more on flowers than edible plants alone, their business got a boost when a third partner joined them in 2017. This is the third growing season that Zach Goff has been part of Pollinate. Like Jeremi and John, he has a background in culinary and hospitality, and he brings marketing, branding and photography skills to the team.

Zach, John and Jeremi (left) with their retail partner Pam Baker of the Little Lavender Farm (right) at their new shop in Newberg, Oregon

There is a lot of change happening for Pollinate right now, including the June opening of a new retail shop in Newburg, Oregon, an adjacent town that’s known as the gateway to Oregon’s wine country. Pollinate shares its flower shop with a fellow grower, Little Lavender Farm, owned by their neighbor Pam Baker. I stopped by to check out the charming shop after we recorded this episode.

Things are moving so quickly that now the men are working on a new ecommerce web site to support the retail shop. They expect to launch that platform later this summer, so you’ll want to find and follow Pollinate’s social places to catch the announcement when the new site goes live.

Here’s how you can find and follow Pollinate:

Pollinate & Little Lavender Farm’s Retail Shop is located at: 108 S. College St., Suite C, Newberg, Oregon 97132. Open Wed – Sat, 2-6 (Wed until 8)

Follow Pollinate on Instagram

Follow Pollinate on Facebook

Photo (c) Emily Berger
Slow Flowers and American Flowers Week sponsored “THIS IS DETROIT”
• installation six of #bigflowerfriend, a project raising money for michigan flower farmers • on view at @citybirddetroit • Designed by Lisa Waud Botanical Artist, the colorful floral flag invited Detroit residents to take selfie photos in tribute to change and equity•

I’m on a big high, after a full week of activities celebrating American Flowers Week, June 28th-July 4th, our sixth year coming together as a community to elevate domestic flowers in the minds of consumers and professional florists alike.

Thank you to everyone who posted floral images and your own beautiful tributes across social media — we’ve been watching the impact over time as the #americanflowersweek hashtag has garnered more than 15 million social media impressions since we launched in 2015.

You can find our 2020 recap articles at americanflowersweek.com. In a few weeks, we will announce our call for submissions for the 2021 botanical couture collection — now is the time to jump on this opportunity while your fields and studios are bursting with floral ingredients!

Did you miss our most recent Slow Flowers Members’ Virtual Meet-Up?
Click on the Play Button above to join Debra Prinzing as she welcomes ALISON HIGGINS and MONÍCA PUGH, two of the designers who created Botanical Couture garments for the American Flowers Week 2020 Collection.

Later this week, 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern on Friday, July 10th, you are invited to join the 2nd monthly Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up on Zoom. Click here to find the details to join us!

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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

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

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

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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 622,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Turning on the Lights; Glass Beads; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field; Acoustic Shuffle
audionautix.com

Episode 460: Meet The Big Flower Fight’s head judge Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, owner of Seattle-based design studio Wild Bloom

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

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

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

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

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

Watch Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht on Mornings with Mayesh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Season One Trailer of “The Big Flower Fight”

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

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

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

Kim’s peony gown for American Flowers Week 2020

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

Watch Part One of our Live Interview Here

Watch Part Two of our Live Interview Here

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

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

Watch the LORA Bloom-Slow Flowers LIVE segment here

And more great things continue through July 4th.

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 620,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 459: Modern Montana with Remy Brault of Labellum, a retail flower shop in Bozeman, Montana

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s more about Remy Brault and Labellum:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Remy Brault at these social places:

Labellum on Facebook

Labellum on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how you can help out the campaign:

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

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

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

Thank You for Listening!

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 617,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 458: A Conversation with Val Schirmer of Three Toads Farm in Winchester, Kentucky – continuing our ASCFG Leadership Series

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020
Val Schirmer, Charlie Hendricks and Elizabeth Hendricks of Three Toads Farm (c) Melanie Mauer

The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers has supported Slow Flowers as a sponsor for the past three years, which I believe is a reflection of our mutual values and goals of expanding  domestic flower farming as a profession. Over the years, I’ve interviewed many ASCFG members who are also Slow Flowers Members, bringing their inspiring and informative stories to you.

For 2020, I have made it a goal to host ASCFG’s leadership on the Slow Flowers Podcast, highlighting the organization’s many regional directors across North America. In March, you heard from Erin McMullen, co-owner of Rain Drop Farm and ASCFG’s West & Northwest Regional Director. In April, Janis Harris of Harris Flower Farm, ASCFG’s Canadian Regional Director, joined us on the Podcast.

And this week, I’m happy to introduce you to Val Schirmer of Three Toads Farm, based in Winchester, Kentucky – she’s the Southeastern Regional Director for ASCFG, representing members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Val Schirmer (c) Chris Benzakein (left); a premium amaryllis bulb (right)
Val is founder of Three Toads Farm and SE region director
of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers

Here’s a bit more about Three Toads Farm:
The three toads of this established specialty cut flower farm and fine floral design studio include longtime friends and business partners, Val Schirmer and Charlie Hendricks, and Elizabeth Hendricks, Charlie’s daughter. Three Toads Farm is most known for its year-round greenhouse production of show-stopping Oriental lilies.

The farm also produces huge pollen-less sunflowers, varieties of celosia, lisianthus, unique forced spring bulbs, Amaryllis, French tulips, Parrot tulips, ranunculus, English Sweet Peas, and a farmer’s market favorite, bouquets of colorful zinnias nestled in lemon basil.

