Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘Playfulness’ Category

Episode 475: How the COVID shutdown inspired Postal Petals, a conversation with founder and floral entrepreneur Talia Boone

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

I met today’s guest, Talia Boone, when two other Slow Flowers members reached out to tell me about her and her new floral venture. As soon as I learned about Talia and her Los Angeles-based company Postal Petals, I thought — “we need her to join Slow Flowers” because her mission is i100% alignment with ours. Thank you to Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders and Whit McClure of Whit Hazen, who separately connected me with Talia earlier this summer.

Talia is a veteran marketing, communications and branding strategist whose background is in professional sports and entertainment. About three years ago, she formed INTER:SECT, a creative, tactical solutions agency that serves as a catalyst for pioneering ideas, collaboration and creative opportunities at the intersection of sports, business, technology, consciousness, culture and the arts, with the goal of promoting socially and culturally relevant conversations and collective action.

Up until now, Talia’s focus has been the intersection of sports, business, culture and social impact. And now, FLOWERS. Her new business, Postal Petals, has a social impact mission and I’m excited to share her story in our conversation today.  Talia is a self-described floral enthusiast and DIY floral arranger. Since she’s based in Los Angeles, she often shopped at the Los Angeles Flower Market during public hours, bringing home flowers to arrange and enjoy — as part of her personal creativity and mental health practice.

You’ll hear how COVID is to blame for Talia’s newest venture, provoked by the closure of the Los Angeles Flower Market and her search for farm-direct flowers to fill her flower fix.

Postal Petals’ origins began with that search. Launched online in September, here’s how Postal Petals is described: Think of us as a farm-to-table produce box, but for fresh flowers! Postal Petals connects flower lovers directly to farms to receive fresh flowers at a competitive price point when compared to the retail marketplace. Each stem is handpicked and cut just hours before they are carefully packaged and shipped to you for delivery within 36 hours of harvest, ensuring quality and freshness. Once you open your Petal Box, you can build those beautiful loose blooms into stunning arrangements with a quick video tutorial or virtual hands-on workshop with one of our professional florists. Each Petal Box includes vibrant flowers sourced domestically from eco-friendly farms. From calla lilies to cheery sunflowers to picturesque peonies, there’s a new floral adventure inside every Postal Petals box.

Follow #blackfloristfriday to meet designers who are part of Postal Petals’ Black Florist Directory

Follow Postal Petals at these social places:

Postal Petals on Facebook

Postal Petals on Instagram

Postal Petals’ #blackfloristfriday series on Instagram — it’s a wonderful addition to the floral community.

Talia Boone, Postal Petals’ founder and CEO

Thanks so much for joining us today. There is so much inspiration packed into a conversation with Talia Boone! I jotted down one of her references, and it’s worth restating here: If you want to go fast, to alone; if you want to go far, go together. That is the true message of Slow Flowers and for everyone who is part of our community!

As I mentioned, you can read more about Talia in today’s show notes. Today we also posted a feature story about Postal Petals in Slow Flowers Journal — that’s at slowflowersjournal.com. Earlier this week, we started a six-part editorial series called New Floral Marketing Models & Platforms, beginning with Amelia Ihlo of Rooted Farmers on Monday and Rachel Heath of Flora Fun Box yesterday. After today’s feature on Postal Petals, the series continues for three more days as we profile: American Grown at Home, a project of Kelly Shore and Petals by the Shore; Zap Bloom, Sally Vander Wyst’s new venture, and Tammy Meyers of LORABloom. I know this series will interest you because there’s inspiration for flower farmers, florists and designers to consider diversification in their own enterprises. And, I am pretty sure this series will prompt others to reach out and let me know who they are and tell me about their new models!

Okay, whew. Does October seem like the year’s busiest month so far? I feel it and you might, too. Flowers are still blooming in my garden – so far! Our expected first-frost date won’t come for another few weeks. One flower farmer recently told me that October 15th is his “frost date,” whether the thermometer is down to freezing or not. He’s ready for a break and I don’t blame him. The zeitgeist of anticipation in our lives is undeniable, and some (maybe most) of it comes with a side order of anxiety. How do we move forward with so much uncertainty? Taking positive action is sometimes the best antidote to that feeling.

The first Say Their Names Memorial in Portland, Oregon

To that end, I’m thrilled to share that next week on October 20th, our friend Karen Thornton of Avenue 22 Events is leading the installation of a new Say Their Names Memorial in Kirkland, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. Karen is Slow Flowers’ operations and special events manager — many of you have met her during our regular Zoom Meet-Ups or in-person at the past two Slow Flowers Summits. Karen also recently took over Slow Flowers membership management from Lisa Waud, who has taken a step back for other important projects.

I want to let you know about the Say Their Names Memorial because it continues the good work of Portland-based wedding and event designer Joy Proctor, who began the memorial on Juneteenth when she and others mounted black-and-white portraits of more than 200 Black women and men whose lives were lost due to racial injustice. Flowers play a role in the powerful and sobering gallery of faces and names, as each portrait is commemorated with a small bouquet.

Slow Flowers and several of our member florists and farmers are supporting the October 20th installation. Here is Karen’s Go Fund Me link and I invite you to contribute, and provide support.

More announcements

Before we get started, I want to announce the winner of our 2020 Tilth Conference registration giveaway, announced last week. I asked you to post a comment in last week’s show notes to tell us the one thing you are doing in your floral enterprise to address climate change. Our winner, Aishah Lurry, past guest of this podcast, commented: Patagonia Flower Farm is located in the high desert of Arizona; when we first started thinking about flower farming, the most important thing to us was water conservation. We have found that using landscape fabric slows down evaporation and has allowed us to use a minimal amount of water. It does this by blocking the sunlight In turn keeping the soil moist for a much longer period of time. Thanks for the great comment — and congratulations, Aishah! You’ll be attending – virtually – the 2020 Tilth organic farming conference on November 9 & 10! I’ll send you all the details for your complimentary registration.

First, there’s still time to complete the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey!

To thank you for sharing your time to take the survey, we’d like to send you an etched Slow Flowers Society botanical bookmark – and enter your name into the drawing for one free registration to the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, valued at $599! But you must give us your name and contact information to receive the bookmark and enter the drawing — if you choose to respond anonymously, we can’t bestow our gifts!

Tomorrow, October 15th, registration begins for my first online course, Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling. You can learn more details and watch a video message from me here. The course begins November 1st so check out link above and take advantage of the $200 off introductory promo code — SF97 –, meaning you can enjoy this course for just $97. It includes three modules, 11 lessons, six worksheets and three writing templates. I’m excited to see you in the course!

On Friday, October 16th, the 2020 Flowerstock, Virtual Edition launches. A combination of live presentations and pre-recorded presentations from a wide range of florists, designers, and more, Flowerstock is the brainchild of our friend and Slow Flowers member Holly Chapple. I’ve developed new module for my session “A Bouquet of Words,” recorded specifically for Flowerstock attendees. Follow this link to see the full program and register for just $297.

