Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘Spiritual Practices’ Category

Episode 511: The Creative Journey, Finding Your Artistic Voice, Truth and Expression with floral artist and educator, Sue McLeary

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021
Susan McLeary (c) e.e. berger

In March 2017, I wrote a 10-page profile of Susan Mcleary for Florists’ Review magazine’s “Creativity” issue. It’s this article that inspired me to invite Sue to be our Keynote speaker at the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit, taking place next week on June 28-30th in the San Francisco Bay Area at the amazing venue, Filoli Historic House & Garden. Sue’s personal story of seeking, claiming and boldly nurturing her creative process and practice as an artist will inspire and embolden everyone who hears her at the Summit.

Susan McLeary
Susan McLeary — such an artist and inspiration!

Susan is a floral designer, artist and instructor who creates unusual, boundary-pushing floral art including elaborate floral wearables, large-scale installations, and her signature succulent jewelry. Her soulful, seasonally-inspired creations have been described as exquisite living artwork. A passionate teacher, Susan offers private design instruction for new and professional florists in her studio, on her online class platform, and through destination workshops.

Susan McLeary
Floral artist Susan Mcleary is a design influencer who advocates for foam-free practices in her large-scale botanical installations (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

Susan’s work has been featured on the cover of Fusion Flowers Magazine twice, and in leading industry publications and websites including Martha Stewart Weddings, Florist’s Review, My Modern Met, Refinery 29, SELF, Buzzfeed, Belle Armoire, Cosmopolitan, Ebony, and Grace Ormond Wedding Style. Susan is a member of Slow Flowers Society and Chapel Designers. Her first book, The Art of Wearable Flowers was released March 3, 2020. 

A few weeks ago, in anticipation of Sue’s keynote presentation The Creative Journey, she and I met up over Zoom to record this special episode. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. As I mention in the interview, Sue has appeared as a co-guest on two past episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast, but that was many years ago.

Learn More Here:
Susan McLeary on the Slow Flowers Podcast:
Episode 217 (October 2015)
Episode 220 (November 2015)

Read my 2017 article, A Curious Creative (pdf)

Here are the many ways to study with Sue McLeary:
Online Courses (a la carte)
The Essentials Toolkit (bundle)
The Virtual Studio (membership-based), includes Live Sessions and new courses. Total of 60 courses in the library to date

Susan McLeary (c) e.e. berger

As Sue mentioned, she launched a new course yesterday, June 22nd, called The Floral Mentor: A transformative floral learning opportunity.

Transform the 3 Key Areas of Your Floral Business in the Next 30 Days: 

  • The Heart – Cultivate your unique creative voice, overcome limiting beliefs, and cultivate a more purpose-driven floral business.
  • The Art – Unlock the magic of the principles of design to create more advanced, artful and balanced work every time.
  • The Business – Learn practical business, branding, and marketing skills to grow a more profitable and life-giving floral business.

The Floral Mentor opened on June 22nd and is available for signup through June 30th. In this course, Sue and her cohort of friends and colleagues help you master the art, the heart, and the business of floral design. It’s all about aligning your core values with your business, Sue explains. She writes: “Pull up a virtual chair in my personal studio to learn from me and some of my key mentors!” Sue introduces students her wonderful mentors who teach valuable lessons Sue has learned from each of them. Together, Sue and her mentors will help you create the art you’re truly capable of, build a fulfilling business you love, and join hands to move the floral industry forward together. I can get behind those aspirations! Maybe this course has your name on it, too. check it out!


American Flowers Week 2021

Next week is also our 7th annual American Flowers Week, June 28th through July 4th. Please help us celebrate! You can find all the free social media badges, logos, branding and other resources like a coloring map of all 50 USA-state flowers at americanflowersweek.com! Show your floral patriotism and post photos of your red, white and blue, or any other color of your seasonal and local floral harvest! Be sure to use the hashtag #americanflowersweek when you post! I’ll be doing just the same, friends.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

sponsor logo bar
5-channel-sponsor-block

For each Podcast episode this year, we thank three of our Major Sponsors.

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.

Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm that specializes in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.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. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 738,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

Debra Prinzing
(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 Slow 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:

DelamineSkyway; 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 508: Horticulture, pop culture and Black American floral legends with Abra Lee of Conquer the Soil

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

Today, we continue our series to highlight the talented speaker lineup for the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit, taking place June 28th-30th at Filoli Historic House & Garden in Woodside, California, with an extended conversation I’m excited to share with you.

Abra, pruning roses as a volunteer at the Georgia Governor’s Mansion

Please meet Abra Lee, horticulturist, author, speaker and founder of the media platform called Conquer the Soil. Based in Atlanta, Abra says she is a self-proclaimed horticulturist extraordinaire that is half country bumpkin, half bougie, occasionally extra, and inherently Southern. She writes: “The opportunities I’ve been fortunate to experience during my career in the garden industry have far surpassed my ancestors’ wildest dreams!”

Abra, leading the horticulture program at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Educated at Auburn University College of Agriculture in Auburn, Alabama  with a B.S. in Horticulture and a distinguished Leadership in Public Horticulture Fellow from  Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Abra takes notes on plants + pop culture and shares her observations across her blog and social media. Count on Abra to bring her distinct perspective to horticulture, popular culture, fashion, celebrity, and the history of Black gardeners.

Her impressive professional path began as a city arborist, which led to landscape management roles at two major international airports (in Atlanta, followed by Houston), and as a University of Georgia Extension Agent.

Meet the women of the Negro Garden Clubs of Virginia, circa 1932, featured in Conquer the Soil’s IG Feed

Years of research into the history of Black American gardeners propelled Abra to collect her research into a new book, scheduled for publication in the fall of 2022.

The forthcoming book is called Conquer the Soil – Black America and the Untold Stories of Our Country’s Gardeners, Farmers, and Growers

Conquer the Soil profiles 45 hidden figures of horticulture—the Black men and women whose accomplished careers in the plant world are little known or untold. Among them are Wormley Hughes, an enslaved African-American who was head gardener at Monticello and dug Jefferson’s grave; Annie Vann Reid, an ex-teacher turned entrepreneur in South Carolina who owned a five-acre greenhouse and nursery in the 1940s that sold millions of plants and seeds; and David August Williston, a graduate of Cornell University and the first African-American landscape architect, a student of Liberty Hyde Bailey, and the designer of the Tuskegee University campus. Abra’s lively text will be enriched by illustrations of each individual, making this forthcoming book as beautiful as it is critically important.
In Conquer the Soil, Abra Lee–a rising star in the plant world–gives these women and men the spotlight they deserve and enriches our collective understanding of the history of horticulture. 

A Conquer the Soil IG post — picking up on news about “The Gardener,” a forthcoming Batman villain

As we discuss in today’s epsiode, Abra has an infectous passion about the people she’s discovered through her research. She has lectured extensively on African-Americans and Ornamental Horticulture, gathering her research of 600 years of history from pre-colonial Africa to today and the artistic contributions of Black gardeners, horticulturists, educators and landscape architects to the green profession. While continuing her research for her upcoming book on the subject, Abra has unearthed an incredible narrative of Black Americans in floristry. She will share these stories of people, their flowers and their entrepreneurism in a new talk for the Slow Flowers Summit audience.

Sneak peek of Mrs. Blanche Hurston, one of the women you’ll meet in Abra Lee’s presentation at the Slow Flowers Summit (from Conquer the Soil’s IG feed)

Her presentation, The History of the Black American Florist, will inspire our attendees with her storytelling gifts as she brings their untold stories to life, giving voice to the important history about Black pioneers in horticulture, floriculture, landscape architecture and botany.

Some of the fun Conquer the Soil merchandise that Abra will bring to our Book & Art Table at the Slow Flowers Summit; from left: Famed florist Lucille Caine orchid hat pop-art poster, Conquer the Soil tote, Music x Flowers tote (a historic florist said these words, but you’ll have to hear about that from Abra!)

