Debra Prinzing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harvesting field crops at Free Range Flowers

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

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

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

Free Range Flowers (c) Caylie Mash Photography

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

WA Young Farmers Coalition: COVID-19 Resources for Farmers

Free Range Flowers on Facebook

Free Range Flowers on Instagram

Free Range Love (Weddings)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about Terra Bella and Melissa’s story here

Terra Bella Flowers

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

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

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

Thank You to Our Sponsors:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can contact us anytime with questions:

Debra Prinzing

Karen Thornton

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 590,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

One Little Triumph; Heartland Flyer; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s more about Mara Tyler and her flowers:

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

Life on The Farm at Oxford

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

Beautiful mixed peony bouquets

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

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

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

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

Stunning dahlias, with the bonus of backlighting

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

Mara Tyler (c) Taken by Sarah

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

The Farm at Oxford on Facebook

The Farm at Oxford on Instagram

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

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

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

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

Debra Prinzing, Slow Flowers

Karen Thornton, Event Manager

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

(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 588,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 444: Ingrid Koivukangas of Alchemy Farm Flowers on diversifying into agrotourism, and our first ASCFG leadership guest, Erin McMullen of Rain Drop Farms

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020
Ingrid Koivukangas of Alchemy Farm Flowers
Ingrid Koivukangas of Alchemy Farm Flowers

Today’s first guest has been on my “wish list” for a few years, basically since she joined Slow Flowers and I became familiar with her business Alchemy Farm Flowers. I’m so happy today to introduce you to Ingrid Koivukangas, environmental artist, flower farmer, floral designer, educator and innovator.

Alchemy Farm on Salt Spring Island, B.C.

As you will hear in our conversation, Alchemy Farm Flowers is based on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, a destination that’s sandwiched between Vancouver Island to the west and the U.S. San Juan Islands to the east. It’s reached via car ferry or float plane and I am mesmerized by the videos and photographs I’ve seen on Salt Spring Tourism‘s web site. Meeting Ingrid “virtually” only makes me more eager to visit her in person.

welcome sign
Welcome to Alchemy Farm

Here’s more about Alchemy Farm and its owner:

Alchemy Farm is situated on ten acres in the beautiful Burgoyne Fulford Valley on Salt Spring Island. The property was once part of the historic 200-acre George and Kate Furness homestead, first settled in the 1880s. 

Alchemy Farm is owned by award-winning environmental artist, Ingrid Koivukangas, and Robin Logan, a retired UK Homeopath and woodsmith. Both are creatives, healers and dreamers. The couple married on the Winter Solstice and they believe in love and magic – hence their chosen farm name: Alchemy Farm. Ingrid and Robin’s stewardship of this magical property is rooted in their deep love for the Earth and Nature, of becoming self-sufficient, living in harmony with all beings and providing safe habitat for bees and pollinators.

The studio at Alchemy Farm where Ingrid hosts classes and workshops.

From the Alchemy Farm fields there is a spectacular view of Mount Maxwell towering over the Fulford Valley. Eagles circle overhead. Choruses of frogs serenade from the many ponds. The original hedgerows, planted by early settlers, still mark the boundaries of the property along the eastern and western edges. The orchard is rich with apple, pear, plum and cherry trees. Blackberries drape over decaying fences. The land is awake with potential as its stewards continue to create a sustainable flower farm, an oasis of healing.

The farm produces gorgeous flowers in tune with the seasons, grown without chemicals or pesticides to provide safe homes and food for pollinators—plus flowers for humans to enjoy. 

Young visitors are enchanted by the Music Garden at Alchemy Farm, where they can listen to the bioenergy of flowers (note the earbuds!)

Ingrid teaches flower workshops to businesses, groups and private students, incorporating botanicals harvested directly from her gardens. She created the Alchemy Flower Music Garden Tour as an environmental art exhibit that connects visitors to the music created from the bioenergy of flowers! It’s a magical experience. Those who visit the seasonal Farm Stand can shop for flowers, jams, fruits and veggies, from May to September. Alchemy Farm’s online shop offers dahlia tubers, seeds and other products.

Florals grown and designed by Ingrid Koivukangas of Alchemy Farm
Enjoy this tour of Alchemy Farm’s Sound & Music Garden

Find and follow Alchemy Farm at these social place:

Alchemy Farm Flowers on Facebook

Alchemy Farm Flowers on Instagram

Alchemy Farm Flowers’ new Bee Garden School

Erin McMullen of Rain Drop Farms.

Next up, our first interview with one of seven regional directors who are part of the ASCFG leadership — we’ll be recording conversations with all of these folks throughout the coming year. I hope to record as many as possible in person, but we’ll have to see how and where my travels in 2020 take me.

Please meet return guest Erin McMullen of Rain Drop Farms. Erin and her husband Aaron Gaskey are veteran flower farmers in Philomath, Oregon, near Corvallis. Rain Drop Farms was established in 1999 on a one acre plot in their backyard.  They had every intention of growing vegetables, and threw in a few dahlia tubers that grandma gave them. Later, after a long search, Erin and Aaron were finally able to purchase their own piece of paradise and move to the farm’s current location, at the base of Oregon’s Mary’s Peak.

Those dahlia tubers made the move with them and before long they had more flowers than potatoes and the beginning of a dream. Rain Drop Farm grows flowers in a way that benefits not only flower-loving customers, but also their natural neighbors.  This means avoiding using harsh chemicals or insecticides and opting for natural and organic solutions to any pest problems. This all supports their belief that the flowers that grace our tables should be as healthy as the food we feed our bodies. 

Erin is entering her second year as the West & Northwest regional director, representing the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Before we wrap up, I want to announce the winner of last week’s book giveaway. Last week you heard from Jennifer Jewell, author of the new book, The Earth in Her Hands – 75 extraordinary women working in the world of plants and host of the NPR program Cultivating Place. I am so honored to be included in this book, and last week you heard me as part of Jennifer’s panel at the NW Flower & Garden Festival, where I appeared with two other women featured in its pages: Christin Geall and Lorene Edwards Forkner.

Our book giveaway comes thanks to Jennifer’s publisher Timber Press. Last week, we asked listeners to post a comment about an extraordinary woman who influenced their plant journey. Thank you to all who took the time to comment on our show notes at debraprinzing.com and on Instagram’s @myslowflowers In a random drawing last Sunday, March 8th, I selected the winner: Catharine McCord!

Catherine posted a comment celebrating her friend Shelley who can be found on IG as @artemisiaandrue, as an incredible mentor, herbalist, teacher, and friend, writing: “Shelley has introduced me to many plants, spiritually and medicinally. My life is forever changed as I share this knowledge on how plants can be our emotional, spiritual, and nourishing allies.

Congratulations Catharine — look for a copy of The Earth in Her Hands coming to you soon!

The Slow Flowers Summit takes place in just four months and you’re invited to join the uplifting experience that has been called a Floral Mind Meld. Our first two days will be hosted at Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside, California, outside the SF Bay Area, where we will gather on days one and two — June 28-29th.  On day three, June 30th, we will enjoy a special tour of Farmgirl Flowers’ headquarters in San Francisco, hosted by our friend and past Slow Flowers Summit keynote speaker, Christina Stembel. All in all, it will be special and exclusive — and I can’t wait for you to join us!