From Sunday, October 25th to Wednesday, October 28th, I’ll return to Fleurvana, a virtual floral conference that first took place in late August. Fleurvana Holiday Summit follows much of the same format, but has all new presentations and a combination of new and returning speakers. I’ve developed an entirely new presentation called Taking Stock: Writing your 2020 Year in Review & 2021 Forecast with Creative Intention. As with last time, you can register for a free pass to attend Fleurvana during October 26-28. And you can purchase a VIP Pass to access private speaker roundtables and watch the presentations at your own pace.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 649,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our sponsors

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

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.

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. We have a new Slow Flowers article that dropped last week in Johnny’s Advantage, Johnny’s monthly newsletter. It’s all about Pricing and Profitability and features advice from five Slow Flowers growers. You’ll want to read it!

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Alustrat; Skyway; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 469: Blending an artistic practice and commercial floristry, with Kat Claar of From Blossoms

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020
Floral artist and designer Kat Claar (c) Tell the Bees Photography (left); a paper-and-floral-sculpture (right)

Several months ago, Kathleen “Kat” Claar of From Blossoms reached out to reconnect. We originally met in March 2019 at the Philadelphia Flower & Garden Show when I shared a meal with a few Slow Flowers members and other locally-focused flower farmers and designers.

Kat wanted to share how she was coping with Pennsylvania’s then stay-at-home order, which imposed constraints on her floral work. Instead of feeling limited, though, Kat began to film video tutorials which she says allowed her “to succinctly and effectively share her creative process.” Well, I watched those sweet videos and was hooked on Kat’s highly personal style combining floral design with custom-cut paper shapes that result in contemporary abstract works of art.

As she told me, “I would love for more people to consider and notice a daffodil in a new way through my work, but I also think it would be applicable as a project that people could do themselves with something as easily-accessible as a colored piece of paper and a couple stems of flowers from their yard.”

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CEc8gpxj4O_/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Kat says this recent video is her highest production with puppets, silk flowers and shapes

“My goal is to draw attention to seasonal flowers, ones that are available to anyone really, and to help people see those flowers in new ways by playing with our perception of them.”

In addition to her own studio art practice, Kat is a wedding and event designer for a Philadelphia-based shop called Vault and Vine. We discuss how she balances the two sides of her floral career and how the commercial design work blends with a fine art practice.

Kat’s gold-metal award for floral design entry “Seeing Flowers” at the 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show really wowed me (pictured below with images (c) Love Me Do Photography).

I spent several days at the show and every time I walked past her display I stopped in my tracks, got out my camera and photographed the piece. There are definitely elements – albeit more detailed – of her paper cutout technique. 

Above: Kat’s floral entry at the 2020 Philadelphia Flower & Garden Show, featuring plexiglass shapes by Roxana Azar (c) Tell the Bees Photography.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CAxcyDegJ_2/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
A kids’ video with “Beedy” the puppet

Thanks so much for joining me today for my conversation with Kat Claar. I hope you take a moment to respond to those creative sparks or lightening bolts when they hit you!

Find and follow Kat at From Blossoms on Instagram

See the full video collection on Kat’s IGTV feed here.

September 2nd in my #slowflowerscuttinggarden

It’s the beginning of a new month and like me, you’re probably turning attention to September and beyond. The days here in Seattle are still quite warm, but I can feel the chill of autumn in the morning air and I have mixed feelings about it. I normally love autumn. With COVID limiting our indoor gatherings, we’ve been so reliant on time outdoors. What comes with the changing of the seasons? Some friends of mine just invested in an infrared heater for their deck, to extend their outdoor time as long as they can. I’m seriously ready to order head-to-toe rain gear from REI, to make sure I can be quasi-comfortable when I want to continue gardening during our typically wet season. We’re all adept by now at online everything, and my top wardrobe has expanded while I continue to basically wear the same black yoga pants that you’ll never see on a Zoom call. This is an endless season of change. I sincerely hope the Slow Flowers Podcast has been a source of companionship and encouragement to you — from a distance, as always. This show has been downloaded more than 637,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our sponsors

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

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

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.

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.

(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:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 457: American Flowers Week, Botanical Couture and Dahlia Dresses with Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020
An apricot-hued dahlia frock designed by Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms (c) Katherine Buttrey

A Message from Debra Prinzing:

Thanks so much for joining today’s conversation. Like me, I know you’ve experienced the healing role that flowers can play in our lives. And if you come from a position of white privilege, like me, I hope you’ve been watching, listening and educating yourselves over the past two weeks as we take stock of the reality that we’ve ignored systemic racism for too long and we must speak out against injustice. I also believe as a white woman, I need to step back and let others speak to power. I have been so moved by the voices and actions of our black Slow Flowers members and by those aren’t black but who are, like me, personally influenced because they have partners and children who are black. It’s raw and on the surface, and certainly centuries of racism will not be reversed over night.

But I encourage you to join me in this self-education and openness to hear. Last week and in the coming weeks, we are featuring our black Slow Flowers members on the Slow Flowers’ IG and FB feeds. Several are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast, past speakers at Slow Flowers Summit conferences and flower people who I’ve featured in articles for Slow Flowers Journal and other outlets.

We want to grow our black membership beyond its disproportionately small percentage. Please help me with suggestions of flower farmers, floral designers and farmer-florists who we need to include in this community. We have established a Professional Development Fund to underwrite their membership costs. If you’d like to contribute financially to that fund to sponsor a new member and expand our inclusion and representation — please reach out, too! You can contact me at debra@slowflowers.com. I’d love your suggestions and support.

The opening pages of Slow Flowers Journal coverage of American Flowers Week botanical couture features one of Sarah Pabody’s dahlia dresses, photographed in the fields at Triple Wren Farms (c) Katherine Buttrey

We all love dahlias, but have you ever thought about wearing a dress adorned with them? Today’s guest, Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms, lives and breathes dahlias at the farm she operates with her husband Steve Pabody in the Northwest corner of Washington State. I asked Sarah to join me on the Podcast today as part of our leadup to American Flowers Week, which takes place June 28th – July 4th for the sixth consecutive year.

At its heart, American Flowers Week focuses on the origin of each beautiful stem, where it comes from and who is the grower behind that bloom. The campaign also shines a light on floral design, promoting domestic flowers and foliage, inspiring professionals and consumers alike with a new aesthetic connected to locality, seasonality and sustainability.

Created by members of the Slow Flowers Society, the 2020 botanical couture collection for American Flowers Week presents cut flowers re-imagined as a wearable art. These designs combine fantasy with reality, imagination with technique, inventiveness with grit. Flowers are fleeting, yet sensory and evocative, inviting us to view the natural world as a true art form. American Flowers Week captures imaginations and sparks curiosity. It is a true celebration of the artists who grow flowers and the artists who design with them.

