Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

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 457: American Flowers Week, Botanical Couture and Dahlia Dresses with Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020
An apricot-hued dahlia frock designed by Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms (c) Katherine Buttrey

A Message from Debra Prinzing:

Thanks so much for joining today’s conversation. Like me, I know you’ve experienced the healing role that flowers can play in our lives. And if you come from a position of white privilege, like me, I hope you’ve been watching, listening and educating yourselves over the past two weeks as we take stock of the reality that we’ve ignored systemic racism for too long and we must speak out against injustice. I also believe as a white woman, I need to step back and let others speak to power. I have been so moved by the voices and actions of our black Slow Flowers members and by those aren’t black but who are, like me, personally influenced because they have partners and children who are black. It’s raw and on the surface, and certainly centuries of racism will not be reversed over night.

But I encourage you to join me in this self-education and openness to hear. Last week and in the coming weeks, we are featuring our black Slow Flowers members on the Slow Flowers’ IG and FB feeds. Several are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast, past speakers at Slow Flowers Summit conferences and flower people who I’ve featured in articles for Slow Flowers Journal and other outlets.

We want to grow our black membership beyond its disproportionately small percentage. Please help me with suggestions of flower farmers, floral designers and farmer-florists who we need to include in this community. We have established a Professional Development Fund to underwrite their membership costs. If you’d like to contribute financially to that fund to sponsor a new member and expand our inclusion and representation — please reach out, too! You can contact me at debra@slowflowers.com. I’d love your suggestions and support.

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

We all love dahlias, but have you ever thought about wearing a dress adorned with them? Today’s guest, Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms, lives and breathes dahlias at the farm she operates with her husband Steve Pabody in the Northwest corner of Washington State. I asked Sarah to join me on the Podcast today as part of our leadup to American Flowers Week, which takes place June 28th – July 4th for the sixth consecutive year.

At its heart, American Flowers Week focuses on the origin of each beautiful stem, where it comes from and who is the grower behind that bloom. The campaign also shines a light on floral design, promoting domestic flowers and foliage, inspiring professionals and consumers alike with a new aesthetic connected to locality, seasonality and sustainability.

Created by members of the Slow Flowers Society, the 2020 botanical couture collection for American Flowers Week presents cut flowers re-imagined as a wearable art. These designs combine fantasy with reality, imagination with technique, inventiveness with grit. Flowers are fleeting, yet sensory and evocative, inviting us to view the natural world as a true art form. American Flowers Week captures imaginations and sparks curiosity. It is a true celebration of the artists who grow flowers and the artists who design with them.

Sarah Pabody (second from left) with three models wearing dahlia gowns made from her fields. (c) Ashley Hayes and Sarah Joy Fields

In addition to farming and growing flowers, Sarah also runs Triple Wren Weddings, a wedding and event design studio. After seeing how popular the farm’s dahlia fields were with local photographers and their portrait clients, Sarah fantasized about what it would look like if the people having their photos taken wore dahlias rather than only standing among the flowers. Her idea took hold and now Sarah teaches Dahlia Dress Masterclasses for designers and floral enthusiasts who want to create, wear and be photographed in dahlia couture. Beyond fantasy, the garments are thoroughly alluring, but also accessible, prompting others to imagine themselves wearing a dahlia dress of her own.

Click here to read the full story from the June issue of Florists’ Review:

Sarah and Steve Pabody of Triple Wren Farms, captured with their children among the dahlia fields.

Here’s a bit more about Triple Wren Farms: Founded in 2012, Triple Wren is a 22-acre farm in Ferndale, Washington. It is the second growing site for the Pabodys, who in 2016 acquired a distressed berry farm with great soil and water rights after previously leasing land elsewhere. Triple Wren Farms currently grows on about nine acres.

The Pabody family during a past August sunflower harvest.

The farm supplies cut flowers to wholesale customers and has developed an agritourism focus that includes you-pick blueberry fields, a fall pumpkin patch, flower workshops and open farm events, including a Dahlia Festival and a Blueberry Party. The farm also sells dahlia tubers, growing close to 200 varieties selected for superior cut flower performance. Triple Wren Farms’ tuber store has the tagline: ‘Dahlias for cuts in a modern palette.’

You can listen to Steve and Sarah Pabody’s story when they were guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast back in 2014.

Upcoming Classes, Workshops & Events at Triple Wren Farms:

Dahlia Camp (September 10-12, 2020)

Flower Therapy Workshops and Sunset Yoga (ongoing)

Dahlia Dress Masterclass

Triple Wren Farm & Weddings on Social Media

Triple Wren Farms on Facebook

Triple Wren Farms on Instagram

Triple Wren Weddings

Triple Wren Weddings on Instagram

Sarah and her daughter Chloe Wren, who is wearing one of her mother’s dahlia dresses at Triple Wren Farms (c) Abigail Larsen

I know you’ll enjoy learning from Sarah as we discuss her farm, her flowers, and her floral art.

A lot of happenings are coming up in the month of June and I’m so excited to include any listeners in these opportunities!

On June 12th, we will hold our monthly Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up — an online gathering of florists, growers, farmer-florists and supporters, launched in late March. The Virtual Meet-Ups have moved from weekly to monthly and will now continue as a regular event on the 2nd Friday of each month.

Join me and the Slow Flowers Community at our next gathering on Friday, June 12th, same time as before – 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Follow this link to join us. Click here to watch the replay of our May 29th Meet-Up and read more about our June Meet-Up guests.

On June 24th, please 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. And if you want to grab your own copy, our bookstore is open for orders, so you can find that link in today’s show notes, as well.

Please plan on participating in the sixth annual American Flowers Week, June 28th-July 4th. I hope Sarah Pabody’s dahlia dress project inspires you to create beauty with your flowers and your creative community. 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. For members only, you can order our red-white-and-blue bouquet labels to use during the weeks leading up to American Flowers Week. I’ll share that link in today’s show notes. 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.

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.

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.

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 612,000 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:

Vienna Beat; 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 456: Lessons from The London Plane Flower Shop with founder Katherine Anderson and manager Jeni Nelson

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
Jeni Nelson (left) and Katherine Anderson (right), the floral forces at The London Plane in Seattle

The simple goal of keeping flowers in customers’ hands is one I have been hearing continually over the past three months. Distilled to its simplest form, this seems to be what we all want to make happen, as the floral season progresses from late winter, to early spring; from late spring to early summer. We are drawn into the beautiful web of nature where we allow flowers and plants speak for us when our hearts are heavy and there is a loss for adequate words.

Jeni Nelson (left) and Katherine Anderson (right)

At The London Plane, when the sudden reality of the Coronavirus faced co-owner Katherine Anderson and her partners, as well as flower shop manager Jeni Nelson, it meant finding ways to juggle myriad moving parts – from a restaurant and bakery to a grocery operation to a design studio. I’m a big fan of both of these women and their truly seasonal aesthetic.

The London Plane Flower Shop with designer Honnah Weber as she creates an arrangement.