Many of you have been asking about lodging – and I’m happy to announce that our event manager Karen Thornton has just posted details about room blocks under the Travel & Accommodations tab at Slowflowerssummit.com.

Teresa Sabankaya in her garden in Bonny Doon, California

We’ve also included details about a special, limited, pre-Summit opportunity that’s just been announced. Our co-host Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co. in Santa Cruz, and her husband Nezih Sabankaya, are throwing a Speaker Dinner in their private gardens in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The dinner will take place on Saturday, June 27th, the night before the Summit begins, and it is separately priced. The seating is limited, so if you’re interested, follow the link at the Summit website.

It promises to be an intimate evening for anyone who travels to the area early and wants to connect with fellow attendees and speakers. Thank you, Teresa and Nezih Sabankaya for creating this lovely opportunity.

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 586,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our sponsors

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

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

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

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

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Castor Wheel Pivot; Alustrat; Great Great Lengths; 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 440: On the elements of floral style, with floral artist, teacher and author Christin Geall of Cultivated

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020
The author shows off her new book (left) and a Baroque-styled arrangement from Cultivated

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

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

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

A few years ago, I interviewed Christin for an August 2018 Florists’ Review profile, which we titled “Creative Fulfillment — Growing a floral-centric life on your own terms.” I loved that chance to speak with Christin about her art, writing, floristry and teaching.

Click here to read the article “Creative Fulfillment.”

An arrangement to illustrate the concept of “torque.”

Many of you may already be following @CultivatedbyChristin on Instagram, where she posts luscious, seasonal arrangements that originate in her Vancouver Island garden, located just 10 minutes from downtown Victoria, the provincial capital. There, Christin maintains six 32-foot-long beds where she rotates flowers using West coast-style succession planting. As well, there are perennial borders, and a wild meadow in the front, which means pretty much all of the grass is gone, she says. Meals and workshops take place beneath a 32-foot-long arbor and there is a very useful greenhouse. “It leads to a wild style, but I’m truly trying to maximize production on a small piece of land,” Christin told me.

Gesture, line, mass – all expressed in Christin’s arrangement (left).

Teaching writing concides with Christin’s writing of essays and garden columns. Growing unique and uncommon flowers supports floral design and the photography of those arrangements. And naturally, teaching floral workshops brings it all together for this gifted creative. And it only makes sense that all of these passions found their way into a book called Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style, to be published this spring by Princeton Architectural Press.

A peek inside Cultivated . . . this from the study of tints, tones and shades.

Cultivated elevates floral design to fine art in this richly informative work on the principles of floral style. Christin emboldens designers, gardeners, and floral entrepreneurs to think differently and deeply about their work with flowers as she draws upon the fine arts and historical sources – whether exploring Baroque music, the paintings of the Impressionists, or the work of floral innovators like Gertrude Jekyll and Constance Spry.

Seeing color

Thanks so much for joining me today. What an inspiring conversation. If you’re interested in meeting and hearing Christin speak in person, you can find her upcoming book tour schedule here.

Coming right up, as we discussed, Christin will appear February 26th & 27th at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle. She will be designing on the 26th on the DIY stage. On the 27th, she’ll be joining Jennifer Jewell, Lorene Edwards Forkner and me for a discussion entitled “Women at Work: Making a Living While Following Your Plant Passion,” and she will also speak on color later that day. Maybe we’ll see you there!

Registration continues for Slow Flowers Summit and if you’re listening on our release date of this episode, February 12th, you can find details about our Galentine’s/Palentine’s/Valentine’s flash-sale.  I can’t wait to see you at the Slow Flowers Summit June 28-30, 2020, at Filoli in San Francisco!

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 575,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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.

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.

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:

Silk & Silver; 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
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 438: Rooted Farmers: A New Online Marketplace for Selling and Buying Local Flowers

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

Today we have a very cool segment with Amelia Ihlo and Althea Smith, partners in a brand new farmer-to-florist sales platform called Rooted Farmers.

You’ll be hearing much more about Rooted Farmers in the future because  we’ve partnered for 2020 to bring this resource to the Slow Flowers Community. As you know, Slowflowers.com is an online directory to help connect U.S. and Canadian consumers with domestic flower sources AND to help farmers and florists find one another and do business with one another. However, as I frequently admit, I think like a journalist, not like a business person. I always had a desire for Slowflowers.com to include a sales mechanism, but the skills required to do that are way beyond me.

Amelia Ihlo, flower farmer and co-founder of Rooted Farmers

Then last fall, a Slow Flowers member named Amelia Ihlo of Reverie Flowers in Etna, N.H., reached out to tell me what she was doing.  She wrote this:

I am a Slow Flowers member based in New Hampshire and a huge supporter (and beneficiary!) of your work.  I spent this past year testing a business model that works exclusively with local flower growers, and had a tremendous response from both our grower network and all of our floral buyers. My partner are at a point to begin discussions with other folks within the industry, and as such, I am reaching out to see if you might have some time to connect on the phone.”

It was the beginning of a conversation that led to in-person meetings and eventually Rooted Farmers joining Slow Flowers as a major sponsor for 2020 and Slow Flowers endorsing the Rooted Farmers platform for flower farmers.

I alluded to the launch of Rooted Farmers in my 2020 Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast, in the section on “Agriculture-driven Design.” I wrote this: “The next chapter in this shift is being authored by designers who weave the agricultural narrative through their aesthetic and branding. From creative collaborations between flower farmers and floral designers to new apps and online resources that help florists learn who is growing what and when that’s available, the direction connections between the field and the studio are more important than ever.”

That paragraph was a direct reference to Rooted Farmers and the exciting way Amelia and Althea are solving problems and addressing pain points in the sales and buying process.

This is a screen capture of how you can present your INVENTORY to buyers

Having worked with developers on Slowflowers.com since 2013, basically using an off-the-shelf directory software designed for a “one-size-fits-all” marketplace, I have had multiple conversations with myself where I’ve thought, “if women were designing this product, it would be so much more intuitive.”

I’ve since considered that all young women should go into UX Design because our world would be a better place. It is so refreshing that Althea and Amelia are bringing a different sensibility to Rooted Farmers’ design. Yes, they have all the technical skills that are needed to create a highly-functional platform, but they bring with that a different intuition that I’m so grateful for. The lack of common-sense thinking I’ve run into in my own efforts to build a user-friendly platform, even though there isn’t an e-commerce component, have been frustrating, to say the least. Amelia IS the customer, which helps tremendously in translating to Althea what and how Rooted Farmers needs to work.

Find and Follow Rooted Farmers on Instagram

If you are a Slow Flowers member flower farmer, you are invited to join Rooted Farmers for a free, one-year registration to participate and market you flowers. Of course, there is an application procedure, which we’ve just discussed. Feel free to reach out to me or to Amelia with any questions!