Sarah Pabody (second from left) with three models wearing dahlia gowns made from her fields. (c) Ashley Hayes and Sarah Joy Fields

In addition to farming and growing flowers, Sarah also runs Triple Wren Weddings, a wedding and event design studio. After seeing how popular the farm’s dahlia fields were with local photographers and their portrait clients, Sarah fantasized about what it would look like if the people having their photos taken wore dahlias rather than only standing among the flowers. Her idea took hold and now Sarah teaches Dahlia Dress Masterclasses for designers and floral enthusiasts who want to create, wear and be photographed in dahlia couture. Beyond fantasy, the garments are thoroughly alluring, but also accessible, prompting others to imagine themselves wearing a dahlia dress of her own.

Click here to read the full story from the June issue of Florists’ Review:

Sarah and Steve Pabody of Triple Wren Farms, captured with their children among the dahlia fields.

Here’s a bit more about Triple Wren Farms: Founded in 2012, Triple Wren is a 22-acre farm in Ferndale, Washington. It is the second growing site for the Pabodys, who in 2016 acquired a distressed berry farm with great soil and water rights after previously leasing land elsewhere. Triple Wren Farms currently grows on about nine acres.

The Pabody family during a past August sunflower harvest.

The farm supplies cut flowers to wholesale customers and has developed an agritourism focus that includes you-pick blueberry fields, a fall pumpkin patch, flower workshops and open farm events, including a Dahlia Festival and a Blueberry Party. The farm also sells dahlia tubers, growing close to 200 varieties selected for superior cut flower performance. Triple Wren Farms’ tuber store has the tagline: ‘Dahlias for cuts in a modern palette.’

You can listen to Steve and Sarah Pabody’s story when they were guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast back in 2014.

Upcoming Classes, Workshops & Events at Triple Wren Farms:

Dahlia Camp (September 10-12, 2020)

Flower Therapy Workshops and Sunset Yoga (ongoing)

Dahlia Dress Masterclass

Triple Wren Farm & Weddings on Social Media

Triple Wren Farms on Facebook

Triple Wren Farms on Instagram

Triple Wren Weddings

Triple Wren Weddings on Instagram

Sarah and her daughter Chloe Wren, who is wearing one of her mother’s dahlia dresses at Triple Wren Farms (c) Abigail Larsen

I know you’ll enjoy learning from Sarah as we discuss her farm, her flowers, and her floral art.

A lot of happenings are coming up in the month of June and I’m so excited to include any listeners in these opportunities!

On June 12th, we will hold our monthly Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up — an online gathering of florists, growers, farmer-florists and supporters, launched in late March. The Virtual Meet-Ups have moved from weekly to monthly and will now continue as a regular event on the 2nd Friday of each month.

Join me and the Slow Flowers Community at our next gathering on Friday, June 12th, same time as before – 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Follow this link to join us. Click here to watch the replay of our May 29th Meet-Up and read more about our June Meet-Up guests.

On June 24th, please join me for a Virtual Book Launch party to celebrate the publication of our new book, Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One!

Eighty Slow Flowers members are featured in its pages and we will share a big reveal of this beautiful, 128-page book, published by our partners at Wildflower Media/Florists’ Review.

The all-virtual Launch Party and Happy Hour will take place at 4 pm Pacific/7 pm on June 24th and we will welcome many special guests who appear in the pages of Slow Flowers Journal. And if you want to grab your own copy, our bookstore is open for orders, so you can find that link in today’s show notes, as well.

Please plan on participating in the sixth annual American Flowers Week, June 28th-July 4th. I hope Sarah Pabody’s dahlia dress project inspires you to create beauty with your flowers and your creative community. Use your flowers to communicate a message of beauty, sustainability, wellness and inclusion – and help us promote domestic floral agriculture across the U.S. You can find all sorts of free resources at Americanflowersweek.com. For members only, you can order our red-white-and-blue bouquet labels to use during the weeks leading up to American Flowers Week. I’ll share that link in today’s show notes. Hope to see you online with photos and videos and in live displays of your American flowers. Please use the hash-tag: #americanflowersweek to help us find and highlight your talents!

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.

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.

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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 612,000 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:

Vienna Beat; Turning On The Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 432: Slow Flowers’ Holiday Music Special with Carolyn Kulb of Folk Art Flowers; plus, our state focus: West Virginia

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

It’s that time again, the annual Slow Flowers Holiday Music Special!

Floral design [(c) Suzanne Rothmeyer] by Carolyn Kulb, seen at right.

Today’s guest is Carolyn Kulb of Folk Art Flowers, based in Seattle. Carolyn and I met in the fall of 2018 and I’ve enjoyed watching how she fully participates in the benefits available to Slow Flowers members — from submitting designs to our monthly Slow Flowers Design Idea galleries on Houzz.com to showing up and volunteering for projects like an installation at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market to celebrate American Flowers Week.

Neon Brass Party, a Seattle “Honk” band — see today’s guest, Carolyn Kulb, wearing a hot pink hat and playing her violin towards the left

Last April, while chatting with Carolyn at the Whidbey Flower Workshop, I learned that she is not only an aspiring farmer-florist but also a musician. She plays and teaches violin and is a member of a HONK band called “Neon Brass Party,” here in Seattle.

I often try and feature a musical guest during the holiday season, so when I learned about Carolyn’s other artistic outlet, I asked if she would join me and share some of her talents for this episode.

You’ll hear portions of a violin piece that Carolyn played for me in person. Here is a link to listen to her digital music compositions.

Roses and peonies, designed by Carolyn Kulb of Folk Art Flowers

But mostly, today we talk flowers — including the trials and challenges facing a startup farmer-florist.

I hope you’ll enjoy the conversation. Carolyn says she started Folk Art after a long journey doing work that did not match her strengths. She continues:

Spring Hellebores by Folk Art Flowers

“Early on I worked with the Peace Corps, which was incredible mostly because I got to work with farmers all day. I kept climbing the ladder, including jobs that let me travel, but I was miserable behind a desk. What I did love about my career was working with other farmers in the field and connecting with people and nature, so I decided to start doing more of that.

“After moving to Seattle, I joined the Sustainable Farming Education Program at Tilth Alliance, which is an incubation program for beginner farmers. I joined a farm to experience a full season in action, and started growing flowers in my backyard. I also did a lot of arranging and experimentation to improve my craft, and designed full-service flowers for several weddings. (I also joined two bands, which is another story!) After this wonderful incubation period of creativity and learning, I finally decided to start Folk Art Flowers. I am so excited and grateful to be able to share some of my joy with you by bringing you beautiful, local, and sustainably produced flowers.”

A lavish dahlia bouquet, designed by Carolyn Kulb of Folk Art Flowers

As a design studio, Folk Art Flowers offers a flower subscription service, individual arrangements, wedding and event flowers, and more. Carolyn sources flowers locally through family farms in the Pacific Northwest, farms that employ sustainable growing practices. In the winter months, she occasionally sources botanical ingredients from California, saying: “I believe in American-grown flowers and will never use flowers that are flown in from another country.”

As you’ll hear from Carolyn, in 2019 with new leased land, she began to realize her dream to grow all of her own florals. Her commitment to sustainability includes everything from growing flowers using organic practices to recycling vases. It also includes a philosophy of building soil health naturally, avoiding the use of pesticides through integrated pest management, using only organic fertilizers, providing habitat for wildlife and bees, and rotating crops.  