Their shop is in the heart of an inviting, European-style cafe in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood and it is one to which any flower person visiting the Emerald City wants to make a pilgrimage. Meals here are simple and delicious, prepared with the same care that the floral design team creates an arrangement. Homage and respect is paid to each ingredient – from a salad composed of just-picked greens and herbs to the hand-gathered flowers one takes home.

You may recall that Katherine Anderson first appeared as a guest on this podcast way back in March 2014 in one of our early episodes, titled: Marigold & Mint’s Katherine Anderson – a leading eco-floral entrepreneur.

I also featured The London Plane flower shop in a Q&A with Jeni Nelson that appeared in the February 2019 issue of Florists’ Review – including the beautiful cover photography. Read that article here:

This is how The London Plane’s IG feed recently introduced Katherine Anderson:

A co-owner and a founder of the London Plane, Katherine has always loved flowers and nature. She is a trained landscape architect, owns an organic farm in the Snoqualmie River Valley, and is an incredibly talented person, florist, and business owner. We want to show our gratitude to this powerful force and wearer of so many hats – she greatly contributes to the Seattle community, is active in philanthropy and supporting the arts, and is constantly creating connections between people. She helped us create the relationship with the UW Medical Centers so we could donate 13K+ meals. On top of that, Katherine is a mother and a wife, she’s really cool, and she is an integral part of the London Plane.

This is how The London Plane’s IG feed recently introduced Jeni Nelson:

Jeni has worked at the London Plane for 6 years, leading our floral team for the past 3 years. She never ceases to amaze us with her artistry in a vase, crown, or installation, from roses to peonies to geum to bolting radicchio. We’re lucky to have her as part of our team, even more so in this difficult time for the world and our community.
She loves all flowers (and things vintage and French) but she–and most of the florists we know in Seattle, tbh–has a real soft spot for spring and the dozens of rich, colorful, tender blooms that show up in the PNW April and May.
Maybe it’s due to the love of these blooms that she was going to be married this spring to her sweet Canadian fiancé, Tim.
Jeni and Tim have had to put their wedding on hold due to closed borders between the US and Canada for months. She’ll share a bit of that story with us today, as well.

A workshop taught by Jeni Nelson at The London Plane

I asked Katherine and Jeni if I could actually meet them in person at The London Plane to discuss how they are managing during Coronavirus. This was my first opportunity to record a podcast interview in person since March 15th. The three of us sat in different corners of the baker’s room at The London Plane, socially distanced of course. The digital recorder perched on a stool in the center of our little triangle as we captured a wonderful conversation to share with you.

The London Plane family served nearly 13,000 meals to University of Washington medical workers when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Seattle.

The London Plane is a shop, cafe, bakery, wine shop & bar, and events space.  

A collaboration between the teams of Marigold & Mint, The Corson Building, Bar Sajor, and Old Chaser Farm, The London Plane occupies two corners of Pioneer Square’s Occidental Mall. The larger space is home to a cafe, bakery, flower counter, grocery and larder shop. This is where locals and visitors stop by for something to eat or drink, or shop the grocery and larder for ingredients to prepare a meal at home. The smaller space, called The Little London Plane, is a wine shop, wine bar and event space. That’s where you can grab a glass of wine, savor a simple selection of bar foods, or shop for wines to takeaway. It’s also where many events take place. Right now, The London Plane’s on-line store offers special arrangements of flowers for pick-up or Seattle area delivery. There is also a lovely selection of popular retail and gift goods that customers anywhere can order.

Indoors and Outdoors at The London Plane (c) Kyle Johnson

The flower shop currently offers flower delivery on a one-day-a-week basis (every Friday) in compliance with safety measures concerning COVID-19. Customers can also order flower arrangements for curbside pick up, as well single variety bunches, with both options available for pick up Wednesdays through Saturdays. The occasional “virtual floral class” is also offered and customers are encouraged to support The London Plane flower shop by purchasing a floral class gift certificate.

In addition, The London Plane flower shop continues to design wedding and event florals, from an elopement bridal bouquet to a grand installation to a small memorial. Just recently, The London Plane re-opened for in store shopping for essentials Wednesday through Saturday 10am – 6pm. Advanced online orders for pick up. and Friday delivery Larder Shares and Flowers continue.

Here’s how to find and follow Katherine Anderson and Jeni Nelson of The London Plane:

The London Plane on Instagram

The London Plane Flower Shop in Instagram

Jeni Nelson’s Magniflora Page on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining today’s conversation. It has been a tough week for my family and me personally, as we lost my father Fred William Prinzing Jr., to complications from pneumonia. In addition, we are watching our cities in crisis as brothers and sisters struggle for justice during what feels like endless and senseless acts of violence (and worse, murder) against people of color.

Along with many friends and colleagues in the Slow Flowers community and the larger horticulture and floriculture community, I feel like I need to do more than speak out. I need to act. I’ve decided to donate all of the Slow Flowers revenue for the month of May to one or more social justice organization literally working on the front lines. I challenge you to do the same. Let’s do some justice work with our flowers.

We care about “Stories of Resilience” here, on the podcast and in the larger Slow Flowers community. I thank you for listening and encourage you to make a human gesture of support for the marginalized and disenfranchised in your community.

Replay video from May 29th Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up

Last Friday, we held our final weekly Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up — our 10th  consecutive online gathering of florists, growers, farmer-florists and supporters, launched in late March. The Virtual Meet-Ups will now continue as a regular monthly event on the 2nd Friday of each month — so our next gathering is scheduled for Friday, June 12th, same time 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern – and same location and link to join me on Zoom. I’ll keep you posted through other regular channels but you can always find the details in the linktr.ee menu that appears in our Instagram profile @myslowflowers.

Thank you to last Friday’s special guests, Lisa Waud of Lisa Waud Botanical Artist, a core member of the Slow Flowers team, Amanda Maurmann of Gnome Grown Flower Farm and a the Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative, for sharing about Lisa’s new project to bring botanical art to Detroit while supporting local flower growers in her state. It’s called Big Flower Friend and Slow Flowers is a sponsor of one of the upcoming floral installations so you’ll hear more about that soon.

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.

FarmersWeb. FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at  farmersweb.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 610,000 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; 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 455: A long-distance peony collaboration between grower Eugenia Harris of Nicewicz Peonies and florist Stacey Lee of Paeonia Designs

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
Welcome to Nicewicz Peonies in Bolton, Massachusetts

What happens when a flower farm’s principal grower lives in Austin, Texas, far away from where her thousands of peony plants grow in Bolton, Massachusetts . . . and something like the COVID-19 pandemic prevents her from traveling back to her flowers for the annual peony harvest?

peonies and Eugenia Harris
Stacey’s photo of a single peony stem with multiple blooms (left); Eugenia Harris (c) Annette Harris Cox

You’re about to learn exactly what happened for Eugenia Harris of Nicewicz Peonies, who found herself quarantined right when she would otherwise be traveling to the Boston area to spend several weeks for her peony season.

Stacey’s “selfie” in the peony fields!