If you are a Slow Flowers Florist, by all means, sign up and participate as a buyer. This is a farmer-to-florist platform, specifically designed to help you source domestic and seasonal flowers. It represents the best of modern technology and the values of the Slow Flowers Movement.

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

Registration continues for Slow Flowers Summit and we’re more than 50% sold out, which is amazing to me! Please join me on June 28-30th and connect with our fabulous speakers, enjoy the incredibly beautiful venue at Filoli Historic House & Garden, and experience the many features that will immerse you in the people, principles and practices of Slow Flowers.

As I mentioned earlier in the episode, Amelia Ihlo and Althea Smith of Rooted Farmers are supporting the Summit as our Premier Sponsor. They will be in attendance at the Summit and they will be sharing a demonstration of their new platform – and more!

We also want to welcome Mayesh and say thank you for joining the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit as a Supporting Sponsor. It will be wonderful to partner with Mayesh to help connect attendees with more U.S.-grown flowers and expose flower lovers to the amazing resource of Mayesh, now at the San Francisco Flower Market through its Brannon Street branch. Thank you again.

It’s time to grab your seat at the Slow Flowers Summit! Check out our special registration discount for members here.

Reverie Flowers’ repurposed U.S. Postal Delivery Truck — where it all began!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 570,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our Sponsors!

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

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

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.

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

(c) 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:

Lupi (uptempo); Lupi (cozybeat lead); 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
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 437: What makes a Trend? Join me in a creative conversation with Hitomi Gilliam, Francoise Weeks, Rebecca Raymond and Colin Gilliam as we plan the upcoming Trend Summit 2020

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020
A late December 2019 planning session for Trend Summit — held at Hitomi Gilliam’s home. Clockwise from top left: Hitomi Gilliam, Francoise Weeks, Rebecca Raymond and Debra Prinzing. (c) Colin Gilliam

Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, is a Vancouver, B.C.-based floral design educator and innovator, as well as a fellow contributor to Florists’ Review. In 2011, she launched a collaborative, inclusive conference called Trend Summit, designed as an immersive trend discussion led by a team of influencers, covering a variety of topics including wedding flower trends. 

Trend Summit has taken place every two or three years since, mostly in Vancouver (with one year being held in Dallas). The Summit has grown and evolved to the point where it’s almost a full week with numerous floral design workshops and demonstrations — all sorts of ways to draw you in, engage you and connect you. This year it takes place March 12-17, 2020, at United Floral, where the famed Vancouver Flower Auction is based outside Vancouver.

Listen to Hitomi Gilliam as she discusses Trend Summit and how trends take shape.

Hitomi is one of those rare individuals who shares the spotlight and platform with her peers, her students, and her contemporaries. In 2018, she invited me to present the Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast for 2019 during the Trend Summit Symposium a one-day session open to the larger floral community in B.C. and beyond. It was such a great experience and truly an honor to be given a place at the podium in what some might consider the mainstream floral community. I was so touched that Hitomi shined a light on my work with Slow Flowers, adding sustainability, floral sourcing and eco practices to the conversation!

For 2020, there are so many events and activities planned. To kick it off on March 12th and 13th, the Trend Roundtables focus on a variety of themes important to the future of floristry. This is an opportunity to be introduced to some of the newest product from participating vendors and growers, who will also be in the discussion. In addition to Hitomi, I will join Gregor Lersch, Holly Chapple, Susan McLeary, Françoise Weeks, Rebecca Raymond and Colin Gilliam for this riveting event.

We took in the inspiring natural beauty on a Bowen Island hike one afternoon, too!!

With Hitomi, Colin, Rebecca and Francois in early December, we spent two full days brainstorming the roundtable format. We sat in the cozy living room of Hitomi’s delightful home on Bowen Island, which is located a short ferry ride across Horseshoe Bay north of Vancouver. With a view of water, mountains, trees and nature, it was a working session that doubled as an unforgettable retreat.

We cooked up some of the key topics that will seed the conversations at the Conference: botanicals, hardgoods and accessories, lifestyle shifts, wedding styles, as well as emerging floral design styles.

I think you’ll love hearing our dialogue and perhaps you will be tempted to join us in March.

You might want to attend Thursday Night, March 12th, when Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute will present her insights on color, or on Sunday when all these fabulous design innovators will present during the Symposium.

Quickly, here’s a bit more about the guests you’ll hear in my conversation today:

Teacher, mentor, floral industry leader Hitomi Gilliam (c) Colin Gilliam

Hitomi Gilliam AIFD is a Japanese-Canadian floral artist, keynote lecturer, demonstrator, educator and a consultant in all aspects of the Art and Business of Floral Design. She is the Creative Director for DESIGN358. She has guest-designed extensively throughout North America, England, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, Bermuda, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Belgium, Korea and India.

She owned and operated Satsuki’s Florist in Mission, British Columbia for 28 years. She currently works with her son, Colin Gilliam in an Event & Education business, DESIGN358 which was established 10 years ago.

Hitomi has lectured at major art museums and floral shows around North America and beyond, and she is the founding organizer of the Annual ‘Survival of the Creative Minds’ Conference in Taos, New Mexico.

Inspiring florist and floral educator Francoise Weeks (c) Jamie Bosworth photograph

Françoise Weeks, born in Belgium, has infused her work with a quintessential European reverence for flowers and nature. Combined with creativity and mechanical ingenuity, she has crystalized her singular style of Textural Woodlands and Botanical Haute Couture pieces, garnering a global following.

Francoise Weeks discusses ‘Plants are Trending’ in the run-up to Trend Summit 2020

Françoise’s studio is located in Portland, Oregon. Her innovation and love of teaching have brought her to the Flower School Cohim in China, the Academy of Floral Art in Exeter, England, studios in Australia and Mexico, workshops at Mayesh and Florabundance and to the La Jolla and Memphis garden clubs. Her dynamic work has been published in Nacre, Fusion Flowers, Modern Wedding Flowers, Huffington Post, Flutter and Millieu.

Her generosity of knowledge and perspective in use of floral materials, structure and mechanics, in addition to the business of being a florist, unite to create rigorous and exciting learning opportunities for her students to explore all that nature has to offer.

Rebecca Raymond, EMC, floral artist and educator

Rebecca Raymond, EMC, is owner of Rebecca Raymond Floral. She is one of the most respected and sought-after floral designers in the Pacific Northwest.

Rebecca collaborates closely with each of her clients, gets to know their hopes and dreams, and then works with color, texture, and architecture to bring their vision to life. Whether it’s a bridal bouquet or a floral installation, she sources both seasonal and curated fresh flowers to design beautiful, eclectic arrangements that reflect the moment and create memories to last a lifetime. As a member of organizations at the cutting edge of floral design, including Chapel Designers, she has access to a network of leading designers and ongoing professional development – and Rebecca is always looking for the latest and best techniques and design ideas for my clients.

Colin Gilliam

Colin Gilliam, partner with Hitomi Gilliam in Design358 and owner of Colin Gilliam Photo + Design, has been photographing flowers for more than a decade. His work has been published in numerous books, as well as in Florists’ Review and Fleur Creatif Magazine.