Another fun Neon Brass Party band photo with Carolyn at far left

Find and follow Folk Art Flowers at these social places.

Folk Art Flowers on Facebook

Folk Art Flowers on Instagram

Folk Art Flowers on Pinterest

Thank you so much for joining my conversation with Carolyn! I love hearing her story and I know that 2020 will be a big, bountiful year as she develops her new farmland. This is the message that appears on Folk Art Flowers’ web site: “We are a member of the Slow Flowers community, and our flowers are local, meaning that you are supporting local farmers in your community in addition to supporting a small, woman-owned business. Since we use farm flowers, you’ll get to see the seasons change based on what we select for you.  And we might be biased, but we think we create the most beautiful arrangements out there.” — I couldn’t love this sentiment more!

Tamara Hough of Morning Glory Flowers (left), our West Virginia guest; Tamara’s botanical artwork – in process (right)

Fifty States of Slow Flowers continues today with a stop in West Virginia. You’ll hear from Tamara Hough of Morning Glory Flowers, our West Virginia guest in the 2019 Fifty States of Slow Flowers series. A few months ago, we commissioned Tamara, a flower farmer, botanical artist and new Slow Flowers member to design our American Flowers Week branding for 2020! I’m so excited for you to learn more about Tamara and the special role she is playing as our guest artist.

Tamara Hough of Morning Glory Flowers

You can see Tamara’s playful and charming floral ladies, faces and fashions that she posts on her Instagram feed . This artwork captured my imagination as a perfect way to represent the spirit of American Flowers Week! I asked Tamara to create an original illustration with three botanically-styled women to represent the best of Slow Flowers and American Flowers Week. She designed a trio of gals in beautiful floral headpieces, with bits and pieces from the garden used to create all the facial features — and their fashionable looks!

A trio of floral ladies celebrate floral female friendship, by Tamara Hough of Morning Glory Flowers

Check out our American Flowers Week 2020 branding artwork — and download your own badges and graphics here (thanks to Jenny Diaz for the beautiful typography!). Click here to find Tamara’s Etsy shop where you can order prints and cards.

The Early Bird promotion for the Slow Flowers Summit continues through the end of this month and I’m so encouraged by the incredible response we’ve had — passionate and progressive floral folks from nine states from East to West and one Canadian Province have already registered! We encourage you to take advantage $100 off the Member or General registration for the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit and purchase your ticket to the Slow Flowers Summit by December 31st.

If you’ve not yet checked out details, you can find links to all the exciting news about our partnership with Filoli Historic House and Garden, our venue for days 1 and 2 of the Summit (that’s June 28 &29) and our fabulous speaker lineup. By the way, Day 3 is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour led by our friend Christina Stembel, CEO of Farmgirl Flowers. This is rare access, folks, available only to Summit attendees. As I said, check out those details in today’s show notes.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 558,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

Thanks to Florists’ Review, you can now order a subscription for yourself + give one as a gift this holiday season.

Set your 2020 intention to enrich your personal and professional development!

Click here for the Buy-One-Gift-One special 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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August – and even September. Thank you to the many farmers and growers who have been part of this operation to supply peonies throughout the United States and Canada.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A polychromatic series: Seeing Color in the Garden @gardenercook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Lorene Edwards Forkner at these social places:

LEF on Facebook

LEF on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

Dahlias at Hart’s Garden & Nursery

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

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

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

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

Here are the details:

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

HARTS GARDEN & NURSERY, Missoula, Montana

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

Thank you for taking the time to pop in the ear buds and join the Slow Flowers Podcast. Thank you to our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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

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

Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Spring bulb season is almost here – my tulips are poking out of the ground already! Visit Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 381: A Year in Review – Slow Flowers’ Highlights for 2018

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

The Slow Flowers Community and listenership of this program have grown larger than ever, with more than 390,000 total downloads since this show launched in July 2013. That’s amazing news and I’m thrilled to share it with you.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

Every single week this year; in fact, every single week for the past 282 weeks, it has been my privilege to feature the voices of our Slow Flowers community with you.

Unlike any other internet radio show in existence, the Slow Flowers Podcast is tailored to you and your interests, making its “must-listen” programming a habit among flower farmers and floral designers alike.

In producing and hosting the Slow Flowers Podcast, I seek out pioneers and personalities, style-makers and influencers — as well as unsung or little known heroes — who together are changing the floral landscape, disrupting the status quo, and bringing flower sourcing and growing practices, not to mention eco-conscious design methods, to the center of the conversation. And thanks for joining in. Whether you’ve just discovered this podcast or are a longtime fan, I encourage you to take advantage of the immense body of knowledge that can be found in the archives.

As I have done since the beginning of 2014, I would like to devote today to the Slow Flowers Highlights of this past year. Next week, on January 2nd, I will present the annual Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast for 2019.

I’m motivated as a storyteller to connect with the Slow Flowers Community in real and personal ways — and that was certainly the case in 2018. Rather than share a chronological travelogue of the year’s calendar, I’m mixing it up today.

I’ve looked in the rear-view mirror to remember 2018 and — wow — the themes bubbling up to the top are impressive. I’m humbled by the warm embrace of the Slow Flowers Community and more than ever, I realize that making authentic human connections with you is what really matters. Each experience is more meaningful because of the relationships we forge with one another.

I’ve identified 10 Top Themes of 2018 that I want to reflect on and share with you today.

Our speakers, from left: Mary Kate Kinnane, Kelly Shore, Debra Prinzing, Jonathan Weber, Jessica Hall, Walker Marsh, Christina Stembel, Kit Wertz & Casey Schwartz (not pictured: Mud Baron)

NUMBER ONE: the SECOND ANNUAL SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT

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

Planning and producing the 2nd Summit was a huge financial risk, especially since it was the first time on the east coast, away from our original Seattle venue.

I knew we could lose money but my heart told me it was important to forge ahead, as I found myself inspired by the amazing sense of inclusion, connection, new ideas, beauty and humanity surrounding our floral-filled lives.

I believed taking that risk was essential. That risk paid off and we actually had a sold-out Summit on Friday, June 29th in Washington, D.C., with a remarkably welcoming venue host – the American Institute of Floral Designers.

I have so many people to thank for helping produce the Summit, so let me get started. First of all, thanks to Bob Wollam and his team at Wollam Gardens for opening up their Virginia farm the day prior to the Summit for tours, lunch and community. That bonus pre-event was so positive that it inspired us to add two pre-event flower farm tours for our 2019 Slow Flowers Summit. THANK YOU all!

Ellen Seagraves, Cathy Houston and Dana Sullivan ~ the talented florists who led our interactive floral installation.

We had wonderful day-of volunteers, but I mostly want to single out Ellen Seagraves of Chic Florals and Dana O’Sullivan of Della Blooms, both Slow Flowers Members and part of Independent Floral Designers of Maryland, for volunteering to create the Summit’s interactive floral installation. We had so many wonderful donations from flower farms to pull this off — including Charles Little & Co., FernTrust, Green Valley Floral, LynnVale Studio & Farm and Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers — as well as EcoFresh Bouquets, which provided wraps for the foam-free installation.

