Debra Prinzing

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Episode 420: Pamela Parker of JP Parker Flowers – on combining full-service retail & event florals with an Indiana flower farm, plus, our state focus: Oklahoma

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

Pamela Parker of JP Parker Flowers, Indiana florist, event designer, retailer and flower farmer

I recorded this week’s episode while I was attending the 2019 Society of American Florists conference on Amelia Island, Florida. Before I left on this journey, I remember thinking to myself: “I will find a great guest for there to invite onto the Slow Flowers Podcast. And guess what? That is exactly what happened.

During flower farming season, you can find Pam in the fields more than in one of her two shops. Here, she’s touring the peony fields.

On my first morning there, I was seated in the back row of a presentation on editing photos for social media. I struck up a conversation with a woman next to me as we compared notes on Instagram. I leaned forward to look at her name badge and read: Pamela Parker-Tucker, JP Parker Flowers, Indianapolis, Indiana. “Pam, I exclaimed, It’s so nice to meet you – I’m Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers.”

I had a pretty good idea that she would know who I was because we have a mutual friend, Jo Ellen Myers Sharp, a long-time professional colleague and friend through my garden writing life. Jo Ellen is a popular Indianapolis garden writer, editor and columnist. She had told me about Pam Parker, a very successful florist in her city who also owned a local flower farm.

Well, once we figured out our connection, Pam and I continued the conversation. That led to her joining me today on the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Sunflowers — 300,000 of them each season!

Here’s a bit more about Pam’s story, excerpted from J.P. Parker Flowers’ web site:

After working in the floral industry for thirteen years in Minneapolis, Pam returned to Indiana to live on the family farm. A third generation farmer, Pam developed her love of flowers and growing from her deep Indiana roots. J P Parker Flowers was born when her sister, Janet, became her first employee. They began growing flowers such as sunflowers, alliums and zinnias on the family farm. While Pam enjoyed growing flowers, she missed the corporate and event floral work she had been involved in Minneapolis. She had produced major projects for clients such as General Mills and as a personal designer for the Pillsbury family.

In 1986, Pam decided to follow her passion and return to event and corporate flowers.

As you’ll hear us discuss in this episode, JP Parker Flowers made its local debut in the event industry by decorating Indianapolis’ Historic Union Station.

A JP Parker & Co.-grown and designed arrangement

The executives of Union Station invited a handful of talented designers from across Indiana to compete for a highly sought after opportunity to design and decorate the venue for the Holidays. With nothing more than a mind full of ideas and a briefcase in hand, Pam beat out the competition and landed the contract. In a few short months, she and Janet assembled a makeshift team, and they handily completed this enormous task.

With the well deserved recognition for their décor and design work at Union Station, JP Parker Flowers truly began to blossom. Among their décor accomplishments: the Pan Am Games and the 100 year anniversary of the Columbia Club. After opening a storefront first in Franklin, Indiana, they then branched out to their Indianapolis location in 2008.

Success with numerous corporate clients soon led to weddings and after several exciting years Pam felt she had come full circle when she returned to Union Station to produce a large event for Super Bowl XLI in 2012.

Pam is still the owner of JP Parker Flowers, but the crew has grown to 26 talented designers and dedicated employees. The goal of JP Parker remains providing beautiful custom designs and excellence in customer service with a personal touch.

Thousands of Indiana peonies!

On top of all this, J. P. Parker Flowers is deeply rooted in Indiana’s agricultural history. Part of Pam’s heart and love of flowers resides at the family farm, where literally thousands of flowers grow each year. The farm is full of beautiful field crops during the growing season. In addition to sourcing local flowers from the Parker Family Fields, JP Parker Flowers buys from other area flower farmers, too.

I’m delighted to welcome Pamela Parker to our Slow Flowers Community – as she has just joined us as a new member.

The JP Parker Flower Farm

You can find and follow JP Parker Flowers at these social places:

JP Parker Flowers on Facebook

JP Parker Flowers on Instagram

JP Parker Flowers on Pinterest

Thank you so much for joining me today and learning from a very experienced retail florist who has built her entire business on the origins of flower farming.

The fact that I came to last week’s conference with no guest lined up for today’s show . . . and that I miraculously found myself there, seated next to someone who I’ve been wanting to recruit into our community, well, that was pure kismet. Pam referred to her “luck of the irish woman,” so I’ll claim that for myself – I’m ¼ Irish, after all.

You never know where and who I’ll bump into my next guest – and it could be you!

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Terri Barr of Wild Lark Farm. Located about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa, in Claremore, Oklahoma, Wild Lark Farm’s tagline is: SEASONAL CUT FLOWERS FROM THE HEART OF GREEN COUNTRY

Wild Lark Farm is a small family farm committed to growing specialty and heirloom flowers. By using a mindset of sustainability, Terri is focused on the best of what Oklahoma has to offer – from mid-May to the end of October.

She says: “Flowers are what we love to do. They lift spirits and bring joy to countless lives, and we are honored to be a part of it. All of our flowers are grown using organic methods which promote a healthy environment for both people and pollinators. In keeping with the nature of Oklahoma farmers, we strive to make the land better than we found it.”

Thanks so much for listening today! You can find and follow Wild Lark Farm at these social places:

Wild Lark Farm on Facebook

Wild Lark Farm on Instagram

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 522,000 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.

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 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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August – and even September. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.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:

Glass Beads; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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 419: Meet Slow Flowers’ youngest member, 18-year-old farmer-florist Mary Schaefbauer of Sonnenblume Flower Farm & Design, plus, our state focus: Ohio

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

I want to introduce you to Mary Schaefbauer of Brainerd, Minnesota, a compelling young floral entrepreneur who is using her passion for Slow Flowers to build an impressive name for herself.

As you’ll hear in today’s episode, I met Mary when she attended a July 2018 meet-up hosted by Twin Cities Flower Exchange in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sonnenblume is the German word for Sunflower, which happens to be one of Mary’s favorite flowers to grow and design with

Mary’s story struck me as one I wish I had lived. Since her early teenage years, she has been driven to become a floral designer. And because she couldn’t afford to buy flowers with which to design, Mary started growing flowers on her family’s property — flowers that soon became more than just art supplies for a self-taught designer. Soon, a business emerged, one that serves her local community of Minnesota’s “Lakes District,” a vibrant destination wedding and tourism region.

Unique and beautiful: Grown and designed by Mary Schaefbauer

Sonnenblume Flower Farm and Design is a full-service floral design studio and flower farm in Brainerd, Minnesota. The flower farm is nestled in the old hay field behind Mary’s family’s home. The land is surrounded by forest and meadow, and is the perfect place to grow more than 40 types of flowers and hundreds of cultivars that supply customers whose flower needs range from weddings and events, everyday floral designs, farmers markets, and more.

Another take on sunflowers

Mary Schaefbauer is committed to customer satisfaction, delight, and education. She writes this on her web site: “I strive to use only the highest-quality local flowers, the most interesting and delightful varieties, and to educate customers about the joy of flowers through community outreach.”

She continues: “Sonnenblume floral designs are a celebration of color and texture. The flowers grown here on the farm come in a wide range of hues, allowing for beautiful tonal color combinations in each arrangement. I also love using a variety of textural elements, which are what make my designs so interesting and pleasing to the eye.I choose flowers that are unique and unusual, so I can surprise my customers with flowers they might never have seen before.

A playful bouquet by Mary Schaefbauer

“My designs have been described as romantic, natural, organic and different. People love how many different kinds of flowers there are in each arrangement, and how no two arrangements are ever the same.

A seasonal arrangement with lots of elements!