I had a chance to discuss my thoughts about Trends during a recent conversation with Hitomi

Clarity in 2020 is knowing where we are at and where we want to go.

Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, founder of Trend Summit 2020

Hitomi, Francoise and Rebecca have all been guests on the Slow Flowers Podcast. Here are links to those episodes:

Episode 339 (March 7, 2019): Hitomi Gilliam

Episode 217 (October 28, 2015): Francoise Weeks

Episode 184 (March 11, 2015): Rebecca Raymond joined my interview with Margaret Lloyd of Margaret Joan Florals

Registration continues for Slow Flowers Summit and we’re nearly 50% sold out, which is amazing to me! Please join me on June 28-30th and connect with our fabulous speakers, enjoy the incredibly beautiful venue at Filoli Historic House & Garden, and experience the many features that will immerse you in the people, principles and practices of Slow Flowers.

Emily Saeger, Kellee Matsushita-Tseng and Molly Culver — Slow Flowers Summit panelists

You can also find a link to a fabulous new Q&A with Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers, Emily Saeger from Filoli’s horticulture team, and Kellee Matsushita-Tseng from UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems — all three will be part of a panel at the Summit that we’re calling Sustainable Farming x Floral Design.
Writer Lyz Perry, who has joined the Summit as a freelance contributor to our blog, conducted an extensive interview with these inspiring women. Check it out — this will be part of an ongoing series with interviews featuring all of our speakers.

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 568,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
by audionautix.com

Episode 436 A marriage of plants and flowers with farmer-florist Gwen Sayers of Scattered Seeds and Paul Sayers of Pine Creek Farms & Nursery

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020
Paul and Gwen Sayers

As many of you know, my path to flowers began as a home and garden features writer for magazines and newspapers. And one of my favorite gigs twenty years ago, when I first shifted from business journalism to design writing, was as garden editor for Seattle Homes & Lifestyles.

I love shelter magazines of all kinds, a dying breed, some would say, including that magazine, which took a hit along with so many during the 2008 downtown in real estate. But we had a very good run and I scouted gardens, produce photo shoots and wrote about landscape design in the Seattle area for years.

Pine Creek Farms & Nursery in Monroe, WA. (c) B. Jones Photography

One of the very first stories I produced for Seattle Homes & Lifestyles was about a young couple named Gwen and Paul Sayers, who had a company called Paul Sayers Landscaping and who lived in Monroe, Wash., about 30 miles northeast of Seattle. Paul had designed and installed an amazing pond surrounded by a strolling path and landscaped with hundreds of beautiful trees and shrubs. It was a plant-lovers paradise and I visited Paul and Gwen on a few occasions for that article and another one for The Herald, the local daily newspaper in Everett, for which I also wrote.

Scattered Seeds . . . a flower farm at Pine Creek Farms & Nursery, (c) B. Jones Photography

Fast forward more than 15 years later and I reconnected with Paul and Gwen at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in 2017 where they had a retail booth selling items from the retail shop at their new nursery, renamed Pine Creek Farms & Nursery. Gwen has a great eye for combining plants with vintage objects and that, combined with Paul’s ability to build anything out of salvaged lumber, added up to a charming display. At the time, Gwen told me that she had started growing cut flowers for wedding clients, including ceremonies being held at Pine Creek Nursery. It was a bit of a shift from running a landscaping company, but in a logical way, their sister businesses — Pine Creek Nursery and Scattered Seeds — made a lot of sense to me.

The stunning landscape grounds and pond at Pine Creek Farms & Nursery. The couple: my young friends Claire & Cody, whose wedding flowers I designed in July 2019 (c) B. Jones Photography

Last summer, I was immersed in the full wedding experience at Pine Creek Nursery when I designed the florals for my friend’s daughter’s wedding — on July 6th no less — just a few days after returning to Seattle from the 3rd annual Slow Flowers Summit in the Twin Cities.

The bride, Claire, grew up with my boys, and since I don’t have a daughter, I guess I was feeling quite sentimental when I offered to help her with her wedding flowers. You can see a few photos of that ceremony, captured through the lens of talented wedding photographer B. Jones Photography.

These images from B. Jones Photography were captured at Claire & Cody’s wedding, including the bridal bouquet and a Pine Creek Nursery sign

I mention this experience to help underscore how impressed I was with the venue, the amenities, the incredibly beautiful landscape and cutting gardens that create Pine Creek Nursery.

Paul and Gwen and I recorded this episode right before the holidays and I’m so happy to share it with you here. You will learn how these retail nursery owners turned some of their tree production fields into destination wedding venue and cut flower farm. It’s a story of innovation and love for their land. And as we continue the conversation of sustainability in 2020, today’s them is how to sustain a livelihood from  your land.

Floral design by Gwen Sayers of Scattered Seeds for a wedding ceremony at Pine Creek Nursery (c) Joanna Monger Photography

Here’s a bit more about Paul and Gwen:

Paul, the visionary of Pine Creek, began landscaping in 1989. Taking the leap to build a full service nursery in 2002, he and Gwen bought 20 acres of land on the outskirts of Monroe, Wa. Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Cascade Mountains, they have developed what was once a raw piece of ground into a stunning destination nursery and event venue. Paul is an all around talented man who not only envisioned Pine Creek, but built every facet along the way. He is a man who not only dreams up BIG ideas, but actually tackles them and makes them real! From growing nursery stock out in the field, or repairing heavy equipment or irrigation, Paul has made it happen with full on hard work and a ‘get er done’ work ethic! His passion is building, creating and working with rock which is seen throughout the nursery, including a grand granite rock fireplace that is a centerpiece to the event venue at Pine Creek!

The greenhouse at Pine Creek Farms & Nursery is a top photography setting for couples who wed there.

Gwen who loves everything green, growing and flowers, has been alongside Paul through the whole process of developing Pine Creek. She has had a love for gardening ever since she was a young girl, & now some of her favorite things to do are propagating plants as well as developing a new addition to the nursery… ‘Scattered Seeds…a Flower Farm’ where fresh, locally-grown flowers are lovingly tended for weddings and local floral shops. Gwen wears many hats at Pine Creek – from the office, greenhouse, loading materials, to arranging flowers — but you can always find her with clippers in hand, foraging for unique & beautiful elements to add to a vase or to propagate for future nursery stock. 

I’m so grateful that they are part of the Slow Flowers community! We’ve come full circle together and that’s a priceless gift.

Gwen’s flower fields for Scattered Seeds is another favorite of couples (c) Cameron Zeger Photography

As they mentioned, by creating a dedicated brand called Events at Pine Creek Nursery, and hiring an a dedicated wedding coordinator, they have been able to build a following for that brand and business channel. It’s a smart move and as you heard, 2020 wedding bookings are already higher than last year. A flourishing year, for sure.

The zinnia patch at sunset

Find and Follow Gwen & Paul at these social places:

Pine Creek Farms & Nursery on Facebook

Pine Creek Farms & Nursery on Instagram

Events at Pine Creek Nursery on Instagram

Scattered Seeds . . . a flower farm on Instagram

We are continuing to build the program for the Slow Flowers Summit, including some special surprises that we’ll be announcing in the weeks and months ahead.

