Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Episode 497: Meet Jill Brooke, floral journalist and creator of Flower Power Daily

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

A quick note for you garden-lovers! We are giving away five virtual tickets to the Great Grow Along, a new, three-day, virtual gardening festival taking place this weekend, March 19-21  – online, of course. The Great Grow Along features more than 40 sessions across six topic tracks and YOU might win a free ticket to attend. The first five listeners who post a comment below will receive the complimentary registration, valued at $29.95. Be sure to tell us what’s growing in your garden in the comment section.  If you miss out on this giveaway, the folks at the Great Grow Along have also shared a $5 off promo code for all of our listeners to join in: that code is: SlowFlowersDiscount. Several past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast are in the lineup — and you’ll want to grab their presentations, including Lorene Edwards Forkner, Sue Goetz, Kelly Norris and Allison and Sean McManus. And our friend Teri Speight of Cottage in the Court, author of a forthcoming book for BLOOM Imprint, will also be presenting. Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate a new season!


Meet today’s guest: Jill Brooke

Jill Brooke of Flower Power Daily

I’m so happy to welcome Jill Brooke to the Slow Flowers Podcast today. She is the creator and editorial director of Flower Power Daily, an online news site for all things flowers. Jill and I were introduced to one another about a year ago through our mutual friends at Fleurs de Villes, the floral fashion exhibition that was staged at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in 2020.

We’ve chatted by phone a few times and I appreciate it when Jill sends me newsy emails about how flowers are showing up in our world. Jill has a journalist’s uncanny ability to identify and unearth (pun intended) the floral angle to any news topic of the day. If it’s a trending hashtag, on any subject, Flower Power Daily will elevate the conversation through flowers. A few examples to illustrate my point: In the performing arts, she wrote about the Barcelona Opera Playing to Flowering Plants Instead of People; in fashion, Flower Power Daily recently covered the new Kenzo and Vans shoe collaboration featuring floral prints. In politics, sports, wellness and mental health, food and wine, and beyond– Flower Power Daily interprets every subject through a floral lens. It’s a way to view the world that I wholeheartedly endorse! We all want flowers to be universally important, and the stories covered by Flower Power Daily underscore this truth — that humans need flowers. 

Here’s a bit more about Jill Brooke: She has been a CNN correspondent, an Editor in chief at Travel Savvy, Avenue and Show Circuit, a columnist for the New York Post, Ad Week and Metropolitan Home, and her work has appeared in the New York Times, and many women’s magazines.

With all this professional experience, Jill says nothing has ever felt as right as Flower Power Daily, which she established in February 2019.

Jill  gathered seasoned professionals who share the same passion for flowers and respect nature’s gifts and insights to help curate the stories, videos and images you can find each day at Flower Power Daily. You can visit Flower Power Daily’s website, subscribe to its newsletter and follow more flower posts on Instagram — and I’ll share those links in today’s show notes.

As Jill says: If you look at life through the prism of flowers- you will be happier. She believes that flowers are here for a reason and teach great life lessons. Flowers comfort and congratulate; they express sentiments without many words. No matter what is going on in your life – flowers are here for you. 

Thanks so much for joining me today. Talking with Jill is entirely invigorating — her energy level is bound to boost anyone else’s metabolism, too. And it’s all because of flowers. Flower Power Daily recognized Slow Flowers last summer with a story titled ‘Five Americans Making History in the Flower World.”

Subscribe to Flower Power Daily’s weekly newsletter

Follow Flower Power Daily on Instagram


Click on the link below to read more about the just announced nominations for “Aspire Design and Home magazine’s ‘Best Dressed Rooms in TV and Film Awards.'” Jill is quoted in the press announcement, saying “Because we are spending so much time indoors, we’re all talking about what TV shows to watch and ways to redecorate. People are appreciating and focused on design more than ever, so it’s a perfect marriage and perfect timing” for an awards program honoring the fabulous interiors of TV shows and films. The awards will be announced on April 22nd.


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

This week, I want tell you about Jennifer Jewell, creator and host of “Cultivating Place,” a public radio program and podcast. Jennifer is a past guest of this prodcast and she will be speaking at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit in June. Click here to subscribe to “Cultivating Place” Podcast.


Earlier this month, Slow Flowers and AIFD teamed up to record a webinar called “From Farm to Florist,” featuring Brad Siebe, general manager of Seattle Wholesale Growers Market; Cassie Plummer of Jig-Bee Flower Farm; Diane and Lillian Calhoun of Calhoun Flower Farms; Amelia Ihlo of Rooted Farmers; Gina Thresher, AIFD, EMC of From the Ground up Floral and Renee Tucci AIFD — all Slow Flowers Members, as well as Marisa Guerrera AIFD of Debbie’s Bloomers.