I can’t forget to thank our speakers — without whom the day would have been an empty room, of course. Our keynote speaker Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers wowed us with a frank discussion of building a self-funded floral business through grit and determination.

We enjoyed two visually and intellectually-inspiring design + business presentations geared toward florists who are committed to the Slow Flowers ethos, in their sourcing and in the ways they build community — Thank you Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet and thank you Kit Wertz and Casey Schwartz of Flower Duet.

Our Flowers + Tech panel introduced a fascinating discussion about the challenges of transportation, infrastructure and shipping — thank you to Jonathan Weber of greenSinner, Jessica Hall of Harmony Harvest Farm and Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers for their excellent presentations and for helping us look toward the horizon of new business models.

And finally, thank you to our final two speakers, men who are passionate about flower farming as a tool for improving the lives of their communities ~ Walker Marsh of Tha Flower Factory in Baltimore and Mud Baron of Flowers on your Head in Los Angeles.

Flowers on my head, courtesy of Mud Baron.

Among other messages, we learned from them about sowing future seeds of hope through flowers. If you were in attendance – or if you followed the fun on social media, you also know that Mud was a flower force to be reckoned with as he festooned our heads with bouquets to fulfill his mission of photographing as many humans as possible for his Flowers on Your Head photographic project.

If you missed the Summit, you can find all the video presentations available to watch for just $48 on Vimeo — a full day of ideas, information, inspiration, inclusion and instigation with each of these speakers.

Watch a free clip of my opening remarks about the origins of the Slow Flowers Summit.

And I can’t finish this section without reminding you to register for the 3rd annual Slow Flowers Summit, taking place July 1-2, 2019 as an expanded conference, offering you more value and benefits for attending.

The early-bird pricing continues through Dec. 31st so there’s not much time left to save $100 and grab a seat to join me and some wonderful speakers in St. Paul Minnesota!

NUMBER TWO: AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK 2018 (June 28-July 4)

This original flower promotion holiday, launched in 2015, celebrated its fourth annual campaign. I was encouraged and inspired by friends behind British Flowers Week to create American Flowers Week (and to continue their generosity, I helped support the creation of Canadian Flowers Week this past September).

This grassroots, all-inclusive campaign provides editorial, branding and marketing resources to flower farmers, florists, designers, retailers and wholesalers who wish to promote American grown Flowers.

And wow, did you participate this past year! We have been tracking engagement on Instagram and Twitter, which this year was tricky because new rules on those platforms restricted our ability to measure the potential engagement of our followers’ followers (IF you saw what happened with Facebook this year, I’m sure that make sense)

Even with those tracking limitations, you and your participation in American Flowers Week generated amazing numbers — 3.6 million impressions in the month leading up to the 2018 celebration. We know the real total engagement was much higher, due to tracking tools not being able to capture Facebook traffic.

#americanflowersweek on Instagram this week!

All I can say is THANK YOU to each one of you who joined in the fun by designing red-white-and-blue bouquets, taking photos and posting/tagging them as #local #american and #seasonal and #slowflowers.

Rita Anders of Cuts of Color in Weimar, Texas, delivered American Flowers Week bouquets and bunches to Central Market stores in Houston.

Thanks to those of you who ordered our bouquet labels to use on your market and grocery bouquets, and for CSAs and popup events. And thanks for building the buzz to raise awareness about the importance of conscious choices when it comes to buying flowers. The more fun and fashion we can share with flowers, the more their origin becomes a top-of-mind decision at the cash register.

And speaking of fashion, 2018 was the third year of our American Flowers Week – floral fashion collection, a brilliant season of botanical garments revealing the beauty of flowers, the people who grow those flowers and the floral artists who reimagine them into garments.

Opening pages of “Field to Fashion,” in Slow Flowers Journal for Florists’ Review (June 2018)

This year, we called the theme “Field to Fashion,” and revealed all five floral couture looks in the pages of Florists’ Review magazine. Producing this floral narrative began in Homer, Alaska, where Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore partnered with Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies to envision a styled shoot reflecting just-picked peonies with a storyline that reflects the character, history and geography of Homer.

The series continued with photo shoots taking place through subsequent months of the year, as designers and flower farmers collaborated to turn cut flowers into haute couture, including a session in Sonoma County, with design talents from farmer-florist Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Flower Farm and dazzling dahlias grown by Kate Rowe of Aztec Dahlias;

a winter woodland narrative reliant upon farmer-florist Carly Jenkins of Killing Frost Farm’s penchant for foraging from the forests and woodlands of the Pacific Northwest and Montana;

Alison Higgins and Nicole Cordier of Grace Flowers Hawaii’s Big Island homage to locally-grown tropical flowers and foliage with two regal looks for male and female models;

and Faye Zierer Krause of Flora Organica Designs’ tribute to the Iris, straight from the Sun Valley Flower Farms’ greenhouses of Arcata California.

It is a privilege and an honor to experience this level of creativity and commitment to American Flowers Week. The inventiveness expressed by the Slow Flowers community — flower farmers and floral designers alike — elevates American-grown botanicals to new levels.

Click here to find the photos of the entire 2018 American Flowers Week collection of botanical fashions, including the stories behind each look.

I also need to thank and acknowledge the talented photographers who made each of these beautiful ideas come to life through their lens, including Alex Brooks, Becca Henry, Megan Spelman, Joshua Veldstra and Leon Villagomez.

Botanical artist Ellen Hoverkamp created our American Flowers Week 2018 image and branding!

One more artist gets a big thank you for helping make American Flowers Week more beautiful – and that is Ellen Hoverkamp of My Neighbors’ Garden. We invited Ellen, a Connecticut-based artist, to create a red-white-and-blue bouquet using her signature scanner photography technique and the result was a stunning image that helped us promote the campaign all year long. Her all-American botanical tribute wowed everyone and I’m excited to be able to use American Flowers Week as a way to highlight the work of such a talented artist.

And now’s the time to mark American Flowers Week 2019 on your calendar — June 28 through July 4 — because it will be our fifth annual campaign celebration! I’ll have more to share in the coming months, but you are invited to check out two links I’ll share in today’s show notes — first, a look at the 2019 botanical art branding we commissioned from Josephine Rice, and second, a sneak peek to introduce the florists and flower farmers who are busy creating American Flowers Week botanical fashions for next year’s editorial package.

READ MORE…







Episode 372: News from Flowerstock and my Conversation with its Creator, Holly Chapple

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Holly Heider Chapple at Flowerstock 2018 (c) Sarah Collier

Love this photo, captured by Sarah Collier, of the Flowerstock experience, photographed during one of Holly’s presentations.

Last week, Holly Heider Chapple welcomed designers and flower lovers from near and far to Flowerstock at HOPE Flower Farm.

Floral professionals and members of the floral community gathered for two days of demonstrations and talks by renowned floral designers, including Holly, Steve Moore of Sinclair & Moore, Nancy Teasley of Oak & the Owl and Alicia and Adam Rico of Bows & Arrows.