Please join me on June 28-30th and connect with our fabulous speakers, enjoy the incredibly beautiful venue at Filoli Historic House & Garden, and experience the many features that will immerse you in the people, principles and practices of Slow Flowers.

Follow this link to see all the details, including the Slow Flowers member discounted registration rate. And THANK YOU to two of the first sponsors to join us in presenting the Summit:

Sarah Hinton and BloomTrac software for event florists, is again sponsoring our name tag layards — and we hope she will be on site to share more about BloomTrac with you.

And thanks to our friends at Red Twig Farms, Lindsey and Josh McCullough, just joined as one of our evening meal/reception sponsors! Check out links to these two great floral partners at today’s show notes at debraprinzing.com. We’ll have more sponsors to announce soon.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 566,000 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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Betty Dear; Homegrown; 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 435: Heather Henson of Boreal Blooms and Clara Qualizza of Meadow & Thicket Farm Flowers, co-hosts of The Sustainable Flowers Podcast

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

Welcome to 2020 as we dust off the New Year’s hangover and pivot to a new season for growing and designing with flowers.

Clara Qualizza of Meadow & Thicket Farm Flowers (left) and Heather Henson of Boreal Blooms (right), flower farmers and co-hosts of The Sustainable Flowers Podcast

Today’s conversation is the first of several episodes I want to feature about sustainability, the environment and climate change and challenges facing our Slow Flowers Community in this new decade. While researching and writing the 2020 Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast, which you heard last week, my instincts were confirmed — that the ever-more-important topic of sustainability in the floral marketplace will be front and center this year. So I’ve committed to inviting at least one guest per month to discuss who, what and how we can each make adjustments in our practices to be more sustainable.

Today’s guests will kick things off. Please meet Heather Henson of Boreal Blooms, based in Cold Lake, Alberta, and Clara Qualizza of Meadow and Thicket Farm Flowers in Wildwood, Alberta.

Together, they women host the Sustainable Flowers Podcast, which they describe as “a conversation about sustainable cut flower growing and designing as two passionate Canadian  growers trying to figure it out.” I take comfort in that, because we are all trying to “figure it out,” aren’t we?

Just to give you a sense of the distance between us all — and we came together through the aid of technology!

Heather and Clara each grow cut flowers for market on the northern edge of the Canadian Prairies. In 2018, these floralpreneurs launched the Sustainable Flowers Podcast as a project in which they discuss the issues they face and alternatives to conventional approaches that they are putting into practice or are trialing to ensure that their small-scale flower farming operations are sustainable. Whether that means looking to the past or forward to new technologies to learn the whys and hows, they discuss everything from peat to floral foam, Antirrhinum to Zinnias as well as their weekly adventures on their Zones 2 and 3 flower farms.

Clara Qualizza of Meadow and Thicket Farm Flowers

I’m so delighted that both are members of Slow Flowers, as well. Their leadership as flower farmers and influencers who view their practices through a sustainable lens is creating change for floral professionals and consumers in the province of Alberta, across Canada and North American, and beyond – their listenership is international.

Heather Henson of Boreal Blooms

Have a listen to our unique three-way conversation, brought to you by the magic of technology (thanks Clara!), which we recorded several weeks ago. I’m so glad that it kicks off the New Year for the Slow Flowers Podcast and sets the tone for the conversations to follow.

Clara at her farm in Wildwood, Alberta, Canada

Follow Clara Qualizza of Meadow and Thicket Farm Flowers on Social Media:

Meadow and Thicket on Facebook

Meadow and Thicket on Instagram

Boreal Blooms on Facebook

Boreal Blooms on Instagram

Boreal Blooms in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada

Registrations continue for the Slow Flowers Summit, and I’m so excited for you to join me and connect with our fabulous speakers, enjoy the incredibly beautiful venue at Filoli Historic House & Garden, and experience the many features that will immerse you in the people, principles and practices of Slow Flowers.

The Garden House at Filoli
Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers

If you’ve not yet checked out details, you can find links to all the details about our partnership with Filoli Historic House and Garden, our venue for days 1 and 2 of the Summit (that’s June 28 &29) and see our speaker lineup and programming.

By the way, Day 3 is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour led by our friend Christina Stembel, CEO of Farmgirl Flowers. This is rare access, folks, available only to Summit attendees. We hope you join us!!

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 564,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Betty Dear; Daymaze; 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; Solo Acoustic #5
Music from:
audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Dandelion Floral at these social places:

Dandelion Floral on Facebook

Dandelion Floral on Instagram

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

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

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

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

I’ve titled the forecast Green Horizons.

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

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

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

Download a PDF of the 2020 Forecast from Florists’ Review

Download a PDF of the 2020 Forecast from Canadian Florist

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

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

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

Time interview with Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia

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

READ MORE…

Episode 433: Our Year in Review – Slow Flowers’ 2019 Year in Review, Plus Our Wisconsin State Guest

Thursday, December 26th, 2019
Let’s review 2 0 1 9 before we welcome the New Year!

Thank you for being part of the Slow Flowers Community and tuning into the Slow Flowers Podcast during 2019. I’m honored and humbled that you take time to join me each week — especially in the midst of an ever-more-crowded and cluttered environment for information.

Listenership of this program has grown more sizeable than ever. Last year at this time, I told you the Slow Flowers Podcast had been dowloaded more than 390,000 times since this show launched in July 2013. Fast-forward to today and that number has climbed to 560k. With an average monthly count of more than 14k episode-downloads, I’m incredibly encouraged that this Podcast remains relevant and essential, as we deliver the voices, stories and information you crave and enjoy.

Every single week this year; in fact, every single week for the past 334 weeks, it has been my privilege to feature heroes from the Slow Flowers community. Unlike any other internet radio show in existence, the Slow Flowers Podcast is tailored to you and your interests, making its “must-listen” programming a weekly habit among flower farmers and floral designers alike.

In producing and hosting the Slow Flowers Podcast, I seek out pioneers and personalities, style-makers and influencers — as well as unsung or little-known heroes — who together are changing the floral landscape, disrupting the status quo, and bringing flower sourcing and growing practices, not to mention eco-conscious design methods, to the center of the conversation.

A highlight of 2019 was our expansive and inclusive series: Fifty States of Slow Flowers! We’ve nearly made it through the entire alphabet — from Alabama’s Lisa Thorne of Thorne & Thistle to Wyoming’s Teresa Tibbets of Dandelion Floral — who you’ll hear next week on New Year’s Day.

This ambitious series doubled the number of Slow Flowers Podcast guests we brought to you in 2019. Thank you to each of our state guests for their willingness to share their personal floral narrative with listeners. Together their stories amplified the thriving message that our Slow Flowers Movement is taking place everywhere and anywhere that people, gardens, soil and sunshine exist.

Click here to find the full list of our Fifty States of Slow Flowers Guests

Click here to find our show archives dating back to the first episode, which aired on July 23, 2013.