Find and follow Abra Lee and Conquer the Soil at these social places:

Conquer the Soil on Instagram

Conquer the Soil on Facebook


Slow Flowers Summit 2021

2021 speakers Slow Flowers Summit
Our fabulous speaker lineup includes (top row), Susan McLeary, Emily Saeger, Molly Culver; (middle row), Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Max Gill; (bottom row), Abra Lee, Pilar Zuniga, Jennifer Jewell + our host, Slow Flowers Society’s Debra Prinzing

Thank you so much for joining our conversation today! There are still a few spaces left to attend the Slow Flowers Summit and you can find all those details at slowflowerssummit.com. We are so excited to welcome our attendees to a safe, in-person, COVID-compliant and mostly outdoor setting at Filoli Historic House and Garden. The countdown begins!


American Flowers Week 2021

Our 2021 Botanical Couture Collection!

You’re hearing this Podcast on June 2nd and this week we’re kicking off the anticipation of American Flowers Week! American Flowers Week takes place June 28-July 4 each year, we’re heading into our 7th annual campaign!

Create your own American Flowers Week activities and events — use our branding, logos, free downloads and all the content available at Americanflowersweek.com to promote your floral enterprise. See the home page for our “Media Resources” and “Free Downloads” menus.

Read about the designers, growers and creatives behind one-dozen Botanical Couture looks for American Flowers Week 2021!

This year, Slow Flowers Society has partnered with our publishing arm, BLOOM Imprint, to produce a special Botanical Couture edition of Slow Flowers Journal. The 72-page digital magazine is available FREE to you – you’ll be inspired and amazed at the collective talent of the Slow Flowers community of creatives — flower growers, floral designers, and their teams who produced one dozen distinctly different botanical fashions. You can find the link to our special edition in today’s show notes at debraprinzing.com — and download social media graphics of each floral ensemble for your own use.

I want to share an invitation specifically for flower farmers who may be planning a special promotion, pop-up sale, workshop or other way to celebrate American Flowers Week. I’ll be writing a story about what flower farmers are doing during the campaign for an upcoming issue of Growing For Market — and I’m looking for ways to feature you and your plans. Please get in touch if you have something in the works! You can shoot me a note at debra@slowflowers.com.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

sponsor logo bar
5-channel-sponsor-block

For each Podcast episode this year, we thank three of our Major Sponsors:

Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm, specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.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. Visit them at seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.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.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 732,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

Debra Prinzing
(c) Mary Grace Long photograph

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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:

Lumber Down; Heartland Flyer; 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 504 A Conversation with Jennifer Jewell, host of public radio’s Cultivating Place and capstone presenter at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021
Jennifer Jewell, author, radio host and garden advocate

I’m delighted to welcome back return guest Jennifer Jewell to the Slow Flowers Podcast for our lovely, wide-ranging conversation about what defines a garden, where those gardens are, who are the gardeners who tend to them and how we are both emerging from 2020 with a much clearer understanding of the roles women play in making the earth a better, safer, more inclusive and accessible place for all.

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

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

Jennifer is particularly interested in the intersections between gardens, the native plant environments around them, and human culture. Her work has appeared in Gardens Illustrated and House & Garden, among others. She formerly served as the native plant garden curator for the Gateway Science Museum at California State University at Chico.

Her book, The Earth in Her Hands, 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants was published in 2020.


A selection of my favorites from Jennifer’s newest book, Under Western Skies:

From Under Western Skies, “Silicon Valley and Nature Renurtured,” featuring the gardens of Ronald Koo and Miwa Hayash’s Los Altos garden, designed by Leslie Bennett of Pine House Edible Gardens (c) Caitlin Atkinson
“Boise Valley,” the garden of Mary Ann and Delos Newcomer (c) Caitlin Atkinson
“Palouse Garden,” designed by Suzanne St. Pierre and Scotty Thompson (c) Caitlin Atkinson

Jennifer’s newest book (produced with photographer Caitlin Atkinson) is Under Western Skies: Visionary Gardens from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast, available from Timber Press next week.

Subscribe to Cultivating Place here

Find and follow Jennifer Jewell at these social places:

Cultivating Place on Facebook and Instagram

Listen to our past episodes featuring Jennifer Jewell:

Episode 397: On Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden with Jennifer Jewell of Public Radio’s Cultivating Place

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


Our fabulous speaker lineup includes (top row), Susan McLeary, Emily Saeger, Molly Culver; (middle row), Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Max Gill; (bottom row), Abra Lee, Pilar Zuniga, Jennifer Jewell + our host, Slow Flowers Society’s Debra Prinzing

And there is still time to register for the Slow Flowers Summit to join me, Jennifer Jewell, and a fabulous lineup of designers, floral artists, sustainable growers, writers, thinkers and doers, and kindred spirits in the progressive floral community. The Summit takes place June 28-30 in the SF Bay Area and we will have an all-open-air conference with covid-compliant precautions in place. Hope to see you there!


The May Slow Flowers Newsletter just dropped this week and if you haven’t found it in your in-box, here is the link. Two highlights include a link to our full report on the Cut Flower questions that Slow Flowers underwrote as part of the 2021 National Gardening Survey — as you may recall, we featured this study recently in Episode 502.

Grower Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies  and designer Brandon Scott McLean of East Hill Floral 

And you can find a preview and more details about our MAY Slow Flowers Member “Virtual” Meet-Up — Meet two Slow Flowers members from Alaska’s peony country! Grower Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies  and designer Brandon Scott McLean of East Hill Floral will share their knowledge and talents — and introduce us to the upcoming Alaska peony season. Beth and Brandon will come to us LIVE from the greenhouse at East Hill Floral. Learn about the selection, cultivation and post-harvest “best practices” for peonies from Beth. Watch an inspired floral design demonstration from Brandon!

*New date (this month only) Friday, May 21st – 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern


Thank you to our Sponsors!

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 880 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

For each Podcast episode this year, we thank three of our Major Sponsors.

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

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


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 722,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

Debra Prinzing
(c) Mary Grace Long

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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:

Dance of Felt; 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 501: The Wild Mother of Oklahoma City, on floral art, activism and storytelling. Meet floral siblings Lauren Palmer, Leah Palmer and Callie Palmer

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021
the wild mother team
The Wild Mother Creative Studio, based in Oklahoma City; from left, Callie Palmer (seated, left); Lauren Palmer (standing) and Leah Palmer (seated, right) | All photography (c) Rachel Maucieri @maucierivisualsco

Today, I have a very special episode for you and I’m thrilled to share it! Please meet the three siblings who together are called The Wild Mother: Leah Palmer, Lauren Palmer and Callie Palmer. They are based in Oklahoma City and call their enterprise a Creative Studio, which encompasses their tagline “More than Just Flowers.”

flowers and designers
The Creative Studio is multidisciplinary and collaborative across other art forms, most often expressed to the public through floral design

Here’s a bit of an introduction, adapted from their website’s “About” page:

The Wild Mother Creative Studio is owned by Afro-Indigenous sisters and floral artists Lauren Palmer and Leah Palmer, located in the heart of Arts district, Downtown, OKC. Their love and honor of culture, storytelling, and their affinity for natural elements and color theory lend themselves to producing their “Floral Stories.” It’s an added bonus that they get to work alongside their younger sister, Callie. The Wild Mother’s offerings include full service wedding and event floral, curbside carryout floral for large-scale events, and holiday floral offering.

the wild mother in studio
The Wild Mother women and their studio space, based in the Oklahoma City Arts District

The Wild Mother has positioned their entire business as a legacy project—using flowers and floral art installations to heal their lineage forwards and backwards; to send honor to their ancestors whose experiences in America were tragic; and to build a world for their future descendants that is more beautiful, more equitable, and more just.

I first learned about The Wild Mother from Susan McLeary who encouraged me to attend a free webinar hosted by the studio at the beginning of this year. Called “More than Just Flowers,” the webinar was outlined as: A Panel Discussion for Creatives on Building Affirming, Equitable and Just Brands. Moderated by Leah and Lauren, with help from Callie, the session covered meaningful representation in the wedding & creative industry; a discussion of exploitation versus appreciation; goals for building an anti-racist brand and considerations for BIPOC clients. 

A number of floral community voices participated, including Sue McLeary and Kristin Griffith-VanderYacht, who you’ve met here on the Slow Flowers Podcast. Other panelists included a number of people from related disciplines such as event planning, marketing and branding and fine art curation. It was a powerful gathering with honest and open dialogue designed to inspire and challenge attendees who want to be intentional and inclusive with the way they shows up in the world.