Together, we discussed the benefits and best practices to incorporate locally-grown flowers into everyday designs and event work. It was a fantastic session and I love the meeting of the minds between florists and flower farmers. Click above to watch the video!


Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major Sponsors. Our first thanks goes to Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

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

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

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 703,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

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

(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Pat Dog; Thannoid; 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 487: Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast for 2021

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

The Pursuit of Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pursuit of Nature


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can Download a PDF of the 2021 Forecast here:


#1 Floral Wellness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#2 The Virtual Florist

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

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

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

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

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

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


#3 Flowers in a Box

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#4 Botanical Activism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slow Flowers commits to the following practices:

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

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

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

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

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


# 5 Theatre of the Tabletop

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

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

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

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

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

Gate Cottage Garden botanical tabletop collection @scottwittmanartsculpture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#6 Reversing Climate Change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#7 Beyond the Hobbyist

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy, mechanics from the professional to Beyond the Hobbyist

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

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

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

A polychromatic series: Seeing Color in the Garden @gardenercook

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

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

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

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


#8 Marketplace Inclusion & Farmland Equity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#9 Opposite Palettes

Contrasting and Complementary Palettes from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yellow Roses from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

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

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

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#10 Star Quality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 800 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 675,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Heliotrope; Vittoro; Open Flames; Shift of Currents; Surly Bonds; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 484: Recap from the 2020 Young Farmers & Cooks Conference – The Regional Flower Economy: Flower Farming as a Viable and Profitable Facet of Agriculture

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020
The Regional Flower Economy panelists, clockwise from top left: Julius Tillery of Black Cotton US, Taij Cotten & VC (Victoria) Edwards-Cotten of Perry-winkle Farm, Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat and Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm

Two weeks ago, you heard from Shannon Algiere and Jessica Galen as we discussed the 2020 Young Farmers & Cooks Conference, held last week as a virtual event attracting more than one thousand attendees. Shannon and Jessica shared the story of Stone Barn Center for Food & Agriculture and gave us a preview of the conference. I want to thank Shannon, a Slow Flowers member, Stone Barns Center’s resident flower growing expert, farm liaison manager and co-director of the Arts & Ecology Lab for inviting me to gather together and moderate a flower-focused panel — and I’d like to share the audio of that presentation with you today episode.

You’ll hear from four Slow Flowers members each of whom discussed her or his unique approach to agricultural entrepreneurship. They include Aishah Lurry, Patagonia Flower Farm, Julio Freitas, The Flower Hat, Taij Cotten and VC (Victoria) Edwards-Cotten, Perry-winkle Farm, and Julius Tillery, Black Cotton U.S.
As I said at the beginning of our panel, clearly, I am not a YOUNG FARMER, but through my passion for the Slow Flowers Movement I hope to shine a light on several of our members: flower farming pioneers you’ll meet today.

VC and Taij with flowers and little Titus in a baby pack

Taij & Victoria (VC) Cotten, of Perry-winkle Farm in Pittsboro, North Carolina

After responding to a Craigslist ad for Valentine’s Day in 2017 at Preston Flower Shop, Taij and Victoria were hooked on flowers. They quit their jobs and traveled North Carolina’s Piedmont farming region, talking with any farmer that had time for them. They quickly realized they wanted to farm. 

Above left: Michael Perry and Cathy Jones with Taij & VC Cotten; the Cotten children above right

Now farming alongside their mentors and “farm-ily,” Michael Perry and Cathy Jones of Perry-winkle Farm, the young couple helps sustainably farm 4 acres in Northern Chatham County, North Carolina, specializing in seasonal vegetables, specialty cut flowers and pasture laying hens. Perry-winkle farm attends 3 regional farmers’ markets: Fearrington Village (a seasonal market) and 2 Carrboro Farmers markets (one seasonal and one year round). Taij and Victoria reside in Chatham County, NC with their two adorable, flower-loving children: Carleigh (6) and Titus (1)

I first met Taij and Victoria at the 2018 Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers annual conference in Raleigh, when destiny made sure we were seated together at the same banquet table. I’ve been following their adventures on social media ever since and am delighted to welcome them today.

Find and follow Perry-winkle Farm and Taij & Victoria

Perry-winkle Farm on Facebook

Perry-winkle Farm on Instagram

Taij & Victoria on Instagram


Julius Tillery of Black Cotton U.S.

Julius Tillery, founder and CEO of Black Cotton U.S. Julius is the NC State Coordinator for the Black Family Land Trust. He is a 5th Generation life-long row crop commodities producer (cotton, soybeans, peanuts) from Northeastern, North Carolina. He has worked as an advocate and resource provider in the North Carolina agriculture and environmental sectors since 2009. Julius has also worked at Rural Advancement Foundation international and The Conservation Fund. He currently serves on the Southern Administrative Council for SARE (that’s the Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education Council) and the North Carolina Forestry Advisory Council.