Sally and Courtney, photographed just as they completed the upstairs kitchen at Flower House in 2015.

Today, we’ll start the show by introducing you to Wisconsin’s Sally Vander Wyst of The Milwaukee Flower Co.

Sally is a past guest of this podcast; you met her back in 2015 when I interviewed many of the floral artists who created botanical rooms for Flower House Detroit.

You can find that episode here, in which I spoke with several Flower House creators and teams.

Sally and her collaborator Courtney Stemberg discuss their design for the upstairs kitchen at Flower House, a beautiful botanical installation entitled: “Nature Takes Back.”

It’s so hard to believe here we are four years later — and Milwaukee Flower Co. has a lot of news to share!

Wisconsin’s Slow Flowers Community has always been a strong one and I’m grateful for  growers and designers who are committed to seasonal and local blooms in the upper midwest — including Sally Vander Wyst.

Sally Vander Wyst of Milwaukee Flower Co. — harvesting zinnias in her mini-farm/cutting garden

I’m so happy I could catch up with Sally – you’ll want to stay tuned for her return to this podcast when she has more to report on the upcoming “Floral Spectacle” — a collaboration with fellow Slow Flowers member Liz Egan of Floral Alchemy, also based in Milwaukee. The two are cooking up something big and flowery to occur during the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee next summer. I can’t wait to learn more.

Seasonal floral design by Milwaukee Flower Co.

Find and follow Milwaukee Flower Co.:
Milwaukee Flower Co. on Facebook
Milwaukee Flower Co. on Instagram

Find and follow Zap Bloom, Sally’s online “store” for budget-savvy event florals
Zap Bloom on Facebook
Zap Bloom on Instagram

Thank you for joining our Wisconsin conversation!

Left: A bridal bouquet featuring flowers from Milwaukee Flower Co.’s garden, from other Wisconsin farms and roses sourced from California. all-American grown (c) GE Creative; right: Sally in her cutting garden (c) @autumnsilvaphotography

Next up: As I have done since the beginning of 2014, I would like to devote today to the Slow Flowers Highlights of this past year. Next week, on January 1st, I will present the annual Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast for 2020.

Last year at this time, we reflected on the highlights of 2018 with 10 Top Themes. The sentiments I shared with you then are no truer today. In fact, given the world in which we live, they are more meaningful to me than ever. One year ago, I said this:

More than ever, I realize that making authentic human connections with you is what really matters. Each experience is more meaningful because of the relationships we forge with one another.”

Please know how valuable that statement is — relationships are the connective tissue that ties us together — no matter where we live geographically and no matter which role we play in the floral marketplace.

What did we do in 2019? Each of our four content channels and our live programming have added up to an incredible year of engagement, interactivity, relationships and more. The year began with the unveiling of our new Slow Flowers Society branding and web site — a central hub for all of our Slow Flowers projects.

Why the Society? Our focus hasn’t changed.

In fact, our mission continues:

“To change the flower sourcing practices of consumers and professionals through outreach and education that highlights the benefits of local, seasonal and domestic floriculture — and to build a movement that promotes cultivation and sales of those flowers while nurturing authentic connections between consumers, farmers, and florists.”

This name change was long in coming. Yet it didn’t happen impetuously or overnight. Launched at the start of 2019 when we were already turning a calendar page and thinking about a clean re-boot, the new Slow Flowers Society branding brings clarity to the Slow Flowers platform.

Since I wrote the book Slow Flowers, a lot has happened with these two words: Slow. Flowers.

These two words now symbolize an entire movement. A movement that hundreds of thousands of florists, flower farmers, retailers and designers use as short-hand to reflect their belief in local, seasonal and sustainably-grown botanicals.

After the book’s publication, and as it became clear to me that there was an opportunity to position Slow Flowers as an industry standard, new ideas inspired me to bring the following channels and programs to life. With five channels and programs, each of which has its own exclusive web site things were getting a little unruly. And truth be told, those individual and focused web addresses still exist and they are continually updated with dedicated content. By building a “front door” — via slowflowerssociety.com — we helped connect the dots for all of our activities. I hope you find it helpful, too.

About Slowflowers.com. With the help of Lisa Waud of pot + box, a longtime member and all-around organizational genius, I tackled a major cleanup of the Slow Flowers membership database in 2019, which allowed me to pivot the focus and energies of Slowflowers.com to support and encourage those of you who have invested your time, creativity and financial resources as members. We wrapped up 2019 with nearly 650 active and engaged members representing flower farmers, farmer-florists, designers, wholesalers, collectives, and more.

We recently established Slow Flowers International, an International Affiliate program for like-minded organizations in other countries. And it is with great pleasure that in 2019, our friends at SLOWFLOWERS ITALY joined as our first International Affiliate!

Founded in 2017, SlowFlowers Italy members are part of a network of professionals, of people who carry the values of respect and attention to the environment, local territories, traditions and community development.  Welcome and Congratulations! We can’t wait to partner with you in raising awareness about seasonality, sustainability and the benefits of supporting local floral agriculture!

Member Benefits

Slow Flowers is both a community and a branding platform and clearly, one of the most visible tools available to our members is Slowflowers.com, the online member directory. But there are so many other members benefit from your Slow Flowers’ association. Sharing those resources with you will be the focus of 2020 as we will use the Slow Flowers Podcast and the Slow Flowers Journal online magazine to feature ways to leverage your membership, and communicate the Slow Flowers member Values and Benefits.

I’ve found that the number one goal of our members is to tell and share their story, and because I’m a storyteller, we have lots of opportunities to shine a light on our members. In a marketplace filled with conventional flowers, our members are able to differentiate themselves and their floral enterprises by associating with the passion and mission of keeping flowers local, seasonal and sustainable — and inspiring the imagination of flower lovers and floral consumers who learn more about that narrative.

To that end, in 2019, we produced two year-long projects. Those series allowed me to feature Slow Flowers members all across the U.S. and Canada with special themes.

Visually, we featured the flowers grown and designed by Slow Flowers members who contributed to our monthly Houzz.com series in 2019. We planned a full year of Slow Flowers Galleries, with each month’s floral theme published as a “Best of” collection of design inspiration based around specific seasonal blooms. Check out this link to the full 2019 gallery. In all, we shared more than 250 floral images with Houzz.com readers — publishing an ongoing, consistent message that local and seasonal botanicals are superior.

Our other series, Fifty States of Slow Flowers, succeeded beyond all of my hopes and dreams. We were able to visit members in nearly every state — I think we skipped just two — and perhaps 2020 will allow me to catch up with the states we missed. But think about it — the chance to hear from flower farmers, floral designers and farmer-florists across North America also reinforces the significance of Slow Flowers. Click here to find the full list of our state guests for you to find and listen again.

MEDIA & PRESS

The big media news for Slow Flowers in 2019 happened when Wikipedia added an entry about Slow Flowers and the Slow Flowers Movement. This achievement was a long time in coming and it’s wonderful to see become a reality. As a digital information source, Wikipedia is of growing importance, primarily because it is a free, universal resource, one of the first examples of a usable encyclopedia that is built collaboratively by the public.