I love this story because Eugenia, like many small agricultural operations, had to get creative. She turned to our second guest, Stacey Lee of Framingham, Massachusetts-based Paeonia Designs. Both are Slow Flowers members and given the name of her wedding and event studio, Paeonia Designs, it’s no surprise to learn that Stacey is a customer of Nicewicz Peonies.

One of the peony fields at Nicewicz Peonies (c) Megan Murphy
Glorious, fresh and local to Boston! (c) Stacey Lee

Fellow peony lovers, the two are coming together this year in an ingenious way. Stacey’s 2020 wedding and event bookings are most, if not all, postponed for this season, so she’s in a rare situation with time on her hands just when Eugenia needs a surrogate peony expert.

Photo by Catherine Threlkeld Photography

Here’s more about Eugenia Harris and Nicewicz Peonies:
Eugenia Harris and David Nicewicz are the peony growers at Nicewicz Family Farm in Bolton, Massachusetts. Eugenia’s a software engineer turned flower farmer – who as I mentioned, now lives back in her home state, residing in Austin, Texas – and her co-farmer David’s, as Eugenia describes him, is a real farmer who doesn’t even have an email account.

Photos by Catherine Threlkeld Photography

They planted the first peonies at the farm in 2001 and have been expanding ever since. There are now more than 1,700 plants representing more than 100 different varieties. Their peonies usually bloom starting in late May or early June, and continue as late as the third week of June, for a total of about 3-4 weeks – especially in years when the weather is “just right” (not too hot, not too wet).

Dreamy fields of peonies in every hue (c) Eugenia Harris

Eugenia and David sell the peonies as specialty cut flowers in season, to florists and event planners, and typically via advance order from the website. The Nicewicz Family Farm has been in David’s family since 1929, when it was purchased by his father’s parents, shortly after they immigrated to the U.S. from Poland. David and his three brothers Tommy, Kenny and Alan run the farm now, with help from various family and friends, including sister Jo-Ann, resident artist Chath pierSath from Cambodia, and long-time family friend Dave Joki of Stow, Massachusetts.

The farm’s primary crops are fruit (apples, peaches, nectarines, plums, pears, blueberries, cherries), produce (corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, basil, onions, pumpkins, gourds, etc.), and flowers (peonies of course, and usually celosia, dahlias, strawflowers, sunflowers and zinnias) – all of which are sold locally at the farm and at a few Boston-area and Worcester farmers’ markets and at the farm’s self-service stand.

Eugenia Harris snapped this cute photo of Stacey’s son Jack on a farm visit

Here’s more about Stacey Lee of Paeonia Designs:
After working more than a few years as a civil engineer, a timely layoff provided the opportunity to take a lifelong hobby to the next level. Paeonia Designs was born with a friend’s wedding request and has blossomed into a full service event floral design studio.

Stacey works out of a studio at home overlooking her own flower gardens. There is a large floral cooler in her workshop that is run on the sun, thanks to solar panels on the roof! Between Stacey’s and her mother’s gardens, they grow several varieties of perennials such as tulips, peonies, hydrangea, sedum, and scabiosa as well as various annuals used in arrangements. Stacey says she is by no means a farmer florist but is hopefully headed there one day.

These photos of Stacey Lee are courtesy of Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore, taken during her 2019 Alaska Peony Retreat. Clearly, Stacey is in her element!

The organic garden at Paeonia Designs is primarily watered with rain barrels (when mother nature accommodates) and fertilized with homemade compost. Throughout the year, Stacey sources as many flowers locally as possible from several farms and greenhouses close to home. Late summer and fall arrangements contain sunflowers grown just a quarter mile down the road. And some of her mother’s pink peony plants still provide blooms. The plants are about 40 years old and were the inspiration for the Paeonia logo!

Stacey truly loves what she does. Flowers are more than her occupation; they’re both passion and craft. As she says: “I want to see each bride, groom, mama-to-be, celebrant, and guest of honor thrilled with their flowers, regardless of the size of the event. Each client deserves quality service and the most gorgeous, fresh and thoughtful flowers arranged with exceptional detail.”

Well, this is a unique story and collaboration based on friendship and mutual commitment from two women who are combining their talents to bring peonies to the Boston/New England area and beyond.

Find and follow Nicewicz Peonies and Paeonia Designs at these social places:

Nicewicz Family Farm on Facebook and Nicewicz Peonies on Instagram

Paeonia Designs on Facebook and Instagram

Thanks so much for joining today’s conversation. Since early April, I’ve been featuring Slow Flowers member voices in the ongoing “Stories of Resilience” series here on the podcast. I don’t know what I was thinking when I started, telling myself  “oh, we’ll do this for a few months until things get back to ‘normal,'” and then it will wrap up. Well . . . I clearly did not have the right crystal ball to gaze into the future, friends.

As far as I can tell, long into the foreseeable future, we are going to be talking about the inventive, creative and fierce ways that flower farmers and floral designers are sustaining their enterprises during the COVID era. As I’ve said before, I don’t really know how things will shake out, but I do take huge inspiration from the people I’ve hosted on this Podcast.

More for our Community

The Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Ups continue to provide value and support as a member benefit. Last week was our ninth consecutive meet-up and because it took place on the Friday leading into a three day holiday weekend, it was a lighthearted morning focused on community, encouragement and mutual support of one another! If you missed last week’s Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-up, you can click on the link to watch the replay video above.

Please join me at the next Slow Flowers Virtual Meet-Up, this Friday, May 29th —  9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Can’t wait to see you there! Our special guest is Lisa Waud of Lisa Waud Botanical Artist, and a core member of the Slow Flowers team. Lisa is launching a new art installation series in her community called Big Flower Friend, a less competitive nod to that other floral phenomenon you might be watching on Netflix right now. Lisa will be joined by Amanda Maurmann of Gnome Grown Flower Farm and a board member of the Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative. They’ll be sharing about Lisa’s new project to bring botanical art to Detroit and support local flower growers in her state.

Follow this link to join us on Friday, May 29th.

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 to 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

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

And 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.

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 608,000 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

Episode 454: Meet the Flower Hunter, Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders, on his personal buying service connecting flower farms with florists

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders

As you have heard me discuss, since the last week of March, I’ve been hosting weekly Slow Flowers Member “Virtual” Meet-Ups as a way for our community to stay in touch using the technology of Zoom Meetings. It has been a wonderful new experience, allowing us to share more voices and more stories of resilience in an intimate setting. Typically, we have no more than 50 people participating on the call, and for those who can’t join us each Friday, we’re able to post the meeting video.

Today’s guest, Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders, is one of the most engaged attendees. As Lisa Waud, our membership manager pointed out, Yoni has almost perfect attendance, other than missing the Friday before Mother’s Day. Last week, I invited Yoni to share his story as a guest presenter, and it was a meaningful experience for our members to hear his rather unconventional wholesale model.

Swimming in hydrangeas – just one of the floral crops Yoni sources for his clients

You see, Yoni calls himself a Flower Hunter. He isn’t like most larger wholesalers with a physical operation, with a large buying and sales team. Those folks are definitely flower hunters, too, make no mistake. It’s just that Yoni has a customized approach, working almost as a personal shopper with a small cadre of wedding and event florists as he scours the country and continent for specific seasonal blooms.