Black Cotton U.S. branding and product selection

Julius is a rural economic development advocate and is also known for his entrepreneurial business role as Founder of BlackCotton U.S. You can find Julius anywhere between his farm working on producing crops, on another farmer’s farm helping consult with new enterprise development, or any meeting that is focused on improving the lives of farmers and farming communities across the USA. Julius is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Economics and minor in Entrepreneurship in 2008.

Find and follow Black Cotton U.S.

Follow Black Cotton U.S. on Facebook

Follow Black Cotton U.S. on Instagram


Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm

Aishah Lurry, founder and CEO of Patagonia Flower Farms based in Patagonia, Arizona. She is an artistic florist who combines her love for water-wise and organic farming techniques to produce affordable, healthy, and fresh-cut flowers.

Aishah Lurry designing with flowers she grows in the high desert area of Arizona

As a gardener who began her flower farming career in 2017, Aishah started her micro-farm on her home’s property after getting tired of driving 20miles out of town to buy overpriced and imported flowers that she didn’t like. By merging her expertise and knowledge of crop planning, propagation, harvesting, drying, and arranging, Aishah was able to turn her beloved hobby into a thriving business that celebrates eco-consciousness and the local economy. 

A selection of Patagonia Flower Farm varieties

Aishah has taught several classes about sprouts, micro-greens, and propagation and today serves with Borderlands Restoration Network to further its native species and public education programs.

She considers her flowers a local, affordable, and well-deserved luxury. Each flower in Aishah’s hand-picked bouquets are lovingly grown to ensure health, vibrancy, and longevity of the ingredients.

Find and follow Patagonia Flower Farm

Patagonia Flower Farm on Facebook

Patagonia Flower Farm on Instagram

Listen to our past Slow Flowers Podcast episode with Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm


Julio’s armfuls of flowers is a joyous and infectious expression of local flowers.

And finally Julio Freitas, owner of The Flower Hat. The Flower Hat is a floral design studio and flower farm nestled in the beautiful mountains of Gallatin Valley in Bozeman, Montana. The Studio is headed by internationally published designer Julio Freitas, whose design style embraces the seasons to create a loose, natural aesthetic that has graced hundreds of events, including many high profile and celebrity weddings.

Julio with his popular dahlia crop

In an attempt to provide his clients with the best blooms, Julio decided to incorporate a Flower Farming component to the business operation. He started his growing operations on 1,800 sq ft and quickly leased ¼ acre plot for a few years, where he was able to grow and harvest thousands of flowers by using high intensity techniques. These locally grown flowers are truly the treasures that make his designs so spectacular.

Today, The Flower Hat is a thriving company that stays busy during the summer with weddings, selling flowers to florists and wholesalers. The company is also known for its coveted dahlia tubers that sell out in a matter of minutes that go on sale on February 1, 2020. Julio regularly hosts on-farm summer workshop intensive that go deep into the business model that makes The Flower Hat such a successful little company. The classes combine hand-on floral design experience, the business behind weddings and events and small scale flower farming.

Julio also finds room in his schedule to share everything he knows with others through floral design demonstrations as well as presentations about his high-intensity flower farming techniques on his Facebook Group The Flower Hat Exchange.

Find and follow The Flower Hat

The Flower Hat on Facebook

The Flower Hat on Instagram

Listen to our past Slow Flowers Podcast episode with Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat

Flowers grown and designed by Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat

I posed three questions for discussion:
1. First, I asked each panelist to share an overview of their floral enterprise. Who they are, what do they produce/grow? where are they located and how long have they been farming.

2. Next, we talked about how flowers are part of their farm’s business model, how they sell and what market do they serve?

3. Finally, why flowers? Why grow flowers instead of food OR why integrate flowers in into a food-growing operation


Thanks so much for joining us today. What a great session. We did have some audio and technical challenges, so I promise to bring Julius Tillery from Black Cotton U.S. for a full episode in the near future, and I hope to also host a longer podcast conversation with Taij and Victoria.

Coming up, we have just two more episodes for 2020. Next week, on December 23rd, is our annual Slow Flowers Holiday Music Special Episode, featuring the talents of a Slow Flowers member whose life is influenced by both music and flowers. And on Wednesday, December 30th, the final episode of 2020, I’ll share our Year in Review with you. On the horizon, the first episode of 2021 will feature our 2021 Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 669,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Asking for your Support

Tulips in the #slowflowerscuttinggarden from Longfield Gardens (c) Missy Palacol Photography

As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and we have continued to deliver fresh, original content to you through the Slow Flowers Podcast, week in and week out — since 2013!