Find and follow Mary Schaefenbauer at these social places:

Sonnenblume Flowers on Facebook

Sonnenblume Flowers on Instagram

Mary poses with one of her lush, dreamy bouquets

Thank you so much for joining my conversation with Mary Schaefbauer. As you heard, she is hoping to freelance outside of Minnesota this coming winter and early spring. Having experienced her as a volunteer at the Slow Flowers Summit in St. Paul this past summer, I’m a big fan of Mary and her work ethic, maturity, creativity and personality.

You may want to invite her to work with you for a specific event or season. Mary is the future of the Slow Flowers Movement and I draw great comfort and encouragement knowing her.

Flowers from Rooster Ridge Farm in Bryan, Ohio

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Teresa Brown of Rooster Ridge Farms in Bryan, Ohio. From seed to bloom, Teresa grows and designs with flowers she loves, but also flowers that are unique and heirloom. Rooster Ridge offers beautifully fresh cut flowers through various channels, including supplying wholesale flowers to florist and serving local customers from the farm’s small design studio Seasonal floral subscriptions and delivery service is available.

Wedding florals by Teresa Brown of Rooster Ridge Farm

Find and follow Rooster Ridge Farms:

Rooster Ridge Farm on Facebook

Rooster Ridge Farm on Instagram

Rooster Ridge’s high tunnel filled with beautiful lisianthus

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 518,000 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.

We’re so grateful for two recent donations from listeners who shared their love and support. Thank you to Elaine Vandiver of Old Homestead Alpacas and Gholson Gardens – a Slow Flowers member and past Podcast guest who wrote: “I love the show, your work, your enthusiasm and all the inspiration you put into this world and our industry. And I had a great August, so wanted to share. Keep on keepin’ on!”

And thank you to aspiring Mississippi grower Mary Beth David who sent this note with her contribution: “Thank you for the hours of learning and entertainment with the Slower Flowers podcast!” 

We are so grateful for our listener support. It’s a blessing!

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.

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

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.  

NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Spunk Lit; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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 417: Meet Hometown Flower Collective – a Mobile and Digital Florist on Long Island

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019
Jaclyn Rutigliano and Marc Iervolino of Hometown Flower Collective (c) Hometown Flower Co.

Jaclyn Rutigliano of Hometown Flower Collective is today’s guest. During our conversation, you’ll hear us trying to recall how we originally connected. And finally, while writing this intro, I searched my email archives to find the back story of how Jaclyn and I really did meet!

A new concept (with a twist) for Long Island floral customers — the mobile flower truck that comes to you! (c) Erica Schroeder photography

In March 2015, she reached out to me via the Slow Flowers “contact us” form. She wrote:

Hi there, I handle public relations and communications for the slow fashion brand Zady (Zady.com) and we are currently coordinating our events for Fashion Revolution Day and Earth Day. 

I am wondering if there is someone I can speak with about possibly bringing in a slow flowers aspect to our events. 

I would love to connect and look forward to hearing from you.

Long Island-grown flowers on the “baby blue” mobile flower shop (c) Erica Schroeder photography

That email led to a long phone call during which Jaclyn brought me up to speed on slow fashion and I brought her up to speed on slow flowers — and we discussed some possible cross-promotions and collaborations. In her follow-up note to me, Jaclyn signed off with these comments:

I am going to spend a ton of time digging into your site  but if you have any other initial suggestions for where I can begin to tackle these issues from the retail and floral design standpoint, I would love to look into that for my parents. Who knows- maybe I will take on the family business one day after all! 

Fast-forward to this past January and I again heard from Jaclyn. It was long after her gig with Zady ended and many years after my Field to Vase Dinner Tour consulting that we referenced. But of course I remembered her immediately.

Hometown Flower Collective’s web site

This time, Jaclyn had some news that delighted me:

Happy New Year and I hope this finds you well. You likely don’t remember but we had emailed nearly four years ago at my previous job when I was representing a company called Zady which was focused on the sustainable fashion movement. I am from a family of florists and when I heard about your slow flowers movement, it really resonated with me and you were kind enough to provide some additional reading materials for me to further educate myself. 

From Long Island flower farms to Long Island floral customers (c) Francesca Russell photography

Years later, my husband and I are in the planning stages to open up our own business . . . possibly a mixed use retail space which will have the retail arm of my parents’ floral event design business. I am keen to approach this differently as currently, I don’t believe there is any florist in Long Island focused on locally sourced flowers. I really want to provide artistically designed flowers that embrace natural beauty, lesser known flowers, greens, naturally grown varieties, etc. And it would be great to source these within a 50 mile radius or at least domestically. Our business will be focused on a tight inventory to minimize waste and to embrace what is readily available. 

I would love to receive some guidance in terms of identifying the right farmers, varieties, the questions to ask, etc. It will be easy for me to follow the same path of my family and just source product from a regular importer but I would love to support local small farmers and source directly- though there are concerns about the cost associated. We are even considering planting our own flowers as well.

Anyways, I’m not sure if you do this or are speaking anywhere on the east coast in the future but I would love to learn from you to help get on the right foot.

Hometown Flower Collective offers a floral subscription (left) and festive, floral-focused events (right) (c) Hometown Flower Collective photographs

It’s so wonderful how people can come into your life for what looks like one reason – only to learn from that experience that we can’t even predict how we influence and inspire one another. Hearing from Jaclyn four years later was an affirmation that all the messages and information I put out into the marketplace about flower sourcing and sustainable practices doesn’t land on deaf ears! When the timing was right, she eagerly devoured the mission of Slow Flowers.

Hometown Flower Collective’s beach-inspired flower crown party and feast (c) Christie Monteleone

Not only has Jaclyn absorbed these Slow Flowers concepts but she has put her entirely personal spin on them. Along with her husband Marc Iervolino, they launched Hometown Flower Collective earlier this year on Mother’s Day weekend, in fact. Their hometown is Huntington, New York – on Long Island. These two Long Island natives and residents are running Hometown Flower Collective as a family operation with their two daughters, August and Sage. Jaclyn’s the ones with her arms up in flowers, overseeing the floral designs, creative marketing, and branding for the company. Marc oversees the day-to-day business operations and logistics. Here’s a fun fact: they are two Leos who share the same birthday and a bold mission to shape a better future for their children and community.

More from the beach party (c) Christie Monteleone

Jaclyn and Marc write this on their web site:
Hometown Flower Collective connects people who love flowers with the local farmers who grow them. A new take on the traditional neighborhood florist, Hometown Flower Collective offers fresh, local varieties delivered right to your doorstep through monthly subscriptions, and through its vintage pick-up truck, Baby Blue, a 1976 Ford F-100, re-imagined to become Long Island’s first mobile flower truck.

The “baby blue” flower truck is party-ready! (c) Christie Monteleone

Our mission is simple: to encourage people to look no further than their hometowns to find beauty grown nearby, and to provide access to locally-grown varieties in places where our farmers are typically unable to consistently reach. Inspired by a third generation flower designer’s experience growing up around the floral industry and witnessing how removed consumers and retailers were from where and how their flowers were sourced, Hometown Flower Co. was founded with a strong desire to change the status quo and encourage people to embrace their roots.

Please enjoy this conversation and listen for some very useful tips from Jaclyn on how to interest the local media in your floral enterprise. I’m inspired and energized by Jaclyn and Marc’s story and I hope you can draw at least one wonderful branding tip or marketing technique from our conversation to enhance your efforts.

Social media, collateral material, messaging and education — all have helped launch Hometown Flower Collective in their marketplace (c) Francesca Russell photography

Find and follow Hometown Flower Collective at these social places:

Find HFC on Facebook

Discover HFC on Instagram

See more pretty from HFC on Pinterest

We’re taking a little hiaitus from our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – I’m committed to recruiting a North Dakota guest for you  and we just need another week to pull that off!