Today, when someone types “slow flowers” into their search engine, two entries appear: One is the directory Slowflowers.com, but typically, the Wikipedia story about Slow Flowers pops up first. It’s not everything, but it’s a pretty cool something, because in today’s digital reality, showing up on Wikipedia is a great endorsement. And a special thank you to writer Myriah Towner for shepherding this project with her research, reporting talents and attention to detail.

In the News

More press exposure made this a fabulous year for Slow Flowers in the News — and I just want to take a moment to mention how many outlets expressed interest in our platform. This is by no means comprehensive, but I’ll mention some highlights here. Added up, it’s pretty impressive:

Architectural Digest

Seattle Magazine

Floribusiness’s “Hortipoint”

Vox

Bustle

Green Industry Leaders Network Podcast

Seattle Times

Sunset Magazine

Canadian Florist

Globe & Mail

Good Food Jobs

Oregon Live

Sacramento News Review

The Flower Podcast

Mornings with Mayesh

Green Dreamer Podcast

Vive La Flora Live Podcast

Refinery 29

Garden Center Magazine

WYSO (NPR) in Ohio

The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Bloomsday Review and Bloomsday Review here

. . . And of course, our ongoing editorial features about Slow Flowers members in each month’s Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Let’s pause and reflect on the Slow Flowers-Florists’ Review partnership – it is an incredible one that has been pivotal in moving the conversation about local, seasonal and sustainable flowers – and sustainable design practices – to the mainstream.

We have a seat at the table, and I am so grateful to publisher Travis Rigby and editor-in-chief David Coake for this ongoing opportunity. I am also part of the editorial teams for SuperFloral, a bimonthly magazine geared to mass market/supermarket floral retail; and Canadian Florist, a bimonthly magazine for professional florists in Canada. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to contribute original articles about Slow Flowers members and their creative business ventures to these titles during 2019.

All of this work as a professional communicator opened up another great opportunity for me and Slow Flowers in 2019. In September, I was inducted into the PFCI, Professional Floral Communicators International, a Society of American Florists’ organization. What an honor, that again, brings Slow Flowers into the mainstream as an authentic channel in the floral marketplace.

Producing the Third Annual SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT occupied so much of our creative energy in 2019. As an event designed for you, our membership, it exceeded all expectations. For those of you who joined us this past year in St. Paul, Minnesota, aka the Twin Cities, I hope you agree. And I thank you for showing your support by attending, engaging, contributing to the conversation and cheering us on. It was a beautiful thing to experience.

As you know, the Summit is the LIVE event in the midst of American Flowers Week, created to serve the Slow Flowers community of progressive, sustainably-minded florists and designers and to engage attendees who want to network with one another.

Planning and producing the 3rd annual Summit was made possible by the contributions of so many people. We must thank our host, Christine Hoffman of Twin Cities Flower Exchange, along with all the flower farmers who sell through that regional floral market, for welcoming us so warmly. More than 135 of us, to be precise. The pre-Summit farm tours of Blue Sky Flower Farm and Green Earth Growers gave everyone a first-hand experience of two incredibly beautiful and prolific Midwest flower farms. Thank you so much to Jon and Rachael Ackerman of Blue Sky Flower Farm (above) and thank you to Jolea Gress and Jenny Hotz of Green Earth Growers for the tour of your fields and greenhouses — and for hosting the first-ever Slow Flowers Dinner on the Farm – a delicious experience to say the least.

We enjoyed 10 fabulous speakers, experts in their fields and experts as teachers and communicators. Due to the intimate size of the Summit attendance, everyone has a chance to meet our speakers personally. That’s one of the key benefits of being part of our Slow Flowers Community. Making in-real-time connections is a top-cited benefit, according to past Summit attendees. 

Presentations and demonstrations from Tobey NelsonCarly Jenkins and Whit McClure ensured that floral design was at the heart of the Slow Flowers Summit. Our attendees and speakers also collaborated on a large-scale, foam-free floral sculpture using seasonal, domestic and foraged botanicals. It was a highlight!

We enjoyed a business-focused keynote from Terri McEnaney, CEO of Bailey Nurseries, and a social media panel with our own social media manager Niesha Blancas, our Summit photographer Missy Palacol, and Missy’s frequent collaborator Kalisa Jenne-Fraser.

And we learned volumes from three innovators involved in the emerging category of locally-focused wholesale floral hubs across the U.S., including Christine Hoffman of Twin Cities Flower Exchange, Amanda Maurman of Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative and Kelly Morrison of Piedmont Wholesale Flowers.

On Day Two of the Summit, attendees were invited to tour the Twin Cities Flower Exchange  where florist and event designers and floral designer Ashley Fox shared her personal approach to shopping The Exchange for a floral demonstration using all-local blooms! We also visited the last rose-grower in the Midwest with an afternoon at Len Busch Roses steeped in more Midwest-grown flowers.

If you missed joining us, I have a treat for you. You can watch the free videos of all of the 2019 Slow Flowers Summit presentations — follow this link for the full lineup.

I can’t wrap up mention of the Slow Flowers Summit, without reminding you to register for the Fourth Annual SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT, taking place June 28-30, 2020 at Filoli  Historic House and Garden in Woodside, Calif., outside San Francisco.

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

It is going to be an incredibly creative experience, and we’re offering you more value and benefits than ever before. The Early-Bird pricing continues through Dec. 31st so there’s not much time left to save $100 and grab a spot to join me and some wonderful speakers in the Bay Area! Follow this link to reserve your seat and join us!

We celebrated the fifth annual AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK during June 28-July 4, 2019 — and you and your flowers were at the heart of this fabulous and important campaign.

Slow Flowers created this original U.S. flower promotion holiday, launched in 2015. Our grassroots, all-inclusive campaign provides editorial, branding and marketing resources to flower farmers, florists, designers, retailers and wholesalers who wish to promote American grown Flowers.

Highlights of 2019 include our fourth year to commission botanical couture fashions, with nine creative looks featured in the June 2019 issue of Florists’ Review as “Red, White & Bloom.”

Thank you to the floral designers and flower farmers who collaborated on this project of flowering our nation during  American Flowers Week. The inventiveness expressed by the Slow Flowers community — flower farmers and floral designers alike — elevates American-grown botanicals to new levels.

Follow this link to see the entire 2019 American Flowers Week collection of botanical fashions, including the stories of each look.

And now’s the time to mark American Flowers Week 2020 on your calendar — June 28 through July 4 — because it will be our sixth annual campaign and celebration! I’ll have more to share in the coming months. For now, check out the 2020 botanical art branding we commissioned from Tamara Hough of Morning Glory Flowers — featured in last week’s Slow Flowers Podcast — and why not download the graphics to share on your web site and via social media? Help me to start building interest and excitement for the 2020 American Flowers Week campaign. And be sure to use the #americanflowersweek hashtag so we can see your posts!