It was an honor to join Holly at Flowerstock for the second time as a a teacher.

I led a number of creative writing exercises for attendees, guiding floral creatives through various modules of describing flowers, color and memories in a new way.

These bud vases, arranged and photographed by Andrea K. Grist, were part of a writing module to describe what we see.

There were many quiet corners for writing, upstairs in the Dairy Barn, which is where I found Kelly Shore with pen, paper and flowers!

Color word-play is an important part of the Creative Writing Process, too, richly expanding our language.

The personal floral narrative is powerful.

We heard this idea many times from my fellow presenters and the timing was perfect for those who brought pens, paper, their open minds and a little vulnerability to the process.

We gathered upstairs in one of the barns, where there was a creative space for writing, photography and floral design. Thank you to all who participated.

I’m eager to read more of your writing!

Before I departed Flowerstock to return to Seattle, I asked Holly if we could sit down for the Slow Flowers Podcast to record an update from her and she agreed.

It was nice to sneak away to the Tenant House, where many of the speakers stayed, and sit in a comfy corner to speak uninterrupted.

We didn’t watch the clock, so this is a longish episode. We’ll forgive you if you listen in smaller units of time.

Sarah Collier captured this party photo of Holly and me, just prior to the final evening’s dinner. What a fun memento!

The first half of this episode focuses on Flowerstock and you can feel our emotions and joy while listening to Holly and I share highlights with one another.

This is the massive arrangement that Holly created at Flowerstock using the new extra-large Holly Pillow, a foam-free mechanic that she designed in conjunction with Syndicate Sales. (c) Sarah Collier

Then, during the second half of this episode, I ask Holly to update me on all that’s has happened in the past year with her new product line created in partnership with Syndicate Sales.

Holly Chapple holding her new grid-format “eggs” and “pillow cages,” designed with Syndicate Sales.

If you’ve missed the news, you’ll enjoy hearing the “backstory” of the Holly Egg and the Holly Pillow, new mechanics that allow efficiency, eliminate the use of foam, and (in Holly’s opinion) lend themselves to higher productivity during the design and production of weddings and events. Click here to learn more about this new product line, called the Holly Heider Chapple Collection by Syndicate Sales.

What a whirlwind of topics and stories ~ thanks for joining us. You can hear my original interview on the Slow Flowers Podcast with Holly, which we mentioned while reminiscing. It was Episode 123, which aired Jan 9, 2014. Wow, has so much happened for both Holly and me in the ensuing years as we’ve both promoting progressive practices in floral design and flower farming — in our own ways.

I want to encourage you to visit the Slow Flowers Summit site to learn more about the amazing program, people and flowers you’ll engage with next summer.

It’s not too early to save the date and secure your seat!

Slow Flowers members receive special discount pricing and everyone receives $100 off with the Early Bird rate, on sale now!

Please come back next week where you’ll hear another amazing episode featuring the leading voices in our Slow Flowers Community.

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities.

You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 372,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our Podcast Sponsors, including our lead sponsor for 2018, 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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

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

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. Visit them 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 syndicatesales.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. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

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

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.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

(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:
Betty Dear
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com







Episode 367: Flowers from the Lowcountry with Charleston, S.C.-based Jim Martin of Compost in My Shoe

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Jim Martin, today’s guest, is an amazing horticulturist and Southern flower farmer. We snapped this selfie at Brookgreen Gardens where Jim once worked.

Less than a month ago, I traveled to Charleston, S.C., where I spoke at the Southern Flower Symposium, hosted by Lowcountry Flower Growers. A number of wonderful and incredibly talented farmers and designers participated in the one-day conference, which was themed: “Future Forward Flower Success.”

After Rita Anders and I gave the morning presentations, the afternoon sessions at Southern Flower Symposium turned to floral design. Here, Anne Graves of Syndicate Sales discusses the company’s commitment to making vases and floral accessories in the U.S. Syndicate donated vessels for the design demonstration.

It was a fabulous time and I was honored to be invited by and hosted by today’s guest, Jim Martin. As a veteran horticulturist who has had a long career in public gardens, Jim works as director of programs for the Charleston Parks Conservancy. As a flower and veggie grower, he owns Compost in my Shoe, which originated as a garden blog and is now also the name of Jim’s farming enterprise.

Jim and David’s Southern front porch, inviting, comfortable, private and conducive to wonderful conversations.

Jim and his partner David Vagasky live incredibly creative lives on James Island, where there are lazy fans suspended above one’s bed, where there’s a covered porch with comfy chairs where you can sit and gaze at the lush, green garden, while sipping a glass of wine; Jim and David, along with their three friendly pups, took very good care of me. David is a culinary instructor, talented chef and chocolatier, a pedigree which immediately won me over!

Jim Martin with one of his floral creations inspired by the theme “Structure.” He used all locally-grown flowers and created three rhythmic towers with foam disks sliced from swimming pool “noodles.”

Another beautiful Jim Martin design featuring sunflowers, celosia and goldenrod stems, arranged in a metal frame that was once a wastebin.

Jim took me to tour Brookgreen Gardens near Myrtle Beach, where he once worked. We stumbled across a fantastic Patrick Dougherty installation!

My friendship with Jim dates back about 10 years through the Garden Writers Association, which found us serving on a long-range strategic planning task force in 2011 – a volunteer role that cemented our affection for one another.

How wonderful for me that Jim has always been a student of floral design, having presented on the national stage at past American Institute of Floral Designers conferences.

He is currently a candidate for the European Master Certification with Hitomi Gilliam AIFD and Tomas De Bruyne. Floral design and growing flowers brought us together more frequently than our garden blogs ever did.

I am excited to share Jim’s story today during our podcast — it’s an inspiring convergence of horticulture and floriculture.

Jim Martin, Compost in my Shoe

Here’s a bit more about Jim Martin, from Compost in My Shoe’s “about” page:

Jim Martin’s relationship with the land began on a dairy farm in northern Ohio. Caring for the soil was what they called organic farming.

A move to the Palmetto State at age 13 meant learning to garden in a foreign land. His 25-year career in horticulture is coming full circle with Compost In My Shoe.

His lifelong relationship with the land is shared today through his garden design, boutique farming and teaching/consulting.

Compost in my Shoe is dedicated to growing and developing high quality produce, products and services while nurturing  the life-giving bond we all have with the land.

Jim Martin is a lifelong gardener and horticulturist who has worked in public horticulture for 29 years. During his 12-year tenure as director of horticulture at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C., he played a key role in the development of their nationally-recognized 90-acre Botanical Garden. He also served for 5 years as the vice president of horticulture for Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in America, on Pawley’s Island, S.C. He has been with the Charleston Parks Conservancy since 2007 as Director of Programs.

Jim farms in the Lowcountry through Compost In My Shoe. Other interests include the floral arts, photography and gardening.

Jim Martin (left), with Ann Cunniffe of Purple Magnolia (center) and Toni Reale (right), presented the floral design portion of the Southern Flowers Symposium.