We learn so much when we gather together! This photo was taken at the August 28th Slow Flowers Summer Soiree for members in the Oregon & Washington area (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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.

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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August – and even September. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.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

Local dahias from Laughing Goat Farm, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden, arranged by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore (c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 513,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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:
 
Lahaina; Flagger; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
 
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 416: North Carolina-grown, with Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary Floral and Flourish Flower Farm

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019
Just-picked North Carolina flowers, so beautiful! Photographed at Flourish Flower Farm.

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with the entire episode dedicated to North Carolina, celebrated for naming the flowering dogwood as its state flower.

There is so much great news coming from North Carolina! We have featured several Slow Flowers members as previous podcast guests, so to give you a richer snapshot of the state, I’ve collected all of their appearances for you to find below. They include a great introduction to the dynamic floral scene — in both growing and design:

Jonathan and Megan Leiss of Spring Forth Farm, Episode 266

Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm and Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers, Episode 273

Kelly Morrison of Color Fields and Piedmont Wholesale Flowers, Episode 296

Diane Joyal and Lily Joyal of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary (c) Kim Branagan

Our first guests are mother-daughter duo, Diane Joyal and Lily Joyal of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary, based in Chapel Hill. In our conversation, Diane and Lily share their “local floral” point of view as retail florists in the eastern part of North Carolina’s triangle of Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham. They have grown rapidly and have some cool news to share with you.

Niki and William Irving (left) and Niki teaching at an event on Flourish Flower Farm (right)

Part Two features Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm in Asheville, the heart of western North Carolina. Niki is a farmer-florist who serves a diverse range of customers– from grocery to weddings and events — to on-farm customers.

I hope you enjoy our tour of North Carolina! Before we jump into the recordings, here is a bit more about each guest:

Beautiful blooms, North Carolina-grown, from Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

Diane Joyal is the founder/Ceo of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary. She loves anything that keeps her smiling. This includes small puppies, big local blooms, and a good conversation. Her days at Bowerbird are filled with client interactions, vendor relations, and tracking down the best of the best in product. Diane’s Secret talent is being up with the floral trends and knowing just where to find a specific flower. Her favorite flowers are off-beat tulips, bearded iris, and not your average roses.

Two appealing floral palettes express the range of styles by Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

As the Founder of Bowerbird, Diane started the business with the idea that arrangements should be created to showcase what each individual bloom can do. Diane trained with Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua and she has taken classes with well known designers such as Pondarosa & Thyme and Bows & Arrows Flowers.

A wedding by Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

Lily Joyal is operations manager and designer at Bowerbird. She loves anything that keeps her moving, including but not limited to coffee, a nice sunny day, and a good work-out class. Her daily duties at Bowerbird include making lists, gathering blooms, and accomplishing the impossible. Her secret talent is car tetris she can load any car with flowers without a single snapped head. Her favorite flowers are Hellebore and whatever is in season. In her free time she enjoys going for a nice long run and getting good food with friends. She is also a painter and graduated from UNC Asheville with her BA in 2017.

Find and follow Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary at these social places:

Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary on Instagram

Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary on Pinterest

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

Niki Irving and her husband William Irving own Flourish Flower Farm. After years of working in education and outdoor education, Niki finally turned the dream of becoming a Farmer-Florist into reality. As the daughter of a landscaper and tree farmer, you could say that Niki’s love of plants was inevitable. Niki loves growing, nurturing and creating beauty. William spent his childhood helping his grandfather tend a giant vegetable garden and he is the master of the farm maintenance tasks. William still has a full-time job off the farm, but he helps Niki make sure the farm is run like a sustainable business and fixes the things that she breaks.

Wedding personals and ceremony flowers by Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm.

Together, they balance a love of nature, hard work, creating beauty and spreading joy at the farm.  They believe that flowers make the world a more beautiful, enjoyable place and are inspired by the way a fresh bouquet of flowers lights up someone’s entire face. Niki loves creating lush, seasonally-inspired arrangements for weddings and special events with their gorgeous farm fresh flowers, and William is always behind the scenes helping to make it all run smoothly.

Students are immersed in hands-on design at one of the popular Flourish Flower Farm workshops.

Find and follow Flourish Flower Farm at these social places:

Flourish Flower Farm on Facebook

Flourish Flower Farm on Instagram

Flourish Flower Farm on Pinterest

I think you’ll enjoy this cross-state North Carolina tour featuring two Slow Flowers business models that are design-driven and dedicated on local sourcing. I love our visit, giving you two unique ventures from which to draw inspiration and lessons for your own enterprise.

Here is another cool resource about North Carolina-grown blooms: Click below to download a PDF of my 2017 Florists’ Review article about Southern Flower Hubs — with sections on Piedmont Wholesale Florists of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area (which Diane and I discussed in her segment); and the Western NC Flower Farmers group, which Niki and I discussed.

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.

NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

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

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 want to give a special shout-out and welcome this week to Terri Carstens of Dream Dirt Florals in Reardan, Washington in the Eastern part of the state. Terri is the lucky winner of a one-year Premium membership in Slow Flowers — which we donated to the Washington Flowers Project for their summer promotion. The WA Flowers Project aims to increase awareness of locally-grown flowers, build relationships within the flower industry, & increase local sales – and is a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant funded initiative. Welcome Terri!

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

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 510,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field; Acoustic Shuffle; Mountain Sun
audionautix.com

Episode 414: Jen Ladd of Sweet Posy Floral, on growing for local customers and destination weddings in Bend, Oregon; plus our State Focus: New Mexico

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019
With her Dahlias: Jen Ladd of Sweet Posy Floral, a Bend, Oregon-based specialty cut flower farm and floral studio.

Located in Central Oregon, Bend is an incredibly beautiful place – across the mountains from where I live, so an entirely different landscape. Yes, the area is considered high desert, but the local agriculture scene for food and flowers is vibrant and active.

Last week took me there for a two-day getaway and you can be sure I wanted to visit a few flower growers during the trip. Today, you’ll join me on one – a tour and conversation with Jennifer Ladd of Sweet Posy Flowers.

Jen Ladd (right) posing with #flowersonyourhead at the 2017 Slow Flowers Summit. Photo by Mud Baron

I thought the last time I saw Jen was in 2017 when she attended (and contributed flowers) to the first Slow Flowers Summit held in Seattle. But she reminded me that we had a very brief “passing hello” at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival this past February. Turns out, Jen helps a family member set up a plant sale booth at the flower show – so we’re going to be more intentional about connecting there next year.

But what a treat to drive just about 10 minutes east of Bend, turn off the highway onto a long, gravel driveway, and come upon fields of annuals surrounding a charming white cottage-style studio and two sturdy high tunnels also filled with blooms.

The studio at Sweet Posy Floral.

I arrived at Sweet Posy Floral, was greeted by two friendly dogs and today’s bubbly guest.

Jen Ladd of Sweet Posy Floral

Jen aptly describes Sweet Posy Floral as an heirloom flower farm and bespoke floral design studio. She owns the farm with her firefighter husband Brandon Ladd, about whom she says, “I truly wouldn’t have been able to bring this dream to fruition without him. He works his full-time shifts at the fire station and comes home and works the farm and helps me with logistics of wedding setups.” A true farm-him partner for the farm-her.

Flowers on Display with Jen Ladd

Jen shares this on her “about” page:

I’ve loved flowers my entire life. As a child, I would go with my grandmother into her garden and watch her love and cultivate the plants, talking to them as she went. “You have to talk to them because it’s a relationship,” she’d tell me. “They’ll only grow and blossom for you if you love them.

