Debra Prinzing

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Episode 449: Walt Krukowski of Vermont’s Mountain Flower Farm and his Story of Resilience; plus Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020
Hydrangea harvest with Walt Krukowski of Mountain Flower Farm (c) Taken by Sarah

This is the 350th episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast 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.  

In feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about how the coronavirus pandemic will alter our beloved floral marketplace, perhaps forever, it soon became clear to me that sharing individual stories from our members is one way I could help our community. I don’t have many answers and each voice you hear on the Slow Flowers Podcast may not either, but collectively, as we continue to speak honestly about our challenges and successes, we hope to encourage and support one another.

Walt Krukowski of Mountain Flower Farm, leading a tour of his growing fields in late September 2019 (c) Taken by Sarah

Our featured guest this week is flower farmer-entrepreneur Walt Krukowski of Mountain Flower Farm in Warren, Vermont. Walt joined me via Skype to talk about his amazing farm and I’m honored to add his voice to our Stories of Reslience series.

I met Walt last September when I joined a floral sourcing workshop hosted by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet. A group of 10 of us gathered for two days of education, including a full day with Walt as he walked us through the beautiful rows of late-summer ornamental crops grown for flowers and foliages. Hydrangeas, viburnum and forsythia for miles, it seemed. A stunning setting and an organic farm where bespoke flowers are grown with care. Sarah Collier of Taken by Sarah photographed the workshop and design sessions and she’s shared some lovely photographs of Walt, his farm and his flowers.

A selection of hydrangeas grown by Walt Krukowski (c) Taken by Sarah

Here’s a bit more about Mountain Flower Farm:
Nestled in The Green Mountains of Vermont’s Mad River Valley, the family farm is focused on quality, sustainability, and community. For over 20 years Mountain Flower Farem have served discerning floral designers nationwide with grower direct overnight shipping. Our reputation has been founded on producing exceptional quality seasonal crops, like Peony, Lilac, Snowball Viburnum, and Hydrangea.

The farm adheres to sustainable agriculture techniques like cover cropping, companion planting, and nurturing beneficial insect habitat to provide the backbone of our #beyondorganic farming operations. Crops are grown in vibrant, healthy soil, with a balanced biological ecosystem, certain to contain abundant nutrients, minerals, and live soil microbes. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides are never used.  

Mountain Flower Farm is located in Vermont’s Mad River Valley (c) Taken by Sarah

Mountain Flower Farm’s bloom schedule is delayed by Vermont’s slow-to-come, cooler summers. When most sources for seasonal cuts have finished for the year, Walt and his crew are just getting started! Of particular note, the farm’s peony crop is harvested from mid June – mid July. 

COVID 19’s disruption in our world coincided at almost the same time Walt typically announces Mountain Flower Farm’s seasonal crop availability and opens up the pre-order system for peonies. His communication with his customers via email really struck me as extraordinary and I asked him to join me on the podcast to discuss Mountain Flower Farm’s present, past and future. I know you’ll find it encouraging.

One exquisite bloom (c) Taken by Sarah

Thank you so much for joining me for this special conversation! I believe that now, more than ever, the messages of sustainability and seasonal and locally-available flowers is top of mind — among consumers, flower farmers and florists. Walt wrote this in his first newsletter of the season, dated March 31st: ” . . . one thing for certain is that we will be here toiling away, with our hands in the dirt, flowering fiercely for the future. Mountain Flower Farm is already in action, and we will be here doing whatever it takes to safely put flowers in your hands. Our model of grower direct overnight shipping was made for these times! Social distancing. Door to Door Delivery. Top quality product. Consistency. Value. 

“These are not new themes for us . . . in fact, this is what we have trained for and what we have been streamlining and perfecting for over 20 years! We stand ready to help our customers succeed through challenging times.”

The tour continues with Walt at Mountain Flower Farm (c) Taken by Sarah

Just one week later, he continued the story, and this is what inspired me o invite Walt to share more with you today.

“A week ago, in the midst of great uncertainty, we stuck to our schedule and published this season’s cut flower availability. Sending that email was for me, a moment that I was dreading. Questions and doubts were bountiful. We all know by now, life has been turned upside down. The economy is reeling, and the floral industry is one of many hard hit segments. 

“It brings me incredible comfort and hope to be able to check in today and report that the response we’ve received has been nothing short of incredible. For that, I am absolutely thankful and humbled. Our community is strong. There is hope, not only for @mountainflowerfarm, but for all of us trying to make it through this time. Thank you all for your generous orders. For your faith in our farm, our team, and our collective future. 
One thing that really struck me, that I want to share, is the nature of the orders we received.”

He continued, “As many of you know, we preceded our cut flower inventory release with a sliding scale discount offer created to help floral designers persevere. Customers could choose which level of discount they needed. I was very happy to see people taking advantage of this offer. I was also surprised, when I started to receive orders with notes attached saying ‘Thank you so much for this offer. I don’t need any flowers for my shop, but I’m placing this order for peony roots for our home garden,’ or others saying ‘Thank you for thinking of us florists and trying to help . . . I’ve placed orders for the season, but chose to not use any of the discount offers.'”

Walt Krukowski, presenting at last September’s floral sourcing workshop (c) Taken by Sarah

In the 24 hours after releasing Mountain Flower Farm’s discount offer, Walt received literally hundreds of emails. All of them full of appreciation, hope, and positivity. He responded, writing, “For that, I want to stand on the tallest peak and shout “THANK YOU!!!” “THANK YOU!!!” “THANK YOU!!!”
We’ve come to a point where, it’s really not abount sales or money anymore. It’s about humanity. It’s about hope. It’s about resilience. Like everyone, I have legitimate fear and worry right now. The outpouring of support that has been received this past week has helped to calm my worries and point my focus towards the future. Our floral community is strong. We are all connected, and for that I am absolutely grateful.”