After just hearing from Yoni for 15 minutes, I knew I wanted to learn more – and I wanted to share his voice with a larger audience of the Slow Flowers Podcast. We made a last-minute decision to record this conversation just a few days ago — and I thank Yoni for being spontaneous and such a great source of inspiration.

Before we jump into today’s conversation, here’s a bit more about Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders:

Yoni has shared several of his botanical images, which you can often see in his Instagram feed @flowerswithoutborders

As a young man, Yoni moved to Los Angeles from Cape Town, bringing with him a love of nature stemming from a childhood surrounded by the astounding biodiversity and beauty of daily life in South Africa.
He founded Orchids Without Borders in 2006 as a means to supply mainly locally-grown flowers to event companies, wholesalers and florists. The company was later rebranded as Flowers Without Borders. Yoni has worked in the wholesale flower business since 1989. Along the way, he also owned a high-end floral and landscape design business.

With nineteen years experience bringing the magic of international destination weddings to life, specializing in shipping flowers to Mexico and the Caribbean, here in North America, Flowers Without Borders provides personalized service to florists and event specialists, sourcing predominantly local and sustainably-grown flowers.

The business is a direct reflection Yoni’s personae. He’s interested in each client, their story, their lives — and he enjoys building relationships based on communication and a value of trust. As he writes on the Flowers Without Borders web site: “We believe in the farmers who grow our souls one stem at a time and we believe in the talented florists who create beauty with their flowers.”

Well, you’re in for a wonderful episode as we speak the language of flowers and color with a man who has centered his vocation on our floral community for thirty years.

Follow Flowers Without Borders on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining today’s conversation. As a bonus, follow the link above to see the replay video of the May 15th Slow Flowers Member ‘Virtual’ Meet-Up, when Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders was joined by Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co.

The Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Ups continue to provide value and support as a member benefit. Please join me at the next Slow Flowers Virtual Meet-Up, this Friday, May 22nd —  9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Can’t wait to see you there!

Follow this link to join us on May 22nd.

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.

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. To help you better work with individual buyers, FarmersWeb has lowered its credit card processing fees to 2.9% and 30 cents per transaction. As always, by using FarmersWeb (unlike standard e-commerce sites) you get all the features designed with farms in mind for managing your orders, customers, sales, and record keeping. Learn more at  www.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.

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 shop.syndicatesales.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 606,000 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 love how Amy Bennett captured my demonstration with local and domestic flowers. It was a joy to design with these botanicals in a cool vessel from Green Mountain Florist Supply.

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; Heartland Flyer; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
 

Episode 452: Let’s Talk Mother’s Day Flowers with Lindsey McCullough of Red Twig Farms and Tara Folker of Splints & Daisies

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020
Josh and Lindsey McCullough, Red Twig Farms
Floral design by Tara Folker of Splints & Daisies (left); Tara (right)

Mother’s Day is the mother of all floral holidays. According to industry data, it’s larger even than Valentine’s Day. Well, this year, is unlike any floral holiday we’ve seen before. Valentine’s Day happened before the onslaught of Coronavirus in most places. Easter came early this year, so early that it was just the beginning of understanding how COVID-19 was going to impact the floral marketplace and many of us were immobilized, in shock or didn’t have much to harvest in early April.

Yet, we’ve been racing toward a specific date on the calendar — Sunday, May 10th. How are you preparing for Mother’s Day? There has been a lot of discussion about what I’m calling “safe, slow flowers,” and through conversations with our members, I’m learning how much creativity is behind our desire to fill our customers’ vases with local, seasonal, and sustainable Mother’s Day flowers.

Today, we have two guests who are sharing their Stories of Resilience for our ongoing series, designed to inspire and encourage you.

Now, more than ever, the message of sustainability and seasonal and locally-available flowers is top of mind — among consumers, flower farmers and florists.

I want the Slow Flowers Podcast to be a companion to those of you in isolation, away from your physical community of peers, neighbors, customers and friends. And I believe that sharing personal stories is one powerful way to sustain ourselves and our floral enterprises.

Red Twig Farms’ “Spread the Hope” campaign delivered more than 1,000 spring bouquets in the community

Our first guest is flower farmer Lindsey McCullough of Red Twig Farms in New Albany, Ohio, outside Columbus. She’ll be joined by Heather Kohler, Red Twig’s Farm Store Manager.

Splints & Daisies designed its Mother’s Day floral campaign to benefit a fellow small business

Our second guest is floral designer Tara Folker of Splints & Daisies outside Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I wanted to chat with them all to learn how they’re supplying flowers in a new way, reinventing what may have worked well during past seasons, and forging ahead during less-than-ideal conditions. Their strategies are creative, community-minded, and designed to connect customers who care about and want seasonal blooms with their flowers.

The Farm Store at Red Twig Farms during a typical Peony Fest

Here’s a bit more about Red Twig Farms:

Owned and operated by Josh & Lindsey McCullough, Red Twig Farms is a small, family-owned and operated cut flower and branch farm located in Central Ohio. Their year usually begins with pussy willow branches in February/March, followed later in the spring, when you can find the couple and their crew harvesting Peony flowers morning to night. By fall they’re harvesting dogwood and willow branches in a variety of color and textures for holiday containers and decor.

Flowers and Farmers from Red Twig Farms fill the farm’s Instagram feed

Red Twig Farms was born in 2010, after the family bought 9 acres across the street from their existing nursery. The land hadn’t been farmed for two decades and Lindsey and Josh saw an opportunity to use their horticulture background in a new venture. Red Twig Farms took time to get up and running, in part because peonies take 3 to 5 years to mature before you can completely harvest them . . . the farm now produces multiple varieties of peonies, dogwood & willow branches. In 2019, they planted tulips — and you’ll hear more about how things are changing with a bumper crop coming on at about the same time Ohio asked its residents to stay at home and shelter in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. In response, Red Twig Farms launched its Spread the Hope bouquet program to support frontline healthcare workers and the Donate a Bouquet to a Stranger to share an encouragement through flowers in their community.

Tara designed a lovely floral “cape” with spring bulb flowers, created for the 2017 American Flowers Week botanical couture collection (c) With Love & Embers

Here’s a bit more about Splints & Daisies Floral Design:

Tara Folker has been a long time flower lover and plant geek. With the love of all things “green and growing” instilled in her as a young child, Tara has had her hands in the dirt and been playing with flowers her whole life. Inspired by her family’s art background, florals became Tara’s way to express herself artistically. 

Tara strives to use only local blooms. During the growing season, she uses flowers from local farms, foraged finds, and botanicals grown in her own cutting garden. Recently she embarked on the journey of growing heirloom mums, with plans to expanding each year. In her spare time, Tara enjoys nature even more by hiking and kayaking to her heart’s content. She and her husband Jason are chipping away at sections of the Appalachian Trail! They live in Lancaster County with a sweet kitty named Petunia, and a Doodly Lab named Hazel Juniper.