When it was time to plan my own wedding, second only to the groom and the dress in importance was the flowers. Destiny brought me to a wonderful woman on a glorious flower farm who set me loose with shears and buckets to cut as many of her beautiful heirloom flowers as I wanted to make my day complete. In those fields, surrounded by the bright blooms, I realized this is what I’d love to do. 

The dream of sharing beautiful, sustainable, local flowers is what Sweet Posy is all about.

Identical in idea to the slow food movement, we believe in the slow flowers movement. We believe that a bouquet can come from a fifty-mile radius, even in Central Oregon’s climate. We believe that special, unique heirloom flowers can be accessible even if they aren’t bred to withstand weeks of shipping. We believe that a wider variety of flowers leads to a wider variety of floral visions we can make reality.

Local is beautiful, when local means real flowers that are pollinated by real bees and destined to brighten the days of real people who love supporting their local farmer artisans. Welcome to Sweet Posy’s growing world!

Love those sentiments!

The seasonal bounty of Sweet Posy Floral
Sweet Posy Floral’s “jar posies” at Market of Choice in Bend.

Even though she was up at dawn to harvest, make market bouquets, deliver them to Market of Choice, a local grocery store customer, and tend to countless other farm projects, when I arrived at Sweet Posy last weekend, Jen greeted me with a warm welcome as if she had not a care in the world. She gave me a tour of the fields, the high tunnels and the studio. We shared a glass of pink champagne and noshed on some delicious appetizers – and finally turned on the recorder to grab this interview.

What a brilliant array of summer blooms!

Find and follow Jen Ladd and Sweet Posy Floral at these social places:

Sweet Posy Floral on Facebook

Sweet Posy Floral on Instagram

Sweet Posy Floral on Pinterest

I’m so pleased that you joined me today! Finding balance is a theme we keep coming back to on this Podcast –a balance between passion and wellness; between creative urges and sustaining a creative livelihood. Neither my guests nor I have all the answers, but we strive for honesty and transparency in our dialogue and we want you to be part of that conversation.

A recent Bend area wedding, with lush and local flowers created by Sweet Posy Floral

Another constant theme of the Slow Flowers Podcast is community. We didn’t have time to share the story of Jen’s first CSA week ever, but suffice it to say, it involved the biggest disaster a new flower farmer could face – a freak June frost that decimated her entire early season flower crop.

Jen put out a call for advice to others she had met through the PNW Cut Flower Growers annual gathering and several flower farmers not only jumped in with encouragement and advice, but farms actually gifted Jen and her husband Brandon enough flowers to cover week one and week two of their CSA commitments.

Those flower farmers have become good friends to Jen and Brandon, and I just want to acknowledge them today – Erin McMullen and Aaron Gaskey of Raindrop Farms in Philomath and Beth and Jason Syphers of Crowley House Flower Farm in Rickreal – both in the Willamette Valley. To this day, Jen wonders if she would have given up in discouragement if the community of Oregon flower farmers hadn’t stepped in to help support Sweet Posy Floral through that natural disaster. Of course, both of those flower farms are part of the Slow Flowers Community so it was no surprise to learn of this story. And I know for certain that Jen and Brandon would do the same thing to pay it forward with a fellow grower or florist in need.

Thank you, Jen, for being that voice of honesty this week. I love your work, the beautiful life you’ve shaped for yourself, and your grit balanced with lovely artistic expression.

The Calhoun women flower farmers, from left: Lillian, Emily, Susannah, and mom, Diane.

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Diane Calhoun and Susannah Calhoun, mother-daughter farmer-florists of Calhoun Flower Farm in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

A desert-inspired bouquet, grown and designed by Calhoun Flower Farms.

In the podcast, you’ll hear me flub a couple of times and call their farm: Calhoun Family Farm. We laughed because it’s certainly that, too. Theirs is a farming family. Sister Lillian Calhoun is a frequent support on the business side of things and you’ve actually met Diane’s daughter and Susannah’s sister Emily Calhoun as a past guest of this podcast on two occasions – Emily owns FloriographyNM, based in Albuquerque.

You can meet Emily in Episode 176 (January 2015) and in a follow-up interview in Episode 317 (October 2017)

Dazzling flowers, photographed in the white sands of New Mexico (c) Justin Lee Burr

Calhoun Flower Farms is boutique floral enterprise located in the magnificent Mesilla Valley of New Mexico. Diane and Susannah grow and distribute their field grown flowers for the floral trade, consumers, and events flowers throughout NM and West Texas. They offer farm tours by appointment and often rent their farm for photography sessions.

Find and follow Calhoun Flower Farms at these social places:

Calhoun Flower Farms on Facebook

Calhoun Flower Farms on Instagram

Susannah Calhoun (center), with her floral designs (left) and Calhoun Flower Farms (right)

I am so grateful to you for joining me and for spending your time listening to the Slow Flowers Podcast today. Thank you to our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

Calhoun Flower Farms employs and serves the community of El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico (c) Justin Lee Burr

If you feel moved as I am to support the people of El Paso, Texas, some of whom work for and buy flowers from Calhoun Flower Farm, follow this link to join Slow Flowers in donating to the El Paso Community Foundation.

El Paso Community Foundation’s short-term goal has been to use donations to assist families and victims by paying for funeral, travel, and basic need expenses. Long term, the foundation wants to support the community’s need to heal as a collective while addressing the trauma people there have suffered as a whole. The Foundation has also established the El Paso Victims’ Education Fund – a scholarship fund for the children of those shot and injured or killed by the shooter on August 3, 2019. Your contribution will join others in providing tuition assistance and related expenses to college or university, or an established trade or vocational school. Learn more by searching the hashtag #elpasoSOstrong.

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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August when the normal growing season is complete. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.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.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 505,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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; One Little Triumph; Betty Dear; Gaenaby 
Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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 413: Meet Misty VanderWeele of Alaska’s All Dahlia’d Up, plus our State Focus: New Jersey

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019
Misty VanderWeele of All Dahlia’d Up, a Palmer, Alaska-based flower farm

Today, we’re visiting Palmer, Alaska, and spending time in conversation with Misty VanderWeele of All Dahlia’d Up Flower Farm.

Misty isn’t your typical Alaska grower because you won’t find a single peony in her fields. She claims she’ll “never say never,” but for now, there are so many other flowers, including, of course, dahlias, that Misty loves growing on her highly diversified flower farm.

The famous sweet pea tunnel!

I first met Misty in person when she attended the inaugural Slow Flowers Summit held in Seattle in 2017. She is a force of nature — high energy, inquisitive, intelligent and passionate about sharing her story. It was hard to miss her, sitting in the front row during the lectures, interacting by sharing positive feedback with our speakers and making meaningful connections with fellow Summit attendees.

Alaska’s fields of flowers at All Dahlia’d Up Flower Farm.

As soon as I met Misty and heard pieces of her personal journey, I added her to my mental list of future podcast guests. We almost had a chance to record an episode this past February when Misty returned to Seattle to attend the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. I was working for the show that week, and while we had coffee together, there wasn’t enough time to grab a recording. Soon, we agreed. Soon.

Well, soon was this past week and Misty graciously agreed to jump on Skype with me to talk about all things Alaska flower farming. It is at the peak of her flower farming season and I seriously wonder how many hours of sleep Misty is getting in each 24-hour period. Probably only as few hours of darkness up there in the land of the endless summer sunshine.