Next, The Wild Mother launched The Lay of the Land, an online course for creatives interested in digging deeper in the topic of building an affirming, equitable and just brand.


send flowers to greenwood social media graphics

I’m eager for you to meet Leah, Lauren and Callie. One of the reasons I asked them to join me today was to introduce their upcoming project called Send Flowers to Greenwood. This is an ambitious series of floral installations that will commemorate the Greenwood Massacre of 1921.  Oklahomans and the rest of country are only now beginning to acknowledge what took place 100 years ago in Tulsa, when the vibrant, successful Black-owned Greenwood District, known as “Black Wall Street,” was destroyed and many of the people who lived there lost their homes, businesses, and lives due to an attack by Klan members and others who wanted to eliminate the existence of brown and black people in their city.

send flowers to greenwood graphics

Taking place at the end of May, The Wild Mother’s  #SendFlowersToGreenwood will be both a virtual and physical outpouring of love, light, and life for Greenwood Tulsa and the descendants of victims of the Greenwood Massacre of 1921.

Wow. Just wow. I’m so pleased we had this conversation today and I  thank you for joining us. There are so many small and large ways to get involved and support The Wild Mother and Send Flowers to Greenwood you can find those details in our show notes.

donate to send flowers to greenwood

The Wild Mother encourages all of us to post images of flowers on social media from May 10 through June 7 and dedicate that post with the hashtag #sendflowerstogreenwood. I love this pure gesture of respect and humanity and I am eager to participate. I hope you will, too.

Find and follow The Wild Mother at these social places:
The Wild Mother on Instagram

The Wild Mother on Facebook


Join me for a BONUS Slow Flowers Event on April 16th

Ellen Frost

A couple of other Slow Flowers opportunities are coming right up. On Friday, April 16th, we have a BONUS Meet-Up scheduled at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers. The topic: Domestic Flower Sourcing Strategies When Supplies are Limited. Considering the current panic around floral availability and product supply-chain in the floral industry, Ellen and The Gardeners’ Workshop are reintroducing their online course Ellen “Growing Your Business With Local Flower Sourcing” and in anticipation, Ellen is joining Slow Flowers this Friday to answer your questions about flower sourcing when supplies are limited.

The names of all Slow Flowers members who attend will be entered into a drawing for one free registration to the course (valued at $495) which begins April 26th. Ellen has added new content to the 2021 curriculum, including a Bonus Session: “What we can do NOW during this unprecedented global flower shortage.”


By the way, if you missed last week’s April Meet-Up on Sustainable Floral Design with Tobey Nelson and Becky Feasby, you can find the replay video above. On EARTH DAY, Thursday, April 22nd, I’ll host an interactive Q&A with these two passionate women as part of an IG Live session about sustainable floristry at noon Pacific/3 pm Eastern. You’re invited to join us there!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 850 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major Sponsors. Our first thanks goes to Rooted Farmers. Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.com.

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

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


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 714,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com


(c) Mary Grace Long Photograph

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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:

For We Shall Know Speed; Turning on the Lights; Gaenaby 
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 487: Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast for 2021

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

The Pursuit of Nature

This Forecast began seven years ago in 2014 when I began documenting shifts and changes in the Slow Flowers Movement. I recently described the origins of this important exercise in my new online course, Taking Stock and Looking Ahead [P.S. follow this link to learn how you can take this free course as my gift to you.]

Here’s how I remember it:
In 2014, when I launched slowflowers.com as an online directory of American flowers and the growers and florists who supplied them, I worked with two talented public relations friends to get the word out to the media. While planning a visit to meet with lifestyle and garden magazine editors in New York, one of the PR experts urged me to create a Power Point slide deck that included an overview of floral trends I associated with the emerging Slow Flowers movement.

In creating that deck, which became my first forecast for 2015 (see above), I learned a few important lessons. I share this in the context of the social media term “impostor syndrome,” because it’s no surprise — we all feel that sometimes. When Lola and Marla encouraged me to write a trend forecast, at first I thought: Who am I to forecast trends? Isn’t that a role only for the experts?

Their response: You have a point of view and it’s based on hundreds of interviews that you conduct for articles and for your Podcast over the course of each year. See what bubbles up from those topics and themes that excites you about the year to come.

I realized that since I was the one who conducted those interviews and wrote those articles, I was viewing trends through my own lens and filter — the Slow Flowers perspective.

When I shared that Power Point deck with editors and had positive responses (as in, they took it seriously during our meetings), I later decided to post the 10 insights on my blog and record a Slow Flowers Podcast episode about it. You can go back and listen to episode 174 from December 31, 2014

The Power Point deck I shared with editors became a blog post and, as I mentioned, the Podcast show notes. Then I shared it with Slow Flowers members in my monthly newsletter. And then a few floral trade publications picked it up.

As a result, I became an “Accidental Forecaster”, and that has elevated Slow Flowers’ unique and relevant viewpoint in the floral marketplace. I’ve learned some valuable lessons. We’re no longer waiting for Martha Stewart or Oprah or Chip and Joanna to tell us what’s on trend. Each of us can speak with an authentic voice about our observations, key cultural shifts and new creative directions in the floral space. In the end, the forecast is a tool; a roadmap that helps me and others consider what is around the bend or across the horizon. It sparks conversation and sometimes, to be honest, it sparks controversy.

The Pursuit of Nature


So let’s get started! I have 10 insights to share with you for the year to come. I’m calling our 2021 Report: “In Pursuit of Nature,” and you can understand why, right?

As we enter 2021, at least in the short term, not much will feel different from the past nine months. And if there is anything we’ve learned since mid-March 2020, it’s the essential and irreplaceable role of flowers and plants for our survival. And that’s why my outlook is deeply connected to humankind’s pursuit of nature — and how floral entrepreneurs like you can and should tap into and enhance that pursuit through your efforts.

I learned about the term “Biophilia” in October 2019 when I interviewed Tom Precht and Sarah Daken of Grateful Gardeners. Tom is a big advocate of Biophilia and he opened my eyes to its relevance as we make personal and business decisions that impact our planet’s survival. He discussed the definition when I interviewed him, but here it is again, according to Merriam Webster:
Biophilia: “a hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature

All you have to do is read the headlines of 2020 to see a collective shift toward nature, plants, the environment – and yes, flowers.

A recent article in the Washington Post caught my attention. The headline reads: The isolation of the pandemic caused her to form a new and intense relationship to nature. She was hardly alone. The benefits of being outdoors for your physical and mental well-being are well documented, but in this coronavirus era, they may be immeasurable.”

A Forbes headline reads: “Nature Is Good For Your Mental Health, Sometimes”

The University of Washington shared this research: “Dose of nature at home could help mental health, well-being during COVID-19” The report stated:

“Studies have proven that even the smallest bit of nature — a single tree, a small patch of flowers, a house plant — can generate health benefits,” said Kathleen Wolf, a UW research social scientist in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “Look closely in your neighborhood, and the bit of nature you may have taken for granted up until now may become the focus of your attention and help you feel better.”


What are we watching for in 2021? The Slow Flowers Community’s experiences of 2020 definitely inform what is top of mind for 2021. Over the past several years, as we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to educate consumers and professionals alike; and thankfully, we are coming off a year when the attention of many turned to the Slow Flowers Movement.

Locally-grown, seasonal and sustainable flowers answer questions about a safe and reliable supply of flowers. Awareness our Movement continues to increased as floral consumers and florists alike shifted their focus to what’s closer to home. Panic over the international floral supply chains has quickly turned to a subtle but significant and newfound understanding that if we don’t nurture and support our local flower supply, there may come a day when farmland has been converted to real estate developments; where commitment to a safer, more sustainable earth has been displaced by convenience.

The anecdotal feedback I’m hearing is heartening. I received an email recently from a leader in, shall I say, “mainstream” floristry, who wrote:

“After two decades of thinking traditional wholesaler connections were the only way to run a floral studio or shop, I’m slowly starting to learn about local flower-farmers and am constantly in awe of their entrepreneurial spirit, and can’t imagine how much hard work goes into what they do. For that, I want to give them as much business as I can! I know that you had a big hand in getting this trend in motion and I thank you for that!”