Not counting all of the time invested in developing the topics, guests and content, we spend more than $10k annually to bring you this award-winning internet radio program. Your financial support can ensure we continue into 2021. If every listener contributes just $2, those funds would add up quickly to cover our out-of-pocket costs to record, edit, host and promote the Slow Flowers Podcast. Would you consider making a year-end donation? I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

Thank you to our Sponsors!

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

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

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

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

I am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Open Flames; 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 483: News from Arizona’s Whipstone Farm and Shanti Rade, ASCFG’s South & Central Region Director

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020
Flower Grower Shanti Rade, Whipstone Farm & ASCFG’s South & Central Director

Can you believe we are saying good-bye to 2020 very soon?! It has been a year unlike no other and the Slow Flowers Podcast has been a channel for highlighting, sharing, encouraging and challenging all that our community has faced – from silver linings and pivots to resiliency and change. We are the Voice of the Slow Flowers Movement, focusing each week on the business of flower farming and floral design. 

One of my goals for 2020 was to feature voices of leadership from our strategic partner and Slow Flowers sponsor, the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. We got lucky with timing and managed to schedule nearly all of those conversations this year, despite all the distractions.

When I visited in 2017, Shanti led us on a tour of Whipstone Farm, including this pristine high tunnel where stock and ranunculus were blooming.

Today, you will meet (or re-meet, since she is a past guest of this podcast), Shanti Rade of Whipstone Farm in Paulden, Arizona.

Shanti represents ASCFG in the “South and Central” Region, comprised of eight states: Arizona, where she is based, as well as Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

In February 2017, I visited my parents in Mesa, Arizona, and during that time, I gathered with a group of Slow Flowers members on a tour of Whipstone Farm. It was such a fabulous day-trip, taken with Morgan Anderson of The Flori.Culture and Anne Jensen of Anne E’s Garden Fresh Flowers — we drove up north, about 115 miles away from the metro area of Phoenix-Scottsdale, and arrived at the high desert food and flower farm operated by Cory and Shanti Rade.

One of the high tunnels at Whipstone Farm

You can hear the episode that Shanti and I recorded that day, as we sat inside the cozy and sunny high tunnel where her ranunculus grew. It’s a great introduction to this experimental and creative flower grower who has developed a market for local flowers through trial and error, and excellent product.

So this episode you’ll hear today offers a great update. Shanti and I discussed what Whipstone Farm looks like today and all the changes that have taken place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we touch on the highs and lows of 2020, what emerges is a year that Shanti and Cory can be proud of. Some of their markets and channels have changed; how they interact with the public and wholesale customers has changed; how their family lives have changed. And yet, the flowers and vegetable crops keep going; the seasons march on; there are CSA boxes filled with delicious, healthy food and vases for fresh, local and seasonal flowers.

You will enjoy this conversation and, I believe, join Shanti and me as we marvel at how much each of us has been able to accomplish by just “figuring it out.”

Find and follow Whipstone Farm on Facebook

Find and follow Whipstone Farm on Instagram


You’re Invited to join us on Friday, December 11th at the Slow Flowers Virtual Meet-Up for December.

The meeting takes place via Zoom at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern — click on the button below to join us!

Marialuisa Kaprielian of Urban Succulents puts her own brilliant twist on floral design with sedums, echeverias, kalanchoes and more!

You’ll meet one another and hear from our special guest for DECEMBER: Marialuisa Kaprielian, owner of Urban Succulents, as we talk with her about growing & designing with Succulents!

This monthly gathering is just one of the many benefits of your Slow Flowers Membership, giving you resources to share your story of creativity, sustainability and collaboration.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds has shared some fun items with us for giveaways and you might win a few packages from our favorite seed company if you join this Friday’s Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up.

And PS, there will be other giveaways as part of our monthly Zoom gathering. But you have to attend to have your name included in the random drawing for the goods!


The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 667,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

Our first sponsor thanks goes to 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.

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

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

I am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 481: A wedding florist grows a flower farm with Candice Howard of New Jersey-based Duchess Farms

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
Candice Howard of Duchess Farms in South Brunswick, NJ

How are you all doing, friends? It’s already the week of Thanksgiving – can you believe it?! I am still racing to plant my five peony roots from Mountain Flower Farm and plant those last 100 hyacinth bulbs from Longfield Gardens, not to mention a few woody shrubs and perennials I purchased locally on a plant-buying trip last month. It WILL all happen this week – I promise!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, despite this ridiculous year we’ve had, one with painful losses and disappointments, I do feel grateful. I’m grateful that our Slow Flowers community has remained connected through the year, thanks to technology. Our membership has just surpassed 800 — an all-time record high, thanks to our operations & membership manager Karen Thornton’s stewardship. Our listenership in this Podcast continues to grow — more than 2,000 downloads each week. And our engagement is breaking all past records, thanks in large part to our amazing social media maven, Niesha Blancas. Ambitious projects continue to drive us forward, all with the goal of inspiring the floral industry and its consumers to embrace local, seasonal and sustainable flowers.

