Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘Plants’ Category

Episode 455: A long-distance peony collaboration between grower Eugenia Harris of Nicewicz Peonies and florist Stacey Lee of Paeonia Designs

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

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

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

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

Stacey’s “selfie” in the peony fields!

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

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

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

Photo by Catherine Threlkeld Photography

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

Photos by Catherine Threlkeld Photography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicewicz Family Farm on Facebook and Nicewicz Peonies on Instagram

Paeonia Designs on Facebook and Instagram

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

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

More for our Community

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

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

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 608,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Flowers and Weeds at these social places:

Flowers and Weeds on Facebook

Flowers and Weeds on Instagram

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

Thanks so much for listening in on my virtual visit to St. Louis and Flowers and Weeds. The local connections being made are so important and are deepening ties between where flowers are grown and the ways floral consumers can enjoy them while supporting floral agriculture.

These indeed are Stories of Resilience. I mentioned that there are three other florists or farmer-florists whose designs are part of the now-rescheduled Tower Grove “Flower Power” event. I’m hopeful that I can record an update with each of them in the coming months, as well.

Replay of our May 8th Meet-Up

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

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

Yoni Levenbach (left) and Bethany Little (right)

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

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

Thank You to our Sponsors

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

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

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

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

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 604,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a bit more about Red Twig Farms:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Twig Farms on Facebook | Red Twig Farms on Instagram

Splints & Daisies on Facebook | Splints & Daisies on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow this link to join us on May 8th.

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 602,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

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 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 443: Women at Work: Making a Living While Following Your Plant Passion, with author Jennifer Jewell and three of the 75 women profiled in her new book, “The Earth in Her Hands”

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020
From left: Lorene Edwards Forkner, Christin Geall, moderator Jennifer Jewell and Debra Prinzing at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Jennifer Jewell—Creator and host of the public radio program (and podcast) Cultivating Place, is a past guest of this podcast.

Now, she is also an author and is on tour to promote her book, The Earth in Her Hands, which has the subtitle: 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants.

This past week, Jennifer was in Seattle to speak at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival and, among other appearances, she led a panel discussion that we recorded for today’s episode.

Hot off the Press: Jennifer Jewell’s new book, “The Earth in Her Hands”

In writing The Earth in Her Hands, Jennifer learned how the women profiled creatively navigated the challenging ideal of work-life balance. The main lesson? Balance is not a destination but an ongoing and highly dynamic process.

NWFGF Panel, from left: Lorene Edwards Forkner, Christin Geall, Jennifer Jewell and Debra Prinzing

In the panel, of which I was a part, Jennifer focused our conversation on many common challenges, coping mechanisms, and solutions that follow women through their careers in the plant world.

Along with me, the panel included two other past guests of this podcast, so the voices and personalities may be familiar to you. You’ll also hear designer and author Christin Geall, of Cultivated (who I invited on the podcast just a few weeks ago), and Lorene Edwards Forkner, author, artist, and Seattle Times garden columnist, and creator of the #seeingcolorinthegardenproject.

These women graciously agreed to this recording and I’ll just jump right in and let you listen as if you were in the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival audience last week.

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

Jennifer Jewell is host of the national award-winning, weekly public radio program and podcast, Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History & the Human Impulse to Garden, Jennifer Jewell is a gardener, garden writer, and gardening educator and advocate.

Particularly interested in the intersections between gardens, the native plant environments around them, and human culture, she is the daughter of garden and floral designing mother and a wildlife biologist father. Jennifer has been writing about gardening professionally since 1998, and her work has appeared in Gardens Illustrated, House & Garden, Natural Home, Old House Journal, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, and Pacific Horticulture. She worked as Native Plant Garden Curator for Gateway Science Museum on the campus of California State University, Chico, and lives and gardens in Butte County, California.

Listen to Jennifer Jewell on the Slow Flowers Podcast (Episode 397) April 2019

Cultivating Place on Facebook

Cultivating Place on Instagram

Christin Geall of Cultivated by Christin, designing with a no-foam method

Christin Geall lives on Vancouver Island, along the western edge of Canada. She is a gardener, designer, writer and teacher who 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.

Listen to Christin Geall on the Slow Flowers Podcast (Episode 440) February 2020

Cultivated on Facebook

Cultivated on Instagram

Lorene Edwards Forkner (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Lorene Edwards Forkner is a columnist for the Seattle Times weekly gardening column called GROW. She is author of five garden books, including The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening: Pacific Northwest, and Handmade Garden Projects, bestselling titles from Timber Press.

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

Most recently, Lorene’s creative life can be found on Instagram, where @gardenercook she shares a series called “Seeing Color in the Garden.” She started this project on April 3, 2018 as part of #the100dayproject as #100DaysofSeeingColorintheGarden. She continued her series with #Another100 DaysofSeeingColorintheGarden.