As we seek new and diverse voices in the Slow Flowers Movement, I believe we will continue to witness a positive shift to a more progressive, inclusive, conscious marketplace for the flowers you grow and design with. And we will continue to document the shift with stories, interviews and resources to encourage you.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey, more than 200 of you, who I mentioned during last week’s “Year in Review” report, is triple past year’s participation.

In addition to the Survey, which asked members to share about their floral businesses, including emerging themes and topics important to them, this Forecast is informed by my 2020 storytelling — first-person interviews for print and digital Slow Flowers Journal stories, interviews with more than one-hundred Slow Flowers Podcast guests, and conversations with thought-leaders in floral design, flower farming and related creative professions.

I hope you find these insights and the 2021 forecast valuable to you. You may hear some themes that resonate with you and I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions about what you agree with and what topics you wish we included.

You can Download a PDF of the 2021 Forecast here:


#1 Floral Wellness

Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers in Brooklyn created the “Seasonal Flower Project” in 2020 — a popular local-flower subscription program that supported her favorite farms and put those flowers in the hands of people eager to connect with nature. Listen to our interview with Molly in Episode 451

The yearning for a connection to nature is truly unprecedented in our society, something many of you witnessed first-hand when Mother’s Day 2020 shattered prior years’ records for floral sales. Demand added up to three words: People. Need. Flowers.

In past Forecasts, I’ve touched on similar themes, including the popularity of Aromatherapy Bars (2018) and the Year of the Houseplant (2019). Floral Wellness is more sweeping in its meaning. More than ever, consumers and their senses are drawn to your blooms. They are drawn for fragrance and scent, for medicinal qualities, for skin and body care benefits, for nutritional meals, palette-satisfying beverages, and for — above all — their mental health.

I define Floral Wellness as
An embrace of the therapeutic importance of flowers, both in our own environments and as a meaningful way to share with others. Floral Wellness nurtures a positive and habitual desire to have flowers in our lives and as an expression of our desire for others to also experience flowers’ emotional, physical, mental and psychic value.

This idea can be manifested in ways both simple and accessible to your clients, as well as more ambitious endeavors. From the rise of flower workshops (in person at a safe distance or in many virtual forms) to the explosion of CSA subscriptions as more consumers desired more flowers, Floral Wellness took root in 2020 and is yours to nurture and enhance with new offerings to your community in 2021.

A few comments bubbled up from our 2021 Member Survey that underscore this idea and I’ll share them here:

“People want more flowers!”
“More local and more of it!”
“I believe local will become more desired.”
“People want to bring more flowers into their homes and are getting into floral design as a hobby.”
“Flowers bring smiles and happiness in times when we need it most.”
“I think people will be more oriented towards decorating their living spaces. Also, gifting flowers to loved ones.”

“Customers may start treating themselves with fresh flowers.”
“As work-from-home becomes normalized, the interest in gardening/flowers/natural world grows.”
“I’m seeing a desire for more beauty and more positivity.”

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Use a megaphone to share your story, your flowers, and your belief that flowers are essential to our wellness and health.


#2 The Virtual Florist

All images from “Designer’s Choice,” a July 2020 Slow Flowers Journal Report in Florists’ Review — featuring (clockwise, from top left): greenSinner, Maple + Mum, Floral Alchemy, Sellwood Flower Co. and Studio Artiflora

What do I mean by the Virtual Florist? We’re living in a world of “virtual” everything, so the term is truly relevant and timely. In the Slow Flowers Community, we spent 2020 covering the ascent of virtual floristry, through our podcast interviews, in Slow Flowers Journal stories, and during our weekly and monthly Slow Flowers member virtual meet-ups. For the Virtual Florist, innovation and creativity meet a marketplaces of Covid-imposed limitations and constraints.

The Virtual Florist
is adaptable, flexible and inventive in finding ways to successfully deliver flowers to his or her community.
The Virtual Florist utilizes technology and serves customers’ needs where they are. The Virtual Florist disrupts “definitions” of what type of florist you may have been in the past.

This means you might own a retail flower store, but you’ve added an online shop; or, you’re studio-based, but you now offer everyday flowers through contact-free curbside delivery; or, you’ve never grown flowers before, but this year you’ve planted thousands of tulip bulbs to sell from your front porch using only your neighborhood’s Facebook page to get out the word (that’s a real story about one of our members!)

The Virtual Florist consults, teaches and inspires in new ways, too. Virtual floristry is more egalitarian and transparent. Anyone can turn on a camera and film a demonstration or tutorial for IGTV, Facebook Live, YouTube and on other platforms — the field is more level than before. It’s not just the “big names” who are attracting audiences, especially because the return to expensive, in-person workshops will be slow and gradual.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Dial up your imagination. What may have began as a coping mechanism to stay busy or stimulate creativity is now a new business opportunity. Develop and invest time and resources into at least one virtual component of your floral enterprise. Be ready to connect with your community whose shopping habits have dramatically changed, perhaps forever.


#3 Flowers in a Box

Mail-order Floral Offerings from Slow Flowers members, clockwise from top left: Petals by the Shore, Postal Petals, Harmony Harvest Farm and Flora Fun Box

Shipping flowers is nothing new, but until this moment, only a few successful companies were getting it right.

In our 2018 forecast, I identified the early adopters behind this shift with the insight “Flower Farmers Launch Direct-Ship Wholesale Programs,” so what’s new about “Flowers in a Box?”

Now, based on necessity, we are witnessing more models, most consumer-direct, designed to move local and seasonal flowers from point A to point B, with more Slow Flowers members experimenting in the world of boxed and shipped blooms.

Slow Flowers members who had never before shipped flowers began to do so in 2020. The first report we shared about this shift can be heard in early April when I interviewed Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm about the decision to ship early spring flowers when local farmers’ markets and on-farm sales were impossible. It was a survival strategy that foreshadowed a strategic business shift. You can find a link to that conversation in Episode 448.

Flowers in a Box covers a diversity of methods and formats, from overnight shipping of bulk flowers, arrangements, floral packages for weddings and more.

Members are also experimenting with the shipping of dried flowers and live plants. And others are mixing design tutorials into the mix (a nod to Insight #2 and The Virtual Florist).

This past fall, we published a six-part Slow Flowers Journal series, called New Floral Marketing Models and Platforms. I’ll share the link for you to go back and read the series in case you missed it. One of the series’ most interesting themes – to me – explores how designers and flower farmers are partnering to create boxed floral collections for home-based floral enthusiasts. Check out my stories about Petals by the Shore, Postal Petals and Flora Fun Box as examples.

We will be tracking more of this “Flowers in a Box” phenomenon moving into 2021, relying on our membership in CalFlowers, the only national trade group that offers flower farmers and floral designers access to deep discounts on overnight shipping rates. CalFlowers has joined the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit 2021 as a Supporting Sponsor, and we will be sharing more about this organization in future programs.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Ask yourself: What can you put in a box — perishable or non-perishable — and offer to customers who are not in your physical market, but who want to share and experience your brand?


#4 Botanical Activism

Scenes from Slow Flowers initiatives around the U.S., clockwise from top left: Portland, Maine, installation; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, installation; Slow Flowers’ social media badge; Detroit, Michigan, installation; and Say Their Names Memorial in Kirkland, Washington

2020 was a year in which I stepped back to evaluate whether my beliefs and values were in alignment with our brand. And I know this was the case for many of you, as well.

We highlighted “Cause-Related Flowers” in our 2018 Forecast, citing the news that more flower farmers and florists were investing their talents to help nonprofits and others in their communities through floral philanthropy efforts.

The contributions of so many of our members – growers and designers alike – continue to impact our communities. It began with the simple question: Did you donate your flowers to any causes or charities this past year? So many of you can answer in the affirmative.

But something is different now. We’ve all been touched by the awareness that the social and environmental landscape is dramatically changing. And if we do not step up to walk the talk in our own floral enterprises, I believe we are only deceiving ourselves.

I define Botanical Activism as one expression of social enterprise.
For Slow Flowers members, this takes shape in many ways:

Writing a statement of purpose for
your brand
Committing resources to racial equity, inclusion and representation in your business practice

Using your flowers to speak volumes about the issues you care about, from climate change to human rights.