One of the positive results of not being able to travel since March has been moving in-person Slow Flowers Member Meet-ups that took place wherever I landed for a conference, speaking engagement or magazine assignment to the virtual Zoom platform.

We met weekly from late March through late May; and then switched to monthly beginning in June. We’ve held more than a dozen meet-ups this way, drawing hundreds of Slow Flowers members to check in for an hour, hear from a speaker or two, sometimes participate in breakout rooms, gain inspiration and win giveaway prizes.

Today’s guest, Candice Howard, of Duchess Farms in South Brunswick, New Jersey, has been a frequent participant in those Zoom calls. That’s how I learned more about her, which led to a deeper conversation and my invitation that Candice share her story here on the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Here’s more about Candice and her flowers. I excerpted her bio from a recent newsletter:

Candice and Tom Howard (left); flowers from Duchess Farms (right)

People often ask me what I did before I became a floral designer and then a flower farmer. So I’ll go back a few years to give you a brief history. I grew up in Millburn, New Jersey and graduated from Rutgers College with a Bachelor’s degree in political science. Most of my career was in government and nonprofit administration/fundraising. I worked for the Governor’s Office, the New Jersey Legislature and the County of Middlesex.  I have also worked for a number of nonprofit organizations including Special Olympics New Jersey, Girls Incorporated and Women Helping Women.

In 2013,  I received my design certification from The FlowerSchool New York and spent the following seven years designing florals for weddings, which recently led to the decision that I really loved growing flowers. Any future designing I may do will be with my own fresh flowers.

My husband Tom says that I am the farmer…which I am since I actually sow and harvest all of the flowers and everything in between. But he helps me with all the big stuff…like building that great high tunnel and replacing our old fence, both of which gave us greatly expanded growing capacity this year. Tom also installed an irrigation system throughout the beds. So yes, I am the farmer but Tom is the Director of Public Works here at Duchess Farms. We are currently in the process of applying for farmland preservation so that the seven acres we live on will be preserved as farmland in perpetuity. We expect to have that designation sometime this year.

Find and follow Candice at these social places:

Duchess Farms on Facebook

Duchess Farms on Instagram

Duchess Farms on YouTube

As she discusses, Rutgers University’s Beginning Farming program recently interviewed Candice about flower farming. Click on the link below to enjoy all of the challenges, victories and advice in that series.

We have lots of news, which you’ll be able to read in the upcoming, December issue of the Slow Flowers Newsletter – out  next week. If you aren’t receiving it, you can find the subscribe link in today’s show notes or in the footer at slowflowerssociety.com.

And of course, it’s totally cliche, but we’re jumping on the CyberWeekend bandwagon here at Slow Flowers. From this Friday, November 27th through Monday, November 30th, you can enjoy two promotional offers:

1. Cyber20 — A 20% off promo code applied to any item on the Slow Flowers online shop. Right now, you can find all three of my books, plus American Flowers Week bouquet labels and our new etched Slow Flowers Society bookmark. And Karen promises that more items will be added to the Slow Flowers Mercantile online shop in December and beyond.

2. CyberSlow — Debra Prinzing’s online course, Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling, will return on January 6, 2021, with pre-registration opening Friday, November 27th. Anyone who registers during CyberWeekend — Slow Flowers member or not — will receive $100 off the course ($297 value), paying just $197. As a CyberWeekend Bonus, we’ll also send you a free signed copy of Slow Flowers Journal-Volume One, valued at $20.
**If you miss out on this opportunity, the course tuition will bump up to $247 for non-members and $197 for members as of Dec. 1st. 


The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 662,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our sponsors

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

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

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

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.

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

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

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

Music Credits:

Turning on the Lights; Bombadore; 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; Serenity
audionautix.com

Episode 471: Lisa Fiore of Landscape Hub on the digital plant-selling platform that opens new sales channels for Slow Flowers growers

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

As many of you know, I was very active in horticulture circles as a home, garden and landscaping writer for nearly 20 years, long before I became obsessed with flower farming and floral design. Over the past decade, I have been completely immersed in founding, developing and nurturing the Slow Flowers Movement, which has been the most professionally rewarding experience of my life. And yet, I continue to take side trips back into horticulture. I met today’s guest, Lisa Fiore, CEO of Landscape Hub, on one of those excursions.