Listen to Lorene Edwards Forkner on the Slow Flowers Podcast (Episode 409) July 2019

LEF on Facebook

LEF on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining today’s episode featuring Jennifer Jewell and two women, who along with me are featured in The Earth in Her Hands, Christin Geall and Lorene Edwards-Forkner.

As a special bonus, we’re giving away a copy of The Earth in Her Hands, courtesy of Timber Press, Jennifer’s publisher.

To enter, please leave a comment below about an Extraordinary Woman who influenced your personal relationship with plants. We’ll draw one recipient from among the posted comments on Sunday, March 8th and announce the winner in our March 11th episode. Please note: this giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian entrants.

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

If you liked the subject of this episode, you’re invited to dig deeper with two of the panelists  because they are coming to the Slow Flowers Summit in the SF Bay Area at Filoli- the historic garden and home that is hosting us on June 28-29th. Jennifer Jewell will be our Slow Flowers Summit capstone speaker – and she will speak more expansively on women’s role in shaping our plant world and beyond, as well as sign copies of her new book. Lorene Edwards Forkner will also be one of our Slow Flowers Summit presenters and I’m so excited for you to experience seeing color in the garden through her eyes as you develop your own sensibility and observational skills, learning from color in the garden — from the landscape to the centerpiece.

It will be a special experience and I can’t wait for you to join us!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 583,000 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.

Longfield Gardens 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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; Paper Wings
Music from:
audionautix.com

Meet Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley, the creatives behind Fleurs de Villes – a Bespoke Floral Phenomenon

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020
Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley of Fleurs de Villes
Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley of Fleurs de Villes

In Seattle, we have a rite of springtime called the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, which always takes place in February when everyone craves the fragrance of flowers (not to mention the scent of potting soil), and the unfurling of foliage, fronds and petals as seen in the excellent garden displays that cover the floor of the Washington State Convention Center.

I’ve been involved in one way or another with this amazing experience for more than two decades. In fact, in 1989 when it was launched by founder Duane Kelly, I covered the story for the local business newspaper where I was a staff reporter. I recall then thinking that I so wanted to join Duane’s world. For years, I covered the Flower and Garden show as a journalist and editor; then, when I made the leap to home and garden writing, I actually spoke at the show in 2002, beginning a recurring gig every year since.

In the past few years, though, instead of speaking, I’ve produced and hosted the Flower Stage at the NWFGF. This role has allowed me to invite Slow Flowers members to participate and engage flower show audiences in the conversation about floral design, local and seasonal botanicals, and more.

Blooms & Bubbles instructors will appear at the Northwest Flowr & Garden Festival’s DIY Floral Stage

This year, we’re again producing Blooms & Bubbles, a daily DIY workshop series with American-grown and locally-grown “blooms” and a glass of champagne aka “bubbles.” Five Slow Flowers members are teaching and I want to give them a shout-out right now so you can follow along on social as we post workshop images of their classes and students.

They include Thomasi Boselawa, CFD, Tiare Floral Design Studio; Erin Shackelford, Camas Designs; Maura Whalen, Casablanca Floral; Carolyn Kulb, Folk Art Flowers; and Teresa Engbretson and Katie Elliott of My Garden Overfloweth. You can find the full schedule here. Tickets are going fast but you might be able to snag a seat to join us! And PS, even if you aren’t able to sign up for the DIY workshop each day at 2 p.m., there is public seating and you’re invited to watch along! The dates: February 26-March 1.

Because I’ve been able to work closely with the management at Marketplace Events, the current owners of the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, I learned last fall that FLOWERS were taking center stage at the 2020 show. Operations manager Courtney Goetz and I met for lunch and she pulled out a few images to share the secret with me. It’s no secret anymore — and today’s guests will tell you all about the phenomenom called Fleurs de Villes. That’s Fleurs with an “S” and Villes with an “S” – as in “Flowers of the Cities.”

As soon as Courtney showed me photos of flower-clad female mannequins, I knew I had seen the images on my Instagram feed. I soon learned from Courtney that this woman-owned company was based just a few hours to the north of us – in Vancouver, B.C., and that the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival had invited Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley to bring Fleurs de Villes here to Seattle.

I’m so exited to bring you today’s conversation with two event and marketing experts. Karen and Tina are elevating flowers in a way that feels fresh, fashion-forward, and inventive.

Much like the response people have when they see the photo shoots of real models wearing botanical couture for our American Flowers Week campaigns that Slow Flowers began commissioning in 2016, the botanical couture on Fleurs de Villes’ three-dimensional mannequins takes floral fashion to a new level. That level is different in one key way from what I’ve been doing with American Flowers Week. And it is a feat to pull off, I can tell you. That’s because Tina and Karen are gathering more than a dozen mannequins, each designed and created by an area florist, and each on display for the full run of the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. I am in awe of the theatrical levels achieved by Fleurs de Villes.