How great to learn two Mother’s Day floral strategies from Slow Flowers members in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The local connections being made are so important and are deepening ties between where flowers are grown and the ways floral consumers can enjoy them while supporting floral agriculture. These indeed are Stories of Resilience.

Follow Red Twig Farms and Splints & Daisies at these social places:

Red Twig Farms on Facebook | Red Twig Farms on Instagram

Splints & Daisies on Facebook | Splints & Daisies on Instagram

Click to watch last week’s (May 1st) Virtual Meet-Up

Our Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Ups continue to provide value and engagement as a member benefit. Last Friday on May 1st, we also discussed Mother’s Day strategies with three guests on our Zoom “virtual”meet-up.

Thank you to floral designer Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and flower farmers Sarah Daken and Tom Precht of Grateful Gardeners. Both businesses are based in Maryland and these floral entrepreneurs joined the Meet-Up to share about new strategies to adapt and sustain their businesses. After we wrapped up last Friday’s virtual meet-up, I received a heartfelt note from a member who has regularly attended these sessions.

Here’s the note: Today’s meeting  was lovely as always. I almost had to miss the meet up because of business and in this climate, on my end, today was like a Mother’s Day. I noticed that I was bothered to be missing the meet up because it has become part of my Friday ritual and routine mainly because of how good I feel after each meeting. So thank you for what you continue to do for flower people.

This member tapped into the true “secret sauce” in the value of being a Slow Flowers member. Of course, if you can’t join us in real time, you can watch the replay video of our May 1st meet-up (see link above).

Please join me at the next Slow Flowers Virtual Meet-Up, this Friday, May 8th at our original time —  9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Can’t wait to see you there! Our special guest will be Rita Jo Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peonies in Fritz Creek, Alaska, outside Homer. Alaska Perfect Peonies is a long-time Slow Flowers member. Rita Jo is also the chair of Certified American Grown council and she’s joining us to talk about some of the policymaking and regulatory issues facing domestic floral agriculture.

Follow this link to join us on May 8th.

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.

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.

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.

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 johnnyseeds.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 602,000 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; Heartland Flyer; 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
audionautix.com

Episode 451: From Grower to Designer to Consumer: How two floral models are changing and adapting, with Yvonne Ashton of Mayesh Wholesale Florist and Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020
Two inspiring voices in the floral marketplace: Yvonne Ashton (left), marketing director, Mayesh Wholesale Florist (c) Nicole Clarey; Molly Oliver Culver (right) of Molly Oliver Flowers

Today, we have two guests sharing their stories from different parts of the floral equation — and both hugely relevant to our Stories of Resilience series. I believe that now, more than ever, the message of sustainability and seasonal and locally-available flowers is top of mind — among consumers, flower farmers and florists.

I want the Slow Flowers Podcast to be a companion to those of you in isolation, away from your physical community of peers, neighbors, customers and friends. I don’t have many answers, but we can share stories with one another. And I believe this is a powerful way to sustain ourselves.

I’ve been eager to learn ways that wholesale florists are managing and I’ve also wanted to hear how wedding and event florists are reshaping their businesses. My recently recorded conversations with today’s guests will illuminate those questions for all of us.

First up, we’ll hear from Yvonne Ashton, director of marketing at Mayesh Wholesale Florist. And that will be followed by a conversation with Molly Culver, a Brooklyn-based wedding and event florist and owner of Molly Oliver Flowers.

Yvonne Ashton, photographed at a Mayesh floral design workshop (c) Nicole Clarey

Here’s a bit more about Yvonne Ashton: At 18 years old, Yvonne Ashton had no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up. However, she did know that she loved business and decided to go to school to get a degree in Operations Management & Business Statistics. She felt a bit like Goldilocks after graduating and tried several different careers but none of them felt “just right”.

Yvonne hosts “Mornings with Mayesh,” including the recent Live Chat with Alison Ellis

Over 11 years ago, Yvonne Ashton began her career in marketing with Mayesh Wholesale Florist, and boy did that seem to be the right fit. Integrating her nerdy degree, entrepreneurial experience, passion for flowers and design, and a need to continuously learn, she found her place in the world of marketing. Whether serving on the marketing committee for the Wholesale Florist & Florist Supplier Association (also known as WFFSA) or hosting her live show, Mornings with Mayesh, Yvonne is always eager to share her love for marketing and commitment to the floral industry.

Yvonne is the wife of Mayesh’s Miami branch manager, the mother to two amazing girls, owner of a Shar Pei, and a true soccer mom through and through. If she isn’t in her home office, then you will most likely find her on the soccer fields cheering and creating video content for her daughter’s Instagram.

Mayesh Wholesale Florist resources:

Mornings with Mayesh Live Videos

Mayesh Educational Downloads

Mayesh on Instagram

Mayesh resources for upcoming #GivingTuesdayNow (May 5th)

Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers

And here’s a bit more about Molly Culver: Supporting local farmers, small farm economies, regional food and water sheds, and social justice initiatives have been Molly’s defining passions. She trained as an organic farmer in her early 20s and worked as a vegetable/flower farmer and educator for 10 years, both in NYC and in California.

Molly Culver (c) Victoria Morris (left); Floral design by Molly Oliver Flowers (c) Khaki Bedford Photography (right)

Floral design work is a natural extension of Molly’s urge to create, her reverence for the natural world, and love of hands-on team work that employs the whole body and all the senses. She launched Molly Oliver Flowers in 2012 to support regional flower growers, and to build a floral design business that approached events with a zero waste mindset.

Throughout Molly’s most beloved life experiences, the connective tissue has always been people, soil, and plants. At the core, she cares deeply about equity, inclusion, sustainability and loving kindness and she aims for these values to serve as a foundation for her business.

Local flowers for a Brooklyn wedding ceremony by Molly Oliver Flowers © Khaki Bedford Photography

When not designing flowers, you can find Molly teaching soil science at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, cooking with friends, doing something outside, or squeezing her two adorable cats.

Her work as a farmer, farmer-florist, and Slow Flowers advocate has been featured in Bust Magazine, the New York Times, Well Wed, Modern Farmer Magazine, Brides Magazine, the Slow Flowers Podcast, Radio Cherry Bombe, Florists’ Review and more.

SEASONAL FLOWER PROJECT
a weekly flower delivery service on Fridays!

About the Seasonal Flower Project:
WHY MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTIONS?
No events in NYC means orders are well below the typical volume for farms. To make a 2-3 hour trip to NYC worth it, we need to invest as a collective. If we have 40+ households sign up, we will be hitting the minimum volume of sales needed to make this trip worth the investment in labor, gas money, lost sleep, and time away from the farm when labor has been slashed to meet social distancing guidelines.

“So, we are asking you to invest for a month, or two, or three. On our end, biting our fingernails off worrying if we will hit that 40-order minimum is a little too much stress during a stressful time! Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) is a way to ensure support to the farmer; Molly Oliver Flowers is adopting the model also as a way to ensure this small business’s survival through this challenging time.”