And yes, you may occasionally feel the sting of criticism. I’ve seen it in social media posts, along the lines of this comment: “I just want to see beautiful flowers and I come here for a respite away from the conflict and disagreements I watch or hear on the news. Why do you have to be so political here on a floral feed?”

I believe we can no longer stay comfortable in our safe flower worlds when others are suffering discrimination or injustice. I’m not saying we need to become full-time activists. We have businesses to run, bills to pay, households to support, of course. But even in small and subtle ways, we can be Botanical Activists to signal our values and beliefs.

Your answers in the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey revealed your beliefs and passion for causes important to your brands:

  • 61% of our Members say they are taking steps to create Inclusion, Representation and Equity policies for their businesses
  • 53% of our Members are aligning their brands with human rights and social justice messaging/activities
  • 46% of our Members’ businesses have participated in cause-related activities to support Black Lives Matter and antiracism campaigns

In 2020, I witnessed the manifestation of these values across the Slow Flowers membership, inspired by so many of you, your efforts to take a stand for social justice, and to show positive support through your flowers.

Moving forward, this isn’t optional. It’s essential. For Slow Flowers, we are adding a sixth statement to the Slow Flowers Manifesto, originally written in 2017 and published on Slow Flowers Journal. Every one of the five original statements in our Manifesto could be considered by some to be radical and norm-busting in the conventional sense. They include:

Slow Flowers commits to the following practices:

  • To recognize and respect the seasons by celebrating and designing with flowers when they naturally bloom
  • To reduce the transportation footprint of the flowers and foliage consumed in the marketplace by sourcing as locally as possible
  • To support flower farmers small and large by crediting them when possible through proper labeling at the wholesale and consumer level
  • To encourage sustainable and organic farming practices that respect people and the environment
  • To eliminate waste and the use of chemical products in the floral industry

Today I am adding a sixth statement, long in coming and inspired by the actions of many of our members and colleagues in the green profession:

To proactively pursue equity, inclusion and representation in the floral marketplace, intentionally valuing
Black floral professionals
(farmers, floral designers and vendors) in our business practice with as much support as we give to environmental sustainability.

I recently came across a wonderful affirmation from SF-based diversity and inclusion expert Arthur Chan of Arthur Chan Consulting and it resonates with this new addition to our Manifesto.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Belonging implies community and my pledge to each of you is to model this value in all of Slow Flowers’ actions, programs, content and investments, not just for 2021 but beyond. As I said last week in our year-in-review, until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in, more needs to be done. So, in the coming year, we will be highlighting your Botanical Activism — what causes are your flowers supporting? How are you enhancing your community and sharing your values? Please keep me posted as I seek stories of equity and inclusion, and continue the conversation.


# 5 Theatre of the Tabletop

Designs from left: Tobey Nelson, Tobey Nelson Weddings & Events; Susan Chambers, BloominCouture; Dawn Clark and Mary Coombs, A Garden Party LLC; Beth Syphers, Crowley House Flower Farm; and Kelli Galloway, Hops Petunia Floral

The inspiration for this insight arrived in my in-box in October, when a college friend of mine sent a link from The Guardian, a UK daily newspaper. The headline read: “‘Napkins are the new fashion’: the improbable rise of tablescaping”

Written by lifestyle reporter Hannah Marriott, the article captured my imagination, as she likens tabletops to our own personal stage for artistic expression.

She wrote: ” . . . it was in lockdown, perhaps inevitably, that tablescaping became a phenomenon. With so many of us working from home, our social lives disappearing and desperate for some comfort, our focus on our homes was never sharper.

The article continues: “Tablescaping, a small joy that can take a few minutes or a few hours, and makes dinnertime instantly prettier, is part of this national self soothing.”

Gate Cottage Garden botanical tabletop collection @scottwittmanartsculpture

The person who shared this article with me, my friend Scott Wittman, is a creative director who has spent his own COVID year exiled in the Kent countryside away from his London office. He has invested all of his free time photographing the blooms in his garden to document the passing of time, season by season. It helps that his pre-Georgian cottage is surrounded by an acre of a traditional English garden planted about 40 years ago — that’s priceless inspiration!

Scott’s garden and his photography project led him to produce an entire product line for the table, including dishes and linen tablecloths and napkins adorned with his graphic and polychromatic botanical photography. He plans on debuting the “Gate Cottage Garden” collection at the 2021 Chelsea Flower Show and I’ve been urging Scott to figure out distribution in the U.S. For now, check out images of his garden-inspired table accessories in our show notes and follow him on IG at @scottwittmanartsculpture

As I pulled together insights for 2021, I couldn’t forget this old-new idea of tablescaping and it came up again in several conversations, including, most recently with Susan Chambers, Slow Flowers florist based in San Francisco. She described to me how her business BloominCouture has changed in 2020, with more residential floristry accounts than ever.

“It goes beyond flowers,,” Susan says. “So much of what I’m hearing my clients say (is) that they want to understand, not just the floristry, but creating that moment at the table. They want me to create the vision, the pomegranates down the table, the privet berries dripping out of the arrangement. They’re wanting that me to come in and create that moment for them before the dinner party.”

Tablescaping can be the ultimate Slow Flowers expression, as your florals enhance human interactions, mark occasions both special and ordinary, and celebrate the art of dining. Many of you design tablescapes for styled shoots — some of the most adventurous and theatrical meals imaginable. Let’s celebrate the objects we cherish, and create palettes that honor both how food is grown and the origin of the floral decor. I view the theatre of the tabletop as a way to honor the gift of time.

Tablescape designed by Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse and Laura W. Tibbitts of Midcoast Blooms

This insight’s key takeaway for you: How can you combine your flowers and floral designs into a full package? Hannah Marriott’s article in The Guardian triggers so many ideas that you’ll want to explore in 2021. She writes: “Thanks to social distancing and unbridled screen time, the ‘tablescapes’ hashtag now has 455,000 Instagram posts and counting, and it is lifting sales during the crisis. In lockdown, with the hospitality industry on pause, tablescaping took a different direction. For one thing, it provided an income stream – or at least a trickle – to companies whose businesses might have capsized in the crisis.”


#6 Reversing Climate Change

Slow Flowers’ member farms, from left Seattle Wholesale Growers Market dahlia farm shown against the September 2020 wildfire smoke; Stacey Denton of Flora Farm in Ashland, Oregon, using high tunnels to grow sweet peas; at Red Twig Farms in Johnstown, Ohio, low-tunnels for crop protection

Last year, in the 2020 Floral Insights & Industry Forecast, I featured Climate Change for the first time with an insight titled “Responding to Climate Change.” The urgency felt by the Slow Flowers Community is heightened as we move into 2021. Your responses to Climate Change questions in the Slow Flowers Survey reveal that urgency. It can seem overwhelming, but our individual actions and the policies we collectively support are powerful tools to employ as a community.

Last year, Forty-four percent of our survey respondents said they were adjusting growing practices to adapt to climate change. In this year’s Survey, 54% of Members say they are aligning their brands with climate change messaging/activities.

We also asked you to share about How Has Climate Change Affected You and Your Business? Here is a recap:

  • Nearly 60% of you cite weather irregularities (too much or too little rain)
  • 30% say abnormally warm OR abnormally cold spring seasons
  • 25% cite early frost arrival
  • Nearly 20% blame disaster-related damage (wildfire, flooding, hurricane, hailstorms, tornados and other weather tragedies)
  • Another reason cited includes extended hot periods with no precipitation. 

One respondent put it this way: “Weather seems more extreme and unpredictable.”

Another wrote: “It’s not at disaster level yet, but the damaging winds and rains devastated my cosmos and the smoke from the fires sullied my white roses and strawflowers.”

What can we do? What active steps are you taking to address Climate Change in your farm, shop or studio? We know about and have covered the importance of No-Till Farming Methods, Cover Crops, Crop Rotation, Raised Beds, Water efficient irrigation. We know florists are more actively than ever rejecting single-use plastics and other chemical-based products in their designs.

What else? In the coming year, Slow Flowers commits to more reporting on your efforts to reverse climate change, efforts that will inspire others and will empower our members to take positive action in small and large ways.

For now, this insight’s Key takeaway for you: Educate yourself. Join me in seeking meaningful change as we strive to protect our climate, environment, communities and planet.