Growing big gorgeous Oriental and hybrid lilies — using the largest bulbs commercially available — has been foundational to the small farm’s success and applies to
holiday and spring bulbs too. Val says not many growers will pay the cost or go to the trouble of sourcing these bulbs, but “the bigger the bulb, the bigger the show!” That’s how you get the largest, most spectacular flowers, strongest stems and greatest number of blooms.

Each spring and fall, Three Toads Farm hosts a lily bulb sale, encouraging customers in the community to grow their own lilies. You can find Three Toads Farm at the Saturday Farmers’ Market in Lexington and select days at the Market’s Tuesday and Thursday location.

Three Toads Farm offers seasonal bud vase deliveries to restaurants; local businesses and private customers can also subscribe to bi-weekly deliveries or shop at the greenhouse by appointment.

This is one of two sold-out Spring Bulb Garden workshops this past February at Three Toads Farm’s new workshop space. Val applies the same principles to forcing spring bulbs as she does for holiday Amaryllis and Paperwhites. Worship guests get “first dibs” from the 6,000 spring bulbs she forces in deep 6-packs specifically for creating tabletop bulb gardens to enjoy indoors, and then plant outside to rebloom for years to come.

For more than six years, flower lovers have enjoyed on-the-farm workshops  which invite them to tour Three Toad’s fields and greenhouses and make an arrangement with just-picked blooms. And, as you’ll hear us discuss, for the holidays Three Toads Farm grows potted Amaryllis from jumbo-sized bulbs, which are available by special order.

Elizabeth Hendricks (left) is the creative force behind every one of Three Toads
Farm’s weddings and events. Val Schirmer (right) often says Elizabeth’s a big reason that
Martha Stewart Weddings named them one of the country’s Top 10
Farmer-Florists (c) Melanie Mauer
Wedding flowers for a bride and groom who worked with Elizabeth more than a year in advance, so Three Toads Farm could grow dahlias, lilies and other florals just for them. (c) Melanie Mauer

In 2015, Three Toads Farm was named one of the top farmer-florist wedding designers in the U.S. by Martha Stewart Weddings.

Forcing huge bulbs is a trademark of Three Toads Farm’s holiday knockout bulb gardens. Val uses both Southern Hemisphere and Dutch bulbs, potting them up into tabletop bulb gardens. Here, her focus is not only on sourcing big bulbs, but also on ‘specialty’ varieties. Last year she says she doubled the number of bulbs she bought (and had more than a few sleepless nights as a result), but Val believes forcing holiday bulbs is a niche that’s ripe for
flower farmers to try, bringing in high-end sales beyond selling holiday wreaths.

Find and follow Val Schirmer and Three Toads Farms at these social places:

Three Toads Farm on Instagram

Three Toads Farm on Facebook

Thanks so much for joining today’s conversation. Last week, I announced the establishment of a Professional Development Fund to grow our membership of Black flower farmers and florists. This is an intentional step to ensure that Slow Flowers is more representational and inclusive. I want to think our first two contributors, Lisa Waud of Lisa Waud Botanical Artist and author Jennifer Jewell, host of the popular public radio program Cultivating Place.

I also want to thank those of you who have nominated black candidates who we can invite to join Slow Flowers. This is exciting and I know it will inspire others to take action to change the floral profession we love so much.

Small and large efforts are tangible and offer more than lip service to the injustices we’ve witnessed for too long, injustices that have taken place for generations.

I’m so encouraged by you and your efforts. SO many Slow Flowers members have announced donations and campaigns of their own to bring change to their communities — and I’m proud to see how you are speaking out and taking steps alongside my own. Let’s keep it rolling forward!

Playback Video from our June 12th Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up for JUNE

We just held our June Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up on June 12th. It was a fabulous session devoted to American Flowers Week. Attendees met ALISON HIGGINS of Grace Flowers Hawaii and MONÍCA PUGH of Floras and Bouquets, two of the designers who created Botanical Couture garments for the American Flowers Week 2020 Collection! We learned about their inspiration, the mechanics and techniques they employed and how the experience has been a positive one in their communities and for their brands.

Save the Date for Friday, July 10th (9 a.m. Pacific/Noon Eastern) to join our JULY Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up! You can find the link to join in the linktr.ee menu that appears in our Instagram profile @myslowflowers.

As I mentioned last week, mark June 24th on your calendar to join me for a Virtual Book Launch party to celebrate the publication of our new book, Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One! Eighty Slow Flowers members are featured in its pages and we will share a big reveal of this beautiful, 128-page book, published by our partners at Wildflower Media/Florists’ Review. The all-virtual Launch Party and Happy Hour will take place at 4 pm Pacific/7 pm on June 24th and we will welcome many special guests who appear in the pages of Slow Flowers Journal.

Click here to RSVP and Join the Party.
Order your copy of Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One (and see a preview of the inside pages)

Please plan on participating in the sixth annual American Flowers Week, June 28th-July 4th. Use your flowers to communicate a message of beauty, sustainability, wellness and inclusion – and help us promote domestic floral agriculture across the U.S. You can find all sorts of free resources at Americanflowersweek.com.

(c) Grace Hensley

For members only, you can order our red-white-and-blue bouquet labels to use during the weeks leading up to American Flowers Week. Order your labels here.

Hope to see you online with photos and videos and in live displays of your American flowers. Please use the hash-tag: #americanflowersweek to help us find and highlight your talents!

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to florists, shops, and studios who design with American-grown flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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

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

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

The 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 Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 614,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Heartland Flyer; 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