Team Slow Flowers, from left: Jenny Diaz, Andrew Brenlan, Niesha Blancas, Karen Thornton and Lisa Waud

THE PEOPLE of SLOW FLOWERS

Truly, people make the Slow Flowers Movement so successful — you and your tribe coming together with other similar tribes in regions and communities all around, both here in North America – and beyond. We share information, ideas, encouragement, key resources, tips, answers, experiences and more.

We are united in a common belief that local and seasonal flowers, grown sustainably and with minimal harm to the planet, is a practice worthy of our energies.

In 2019, my personal universe was filled with a few key people whose presence and expertise helped me further shape Slow Flowers from what was originally just a concept, a title of a book, into a multimedia, multifaceted content organization and brand platform for others’ use.

I shared a bit of this on this Podcast’s sixth anniversary episode, on July 24th when Lisa Waud joined me to talk about our collaboration to shore up Slow Flowers as a membership organization.

In late March, Lisa and I participated in a spontaneous mind-meld with two other flower friends. Part getaway; part workation, the gathering of four women creatives in small and large ventures, from different generations and walks of life, was an electrifying experience to say the least. What emerged from our time together was a new collaboration for Slow Flowers, with Lisa joining me to manage a project I simply did not have time or bandwidth to tackle. I had been yearning for someone who could help me untangle the crazy knot of our Slow Flowers Member Database. For many, this would be a mind-numbingly boring, clerical, rather than creative task. Yet for Lisa, this was a challenge that called her in — and rise to the occasion, she has.

Other key Who’s include the Slow Flowers Creative Team with whom I work all year long:

Thank you to Jenny Diaz, our uber-talented graphic designer, whose artistry helps us communicate and represent the ideas and ideals of Slow Flowers. She has consistently supported my projects since I asked her to create our Membership and Sponsor Collateral in 2015, followed quickly by the iconic American Flowers Week branding in 2016 (our campaign’s second year). Our collaboration has expanded to include all of Slow Flowers and American Flowers week branding, advertising, collateral material and now — I’m so excited to be working with Jenny as the designer of the Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One book, out in 2020! More on that later in this episode.

Thank you to Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social Media, our social media maven, who I’ve also known and worked with since 2015. Niesha took over our IG and FB social media strategy two years ago and I couldn’t be more pleased. Under her leadership, talent and attention to detail, Niesha has nurtured the @myslowflowers channel on IG and Facebook’s Slow Flowers page, exponentially increasing our engagement with you, our community. Niesha has been with the Slow Flowers Summit team from the very first conference in Seattle in 2017 and she was also a presenter this past year in St. Paul, Minnesota, at our third annual Slow Flowers Summit. I am so grateful for her creativity and positive influence as we take this Slow Flowers journey together.

Thank you to Karen Thornton of Avenue 22 Events, the steady hand on the tiller of the Slow Flowers Summit since 2018, our second conference. Karen is the secret sauce to my being able to realize a vision for a “multifaceted, interactive and live, in-person experience” that takes place during the heart of American Flowers Week. She is one of my fiercest defenders and the brand advocate I’ve needed to round out the Slow Flowers Team. For 2020, Karen is coming onboard to manage the entire Slow Flowers administrative suite of projects, making sure we stay on time, on budget, on point and more. I couldn’t be happier with the contributions of the four women I just thanked.

And yet, there is one other key person I need to thank!

He’s our dedicated, talented and supportive Podcast Engineer, Andrew Brenlan. Thank you Andrew! Hannah Brenlan was my original producer and after about one year, she handed the weekly production over to her husband Andrew Brenlan. As I said last year: Andrew has taken our audio to new levels, with beautiful musical transitions and his patient and loyal efforts to improve my limited technical skills! Let’s face it: I know how to find great guests and I know how to interview them. But beyond that, this podcast would not exist without Andrew! He’s a new father, too — as Hannah and Andrew welcomed baby Francis to their family. Congratulations, Andrew and thank you so much for making our Podcast so successful in 2019!

As we come to a close, I want to thank our 2019 Sponsors

Slow Flowers sponsors support our work to connect consumers with florists, shops, studios, and farmers who supply and source domestic and American-grown flowers, Made-in-USA floral hardgoods and accessories and related businesses.

I just want to take a minute to thank them for their financial support in 2019 and to tell you a little bit about how each partnership is uniquely tailored to meet mutual goals of promoting American flowers:

You’ve already heard about our partnership with lead sponsor Florists’ Review — but I’ll thank Travis Rigby, editorial director David Coake and art director Kathleen Dillinger here. They and the rest of the Florists’ Review team are a joy to work with and I respect and value our relationship!

Coming up in early 2020 is our first book collab with Florists’ Review: Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One, created with the amazing talented support of Robin Avni as editor and our own Jenny Diaz as designer. I can’t wait to share more but here is a sneak peek of the book cover art (featuring Missy Palacol’s photography) in today’s show notes!

Thank you to these amazing sponsors:

The peony farmers of Arctic Alaska Peonies, who supported this Podcast and Slow Flowers Journal in 2019.

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and its amazing group of Northwest flower farmers and market staff.

Longfield Gardens for connecting florists to gardening and connecting gardeners to floral design.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds for producing high quality flower foliage and herb seeds for cutting gardens and flower farms of all sizes.

Syndicate Sales for supporting florists with an incredibly diverse selection of USA-made vases, design mechanics and accessories.

The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers for its support and leadership in growing flower farming as an important profession.

Mayesh Wholesale  Florist has again supported the Podcast and American Flowers Week and we’re so grateful for their industry support.

Northwest Green Panels, the Oregon-based greenhouse builder which is responsible for my charming 8×8 modern slant greenhouse.

And Farmers’ Web, the software company that came onboard mid-year as a Podcast and Newsletter sponsor. 

Slow Flowers is the term most widely used in the floral marketplace to communicate and convey seasonal, local and sustainable floriculture.

It has been another record-setting year in so many ways. According to keyhole.com, our tracking service, Slow Flowers’ metrics are higher than ever. Our social media maven, Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social Media, has worked tirelessly to represent Slow Flowers and its members through the medium — with great results!

In the past 365 days, on instagram and twitter combined,

Slow Flowers has appeared in more than 75k posts, up from 47k in 2018.

and has stimulated social media engagement of 2.3 million, up from engagement of 1.4 million in 2018.

Field-grown Tulips
Tulips grown by an American farmer I know and trust.

To that I say, What are YOU Waiting For? We’d love you to join Slow Flowers and put your resources, creativity, personal engagement and passion to work for a Movement that gives back to you in volumes. You can start the new year with a commitment to supporting Slow Flowers and you can join us for as little as $50 a year to enjoy the many programs and benefits for members. Follow this link to join us!

Thank you for being a part of this movement and I hope you’ll make the next step by investing in the continued relevance and success of this brand

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

Well that’s it, folks. As our year comes to a close, I wish you a warm and restorative holiday season and share my hope for a peaceful and productive 2020.

Music Credits:

Basketliner; Betty DearDelamine; Gaena; Glass Beads; Highride; Perspiration
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; Redwood Trail
Music from audionautix.com