We were introduced by a mutual friend, Clint Albin, a nursery industry marketing strategist, who, like me, has an extensive personal network of business contacts who become friends.

Clint attended the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit in Washington, D.C., where he lives, and since then, he has been determined to find a way for us to collaborate as we once did when I was so deeply involved in the horticulture world.

Landscape Hub is proving to be that reason for us to collaborate. Clint introduced me to Lisa Fiore and as I learned what she created with Landscape Hub, I started to understand that there is potential for Slow Flowers members, especially farms and growers, to take advantage of this plant-selling platform.

Here’s the deal: If you are already growing plants for the floral trade, you can potentially use your expertise to also grow plants for the nursery and landscape industry.

We announced a pilot program between Slow Flowers and Landscape Hub and promoted it in our August Slow Flowers newsletter. I’m not sure how many people have even checked out the opportunity that I outlined — to become a grower & wholesale supplier of potted plants through Landscape Hub.

When you listen to my conversation with Lisa, I think it will begin to make sense. Hearing from the person who created a new selling platform for live plants (versus plants cut for the floral trade) may open up your own imagination to a new business channel.

Before we jump into the conversation, here’s a bit more about Lisa Fiore:

Lisa Fiore is Founder & CEO of LandscapeHub, a B2B online marketplace she created and launched in July 2017. A fourth-generation nursery professional, Ms. Fiore realized there was an opportunity to digitize the entire procurement process for the green industry.

Lisa was previously President of Fiore Landscape and Nursery Supply (FLNS), a century-old nursery company. During her sixteen-year tenure, she was responsible for identifying new business opportunities and in leading the company forward during the recession. FNLS significantly grew in revenue and expanded to multiple locations under her leadership.

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from University of Montana and a Master of Business Administration from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. She currently serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Landscape Professionals, (NALP); is an advisor to the Women in Landscape Network, (WILN); a member of the Economic Club of Chicago; and a former board director for the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, (ILCA).

Thanks so much for joining me today for my conversation with Lisa. We know that now, more than ever, our members are seeking new customer channels during the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe that one of those perhaps overlooked or ignored opportunities is to use your farming skills to sell plants (including potted and bare root) into the nursery marketplace, to both trade and retail buyers.

You know how to grow plants – there is no doubt! But have you explored selling plants? I know that some of our members are growing and marketing cutting garden annuals and perennials, vegetable starts, bulb packs and other horticultural products to their customers. Those customers may find you through a grocery store program, farmers’ market, on-farm or pop-up plant sales or through your own retail channel.

As Lisa and I discussed LandscapeHub offers you a potential new channel to sell on this nationwide platform which supplies commercial nurseries and landscapers. LandscapeHub is expanding its online marketplace for the nursery and green industry growers — and you’re invited to participate.

Stay tuned for an upcoming session when I will host Landscape Hub’s team to discuss and demonstrate the platform. I’ll announce a date next week.

Before we wrap up, I want to invite you to join the Fire Relief for Flower Farms effort. During the past 10 days, I’m sure you’ve watched the horrifying images and read devastating reports about wildfires threatening farmland  across the West. This is not the first climate crisis to affect the Slow Flowers community in the past few years — season by season, it seems as if every farm is faced with one of them: floods, hailstorms, tornados, hurricanes and wild fires are on the rise seemingly everywhere.

But I can’t help but focus right now on what’s happening in the west — from provinces like British Columbia and Alberta in Canada to states including Washington, Oregon and California in the U.S. It’s so frightening on top of everything else 2020 has thrown our way. Seeing individual Slow Flowers members’ social media posts also makes it highly personal. While it may be weeks or months before the destruction, damage or loss has been calculated, many of you want to help NOW.

Like me, you may be asking: “What Can I Do?”
We are an action-oriented community, right?! Farmers and florists are generous people who readily share their knowledge and resources. So here’s one thing you can do in response to news about the recent wildfire threat to farms in the west. Join Slow Flowers as we support the Fire Relief for Flower Farms effort. This is a farmer-to-farmer show of support created by last week’s podcast guest Tonneli Grutter of Salty Acres Farm.

Now might be the time to assess what you have to share with another farm. Seeds can be collected, tubers, rhizomes and bulbs can be dug and divided, cuttings can be taken. Or, maybe you have an excess inventory of drip irrigation or useful supplies you know another farm might be able to use.

Click here to add your information

Tonneli has volunteered to collect input from those who wish to receive help, register to donate and show support in other ways. With her big heart, tech talents and savvy marketing skills, Tonneli has created a database for collecting information from those of us who want to share support on an in-kind basis. Just days ago, she texted me with an idea: “is there a way we could make a registry or exchange to donate tubers, bulbs, seeds, etc., in response to farms who may have lost it all?” Tonneli continued: “Flower farmers have already had the toughest year (with) no money left to give, but maybe we can help others rebuild in other ways.”