#7 Beyond the Hobbyist

Deeper Learning, clockwise from top left: Farmer-Florist workshop taught by Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm; a similar workshop taught by Liz Kreig of Maple Flower Farm; Cutting Garden Design with Longfield Gardens & Slow Flowers; wreath design workshops taught by Sarah Nixon of My Luscious Backyard; and Debra Prinzing floral design to fellow Garden Writers

The DIY trend has been with us for a decade, and according to my friend and publishing partner Robin Avni, after that length of time a trend that was once new, such as do-it-yourself, folds into the broader culture and becomes mainstream. Originally, I wanted to call this insight “Beyond DIY: Figure it Out” and I turned to Robin to help me flesh it out. My idea was that since more consumers than ever are seeking new knowledge, floral enterprises need to be attuned to this reality in order to offer them what they’re seeking.

But a conversation with Robin gave me a new term: Beyond the Hobbyist. Robin is my go-to expert when I want to understand what’s happening in the consumer marketplace; she spent many years working in consumer research managing a portfolio of Fortune 500 clients as a Senior Director and Lead Consumer Strategist at Iconoculture, and as a Senior Ethnographer at The Hartman Group, where she engaged in primary consumer qualitative research. And those of you who have a copy of my new book Slow Flowers Journal-volume one will know of Robin’s influence as a visual designer — she is the creative director for that publication and my partner in the BLOOM Imprint, the new book-publishing arm of Slow Flowers.

According to Robin, DIY is everywhere, and thus, no longer new. “People feel they can access information on YouTube and figure things out themselves, from painting their walls to building a deck to designing an outdoor space,” she explains.

As an insight, though, Beyond the Hobbyist embodies so much more than DIY, more than saving money or exploring a hobby, Robin explains. “It’s about embracing a skill that gives you a sense of pride and feeds your soul. It’s about having a deeper, long-lasting connection to a skill, such as flower gardening and floral design.”

She continues: “People want to learn new skills, but then, they want to fold it into their lifestyle. They want to go beyond something superficial. They want to know that when they gather flowers from the farm-stand they can replicate at home what they learned in your design class; thanks to your class, they understand why it’s important to support the stems and change the water regularly.”

Easy, mechanics from the professional to Beyond the Hobbyist

I suspect this sentiment is a driving force behind the popularity of product lines like Holly x Syndicate’s egg and pillow mechanics, available not just to the trade, but to the enlightened floral enthusiast who wants to use the same tools and supplies that the pros use. Similarly, having the ability to order single units of the Floral Genius pin-frogs means these professional tools are getting into the hands of anyone who wants to elevate their floral design practice.

Beyond the Hobbyist is all about intentionality rather than a random DIY experience.

We will continue to witness this urge to both know a skill AND understand the why and how behind it, Robin explains. “For example, once a customer experiences a flower farm, they want more. They don’t necessarily want to be a flower farmer, but they want to understand how to grow their own cut flowers, and nurture that practice through the seasons for their own enjoyment and to share with friends and family.”

A polychromatic series: Seeing Color in the Garden @gardenercook

We talked about this further and what came to mind is the desire among many consumers to have a “Daily Practice.” And that led to my friend Lorene Edwards Forkner, Seattle Times gardening columnist, author and artist. Lorene’s Instagram feed @gardenercook features her daily practice called #seeingcolorinthegarden. Lorene is a past guest of this podcast and she will share her story and talents at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, leading participants in her mindful practice of painting small watercolor studies of plants and other items she collects from nature. You can see more in our Slow Flowers Mercantile, where we have a digital download gallery of Lorene’s work.

While learning a new skill and adopting a practice is useful for all floral professionals, the key takeaway from this insight is actually a challenge question to you: How do you help your customers and clients embrace a more meaningful connection to flowers? How can you create and nurture opportunities that go beyond DIY hobbies and convert your customers into floral practitioners?

When you draw back the curtain and share insider knowledge that your clients and customers can incorporate into their lifestyles, you build deeper engagements. People want to know the professional skills of growing and design; they don’t necessarily want to adopt a new profession, but you can interpret and empower them with skills, knowledge and confidence.

Learning and gathering knowledge is more important than ever. What services, products and experiences can you offer to your marketplace in 2021? What are you teaching and sharing? A final thought, one that I learned while developing online courses for the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop. Teach what you know. Nothing is more authentic.


#8 Marketplace Inclusion & Farmland Equity

Top Row: Slow Flowers Members who recently presented at the Young Farmers & Cooks Conference: Julius Tillery, Black Cotton U.S.; Taij & VC Cotten, Perry-winkle Farm; Aishah Lurry, Patagonia Flower Farm; and Julio Freitas, The Flower Hat
Bottom Row: #BlackFloristFriday social media campaign, created by Talia Boone of Postal Petals and Quote from Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm

This insight is closely connected to Insight #4 – Botanical Activism, while also addressing two themes essential to the future survival of the floral economy.

The first topic – Marketplace Inclusion — speaks to the importance of proactively changing our business practices to support floral enterprises owned by the BIPOC community, (that’s Black, indigenous and people of color). For so long, I focused my energies on the belief that our floral profession would survive if only consumers learned to ask “where were these flowers grown” and “what growing practices were used to grow them?”

If there is one important lesson from the racial awareness and awakening of 2020, it’s that my values demand that I ask a different set of questions, such as: “how can I support and shine a light on florists, flower farmers, vendors and customers who look different than me, a middle-aged white woman?” “How can I invest in the success of underrepresented and overlooked talent, and in doing so, ensure their success and my success are equally valued?”

At Slow Flowers, we enter 2021 with an embrace of inclusivity, representation and equity in our profession. As I discussed last week, our Professional Development Fund devotes resources to invite Black farmers and florists to join the Slow Flowers Society. YOU are encouraged to participate in this endeavor by nominating Black farmers and florists in your community to be part of our efforts — please reach out with your suggestions!

Until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in, we will not be sustainable.

I have learned much from garden designer and Slow Flowers advocate Leslie Bennett, who earlier this year joined me as a return podcast guest. Leslie owns Pine House Edible Gardens, an Oakland-based design-build landscaping studio. She is the creator of Black Sanctuary Gardens, which believes that gardens are places that provide respite and restoration; healing and inspiration. The Black Sanctuary Gardens project creates and documents garden sites where Black women’s creativity, spirituality, and human experience can be cultivated and nurtured. 

Slow Flowers donated to the Black Sanctuary Gardens project in 2020 and we feel grateful to learn from the example Leslie is modeling — using her talents and resources to design and build gardens where transformative change can take place, and where we can work to grow the world we want for ourselves and for our communities. 

Leslie and the team behind the Black Sanctuary Gardens project are curating their time and talent to create safe and beautiful garden spaces that celebrate Black women’s humanity and the communities they hold dear within the Oakland, California area. Financial contributions allow them to provide their gifts at low to no-cost to these valued community members. This is a model I’d love to see replicated across the community in other regions.

Soul Fire Farm – a life-giving hub for education, advocacy and activism

The second theme included in Insight # 7 is Land Equity. Joining progressive voices in domestic agriculture to advocate for land equity is a cause I believe will benefit the Slow Flowers community as we see much-needed diversity and representation in flower farming.

In 2020, we financially supported Soul Fire Farm. Based in Grafton, New York, Soul Fire Farm was co-founded by past Podcast guest Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black. She is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer, author, and food justice activist whose mission is to end racism in the food system and reclaim an ancestral connection to land. As co-Executive Director of Soul Fire Farm, Leah is part of a team that facilitates food sovereignty programs – including farmer trainings for Black and Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system.

Soul Fire Farm recently provided us with a list of well-established Black-led farming organizations and I’ll share it in today’s show notes for you to check out. Please consider following and supporting the farming organizations in your community as we move into 2021, while seeking a more diverse Slow Flowers community that benefits all.


#9 Opposite Palettes

Contrasting and Complementary Palettes from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

Last year, 24% of our Slow Flowers Survey respondents cited YELLOW as their top color prediction for 2020. Yellow edged out all other colors by single-digit percentages, but there was still no clear standout, leading me to predict a Polychromatic Palette for 2020.