I want to jump right into this conversation, but first, a bit more about Fleurs de Villes and its founders:

FLEURS DE VILLES combines the love of flowers, local design talent, and bespoke, utterly unique displays, for experiential events like none other. The name speaks to that – Fleurs de Villes – flowers of the cities. Connecting with each city we launch in, we work with top local florists, designers, growers and nurseries, to showcase that city’s world-class talent and create stunning displays of art. Fleurs de Villes not only showcases artful flower displays, we create engagement – with audiences viewing our events, and with the partners who support us, from leading sponsor brands to local and national media, as well as community-based groups. We believe in the power of partnerships and the amplification of messaging that comes when audiences have an experience of the senses. Our team of highly professional individuals is dedicated to ensuring every touch-point is on brand to deliver an event experience people will be talking about – and sharing – for a long time to come.

Floral mannequins from past Fleurs de Villes events

TINA BARKLEY is one of Vancouver’s best known lifestyle experts regularly working with Chatelaine Magazine, Today’s Parent and appearing on TV cooking, styling, decorating. Tina has also been a serial entrepreneur for over 25 years, researching, structuring and building businesses. Creating a brand and building a solid product, strategic partnerships, operational structure, marketing and sales are all areas Tina thrives in. As an effective event builder and planner, Tina has a ‘knack’ for making it happen, and empowering everyone around her.

KAREN MARSHALL has a long term international career in publishing and the digital space. She is a strategic thinker with a laser focus on partnership cultivation. With a belief that no brand is an island she has put together countless programs bringing key organizations and media together to create outstanding promotions. Working for some of the largest media brands in the world and in Canada and within the luxury space with numerous consumer brands across a broad spectrum, her focus is on quality engagement and experiential offerings for all partners.

Thanks so much for joining me today.  Find and follow Fleurs de Villes at these links below:

Fleurs de Villes on Facebook

Fleurs de Villes on Instagram

You can find details about the Seattle Fleurs de Villes display — February 26-March 1st at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Future schedule to see Fleurs de Villes around North America and beyond.

As promised, here are the local florists and designers participating as Fleurs de Villes artists. Each will create a floral garment to adorn the lifesize mannequin. It’s no surprise, but a number of them are Slow Flowers members!

First of all, I am thrilled that Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers & Mercantile is designing the Slow Flowers-sponsored mannequin featuring all local and domestic botanicals. We are so grateful for Melissa’s longtime membership and support and I can’t wait to see what she creates!

Of course, as anyone who is committed to sourcing domestic and local flowers in the Pacific Northwest in February, which faces a dormant growing season that many of you also experience, I want to just acknowledge what a feat it will be to bring a Slow Flowers sentiment and values to an undertaking like a botanical garment made entirely from fresh and natural materials. I’ve heard anecdotally from several Slow Flowers members as they’ve planned their creations and I know they are committed to sourcing a good percentage of their looks with domestic crops. Let’s cheer them on and see what they create. Including Melissa of Terra Bella, nine Slow Flowers members are participating as Fleurs de Villes designers — more than half of all the dresses you’ll see! They include:

TJ Montague of Garden Party Design

Tobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events & Design

Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral

Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs

Keita Horn of Smashing Petals

Annika McIntosh of Hazel Landscapes & Designs

Tomasi Boselawa, CFD, of Tiare Floral Design

Tammy Myers and the florists of Lora Bloom

Other Fleurs de Villes florists include: a Natural Design; Fena Flowers; Seattle Floral Design; Zupan’s Markets; Leah Erickson; Ondine; and you’ll see supporting floral installations by Apotheca Design and Soren Events.

Jennifer Jewell is the author of The Earth in Her Hands, which includes a profile of Lorene Edwards Forkner, Christin Geall and Debra Prinzing, among many others.

If that’s not enough floral, horticulture and botanical inspiration, you can find me on Thursday, February 27th at 12:30 pm, as part of a panel entitled:WOMEN AT WORK: MAKING A LIVING WHILE FOLLOWING YOUR PLANT PASSION,” moderated by author Jennifer Jewell, and featuring Lorene Edwards Forkner, Cristin Geall and me. Get your Northwest Flower & Garden Festival tickets here — and I’ll see you there!

Jumping ahead to future events . . . the clock is ticking along as we continue to finalize details for the 4th Annual Slow Flowers Summit – June 26-28, 2020 in San Francisco Bay Area at Filoli.

We only have 50 seats left so I urge you to follow the links in today’s show notes and reserve your space with the Slow Flowers tribe! Your Ticket Includes: All-Day Sunday, June 28 + Monday, June 29 with 5 Presentations + 7 Fabulous Speakers, all meals, refreshments and evening cocktail receptions;

Floral Design Demonstrations; an Interactive Floral Installation; Author Book-Signings; Cool Take-Home Gifts . . . and then, on Tuesday Morning, June 30th, a behind the scenes tour at Farmgirl Flowers HQ where you’ll enjoy a Light Breakfast + Coffee, and meet our good friend Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers.

I can’t wait to see you there!

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 578,000 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.

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.

Our next 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.

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:

Le Marais; Symphony 40 in G Minor; Via Verre; 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 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