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.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 642,000 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) Heather Saunders 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:

Brass Buttons; Fervent; 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 464: Petals & Politics — Natasha Harper-Madison’s story, from wedding and event designer to Austin City Council Member

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Natasha Harper-Madison, from floral entrepreneur to elected council member in Austin, Texas (all photos courtesy Natasha Harper-Madison)

Today’s guest is Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, representing the city of Austin’s District 1. She may not seem like a typical Slow Flowers Podcast guest, but I know you’ll find our conversation inspiring, uplifting and a call to action. Natasha is a former floral entrepreneur and very early Slow Flowers member; I’ve been watching her path to public service on social media over the past few years and I just decided to reach out and ask her to share her amazing story.

Natasha now represents Austin’s District 1, the community where she grew up

As you will hear in the conversation that we recently recorded over Zoom, Natasha and I originally met when she joined Slow Flowers through her Austin-based wedding and event business Eco-Chic Flowers and Events, later rebranded as The Floral Engagement. Natasha was a sustainability pioneer and early adopter in the commitment to sourcing locally-grown flowers and to avoiding the use of any floral foam in her designs. You’ll hear us talk about her friendship with Mickey Blake, inventor of Floral Soil, a company here in Washington that had once developed a plant-based foam alternative to single-use plastic options on the marketplace. Mickey was a past guest of the Slow Flowers Podcast back in 2014, when we were huge supporters of her effort. Sadly that project is no longer operating, but I just wanted to mention it because it’s another thread that previously connected Natasha and me with a shared mission for sustainability.

The Harper-Madison family, including Natasha, her husband Tom Madison, and their “bigs” and “littles”

Inviting an elected official to be a guest on the Slow Flowers Podcast isn’t typical, but I am so grateful to learn from a “friend of Slow Flowers,” a former florist, who is now on the front lines of governing and addressing social and racial justice issues in a major U.S. city.

Here’s a bit more about Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison. She represents Austin’s District 1, the part of town where she was born and raised. Her upbringing endowed her with an intimate knowledge of her community’s strengths and its unique struggles. The lessons she learned as a successful small business owner on the Eastside led her down a path towards advocacy. She served as president of the East 12th Street Merchants Association and also founded East Austin Advocates, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting under-represented residents with the resources they need to succeed.

Her community-level activism sparked Council Member Harper-Madison’s interest in seeking public office, a goal she achieved with her first campaign for City Council in 2018.

She is the chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and sits on the Housing and Planning Committee, Judicial Committee, and Regional Affordability Committee.

As Natasha explains, the decision to run for public office was a family decision

In between championing the interests of her constituents, Council Member Harper-Madison is the proud wife of an Austin firefighter, the mother of four children, and a thriving breast cancer survivor.

Thanks so much for joining my conversation with Natasha Harper-Madison of Austin’s District 1. I was very struck by a few of her statements: “This gig is not for folks who need instant gratification.” and “Sacrifice is not synonymous  with suffering.”

I so admire Natasha for her willingness to, as she says: “sow the seeds of heirloom plants today — plants she may never personally see come to fruit or bloom.” I feel so moved to have had this conversation with a former colleague who’s taken a path of great personal sacrifice to address the inequities in her community — and I believe there is a ripple effect of Natasha’s actions and leadership, not to mention her ambitious vision to improve her community’s lives. That ripple effect may inspire you to take action about something you believe is hurting your community.

This conversation reminds me that we all can do better. Thank you, again, Natasha!

Follow the Council Member on Facebook

Follow the Council Member on Twitter

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. Learn more at shop.syndicatesales.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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 627,000 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:

Welcome Home Sonny; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

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

Solidarity and Social Justice

Monday, June 1st, 2020

We are watching our cities in crisis as people struggle for justice during what feels like endless and senseless acts of violence (and worse, murder) against people of color.

There is no other way to say this: The killing of black people by police has to stop.

Until those in white privilege (myself included) address generations of neglect, ignorance, unwillingness to understand, and acceptance of systemic racism in our country. This is the world we brought our children into and this is the world we absolutely have to confront and change.

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.

To start, I’ve decided to donate $5,000, all of the Slow Flowers revenue for the month of May, to the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson’s amazing nonprofit legal organization that works in criminal justice reform, racial justice and public education. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, they are literally working on the front lines to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenge racial and economic injustice, and to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

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

I ask you to join me and find ways to do more than nod or shake your head. I urge you to act in doing this essential work. Let’s do some justice with our flowers. Here is a list of organizations you may wish to consider for your donations, volunteer efforts, and – most importantly – personal education.