Sleep-deprived or not, this is a fabulous conversation and you’ll learn volumes. Here’s a little more about Misty, excerpted from her web site:

Misty VanderWeele on the lecture circuit, as she shares how growing flowers gave her a chance to manage her grief and loss of a child.

“I am a born and raised Alaska Chick with a flower addiction for sure. I’m proud to grow award winning seasonal blooms for market, weddings, flower CSA and our seasonal farm stand and flower shop.

“From July through the first frost our gardens are bursting with color and flower magic. We grow vibrant Dahlias, fragrant long stem Sweetpeas, Sunflowers and more.

“All though not entirely a one-woman-show I run farm management, floral design, marketing, and field operations. I consider the flower farm my baby. That being said I couldn’t do what I do without the loving strong support from my husband, Glen, daughter Jenna and the best in-laws a girl could ever ask for.

This summer’s farmers’ market stand is pretty impressive!

“I started growing our award winning flowers 5 years ago in remembrance of my son. When he was in kindergarten he brought home to me a potted dahlia plant not yet blooming for Mothers Day. But when I learned dahlias grow from tubers you can divide for more and more every year my interest was piqued.

You see, Luke had Duchenne (Due-Shenn) Muscular Dystrophy, an incurable muscle wasting 100% fatal disease. We were told Luke would be lucky to graduate high school. Which he did in 2010. However my entire world came crashing in when he suddenly passed at age 21. I was left not only devastated but not really knowing what to do with myself. My daily life as I’d known it changed in an instant! The grief at times was unbearable. Then I remembered all those tubers! Flowers started healing my shattered heart.”

The new on-farm store at All Dahlia’d Up

Find and follow Misty VanderWeele at these social places:

All Dahlia’d Up on Facebook

All Dahlia’d Up on Instagram

Order Misty’s BookFlower Power: Poetic resonance of meaning, connection & healing flower magic for living a Full Bloom Life

Shop for Misty’s Dahlia Pendants

Bethany Bernard of The Flower Peddler in Bridgeton, New Jersey

Now, let’s visit New Jersey as the next stop in our #fiftystatesofslowflowers series.
Please meet Bethany Bernard of The Flower Peddler, based in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Bethany and her husband Dan Vohringer grow cut flowers on 10 acres, serving wedding and event florists, DIY wedding clients, and customers at four farmers’ markets.

The beautiful fields at The Flower Peddler

I recently interviewed Bethany for a Johnny’s Seeds’ newsletter article, called “Your Seed Chronicles: Planning & Planting for an Abundant & Frequent Floral Harvest” — Read the article here — it has great info from Bethany and four other Slow Flowers member growers.

Follow The Flower Peddler at these social places:

The Flower Peddler on Facebook

The Flower Peddler on Instagram

As a footnote to today’s episode, I have to give a shout out to fellow podcaster Anahit Hakobyan of Viva La Flora Live Podcast.

An AIFD and EMC designer and host of the new podcast about the art and business of flowers, Anahit recently invited me to join her in a conversation all about the Slow Flowers Movement. It’s fun being on the other side of the mic, and as always, I’m delighted to have any chance to share the Slow Flowers story, mission and vision with a new floral audience. Thanks so much, Anahit!

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.

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

NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 503,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

(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:
A Palace of Cedar; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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 412: The Flowering of Brooklyn with Molly Oliver Flowers, plus our State Focus: New Hampshire

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
Molly Oliver Culver, a Slow Flowers Member and leader in the world of sustainable flower farming, education and design.

In October 2014, I took a trip to New York City where I made the editorial rounds to introduce Slow Flowers to members of the media (remember, the online directory launched earlier that year). At each of these meetings, I unveiled the first of what has since become the annual Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

And then, of course, as I love to do whenever I travel, I gathered with a group of Slow Flowers members to meet them, hear about their journeys, learn what encourages and even challenges each of them in them in their floral enterprise.

Summer wedding flowers, designed by Molly Oliver Flowers (c) Cheyanna di Nicola

The woman who generously helped me find a location for this gathering, and who brought beautiful flowers to the first-ever New York area Slow Flowers Meet-Up was Molly Oliver Culver, today’s guest.

A small, dynamic group of florists and growers joined us that night. And after the party wrapped, Molly agreed to stay for an interview for the Slow Flowers Podcast. We sat in the rather dark, brick-lined upstairs room of a Brooklyn eatery and recorded the conversation which you can hear from the Slow Flowers Podcast archives – episode 172, which originally aired December 17, 2014.

A vivid seasonal floral palette featuring all locally-grown New York blooms, designed by Molly Oliver Flowers (c) Iris Photograph

Today, we’re catching up with Molly and I’m so pleased that she has returned to talk about the changes in the local floral landscape in New York and Brooklyn, where most of her clients’ wedding ceremonies take place, and in the surrounding areas such as Hudson Valley, further Upstate New York, and on Long Island, where most of the local flowers for Molly’s designs are grown. So much has changed in five years and it’s so encouraging – I’m excited to share this conversation with someone I consider a Slow Flowers pioneer and valuable friend.

A lovely altar piece by Molly Oliver Flowers © Khaki Bedford Photography

Here’s more about Molly Culver and Molly Oliver Flowers:

Molly Oliver Flowers is a sustainable floral design company founded in 2011 by farmer/educator, Molly Oliver Culver. She has been recognized by Brides.com as one of the top five wedding professionals using sustainable practices and was featured on the list of best sustainable florists in NYC by Ecocult.

Molly’s aesthetic is translated into stunning, lush, local and evocative wedding flowers © Khaki Bedford Photography

Molly writes this on the “about” page of her web site:

A desire to help grow social justice and care for our beautiful planet led me to community organizing around food justice, then to rural organic farming, and eventually, to education and flowers. I’m proud to say I’ve helped to nurture soil, and have grown my own food and flowers, on my own and with others, for the past 15 years.

Sweet blooms (c) Weddings by Two

I love that floral design allows me to meet fun, loving and mindful clients and connect them with seasonal flora and our local flower, herb, perennial and foliage farmers. I’ve had many lives in my 38 years: Audrey Hepburn/NYC-obsessed teenager; literature major; novice journalist and ESL instructor in Santiago, Chile; urban farming educator and farmers market manager; community garden outreach coordinator; compost educator; urban farm manager…and now, a business owner and floral designer.

Throughout these many experiences, the connective tissue has always been people, soil, and plants. At core, I care deeply about equity, inclusion, sustainability and loving kindness and works to help these values emanate through this business.

Urban wedding-local blooms by Molly Oliver Flowers

Molly Culver on her design style:
I continue to be deeply inspired by all of the local blooms and foliages, from cultivated to wild and foraged, that any given season has to offer. Our region’s climate and four-season evolution offers something just right for every occasion, all year round. I am interested and inspired by my clients’ vision, and whenever they are needing guidance, I’m happy to share my love of wild, natural designs. In other words, I love to bring your vision to life using the gorgeous product we have available locally.

Molly Culver on “Why Local?”
I love to connect my clients with locally grown flowers, to share the fun of learning about what’s in season at the time of their event, and to create gorgeous arrangements that evoke time, place, mood and my clients’ individual style.

I source 90-100% of the flowers we use within 200 miles of New York City, from both regional and urban farms. An organic grower of 10+ years myself, I love supporting the talented community of dedicated farmers who grow an incredible diversity of beautiful flowers, cut days or even hours before, and delivered at peak quality to the city. Collaborating with these new growers to share experiences, discuss trending varieties and colors, and celebrate our successes is one of the most exciting aspects of this work.