Here we are in January 2021, and Pantone already has declared “Illuminating,” a glowing shade of yellow, as one of two colors for 2021.

For the 2021 survey, both Yellow and Orange topped your list. Specific percentages break out as follows:

Shades of Yellow (23%) “Yellow for optimism.” Mustards and mauves.” “From rich masala yellow in curries to lavish buttercream yellow on cupcakes, the comfort of food will translate to floral expressions.”

Shades of Orange (19.5%) “I think we are seeing hints of orange, and yellow with pinks and blush.” “Everything across the range of citrus tones to fruity apricot.”

Shades of Green (14%) “The clean feeling of green, with foliage in an array of green tones and various shapes.”

Shades of Purple & Violet (13%) “I think we will see a trend towards subdued jewel tones that play off of each other.” “I find the possibilities with purple are both complimentary and contrasting and love finding those matches. People also seem to really gravitate to the purple tones, or at least, that’s what I think, maybe because I like purple flowers so much!”

Shades of Red (4.5%) “Reds, burgundy, pinks monochromatic.”

Shades of Blue (3%) “Mellow, soft blues — the world needs calming tones in these crazy times.”

So what notable color palette do we predict will influence flower farming and floral design in the coming year?

I flipped to the color section of my book Slow Flowers to see what I wrote back in 2013. I quoted Harold Piercy, former principal of the Constance Spry Flower School in England, who wrote this in 1983: ” . . . in flower arranging, I have always found it advisable to discard any prconceptions about colours.” He went on to write: “Keep an open mind and do not be ruled by the colour wheel. You may hit upon unexpected satisfactory results during your experiments.”

Yellow Roses from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

I dove deep into the comments that you shared in response to the survey’s Question#23 — Describe in more Detail Your Floral Palette Prediction.

I have to give a huge congratulations to the many Slow Flowers Survey responses that were spot on about YELLOW. In 2017, Slow Flowers’ Floral Forecast predicted soft yellows in an insight titled: “Beyond Blush.” It has taken four years since then for Pantone to agree! Let me include a few of your comments here so you can congratulate yourself on nailing Pantone’s color declaration for 2021 — an important emerging floral palette we forecasted here years ago!

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

“I’m only wishing. I have lemon chiffon peonies that I would love to see a bump in desire for.”
“Into yellow lately.”
“Cream-mustard; pale yellow. Happy shades.”
“More sunny, happy color.”
“Bright, positive, with an endless summer-like feeling.”
“Pale yellows to golden tones.”
“Yellow is inherently cheery and I think people will want more good cheer. Also, floral designers have been trying to sell clients on yellow and mustard forever — maybe this is our year that clients will finally go for it!”
“Orange or yellow. We need some brightness in 2021!”
“Soft, buttery yellows.”
“Yellow is building momentum! And there are so many shades that blend well with the popular muddy/neutral palettes.”
“Soft, light, buttery yellow.”
“Seeing more demand for yellow flowers.”
“2020 has been a dark year and I think we could all use a little sunshine in our future.”
“Warm yellows — amber, mustard, butter – seen alone or with accents in deeper shades.”
“After the Pandemic, we want LIFE! We will want color and variety. Yellow was a very big color in fashion just before the Pandemic and I think it will be picked up again after.”
“I think the soft yellows and warm golden colors are what we need for 2021! We need a soft glowing hug after 2020!”

Orange & Blue(ish) dial up the palette contrast! (c) Debra Prinzing design and photograph

Clearly, we all love yellow. But of course, we do not want to follow Pantone. Let’s move beyond a single hue and explore what’s coming next:

I predict the most exciting floral palettes will feature Complementary or Contrasting Colors. With color pairs that reside opposite each other on the color wheel — combinations and variations of of course Yellow + Purple, but also interpretations of Red + Green; Orange + Blue.

What do you think of “Opposite Palettes”? A few survey comments jumped out to me in agreement:

“Oranges reaching out in different directions — yellow, reds, or complementary purple.”
“Purples combined with pale yellows, oranges and whites.”
“I find the possibilities with purple are both complimentary and contrasting and love finding those matches.”
“Pink, peach, coral, orange, yellow and then contrasting with blue.”

Red & Green Complements (c) Debra Prinzing design and photograph

What is the key insight here?
Simply, that we live in a colorful floral world and we need to experiment more! And find ways to excite customers and clients with new, shall we say, contrasts and complements, on the horizon!

At the core of it, this insight reinforces the importance of selling color as a much-desired product. Remember, you and your flowers are ready to meet consumers’ hunger for more color in their lives.


#10 Star Quality

From Left: Fleurs de Villes designs by Tobey Nelson and Thomasi Boselawa; Kristen Griffith VanderYacht of Big Flower Fight; Ace Berry, AIFD, PFCI – a finalist on Full Bloom; the Full Bloom judging panel

All of a sudden, miraculously in 2020, celebrity florists are taking center stage alongside chefs and fashion designers!

Whatever you think about floral competition television, seeing flowers and plants in the hands of professional designers on programs like Netflix’s “Big Flower Fight” and HBO’s “Full Bloom” definitely felt validating. We are witnessing flowers – elevated — in mainstream TV programming! That’s news worth celebrating!

I lived vicariously through both programs and was honored to host Big Flower Fight’s head judge Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht as a guest on the Slow Flowers Podcast and profile him for a Florists’ Review cover story earlier this year.

I also enthusiatically rooted for Ace Berry, AIFD, PFCI, another past guest of this podcast, who competed in HBO’s “Full Bloom.” I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t watched to the finale, but you can learn much more about Ace in Episode 421, originally aired in October 2019.

Nine Slow Flowers members designed floral fashions for the 2020 Fleurs de Villes Exhibit at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival
DESIGN CREDITS (c) samanthasmith.photo for Fleurs de Villes
Top row, from left: Casablanca Floral, Flirty Fleurs and Garden Party Design
Center row, from left: Hazel Landscapes & Design, LORA Bloom, Smashing Petals
Bottom row, from left: Terra Bella Flowers & Mercantile, Tiare Floral Design, Tobey Nelson Weddings & Events

I felt quite the same sense of pride earlier this year when the popular Fleurs de Villes exhibition came to Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. With flowers transformed into wearable fashions displayed on a parade of mannequins — it clearly was the most popular feature of the flower and garden festival. The success of Fleurs de Villes is similar to the buzz created by the two floral competition shows I just mentioned.

I was delighted to interview Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley, the creatives behind Fleurs de Villes – which I called a Bespoke Floral Phenomenon, on the Slow Flowers Podcast this past February.  Much like the response people have when they see the photo shoots of real models wearing botanical couture for our American Flowers Week campaigns that Slow Flowers began commissioning in 2016, the botanical couture on Fleurs de Villes’ three-dimensional mannequins takes floral fashion to a new level. 

What is the magic? I believe that seeing flowers used as an artistic expression ignites the imagination of those who view them. Beyond the sheer scale and beauty of floral installations, massive topiary and botanically-dressed mannequins, flowers are the starting point that connect many consumers with the natural world. And who can argue with that?

For Fleurs de Villes, show-goers were invited to vote for their favorite design. For Big Flower Fight and Full Bloom, viewers rooted for their favorite contestants. There’s buy-in when the audience has a stake in the outcome, and ultimately, more people know more about flowers, which takes us full circle to our Insight #1 — Floral Wellness.

I hope to see all of these floral celebrity projects return to our lives in 2021, but I will offer a vocal plea for one change: Please, No FLORAL FOAM. As we’ve urged the mainstream floral profession for years: please wean yourself from a dependence on foam. Be truly creative and find alternative mechanics to express your art!

It can be done; believe me, we’ve consistently documented no-foam mechanic strategies on this podcast and in our other Slow Flowers channels. For goodness sake’s, even the famed Chelsea Flower Show has declared future exhibitions to be foam-free.


If you’re interested in showing off your own Star Quality, I invite you to join the 2021 American Flowers Week botanical couture creative team. Our creators are Slow Flowers member florists and flower farmers who and produce wearable botanical couture photographed on live models for publication.

On Friday, January 15th, you’re invited to join me for a free webinar and Learn how YOU can participate in American Flowers Week 2021

Hear advice and tips from Slow Flowers member designers and growers! We will discuss how each created an iconic botanical couture look for American Flowers Week, including flower sourcing, model selection and photography. You can join the Webinar to learn whether this opportunity is right for you! The Webinar takes place 9am Pacific/Noon Eastern on Friday, January 15, 2021.