This list was compiled by the Slow Flowers Team and will be updated:

Equal Justice Initiative
@eji_org
The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

Campaign Zero
An online platform and organization that utilizes research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in America.

Black Visions Collective
A black, trans, and queer-led organization that is committed to dismantling systems of oppression & violence, & shifting the public narrative to create transformative, long-term change.

We also recommend you use this valuable tool when considering a charity to support. Charity Navigator.

Episode 453: Returning to St. Louis, Missouri, (Virtually) with Jessica Douglass of Flowers & Weeds

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020
Jessica at The Planting Bar at Flowers and Weeds (c) Jordan Bauer

If you’re listening on Wednesday, May 13th, the date this Episode 453 was released, picture me in St. Louis, where I was scheduled to be the luncheon speaker at the annual “Flower Power at Tower Grove Park” event. One of seven National Historic Landmark Parks, Tower Grove  is a 289-acre Victorian park that serves as the backyard of St. Louis’ most diverse and densely populated urban neighborhoods and draws 2.5 million annual visitors.

The annual luncheon is a rite of spring. I’m pretty impressed that Tower Grove asked me to share the Slow Flowers story with its patrons and members, considering that last year’s luncheon speakers were NYC’s Putnam & Putnam rock stars. I was especially excited about the organizers’ plan to invite four St. Louis area Slow Flowers members to provide the luncheon centerpieces, including Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack of Urban Buds, Kate Estwing of City House Country Mouse, Rebecca Bodicky of Alice Blue Collective and today’s guest, Jessica Douglass of Flowers & Weeds.

The good news is that Tower Grove has rescheduled the Flower Power event for September 30th and I very much look forward to my future visit to St. Louis and this botanical celebration.

The vintage sign at Flowers & Weeds is mounted on the original pole that once stood in front the building when it was a St. Louis ice cream shop (c) Virginia Harold

In the meantime, I wanted to bring you this conversation with Jessica. I interviewed her in 2016 when I traveled to St. Louis for the first time to lecture at St. Louis Art Museum’s Art in Bloom – which was an unforgettable experience. You can listen to that interview, which I paired with a lovely conversation with Vicki Lander of Flower Hill Farm, a Slow Flowers member and talented cut flower grower in the area – one who supplied me with her flowers for that Art in Bloom demonstration and who continually supplies florists like Jessica.

Jessica Douglass (c) Virginia Harold
“Guess this is QUARANSPRING” — local photographer Nate Burrell documented Flowers and Weeds’ curbside plant pickup in his St. Louis COVID Days series

For now, I’ll jump right in and introduce Jessica Douglass. I’ve been reporting almost exclusively on “Stories of Resilience” as our floral community adapts and adjusts creatively to the COVID-19 pandemic. And you’ll hear that theme continue in my interview with Jessica.

The Garden Center at Flowers and Weeds (c) Virginia Harold
A screen shot of the online store at flowersandweeds.com

Find and follow Flowers and Weeds at these social places:

Flowers and Weeds on Facebook

Flowers and Weeds on Instagram

Flowers (left) and Plants (right) at Flowers and Weeds, the cool flower & plant shop in downtown St. Louis, founded by today’s guest Jessica Douglass

Thanks so much for listening in on my virtual visit to St. Louis and Flowers and Weeds. 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. I mentioned that there are three other florists or farmer-florists whose designs are part of the now-rescheduled Tower Grove “Flower Power” event. I’m hopeful that I can record an update with each of them in the coming months, as well.

Replay of our May 8th Meet-Up

Our Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Ups continue to provide value and support as a member benefit. Last Friday on May 8th, we welcomed Rita Jo Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peony and the Certified American Grown Council as our Zoom “virtual”meet-up guest.

Please join me at the next Slow Flowers Virtual Meet-Up, this Friday, May 15th —  9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Can’t wait to see you there!

Yoni Levenbach (left) and Bethany Little (right)

Our special guests include Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders, and Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co. They both work in the wholesale arena, although with very different models. I am excited for you to hear from Yoni about what he calls being a “Flower Hunter,” who works from his base in Los Angeles to custom source from farms across the U.S. for a diverse customer base. And I’m thrilled that Bethany will have news to share from Eugene Oregon, where she and her husband Charles Little are veteran cut flower farmers who have seen it all. Everything old might be new again for Bethany and Charles, but they are elevating and expanding their flower business in exciting new ways, which will inspire you.

Follow this link to join us on May 15th. We will also share the link on our Slow Flowers FB Page and in the Slow Flowers Community on FB.

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. Read our stories at slowflowersjournal.com.

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

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

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. 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.

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 604,000 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 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