Bridesmaids bouquets by Molly Oliver Flowers (c) Tim Ryan Smith

In the studio and for her events, Molly puts a priority on waste reduction and composting. Here are some of her practices, which I hope inspires change in your studio or shop:

Emphasis on waste reduction and composting:
It’s par for the course in the NYC event world to throw away much of the decor at the end of the night — this waste (vases, flowers, candles, etc.) winds up in a landfill.

Unfortunately, many flower studios still rely heavily on floral foam and other synthetic, non-biodegradable products to create designs — all of this goes into landfills as well. Need I go on?

There are a number of ways I work to reduce waste, both in my day-to-day work in the studio and on event days:

–I offer a variety of vessels as rentals, and re-use these as long as possible.

–I make complimentary ‘grab and go’ bouquets for your guests, and generally ensure you and your guests go home with as many peak quality flowers at the end of your event as desired.

— All unclaimed flower waste is composted locally at urban farms and becomes a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

–All items not accepted by NYC’s municipal recycling program are recycled through a partnership with Terracycle

–Much of the cardboard and paper packing and packaging from vessel shipments is re-purposed or recycled.

–I avoid all use of synthetic floral foam or other non-biodegradable products and chemicals.

The wedding party’s florals by Molly Oliver Flowers

Learn more about (and follow) this wonderfully inspiring creative floral artist at these social places:

Molly Oliver Flowers on Facebook

Molly Oliver Flowers on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today as we visited Brooklyn’s Molly Culver. I learned a lot and appreciate hearing Molly’s timely update about one of the most important markets for local and seasonal flowers. Molly is in an influential marketplace and her devotion to the Slow Flowers Movement is essential to the cause.

The recently renovated and restored Hay Barn at USCS-CASFS, our venue for the Slow Flowers Summit 2020! (c) Cesar Rubio

You may have picked up on the fact that I’m lobbying to bring Molly to the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit, which will take place at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. As Molly is a graduate of that program at University of California, Santa Cruz, I’m eager to involve her and together we are brainstorming a panel on the influences of sustainable flower farming for the farmer-florist. Watch this space and I promise you’ll hear more details soon.

Maegan Williams of Gilsum Gardens in Gilsum, NH

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Maegan Williams of Gilsum Gardens, based in Gilsum, New Hampshire. Gilsum Gardens was founded by Barry Williams and Barbara Kelly in 1993 and is now run by dad Barry and daughter Maegan.

Greenhouses share space with field-grown peonies at Gilsum Gardens

Maegan explains: Possessing no formal education in horticulture, I chose the family business after much consideration of nearly any other profession. About the time I realized I couldn’t picture my life without greenhouse season, I fell in love with cut flowers. What I lacked in classroom hours I made up for in my unique life experience of growing up in my parents’ greenhouses and countless hours spent roaming our woods and acreage. I have loved building upon and diversifying what my parents created, and feel fortunate to be guiding the business forward into its next chapter balancing seasonal nursery plants and specialty cut flowers for wholesale customers.

You’ll want to find and follow Maegan and Gilsum Gardens at these social places:

Gilsum Gardens on Facebook

Gilsum Gardens on Instagram

Spanning the seasons: Beautiful & New Hampshire-grown from Gilsum Gardens, including ranunculus and dahlias.

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.

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

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at johnnysseeds.com and check out my past articles featuring the wisdom and voices of flower farmers – you can find the links at debraprinzing.com in today’s show notes.

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. Spring bulb season is almost here – my tulips are poking out of the ground already! Visit Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com

(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 500,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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: Red City Theme; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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 411: pot + box’s Lisa Waud on creative challenges, tackling change, nurturing community and taking Slow Flowers to the next level, plus our State Focus: Nevada

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019
Let’s celebrate the 6th Anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast!

Folks, today we are celebrating the Slow Flowers Podcast’s six birthday! YES, it’s pretty amazing to hit this point, so far beyond the origins of this little project, which started in 2013. I believe it’s worth taking time to highlight the accomplishments of our small internet-based radio show that is this week celebrating not just a birthday, but also the incredible news that episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded 500,000 times!

Lisa Waud (c) ee berger photograph

Behind these numbers are individuals like you and me, creatives who desire to build a life around beauty and sustainability. We are seeking a new model, defining our own progressive practices and embracing inclusive solutions that contribute to the floral marketplace in our own communities. We are in for a special treat with today’s guest — my friend, supporter and now collaborator, Lisa Waud. Stay tuned for my conversation with Lisa in just a few moments.

This is the weekly podcast about American Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. You are listening to the 312th consecutive weekly episode that asks: are you making a conscious choice when it comes to your flowers? You are invited to join the conversation and the creative community as we discuss the vital topics of saving our domestic flower farms and supporting a floral industry that relies on a safe, seasonal and local supply of flowers and foliage.

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

And before we meet today’s featured guest, I have to pause and share a huge SHOUT OUT to our Slow Flowers Canada friends. We are in the midst of the 2nd annual Canadian Flowers Week, which runs July 18-24, 2019, concluding today. With our deep passion for our own endeavor, American Flowers Week, Slow Flowers supported the initial launch of Canadian Flowers Week in 2018.

Canadian Flowers Week aims to raise awareness about Canadian grown blooms. Growers, wholesalers, designers, florists and retailers are holding events and building installations to promote locally-grown blooms across the country. You can learn lots more at canadianflowersweek.com — and check out people, farms, flowers and projects reflecting the best of Canadian-grown blooms. CFW is a project of Toronto Flower Market and we’re so please to have been a part of its inception.

Lisa Waud of pot + box, on Day One of the recent Slow Flowers Summit (c) Missy Palacol Photography

OKAY, now, I’m delighted to introduce return guest, Lisa Waud. You’re probably familiar with Lisa and her large-scale, ambitious exploits that include Flower House in 2015 and Detroit Flower Week in 2016, as well as the design studio and later retail project called pot + box. Follow the links below to listen to my past interviews with Lisa Waud.

Episode 334 (January 31, 2018)

Episode 211 (September 16, 2015)

Episode 181 (February 18, 2015)

These days, Lisa is a Detroit-based botanical installation artist and consultant to small and creative businesses. I’m so thrilled to say that Slow Flowers is one of her current projects — you’ll hear more about that when we dive into today’s episode.

Lisa Waud, pictured at The Flower House press preview on May 1, 2015

Here’s more about Lisa:

Lisa Waud’s large-scale, multi-sensory, immersive works utilize living plants and cut flowers, exploring themes of old and new, nature as a cleansing reset, and joy from beauty.

Lisa is committed to producing art events that are pointedly inclusive for collaborators and spectators,  and accessible to all humans, with a focus celebrating the beauty of underrepresented and marginalized people.

Lisa’s projects have been featured in the new york times, huffington post, martha stewart, hyperallergic, colossal, designboom, the jealous curator, the globe and mail, the detroit free press, the detroit news, detroit art review, crain’s detroit, the washington post, and travel + leisure, and of course, on the slow flowers podcast.

In 2019, she launched a project called “Small Business Pain Relief,” working with established businesses to address pain points and efficiently implement action rather than just adding ideas to one’s to do list. lisa hopes to enable her clients’ creative productivity and assist in them  realizing a joyful quality of life as a business owner. 

Lisa’s white board sketch from our weekend planning getaway with Debra, Lisa and two other friends.

In late March, Lisa and I participated in a rather last-minute, 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.

I love this pic of Lisa Waud (left) and me, taken by Heather Saunders at The Flower House press preview on May 1, 2015

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 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.

Join this conversation as we share more about our outcomes, and discuss Lisa’s many artistic projects on the horizon, including leading other women through some of the activities she devised for our late March getaway with friends.

Lisa Waud, presenting at the 2017 Slow Flowers Summit in Seattle.