Find and follow Molly Oliver Flowers:

Molly Oliver Flowers’ Online Education

Molly Oliver Flowers on Facebook

Molly Oliver Flowers on Instagram

April 24, 2020 Slow Flowers Members’ Virtual Meet-Up

Our Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Ups continue to have great attendance and participation and feel incredibly rewarding. Last Friday on April 24th, our topic turned to Wellness and Self-Care — and it was a beautiful hour together with our two guest speakers and dozens of members who joined the Zoom call. Thank you to life and career coach Julie Tobi and writer and artist Lorene Edwards Forkner for sharing and encouraging those of us who attended. If you couldn’t make it to the Meet-Up, you’ll want to watch the playback video, seen above.

Please join the next Slow Flowers Virtual Meet-Up on Friday, May 1st at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern [Please note the new time this week]. Can’t wait to see you there! We have three special guests who will walk us through strategies and creative ideas for your Mother’s Day floral plans.

We’ll welcome Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore, a longtime Slow Flowers member and past Slow Flowers Summit speaker. Kelly is based in Bethesda, Maryland, where she has primarily focused her studio business on weddings and events, as well as education through The Floral Source, her retreat-style workshops. She will talk about rapidly transforming her business into a contact-free floral delivery service.

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

Kelly relies heavily on local Maryland-grown flowers, so we’ve asked two of her favorite farmers, Sarah Daken and Tom Precht of Grateful Gardeners, to also join the Meet-Up. They will share about collaborating with florists and developing their own farm-direct business model — which looks quite a bit different than they envisioned it would be in 2020.

Like Kelly, Sarah and Tom are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast and active members of Slow Flowers. Please join us from this Zoom Link.

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.

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.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 600,000 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:

Heartland Flyer; 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
audionautix.com

Episode 448: Florist Katie McClain of Tucson’s Posh Petals; plus, our Stories of Resilience guest Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
Katie McClain, Posh Petals, Arizona-inspired

Our featured guest this week is Katie McClain of Posh Petals, based in Oro Valley, outside Tucson, Arizona. Just like last week’s guest, April Vomfell of Flathead Farmworks, Katie and I recorded this interview in person on March 14th at Hitomi Gilliam’s Trend Summit in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Little did we know that business as usual and all our plans for the 2020 growing and floral design season would be radically changed soon after Katie and I traveled home the following day. I’m delighted to share our conversation with you today.

But first, our bonus series here on the Slow Flowers Podcast continues with our next installment of Stories of Resilience. I believe that now, more than ever, the message of sustainability and seasonal and locally-available flowers is top of mind — among consumers, flower farmers and florists.

I want the Slow Flowers Podcast to be a companion to those of you in isolation, away from your physical community of peers, neighbors, customers and friends. I don’t have many answers, but I do want to keep the lines of communication open and accessible.

Today’s Stories of Resilience guest wrote one of the very first posts that signaled to me that our TIMES ARE CHANGING when on March 14th I noticed 3 Porch Farm’s instagram post offering free shipping of their flowers. They wrote:

In light of the current situation, we are shipping a box of mixed blooms to your door !! This is the first time we have offered this option and we are excited to be able to bring y’all a little bit of bright sparkle during this time of potential stress. Each box will contain a mix of 35 stems of our blooming beauties for the price of $65. You can expect approximately 7-8 Tulips, 20-22 Poppies (even a few of the big Italian varieties), and 7-8 Daffodils…maybe even a few Ranunculus and Anemones thrown in there too. (Our first succession of Ranunculus is on the way out while our next batch isn’t quite ready yet). But what I can promise is that they will all brighten your day !! .
We will begin shipping this Monday with first come, first serve. We hope to ship throughout the week assuming shipping continues. . . . we can never thank y’all enough for all the love and support you constantly extend our way !! Really and truly, this farm only works bc of your kindness and belief in what we are doing over here !! Sending y’all so much love, happiness, and excellent health
.”

I reached out to 3 Porch to learn more and ever since, Mandy and I have been juggling our schedules in order to record this conversation. Based in Comer, Georgia, Mandy and Steve O’Shea are past guests of this podcast in 2016, which you can listen to at this link.

Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm

Here’s a bit more about Mandy O’Shea. She graduated from UGA with a degree in Horticulture. During that time, she began working with a local sustainable farmer and selling their goods at the Big City Bread farmers market and other local venues. She has been hooked ever since. Her love for the farm life took her to California via the WWOOF’s program where she learned to combine her love for horses and farming. While in Ca., she also worked at the prestigious organic olive oil company McEvoy Ranch for multiple years helping to manage their 7 acre vegetable and cut flower gardens as well as doing daily flower arrangements to beautify the ranch, the S.F. Ferry building store and for frequent events. After missing her home state for too long, she and Steve packed up their dogs…and bee hives… and headed east bound and down to begin their new farming endeavor. They are passionate about bringing beauty, blooms, and good food to the local folks.

A bumper crop of ranunculus from 3 Porch Farm

3 Porch Farm is a “Certified Naturally Grown” (which adheres to the same standards as USDA Organic), yet Steve and Mandy’s commitment to sustainable farming goes far beyond that. All 5 of the farm’s vehicles run on waste vegetable oil recycled from restaurants in Athens. Since 2012, 3  Porch Farm is entirely solar powered!! The program is ever-evolving, with over 36 KW of solar panels that provides enough electricity to supply the needs of the entire farm plus the O’Shea house, and still quite a bit extra to feed back into the grid.

Spring’s tulips — ready for shipping in this Coronavirus era

With Planet before profit as their operating principal, Mandy and Steve’s goal is to be carbon neutral and to use the farm as an opportunity to put best ethics into practice. The farm is lush with strawberries and blueberries supplying customers at the Athens Farmers Market and Freedom Farmers Market (in Atlanta) on Saturdays. Each year’s love for growing and designing with flowers expands. 3 Porch Farm has hundreds of rose bushes and peonies, thousands of dahlias and ranunculus, and a myriad of other varieties for every season. As they explain on 3 Porch Farm’s web site: “We have the good fortune of living on an amazing farm with a little under 9 acres of gorgeous landscaping, constantly in bloom, and filled with wildlife. It is our great pleasure to spend our years working together to bring something positive to an already wonderful community.”

3 Porch Farm’s seasonal blooms (left); Boxes ready to ship flowers (right)

Despite all that is on her plate, I’m so glad that Mandy devoted a bit of time to record this Stories of Resilience segment to share today. Mandy discussed that 3 Porch Farm has joined CalFlowers (the California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers), which is the trade association offering its members access to discounted fed-ex shipping rates. I hope you can take one tip or strategy from our conversation as you adapt and pivot your own floral enterprise. Best wishes to you both, Steve and Mandy!

Mandy and Steve O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm in Comer, Georgia

Find and follow 3 Porch Farm:

3 Porch Farm on Facebook

3 Porch Farm on Instagram

Floral designs by Posh Petals: Everyday arrangement (left); bridal bouquet (right)

Okay, let’s jump right into my conversation with Katie McClain of Posh Petals!