Find and follow Mountain Flower Farm here:

Mountain Flower Farm on Facebook

Mountain Flower Farm on Instagram

Field-grown Tulips
Tulips grown by Gonzalo Ojeda of Ojeda Farms, a farmer I know and trust.

As I said last week, I want the Slow Flowers Podcast to be a companion to those of you in isolation, away from your physical community of peers, neighbors, customers and friends. I hope today’s interview was as inspiring to you as I found it to be for me.

The Gardener’s Workshop Cut Flower Farm: Lisa Ziegler and her family and crew.

Before we wrap today, I want to share a bonus interview with Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop, our newest Slow Flowers Podcast sponsor, announced last week. Lisa is a fellow garden writer, author of Cool Flowers, published by St. Lynn’s Press, the same publisher behind my books, Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet. Lisa is a flower farmer, based in Newport News, Virginia, where The Gardener’s Workshop is also home to an online shop offering seeds and supplies for home gardeners and a growing curriculum of online courses for flower farmers and farmer-florists. I invited Lisa to give us an overview and update on The Gardener’s Workshop.

Sign up to be notified about future course releases here

Follow The Gardener’s Workshop on Facebook

The Gardener’s Workshop on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today as we heard from two flower farmers who have developed their businesses to reflect their passions and fit their lifestyles. And truly, that is what I wish for each of you and your floral enterprise.

Last week we held our third Virtual Member Meet-Up on April 10th. We had a great group in attendance and I thank you for joining us; A special thank you to Holly Chapple of Chapel Designers, Holly Chapple Flowers and Hope Farm, for her guest appearance to talk about how she is adapting during the Coronavirus. You can find the link to the Zoom replay video here. Thank you to each of you who attended!

Join us! Here is the Zoom Replay Video from April 10th

Please join this week’s Slow Flowers Virtual Meet-Up on Friday, April 17th at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Please join here. We’ll also share the Zoom Meeting Link in our Instagram Profile and on Facebook (Slow Flowers FB Page and Slow Flowers Community Group).

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 596,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm

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

A bumper crop of ranunculus from 3 Porch Farm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow 3 Porch Farm:

3 Porch Farm on Facebook

3 Porch Farm on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Posh Petals at these social places:

Posh Petals on Facebook

Posh Petals on Instgram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 594,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harvesting field crops at Free Range Flowers

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

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

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

Free Range Flowers (c) Caylie Mash Photography

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

WA Young Farmers Coalition: COVID-19 Resources for Farmers

Free Range Flowers on Facebook

Free Range Flowers on Instagram

Free Range Love (Weddings)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about Terra Bella and Melissa’s story here

Terra Bella Flowers

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

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

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

Thank You to Our Sponsors:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can contact us anytime with questions:

Debra Prinzing

Karen Thornton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s more about Mara Tyler and her flowers:

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

Life on The Farm at Oxford

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

Beautiful mixed peony bouquets

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

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

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

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

Stunning dahlias, with the bonus of backlighting

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

Mara Tyler (c) Taken by Sarah

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

The Farm at Oxford on Facebook

The Farm at Oxford on Instagram

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

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

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

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

Debra Prinzing, Slow Flowers

Karen Thornton, Event Manager

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

(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

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

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

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

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

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

Alchemy Farm on Salt Spring Island, B.C.

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

welcome sign
Welcome to Alchemy Farm

Here’s more about Alchemy Farm and its owner:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Alchemy Farm at these social place:

Alchemy Farm Flowers on Facebook

Alchemy Farm Flowers on Instagram

Alchemy Farm Flowers’ new Bee Garden School

Erin McMullen of Rain Drop Farms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teresa Sabankaya in her garden in Bonny Doon, California

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

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

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

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

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

Thank you to our sponsors

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

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

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

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

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Castor Wheel Pivot; Alustrat; Great Great Lengths; Gaena; Glass Beads
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 440: On the elements of floral style, with floral artist, teacher and author Christin Geall of Cultivated

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the article “Creative Fulfillment.”

An arrangement to illustrate the concept of “torque.”

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

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

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

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

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

Seeing color

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

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

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

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

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

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Silk & Silver; Gaena; Glass Beads
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

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

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and Follow Rooted Farmers on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you to our Sponsors!

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

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

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

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

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Lupi (uptempo); Lupi (cozybeat lead); Gaena; Glass Beads
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rebecca Raymond, EMC, floral artist and educator

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

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

Colin Gilliam

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

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

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

Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, founder of Trend Summit 2020

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

Episode 339 (March 7, 2019): Hitomi Gilliam

Episode 217 (October 28, 2015): Francoise Weeks

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

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

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

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

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

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

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
by audionautix.com

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

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020
Paul and Gwen Sayers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a bit more about Paul and Gwen:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The zinnia patch at sunset

Find and Follow Gwen & Paul at these social places:

Pine Creek Farms & Nursery on Facebook

Pine Creek Farms & Nursery on Instagram

Events at Pine Creek Nursery on Instagram

Scattered Seeds . . . a flower farm on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 566,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Betty Dear; Homegrown; Gaena; Glass Beads
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

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

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clara Qualizza of Meadow and Thicket Farm Flowers

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

Heather Henson of Boreal Blooms

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

Clara at her farm in Wildwood, Alberta, Canada

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

Meadow and Thicket on Facebook

Meadow and Thicket on Instagram

Boreal Blooms on Facebook

Boreal Blooms on Instagram

Boreal Blooms in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada

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

The Garden House at Filoli
Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers

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

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

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

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

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

Thank you to our sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Betty Dear; Daymaze; Gaena; Glass Beads
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field; Solo Acoustic #5
Music from:
audionautix.com