As I mentioned, Jim is one of the co-founders of the Lowcountry Flower Growers, along with Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora Farm and Peachey Trudell of One Wild Acre. Lowcountry Flower Growers is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to serving the Charleston and Lowcountry flower farming community through public advocacy and private educational opportunities for southern growers.

In 2017, seven Lowcountry flower farmers met to discuss their commitment to producing beautiful, high-quality floral crops for coastal South Carolina. They knew that locally-grown produce, prized for its exceptional flavor and quality, is a vital part of the Lowcountry economy.  The farmers agreed to work together to set the same high standards for the locally-grown bouquets gracing the tables of their customers.

Lowcountry Flower Growers was incorporated in 2017 and received federal tax exempt status in 2018.  In that brief time, the group has hosted multiple events to raise public awareness about locally grown flowers, particularly during the 2017 and 2018 American Flowers Week campaign. And most recently, they hosted the Southern Flower Symposium.

Our tour of Charleston included a visit to the editorial offices of Garden & Gun magazine, courtesy of Anne Graves. From left: Jim, Debra, Anne and one of G&G’s editors, CJ Lotz.

Before we turn to my interview with Jim, recorded on August 29th when there was no hint of a Hurricane called Florence, I want to update you on our flower farming community in Charleston. Jim and I spoke a few days ago and he reported that the area avoided the worst of the storm; Jim and David and their dogs were not required to evacuate and the hurricane was downgraded considerably last weekend.

Areas between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach were hit hardest and elsewhere, heavy, heavy rains and some flooding occurred. If you’ve heard of any flower farms sustaining damage or loss, please let me know.

Despite Compost in My Shoe’s good fortune this time around, Jim added this: “Most people are clueless about what farmers go through. Everything they’ve worked for can be gone in an instant, changed in a storm, hurricane or flood. And we just start over.”

Profound and humbling to say the least. In our interview, one of Jim’s comments really resonated with me. I think you’ll find it meaningful, given everything that’s going on in our world. He said: “It’s a global world but we have to live in it in a local way.” Profound!

Find and follow Jim Martin at these social places:
Compost in my Shoe on Facebook

Compost in my Shoe on Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today. Climate’s impact on flower farming is seemingly worse than ever. Last weekend, I also reached out to Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm in Travelers Rest, S.C., and a leader of the SC Upstate Flower Growers group, many of whom attended the Southern Flower Symposium. She sent this update: “So far, Florence has been a non-event here. Every time I look at the radar, my farm is just outside where the worst rain and wind is hitting in this area. Really grateful that we appear to have been spared this time!”

Next week, you’ll hear from Kim Burton of Denver’s CityGal Farms, who two weeks ago was hit with a freak hail storm, not the first of the area’s 2018 disasters.

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 360,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all our programs.

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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

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

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. Visit them 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 syndicatesales.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. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

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

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.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

(c) Nicole Clarey Photography for Mayesh Design Star Workshop

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:

In The Field; Acoustic Meditation; Acoustic Serenity
Music from:

audionautix.com







Episode 364: Meet Perla Sofia Curbelo, Puerto Rico’s Gardening and Wellness Expert

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Perla Sophia Curbelo, of Puerto Rico’s AgroChic

Today’s guest shares with us an inside look into gardening and agriculture in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Her name is Perla Sofia Curbelo, creator of AgroChic, a blog in Spanish for Garden Lovers & Agropreneurs.

We’ve become friends through GWA, the Association for Garden Communicators, of which we are both members, and through our mutual love of gardening and digital media. I’ve been so fascinated with her platform, AgroChic, which has become an international forum for Spanish-speakers who love gardening, plants, wellness and more, both on the island of Puerto Rico and around the world.

I loved meeting up with Perla Sophia at the GWA Symposium.

When I knew that Perla Sofia and I were going to meet up again a few weeks ago in Chicago, for our GWA conference, I sent her a note asking if she’d be willing to come on the Slow Flowers Podcast as my guest.

It was a bit challenging for us to find the time to do this — and true confessions, we snuck out of another scheduled function in order to sit in an empty meeting room and record this episode.

It was one of the highlights of my time in Chicago and I’m so excited for you to hear Perla Sofia’s story — and her take on gardening, Puerto Rico style. We wanted to share good and inspiring news from Puerto Rico, news that the cable channels and mainstream networks won’t bring you. I encourage you to follow AgroChic at its social places so you can follow along with Perla Sofia and learn more.

Teaching about plants with AgroChic

Here’s a little bit more about my friend Perla Sofia:

Perla Sofía Curbelo is a Puerto Rican journalist turned mediapreneur. In 2009, she founded Agrochic.com, a gardening blog in Spanish.

Through the website, readers interested in urban agriculture and wellness can check articles, guides and lists on topics like how to take care of your houseplants, how to create a veggie garden in containers and even how to plan your next garden travel.

For the past 30 years, her family had run a monthly paper in Puerto Rico, specialized in Agriculture. They also have a small coffee farm. Her younger brother, Luis, is an agronomist and a flower farmer.

Perla, with her family in San Juan

In 2016, her blog Agrochic was nominated as one of the best Latino health and wellness blogs at the Tecla Awards during Hispanize, the largest annual event for Latino trendsetters and newsmakers in digital content creation, journalism, marketing, entertainment and tech entrepreneurship.

As part of the digital content, she also coordinates gardening workshops in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she lives with her husband Antonio, her younger stepdaughter Veronica (one of two stepdaughters) and her beloved rottweiler Rocco.

“Today’s Greens” — Perla is a fellow Podcaster!

Perla has a bachelor´s degree in Psychology and a master´s degree in Communication, specialized in Public Relations.

She has worked in publishing, television and radio, and for the last 15 years she focused most of her writing in agriculture and gardening.

This past Summer, Perla started a seasonal podcast (La verdura de hoy, translates “Today´s Greens”), also in Spanish, which you can listen on her blog.

AgroChic’s gardening workshops are popular — and she plans on increasing their frequency.

In 2017, she joined The Association for Garden Communicators and is responsible to translate a monthly column from the GWA´s blog from English to Spanish.

For 2019, she has her eyes on a Horticulture Therapy Certification and she wants to open a gardening studio in Puerto Rico, to multiply the gardening workshops, host garden writers and entertain through all things garden.

You can find and follow Perla Sofia via AgroChic’s channels:

AgroChic on Facebook

AgroChic on Instagram

AgroChic on Twitter

Perla Sofia on Twitter

AgroChic on YouTube

Goofing around while recording our episode, with Perla Sophia Curbelo (left) and Debra Prinzing (right)

Thanks so much for joining me today! I am so grateful to for joining in today, grateful for our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 353,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all our programs.

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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

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

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. Visit them 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 syndicatesales.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. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

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

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.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the industry’s future. Head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

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 360: Two Little Buds — From Florists to Flower Farmers. Mindy Staton and Alice Francis on Changing an Established Retail Platform to Meet Customer Demand

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Daughter Mindy Staton (left) and mother Alice Francis (right), the Two Little Buds!