Posh Petals is a flower studio located in sunny Oro Valley, Arizona!  Katie has been designing gorgeous floral art for weddings and special events for over 13 years. She is a Certified Arizona Master Florist and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to everything floral. Posh Petals is not your typical 9-5 flower shop.  Everything Posh Petals designs is custom inspired by personal conversations with customers. The studio asks questions about the recipient, his or her color preferences, home interior style, aesthetic vibe and more. Typically, Posh Petals is available for daily deliveries, special orders, events, and its specialty: weddings of all kinds.

The natural Arizona landscape and its flora are a theme in Posh Petals’ designs

In the current Coronavirus climate, Katie has added an update on Posh Petals website: “From the Studio to the Porch: We are available for no contact daily delivery orders from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.”

Find and follow Posh Petals at these social places:

Posh Petals on Facebook

Posh Petals on Instgram

This is the arrangement designed by Katie McClain at the 2018 Team Flower Conference. It certainly caught my eye! Note the inclusion of cactus – a signature Posh Petals design element
This is the text that Katie wrote to accompany the above arrangement

Thanks so much for joining me today as we heard from both a flower farmer and a florist in our Slow Flowers community! I don’t know about you, but things are sinking in this week that we are not in a temporary situation, but a long-term one with no end on the horizon. Some days are better than others.

Days when I can do a little gardening, like planting sweet pea seedlings gifted to me by Lorene Edwards Forkner, one of our Slow Flowers Summit 2020 speakers. And days when I can arrange for a contact-free, socially-distanced flower pickup from a nearby farm — thanks Laughing Goat Farm in Enumclaw — and then have late afternoon mental health breaks to play with those local stems.

It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and I know I have felt that way for a few weeks, wondering how Slow Flowers can support our community.

Last week we held our second Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up on April 3rd. We had a great group in attendance and I thank you for joining us; A special thank you to Missy Palacol of Missy Palacol Photography and the Kalyx Group for sharing her 30 Day Social Media planning tool (You can find that link in today’s show notes), and Amelia Ihlo of Rooted Farmers for walking us through the new marketplace for flower farms and florists.

Click above to watch the Zoom replay video of the April 3rd Virtual Meet-Up.

Please join this week’s Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up on Friday, April 10th at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Click here to join. All you need is a device with a Camera (Laptop, Smartphone, PC, Tablet). A Mic/Headset are nice, but not a necessity.

Holly Chapple, our special guest on April 10th Slow Flowers Member Vitual Meet-Up

Can’t wait to see you there! Our very special guest is Holly Chapple of Hope Farm, Chapel Designers and Holly Heider Chapple Flowers. She will join us to talk about weddings, bookings, managing rescheduling and pivoting to a new reality. Please join us!

Last week I announced updated plans for the fourth annual Slow Flowers Summit, scheduled for June 28-30. In case you missed it, I announced that May 15th is the date when we will announce a definitive decision whether to move forward with the original conference dates or reschedule them. We want to make sure you have 45 days’ notice to adjust your plans if we have to postpone. And just in case, mark October 26-27 as the backup dates for gathering together at our beautiful venue, Filoli Historic Home and Garden in Woodside, California. As I said last week: I’m as eager as you are to experience a fabulous conference that’s presented in a safe environment. I hope this plan assures you and assists you in managing your own schedule moving forward into 2020.

You can contact us anytime with questions and I’ve added links to my email and that of our event manager Karen Thornton in today’s show notes.  You can also follow the Filoli VISIT Page and Slow Flowers Summit Page for additional updates.

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.

Welcome to our new sponsor The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. We’ll share more in the future weeks, but we want to give a shout-out and thanks this week to Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com

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

Our final sponsor 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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 594,000 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:

Dirtbike Lovers; Heartland Flyer; 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
audionautix.com

Episode 446: Checking in with Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers; plus, kicking off our Stories of Resilience series with Celeste Monke of Free Range Flowers

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020
Melissa Feveyear of Seattle’s Terra Bella Flowers (left) with her “Persephone” creation for Fleurs de Villes at the NW Flower & Garden Festival

This week, we’re welcoming back Melissa Feveyear, founder and creative director of Seattle-based Terra Bella Flowers, a past guest of the Slow Flowers Podcast. You first heard from Melissa when she appeared as our guest in 2015 — it’s been nearly five years since she and I recorded that episode. Some of you may know Melissa from the pages of The 50 Mile Bouquet as a pioneering leader in sustainable floral design. Recently, Melissa expanded her retail shop in Seattle’s Greenwood/Phinney Ridge neighborhood and I visited her there to record today’s episode.

Celeste Monke of Free Range Flowers (c) Caylie Mash Photography

But first, this week marks the launch of a new bonus series on the Podcast called Stories of Resilience.  Now, more than ever, the message of sustainability and seasonal and locally-available flowers is top of mind — among consumers, flower farmers and florists.

Yet, due to the unprecedented pandemic and health crisis, many of us are hunkered down at home. Our business plans are in limbo and we’re all trying to get a grasp on what the future — short and long-term — looks like. My heart breaks for us all and so I hope that the Slow Flowers Podcast can continue to be a companion to those of you in isolation, away from your physical community of peers, neighbors, customers and friends. I don’t have many answers, but I do want to keep the lines of communication open and accessible.

Celeste Monke of Free Range Flowers is our first Stories of Resilience guest. I’m so pleased that she joined me for a recorded conversation last week. I had spent much of the prior ten days envisioning ways to help our community through various channels in the Slow Flowers platform. Bringing you the Stories of Resilience series is one low-tech way to support you as we begin adjusting to the new normal — we have always used the Slow Flowers Podcast as a forum for conversation and now, this Podcast will bring you voices of flower farmers and floral designers as we discuss ideas, strategies and resources to help you stay grounded in your purpose and calling through your own floral enterprise. Sustaining your floral enterprise is as important as your sustainable practices.

Harvesting field crops at Free Range Flowers

Here’s a bit more about Free Range Flowers and its farmers. Free Range Flowers is an eight-acre flower farm in Whatcom Country, located just ten miles from downtown Bellingham, Washington, at a ranch founded by Jay Roelof. Jay is described as a dreamer at heart. His long-term vision pulls everything on the farm into order. He is the farm’s anchor. He is also a true grower. Having studied horticulture at Montana State and managed field operations for a large native plant nursery, he has an intuitive sense for what plants need and an agile understanding of mechanics and farm systems.

Celeste and Jay, Free Range Flowers (c) Caylie Mash hotography

Jay’s partner, Celeste Monke is the farm’s full-time farmer and florist. Besides being a grower, she’s a dreamer, a lover, a feeler, an optimist and a bit of a rebel.  Celeste made her roundabout way from Arizona to Bellingham, in trying to find a way to live a life of positive production. In spending time as a seed collector and propagator, she found a partner, Jay, with whom she started a cut flower farm. She and Jay operate Free Range Flowers with an emphasis on sustainable practices, wildflowers and native plants. When not outdoors working, she tries to find time to be outdoors playing, talking philosophy, writing poetry and trying to make this world more just.

Free Range Flowers (c) Caylie Mash Photography

Celeste is an at-large board member of WA Young Farmers Coalition, which supports Washington’s young and beginning farmers and farmworkers in their pursuit of agrarian revival by offering unique social and educational events, enabling access to critical resources, and fostering a strong community of allies.