I encourage you to have an open mind today. Instead of gushing over beautiful blooms and exquisite bouquets, we’re going to turn the focus on the wellness of your creative venture, your dreams that can’t seem to get off the ground, your desire to create a meaningful business life, and what’s truly essential to feed heart, mind, body and soul

Come along for the journey. I can’t imagine a more rewarding way to celebrate this Podcast’s sixth birthday!

Thank you so much for joining me today as I welcomed Lisa Waud, an incredible influence in my life and in the Slow Flowers Community. You can find and follow her on social media:

Find pot + box on Facebook

Follow pot + box on Instagram

If you are a Slow Flowers member you’re sure to hear from Lisa sometime this year. She is reaching out to connect when she can. Or, just email her at membership@slowflowers.comto say hello.

Bethany Frediani of Nevada-based Sunflower & Sage Floral

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Bethany Frediani of Sunflower & Sage Floral in Gardnerville, Nevada. Listen for my conversation with Bethany in the second portion of this episode.

Nevada-grown blooms by Sunflower & Sage Floral

Bethany is a studio-based wedding and event florist serving the Lake Tahoe area. Her designs echo the wild and rugged beauty of the region, with touches of elegance.

Designs by Bethany Frediani

“Most of my clients are excited to hear that I will be incorporating regional floral product into their wedding designs. I like to utilize the blooms that are thriving at the time of the wedding, filing in with foraged foliage and bringing in product from my neighboring flower hub of California,” Frediani says. “I love to infuse my work, be it wedding flowers or large-scale, fine art floral installations, with whimsical, dreamy and organic elements.”

A desert photo shoot with Bethany (far right) and friends.

Follow Bethany and Sunflower & Sage Floral at these social places:

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Facebook

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Instagram

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Pinterest

Thank you for taking the time to join the Slow Flowers Podcast today as we achieved two major milestones — the 6th Anniversary of our launch in 2013 AND our 500,000th episode download from a listener.

This is so incredible and yet the metrics tell only part of the story. I am so grateful to the real, flower-loving humans who have helped to shape and nurture the concept of Slow Flowers into a movement that has swept North America and now migrated to many other countries around the globe, countries where flower farmers, farmer-florists and designers are seeking ways to save their domestic floral landscape and promote sustainable practices in their profession.

Together we define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause 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

And thank you to our lead sponsor, 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.

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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.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 www.farmersweb.com

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded — wait for it — 500,000 times by listeners like you. Yes, one half million times. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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 Huge congrats to Andrew and Hannah Brenlan for the arrival on July 16th of their first child on Francis Lou Brenlan. We love you all and celebrate this beautiful new human in our world.

Music Credits:
Wingspan; Chromium Blush; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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 410: Meet the women behind My Garden Overfloweth, Teresa Engbretson and Katie Elliott, plus our State Focus: Nebraska

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019
Katie Elliot (left) and Teresa Engbretson (right) of My Garden Overfloweth
(c) Urbren + Shoot

My often-used hashtag #slowflowersontheroad was put to use last week when I traveled from Seattle across the state to Pullman, Washington, to collaborate with the wonderfully talented photographer Laurie Black on a story for Country Gardens magazine. It was basically a workation because the garden owners Suzanne St. Pierre and Scotty Thompson are friends I adore, owners until 2015 of a nursery called Living in the Garden.

Our mutual friend Maryann Newcomer of Gardens of the Wild Wild West (based in Boise), who will be writing the story, was along for the fun and not only did Suzanne and Scotty play the roles of generous hosts, they treated us to a terrific Palouse experience. More on that to come, but suffice it to say that the rolling hills of the Palouse Range are exquisitely beautiful in July and it fed my spirit and soul.

The return trip last Wednesday could have been a straight shot across the state, but I took a side excursion to the little town of Paterson, Washington, population 213. Paterson is due south of Pasco and the Tri-Cities region and it overlooks the Columbia River and Oregon in the distance. It is one of Washington’s hot wine country regions; thus, a very popular destination wedding hub for couples in the West.

Autumn FLING at My Garden Overfloweth
(c) Courtney Corriell Photography

And there in the center of it all lives Teresa Engbretson of My Garden Overfloweth. She and her daughter Katie Elliott, who lives about 30 minutes away in Pasco, are a farmer-florist team who have developed a vibrant and beautiful business centered around growing cut flowers in the same climate in which local grapevines thrive, and operating a full-service design studio that doubles as an event and workshop space, as well as a retail farm and flower shop.

Sharing local flowers with local customers! (c) Courtney Corriell Photography

I first met Teresa and Katie in Corvallis, Oregon, at a PNW Cut Flower Growers Meet-up several years ago. Since then, I’ve found a few opportunities to refer friends and florists who need wedding flowers in wine country to Katie and Teresa — and every time I hear back rave reviews.

Katie Elliot of My Garden Overfloweth (c) Urbren + Shoot

I highlighted My Garden Overfloweth in my 2019 Floral Insights and Industry Forecast, under the heading “Experiences, not Conveniences,” praising the women for throwing two seasonal “Flower Fling” festivals each year. Their events attracts a wide range of vendors creates a sense of community for their customers. The upcoming Fall Fling takes place on Sunday, October 6th.

Katie (left) and Teresa (right), surrounded by their beautiful lisianthus, Cafe au Lait dahlias and more (c) Urbren + Shoot

Here’s more about My Garden Overfloweth:

My Garden Over Floweth was established in 2012 by Teresa Engbretson. She likes to say that the farm has very happy flowers with the gorgeous view of the Columbia River. Teresa and Katie share a love for flowers and farming, growing and cultivating seasonal flowers, foliage and ornamental botanicals on more than 2-1/2 acres.

The Engbretsons also raise farm-fresh vegetables, fruit and grass-fed, grain-finished beef. The farm is located approximately 40 minutes from the Tri Cities and participates weekly at several farmers markets in the area.

A peek inside the farm shop at My Garden Overfloweth (c)
Courtney Corriell Photography

The new Farm Shop is a mercantile space where customers can purchase all things grown on the farm, including flowers, fresh produce, beef, and locally-made gifts. Services include wedding and event floral design, seasonal bouquets, holiday florals and workshops.

It was so fun to spend a few hours with Teresa and Katie and their family, including Katie’s grandmother Susan and daughter Hannah, making four generations of flower-lovers under one studio roof. We shared a meal, walked the fields overlooking the Columbia River, and grabbed a quiet moment to record this interview to share with you.

Bridal bouquets, grown and designed by My Garden Overfloweth. (c)
Alex Lasota Photography (left); Karen Merrifield (right)

Find and follow My Garden Overfloweth at these social places:

My Garden Overfloweth on Facebook

My Garden Overfloweth on Instagram

My Garden Overfloweth on Pinterest

Farm to Table Dinner at My Garden Overfloweth, Saturday, July 27th

The flower ladies! Katie and Teresa at the Fling (c)
Courtney Corriell Photography (left) and Teresa displaying how her garden “overfloweth” with an abundance of lisianthus (c) Urbren + Shoot (right)

THANK YOU for joining today’s lovely conversation. It’s one thing to visit a floral enterprise virtually and another thing altogether to visit it in person. I’m so glad I made the side trip to tour My Garden Overfloweth and I can’t wait to return during one of the flings. I hope you can do the same or do the next best thing and borrow inspiration from Teresa and Katie to nurture community and connections through flowers in your own marketplace.