Today’s episode continues the mother-daughter theme with Two Little Buds. Founded in 2004, Two Little Buds is a boutique floral design studio that specializes in wedding florals, event design, and editorial work. Daughter Mindy Staton and mother Alice Francis, began Two Little Buds as a wedding and event floral studio, eventually opening a full-service retail flower shop in Hamilton, Ohio.

(Left) The new, just-opened, Two Little Buds studio is a gorgeous design space that doubles as a retail space on weekends. (Right) Two generations of floral designers!

Beautiful interiors at Two Little Buds.

A place for wedding consultations that reflects the Two Little Buds aesthetic and brand.

Floral tourism introduces a new crop of consumers to locally-grown flowers at Morning Sun Flower Farm.

Mindy and Alice expanded to flower farming about four years ago with the establishment of Morning Sun Flower Farm. The Two Little Buds’ brand now reflects the womens’ love of farm-fresh, local product and shows the best that each season has to offer.

Mindy Staton, demonstrates a floral arrangement at a farm dinner/workshop.

Here’s a bit more about Mindy Staton:

Mindy Francis Staton loves to spend her days with flowers. She has an unbelievable passion and appreciation for the beauty found in nature, and backs it up with the talent to bring her amazing visions to life. Mindy truly never forgets that while she may have done thousands of weddings over the last decade, each couple only gets one wedding day—so each wedding is important, each couple is important, each flower is important.

In 2015, inspired by attending a floret workshop with Erin Benzakein, Mindy made some big changes with her shop and her life!

Morning Sun Flower Farm was born of a few sentences written at that workshop, as she articulated a dream for her future. Since Mindy is the kind of dedicated person who gets things done, she convinced her husband to start a flower farm with her, and, in the spring of 2016 (less than a year later!!), the first perfect anemones were cut at her farm and brought to Two Little Buds to share with her incredibly lucky clients and customers. And the flowers didn’t stop there, because soon the shop was brimming with beautiful ranunculus, tulips, dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias, sweet peas, and more!

Mindy continues to grow and expand the farm, with plans to include a design space and a meeting area to sit down with clients.

She manages to run two locations of Two Little Buds PLUS a flower farm, and still have the time to hang out with her best friend (spoiler: it’s her husband) and their three hilariously goofy bulldogs. Mindy loves Chinese food, her mom, milkshakes, working outside, and facing challenges head-on. And her best quality? She’s never met a stranger and will literally do anything to help others!

Alice Francis, the original flower lover!

Here’s more about Alice Francis:

Alice Stone Francis, co-owner of Two Little Buds, was born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio, but has always had a connection to Oxford, where she lives now. She was super close to her parents, loving to cook and garden with her mom and joke around with her father.

Alice met her husband Bill when he came over to her at a softball game and handed her an apple, and how does a girl say no to that?? They went on to get married and have four amazing children. Alice worked as a school teacher while Bill served in the Army, and she also loved to go to craft fairs and sell wreaths that she handmade using flowers her father grew especially for her.

Once her kids grew up and moved out, she started right into taking care of her grandkids! Then in 2005, Mindy and Alice started doing wedding florals out of Alice’s greenhouse.

Demand for their beautiful floral work outgrew the greenhouse, and the Two Little Buds storefront in Hamilton was born! When you meet Alice, it’s easy to see where Mindy got her willingness to help people, her love of animals, her appreciation of nature, and her creativity.

Alice loves her family (she has a real soft spot for her grandkids!), white chocolate mochas, dogs, and keeping Two Little Buds current on her favorite Instagram accounts. If Pam the bulldog doesn’t post for a few days, we all hear about itAlice loves meeting brides and talking about their vision for their big day.

Mindy and Josh Staton at their Ohio flower farm.

Morning Sun Flower Farm is a perfect little farm located in Morning Sun, Ohio. Founded in 2015, the farm’s location is truly picturesque, adjacent to Hueston Woods State Park, with a cute little horse farm in front of it.

In the spring, the field explodes with color from foxglove, sweet peas, tulips, daffodils, and poppies, while the hoop house is home to gorgeous anemones and ranunculus. Summertime makes way for amazing sunflowers, larkspur, delphinium, bachelor’s buttons, snapdragons, and dahlias in the field and perfect lisianthus in the hoop house. When autumn comes to visit, we keep the field teeming with more dahlias and sunflowers, plus zinnias, scabiosa, and lavender. Come fall, the hoop house is home to some wonderfully vibrant chrysanthemum varieties. Winter is time to regroup—the land rests while Mindy and Josh get busy plotting and planning for the following spring. As she says, “it’s so rewarding to watch the change in seasons reflected in the blooms that we’re able to share with our clients and customers!”

A recent Farm-to-Vase Workshop and dinner at Morning Sun Flower Farm earned top pick status from Ohio Magazine editors.

DIY floral designers create their own arrangements with just-picked blooms at the Farm to Vase Workshop at Morning Sun Flower Farm.

Morning Sun hosted its first Farm-to-Vase workshop in August 2016, and it was such a good time for everyone involved that the farm now hosts three design workshop-dinners each season — recently named one of Ohio Magazine’s ‘Best of: Editors’ Picks 2017′.

There is so much joy in this work, this calling I feel to shine a light on the floral tribe who means so much to me. Speaking with people like Mindy and Alice is such a gift to share! Something Mindy said really resonated with me.

“We had to change or we weren’t going to be ahead of our competition. So for us, it was taking the step, doing the research and figuring out how to change the look of our business in flowers.”

Managing change in this dynamic climate for floral design on the top of my mind these days! In fact, I’ll be addressing the changing and progressive forecast for the floral industry when I present at the upcoming Trend Summit later this month.

Created and produced by Hitomi Gilliam, TREND SUMMIT 2018 takes place in Vancouver, B.C., beginning with a two-day conference on Friday, August 17th and Saturday, August 18th, followed by the Trend Summit SYMPOSIUM on Sunday, August 19, 2018.

I’ll be presenting at the Symposium on 9:30 a.m. Sunday August 19th, followed by an amazing lineup of fellow Trend Experts and Influencers, including Holly Heider Chapple (Hope Farms & Chapel Designers), Leatrice Eiseman (Pantone Institute), Gregor Lersch (Global Design Expert), & Hitomi Gilliam AIFD!!

What an honor to join this amazing group of floral leaders. I’m so grateful to Hitomi for including the Slow Flowers message in this forum! Hope to see you there! It will be a powerful day to be inspired & to influence!! All registration information can be found here.

I am grateful to all you — our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement.

As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 343,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all our programs.

Welcome to our newest sponsor, the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to join Team Flower to dream big for the future of our beloved industry. You can head to teamflower.org/slowflowers to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

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.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com

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

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. Visit them 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 syndicatesales.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. Check them out at johnnysseeds.com.

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

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.

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit americangrownflowers.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.comSpecial thanks to Stephen Yaussi.

Music Credits:
The Wooden Platform; The Big Ten; Horizon Liner
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from:

audionautix.com