WA Young Farmers Coalition: COVID-19 Resources for Farmers

Free Range Flowers on Facebook

Free Range Flowers on Instagram

Free Range Love (Weddings)

Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers — photographed in the doorway of her shop on Seattle’s Phinney Ridge

Next up, my visit to Terra Bella Flowers and a sit-down with Melissa Feveyear. The occasion for our conversation was to discuss the beautiful floral couture dress Melissa designed for the Fleurs de Villes display, held in Seattle February 26-March 1 at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival and at Seattle’s Pacific Place.

Persephone, Melissa’s all-domestic-adorned creation for Fleurs de Villes at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

More than a dozen Slow Flowers designers and teams participated as Fleurs de Villes artists to create floral couture that adorned lifesize mannequins. Melissa designed a mythical garment for our Slow Flowers-sponsored mannequin featuring all local and domestic botanicals and I want to share more about that project, as well as hear Melissa’s update on her retail floral business.

Here’s Melissa’s artist statement about her Fleurs de Villes design:

Persephone, Goddess of Spring, emerges from the underworld and with each step, garden roses, blooming branches and spring blooms awaken and burst into a vibrant display of color. Inspired by Art Nouveau painter Alphonese Mucha, our Persephone is adorned exclusively with American-grown blooms and botanicals.

Terra Bella founder and creative director Melissa Feveyear is a founding member of the Slow Flowers Movement, a campaign designed to inspire the floral industry and its consumers to embrace local, seasonal and sustainable flowers.

Read more about Terra Bella and Melissa’s story here

Terra Bella Flowers

We sat together in two velvet-upholstered vintage chairs and recorded this interview on March 11th. My, so much has happened in the two weeks since. I hope you find the same inspiration as I have from this intrepid and intentional artist.

I know you’ll be inspired by this beautiful, light-filled shop where plants flourish in a conservatory-like atmosphere and the fragrance of flowers greets those who enter

I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that the silver lining of the enforced quarrantine in world at least has led to walks on the beach at Saltwater State Park and my finally finishing my rose pruning and fertilizing project. Or plants, seeds and bulbs are oblivious to the madness and for that I take comfort. I send blessings and a wish that you can be grounded in this time.

Thank You to Our Sponsors:

First, 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.

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

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

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

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.

Minnesota-grown roses from Len Busch Roses — featured at the Slow Flowers Summit 2019

The fourth annual Slow Flowers Summit takes place in late June, but I want to make a few comments for those of you who’ve registered or who are planning on doing so. I want to address concerns regarding COVID-19 and coronavirus, concerns that are affecting all of us in our daily lives.

Rest assured we are working in partnership with the Summit venue, Filoli, to monitor the options available to reschedule the Summit. We’ll have an announcement on those plans soon, and I’m as eager as you are to experience a fabulous conference that’s presented in a safe environment.

You can contact us anytime with questions:

Debra Prinzing

Karen Thornton

You can also follow the Filoli VISIT Page and Slow Flowers Summit Page for additional updates.

Join me! Slow Flowers Podcast (c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 590,000 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:

One Little Triumph; 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 445: Mara Tyler of Pennsylvania’s The Farm at Oxford, a boutique cut flower farm and botanical shop

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020
Mara Tyler, farmer-florist, The Farm at Oxford

I’m so pleased today to introduce you to Mara Tyler of The Farm at Oxford in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania. I think we first met in 2014 at an ASCFG annual conference when it was held in Wilmington, Delaware, and it has been inspiring to witness how Mara has grown her floral enterprise to encompass growing flowers, designing flowers, teaching about flowers and connecting with flower lovers in person and through social media.

I’ve been so curious about the retail side of Mara’s business and I asked her to join me for today’s episode.

In the dahlia fields at The Farm at Oxford (c) Mariya Steckler Photography

Here’s more about Mara Tyler and her flowers:

California native turned Pennsylvania flower farmer, Mara Tyler grew flowers in small spaces for 20 years in her home state.  When she and her young family decided to move their roots to Pennsylvania, they discovered the desire for more space and land to put down roots.

Life on The Farm at Oxford

Sixty property visits and 1.5 years later, they found a beautiful 1838 farmhouse in Southern Chester County, on a 12-acre farmette that was historically used for dairy and sheep farming. Fenced pastures with meadowed flatlands seemed perfect for brightly colored flowers, and the idea of The Farm at Oxford was born. 

Beautiful mixed peony bouquets

The farm’s cut flower business specializes in locally grown peonies, dahlias, roses, spring bulbs and companion perennials. Mara is inspired by the unique and the challenging, and as long as the ground is not frozen, you can typically find her outside digging in the dirt or in the workshop playing with flowers. 

A peek inside Mara’s plant-filled shop at WorKS Artisan Collective

New in 2018, The Farm at Oxford launched a YEAR-ROUND mini-plant and flower shop inside of the WorKS artisan collective in Kennett Square, near famed Longwood Gardens outside Philadelphia. WorKS Botanical & Flower Shop is open Friday through Sunday, 11-5 and there you can find unusual pots, plants, fresh flowers; as well as lots of garden related home decor items such as watering cans, pruning shears, or Mara’s favorite garden sign. In winter, you can find homemade wreaths, lots of goodies for holiday; and also pick up flower bulbs for planting.

The Farm at Oxford also brings fresh bunches of blooms…everything from a gathering of peonies to a combination of what is blooming at the field each week. Customers can find those flowers at garden and lifestyle retailer Terrain.

Stunning dahlias, with the bonus of backlighting

Thanks so much for joining my wonderful conversation with Mara Tyler of The Farm at Oxford. I hope you gained as much inspiration and encouragement as I did from this talented floralpreneur.

Mara Tyler (c) Taken by Sarah

Find and follow The Farm at Oxford at these social places:

The Farm at Oxford on Facebook

The Farm at Oxford on Instagram

The fourth annual Slow Flowers Summit takes place in late June, but I want to make a few comments for those of you who’ve registered or who are planning on doing so. I want to address concerns regarding COVID-19 and coronavirus, concerns that are affecting all of us in our daily lives.

The Summit team is following the situation closely, monitoring the CDC health and travel information and the San Mateo County Department of Health recommendations. At this time, as reported by the CDC and U.S. Travel Association, there are no restrictions on travel anywhere within the U.S.

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

Rest assured we are working in partnership with the Summit venue, Filoli Historic Garden and Home, to ensure a wonderful experience for you. We are very optimistic about the prospect of a fabulous conference and hope you are as well. The Slow Flowers Summit team promises to provide you with regular updates if the status changes in the coming weeks or months, but in the current climate, we are remaining positive about seeing you in California — June 28-30 — for a celebration of the Slow Flowers people, passion and practices. You can contact us anytime with questions:

Debra Prinzing, Slow Flowers

Karen Thornton, Event Manager

You can also follow the Filoli VISIT Page and Slow Flowers Summit Page for additional updates.

(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 588,000 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.

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.

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.

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:

Cottonwoods; 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
audionautix.com