Sheila Fitzgerald, A New Leaf, our Nebraska Spotlight guest
Nevada-grown blooms (left) and Clover, the “trusty sidekick” (right)

Now, let’s visit Nebraska as the next stop in our #fiftystatesofslowflowers series. I’m so delighted to introduce you to Sheila Fitzgerald, the founder of A New Leaf, based in Omaha. A New Leaf focuses on capturing the organic beauty of florals and nature through floral design
and workshop offerings.

Beautiful florals, designed by Sheila Fitzgerald (left); workshop students, with Sheila (right)

Sheila has 15 years of experience in floristry. From previously owning Blooms Flower Shop, she has turned her focus to workshops, events, and private orders under the brand A New Leaf. Sheila can often be found in the shade of Rainwood Vineyard with her trusty sidekick, Clover the dog, planning her next big design.

Follow Sheila and A New Leaf at these social places:

A New Leaf on Instagram

A New Leaf on Facebook

Thank you for taking the time to join the Slow Flowers Podcast today. Thank you to our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause 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.

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.  

NW Green Panels, based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 495,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Homegrown; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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 409: Learning to See Color in Nature, and in the Garden with artist Lorene Edwards Forkner, plus our State Focus: Montana

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019
Lorene Edwards Forkner (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Oh my gosh, Slow Flowers Podcast listeners, you are in for a wonderful treat today because my guest is one of my lifelong friends and dearest sister in all sorts of horticultural, floral and artistic adventures in this world. It is my deepest privilege to introduce you to artist and designer, writer, editor and educator Lorene Edwards Forkner.

Lorene is a columnist for the Seattle Times weekly gardening column called GROW, along with her colleague Colin McCrate of Seattle Urban Farm Co. She is author of five garden books, including The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening: Pacific Northwest, and Handmade Garden Projects, bestselling titles from Timber Press.

October 21, 2007. Lotusland. Lorene and Debra together in the garden.

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

A polychromatic series: Seeing Color in the Garden @gardenercook

Most recently, Lorene’s creative life can be found on Instagram, where @gardenercook she is in the 2nd year creating and sharing a series called “Seeing Color in the Garden.”

She started this project on April 3, 2018 as part of #the100dayproject as #100DaysofSeeingColorintheGarden. She continued her series through the subsequent months and this past April 2019, kicked off #Another100 DaysofSeeingColorintheGarden, which concludes today, July 10th.

So our timing is perfect to sit down with Lorene and learn more about this visually engaging, spiritually uplifting creative project. I’m so happy that you are joining my chat with this highly intuitive observer of color in nature, in plants, in flowers and even in the kind of organic objects you might pick up on a walk and drop in your pocket.

When she kicked off #100 days of seeing color in the garden, Lorene wrote this:

“And so it begins. #the100dayproject is here and so am I—well, sort of. These days life is charged with loss and grief on many levels. But if I’m honest with myself (& desperately trying to keep on keeping on) I have to acknowledge that without great love and joy there would be nothing to lose, nothing to grieve. So however hard, this pain is a gift.

“#100daysofseeingcolorinthegarden will be my #dailypractice starting today. My hope is that this daily interval focused on seeing my beloved garden will provide refuge and a way forward. They say that time heals. I’m curious to watch that unfold. How cool would it be (WILL it be) to witness the process playing out in real time. A powerful anchor for future losses.

“So for 100 days I will be making time to see and interpret color in my garden. It’s basically permission to pause and play.

She continues, “. . . this idea had to be something simple, intuitive, and soothing. I like to say color is my native tongue, and I’d pretty much lost all other words.

“It’s now nearly 150 days later and while I’m not still counting, I am still painting. SeeingColorInTheGarden has become a daily practice, permission to step away from work, house, garden—even play. When I sit down at my table with my oh-so-humble watercolors, a brush, and blank sheets of watercolor paper the world goes calm.

“Occasionally I get asked “HOW.” I don’t know how else to describe it but seeing with all 5 senses… things go quiet, time stops, and everything is focused on the blossom, twig, rock, or the occasional snail. My paints are nothing special, but they’re familiar to me and I feel comfortable with the visual vocabulary I’ve developed with them. For all that this project has played out in public on Instagram, it still feels strange to write about something so intimate and deeply personal. Except that, along with my finding a measure of peace, I have also found a community of people who are also in pain, stressed, or simply in need of a little colorful refreshment. A chromal chord has been struck.

She concludes: “At the end of the day, the swatches and test strips are my secret sauce. A record of how I hunt and peck and forage for the right color. The paintings themselves without their subject are pretty flat and lifeless compared to the energy of painting + plant. But these little swatch strips please me to no end.”

Find and follow Lorene Edwards Forkner at these social places:

LEF on Facebook

LEF on Instagram

A Handmade Garden Blog. Sign up for Lorene’s newsletter here.

THANK YOU for joining me today as I indulged in an entirely inspiring conversation with a dear and personal friend. As Lorene Edwards Forkner and I discussed, she has agreed to come to the 4th Annual Slow Flowers Summit, which takes place June 29-30, 2020 in Santa Cruz, Calif. In fact, Lorene is the first featured presenter we’re announcing for 2020. I’ll have much more to share about her presentation at the Summit and about what you can expect to experience as the planning evolves.

For now, I urge you to find a set of watercolors and begin to emulate the daily or even weekly practice of looking at flowers, petals, pods, leaves, bark and other minute details from your own environment in a new way — to let the color palette of nature speak to all of your senses.

George Hart of Missoula, Montana-based Hart’s Garden & Nursery

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with George Hart of Hart’s Garden & Nursery in Missoula, Montana.

Dahlias at Hart’s Garden & Nursery

I met George and Marcia Hart in September 2017 when they hosted a lovely gathering for Slow Flowers members in Western Montana. What a fabulous experience getting to see where they live and farm, and to connect with an incredible community of growers and floral designers who are bringing local flowers to Missoula and beyond.

Harts Garden and Nursery grows tulips, irises, peonies, delphinium, dahlias, chrysanthemums, liatrus, rudbeckia, zinnias, hellebores, lilies and several kinds of decorative grasses.

The September 2017 Slow Flowers Meet-Up at Hart’s Garden & Nursery

The Harts’ mission is to offer attractive, locally-grown flowers and bouquets to residents and businesses of Missoula and Western Montana. They offer several locally-grown varieties of lily bulbs for sale at area farmers’ markets, as well as perennials well-suited to Western Montana. I’m so pleased that George agreed to jump on the line with me this week to talk about what’s happening in this community, as well as give you a preview of an event on September 27th when I’ll return to Hart’s Garden — and you’re invited.

Here are the details:

MONTANA FLORISTS ASSOCIATION Annual Convention
Fri., Sept. 27, 7:15 p.m. Farm Tour & Dinner

HARTS GARDEN & NURSERY, Missoula, Montana

Debra Prinzing will join Slow Flowers members Harts Garden & Nursery as they host a local-flowers reception during the Montana Florists Association annual convention. The Slow Flowers members are invited to join us! As George Hart says: “$10 buys dinner and contacting me puts your name on the list. This is a chance for Montana flower farmers to learn and dine with fellow farmers and florists who care about local, Montana-grown blooms! For more information or to sign up, please contact George Hart atmghart@bresnan.net or call: 406-396-8245.

Thank you for taking the time to pop in the ear buds and join the Slow Flowers Podcast. Thank you to our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause 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.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org. The upcoming regional conference takes place this weekend — Sunday, July 14 & Monday, July 15 — in Maine and is called “In the Thick of It.” The gathering features flower farm tours, networking with other growers, and bonus tours of Johnny’s Selected Seeds and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

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

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. Spring bulb season is almost here – my tulips are poking out of the ground already! Visit Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 492,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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; Betty Dear; Gaenaby 
Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com