Okay, what an inspiring list of 10 insights! Thank you for reviewing this list with me today. I  want to pause here to marvel at what has happened since I began writing down what I viewed on the horizon for the Slow Flowers movement and its followers and members.

The simple act of speaking, writing and sharing one’s perspective is a personal superpower, one you can also claim, because each of us has an utterly unique world view. While it seems trite to seek out COVID’s “silver linings,” you may find meaningful truths to interpret from the past year’s chaos. Use them as a foundation for your 2021 planning. Yes, you want to make resolutions and set goals. You can also set your Intention. And intention can be our rudder to guide us through choppy waters and uncertain times. That’s clearly what we need in this moment.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 800 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 675,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

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

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

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

Music Credits:

Heliotrope; Vittoro; Open Flames; Shift of Currents; Surly Bonds; Gaenaby 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 466: Black Sanctuary Gardens with Leslie Bennett of Oakland-based Pine House Edible Gardens

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
Left: Leslie Bennett in her Pine House Edible Gardens-designed Oakland backyard
(c) Rachel Weill

Today’s special guest returns to the Slow Flowers Podcast after her 2017 appearance. Leslie Bennett is an award-winning garden creator whose Pine House Edible Gardens designs and installs beautiful, productive edible landscapes that provide bountiful harvests of organic fruits, vegetables, cutting flowers and herbs — and that create space for more beauty, peace and connection in clients’ lives. Pine House also maintain gardens, harvests and processes garden-grown food, and teaches clients the skills to do it themselves.

Edibles and cut flowers (citrus, blueberries, fig, protea, poppies) flourish in anAlameda front yard (c) Caitlin Atkinson

As a Black woman owned business and multi-racial, queer inclusive, majority female team, Pine House Edible Gardens stands for more than just healthy food and beautiful landscapes, and this is one reason I invited Leslie back to the show — to discuss her firm’s commitment to making gardens accessible to all through its equity pricing program and the Black Sanctuary Gardens project. As Leslie writes on the company’s web site: “We believe an edible garden can be a transformative space to grow and practice the better ways and world we want for ourselves and for our communities.”

The 2017 Slow Flowers Summit presentation features (from left): Chantal Aida Gordon, Leslie Bennett, Riz Reyes and Nicole Cordier
The speaker lineup at our first Slow Flowers Summit, including Leslie Bennett (far right)

In 2017, Leslie joined the first Slow Flowers Summit in Seattle as a speaker on the topic of inclusion and representation in floriculture and horticulture. She is definitely a mentor of mine as I strive to make the Slow Flowers community an inclusive, supportive and accessible place for Black flower farmers and Black floral professionals.

The first Black Sanctuary Garden project, created for a community leader in East Oakland
(c) Rachel Weill

Slow Flowers has had the privilege of sharing our resources to support anti-racist programs and to support new members through our Professional Development Fund for Black Farmers and Florists. One of the programs we were moved to support financially is the Black Sanctuary Gardens program that Leslie began a few years ago through Pine House Edible Gardens. I wanted you to learn more about this program because I believe it is a model that anyone who wants their creative enterprise to be guided by values- and mission-. As I watch how Leslie uses her talents and resources to support her beliefs, it inspires me to want to do the same with Slow Flowers.

A front garden landscaped with edible plants in Atherton, Calif. (c) David Fenton

Thanks so much for joining my conversations with Leslie — our most recent one and the replay of Episode 302.

One thing Leslie said that struck me so powerfully and it needs to be restated: This is not charity. This is giving back what has been taken. Land, generational wealth, historic and systemic racism. Operating very humbly will take us forward.

The 2020 campaign page . . . with donations soon reaching the $30k goal!

The current Go Fund Me Campaign for Black Sanctuary Gardens is close to reaching its 2020 campaign goal of $30,000, but the fundraising continues because this will be an ongoing design/installation series. You can read more about Black Sanctuary Gardens at Pine House Edible Gardens’ web site, but I’d like to highlight a few details. Leslie writes:

“Inspired in part by Alice Walker’s naming of the garden as a site for black women’s spirituality, creativity and artistic work, landscape designer Leslie Bennett and her team work to design, install and care for a series of low to no-cost Black Sanctuary Gardens for Black women and Black communities. Visual curation and photographic documentation of the women and communities in their garden spaces is a secondary, integral part of the project as we create imagery that more accurately and inclusively reflects the relationship of Black women and communities with their gardens.

An entry garden in Los Altos, Calif., features low-water, edible and native California plantings (c) Caitlin Atkinson
Edible garden in Hillsborough, Calif. (c) David Fenton

The primary goal of Black Sanctuary Gardens is to create garden spaces for Black women to rest and be restored. This space is so needed, given the racism and sexism that Black women experience as part of daily American life. A further goal is to define, uphold and celebrate Black community spaces, amidst gentrification and displacement of historically Black communities in Oakland. 

Black Sanctuary Gardens is an exciting opportunity to develop gardens that are reflective of our brilliant Black community and supportive of our specific cultural experiences, while offering real sanctuary for Black people to commune, converse, collaborate, heal, rest, and be nourished.

Left: An enclosed kitchen garden with fruit trees and vegetable beds in Oakland Hills (c) Caitlin Atkinson; A bountiful planting from Pine House Edible Gardens

After we recorded today’s interview, Leslie and I continued to discuss the many important reasons for centering a business around Black wellness, creativity and community. It has inspired me to find words to state the importance of these values in the Slow Flowers movement. While I’m proud that our stated Manifesto values sustainability, local sourcing of flowers, and supporting family farms, I realize I want to more explicitly and actively support equity in our Black farming and floristry community. Look for an update to the Slow Flowers Manifesto in the coming days — as we put values and beliefs into words.  

Here’s how you can find and follow Leslie Bennett and Pine House Edible Gardens:

Pine House Edible Gardens on Facebook

Pine House Edible Gardens on Instagram

More about Black Sanctuary Gardens

Now, more than ever, your Slow Flowers Membership gives you an important story to share with your community and your customers.

Our monthly Slow Flowers Meet-Ups continue this Friday on August 14th (9 am PT/Noon ET) and you’re invited to join us – virtually – via Zoom.

If you missed last month’s Meet-Up, you can find  video from our July 10th Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up with featured guests wedding designer and stylist Joy Proctor, founder and creative director of Joy Proctor Design and Slow Flowers members and wedding and event designers Adam Rico and Alicia Rico of Dallas-based Bows and Arrows Flowers. Learn about the first @saytheirnamesmemorial in Portland, Oregon, installed on Juneteenth (June 19th) by Joy and a group of friends, artists, designers and craftspeople, and created in several other cities including Dallas and Atlanta by Bows and Arrows Flowers.

Gina Thresher (left) and Tonneli Gruetter (right)

This week’s guests include Gina Thresher of From the Ground Up Floral and Tonneli Gruetter of Salty Acres Farm — they’re among the instructors in a new virtual floral conference taking place in late August called Fleurvana Virtual Summit. You’ll hear more from Gina and Tonneli and learn how you can grab a free registration for the four-day conference August 23-26 — I’ll be speaking at Fleurvana, too. You’re invited to join us on Friday!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 632,000 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.

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

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

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

(c) 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:

Homegrown; 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 463: REPLAY Soul Fire Farm’s Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020
Replay Episode with Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm and author of “Farming While Black.”

Today, we are celebrating the 7th Anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast. I want to take a moment and marvel at the significance and what this means to me — the significance of sharing so many wonderful conversations with listeners over the years, since launching this little project on July 23, 2103.

The timing of this podcast’s debut was just a few months after the publication of the book Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm, when I introduced the first-ever podcast for the floral marketplace. I began to invite guests to share their voices, ideas and inspiration. From domestic flower farmers to designers taking a seasonal and sustainable approach to their floral art, I’ve have pursued unique programming for you.

For 362 consecutive weeks, this has been the podcast you can rely on to bring you stories of American flowers and the people who grow and design with them. This podcast actually pre-dates the launch in May 2014 of 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.  Slowflowers.com began with about 250 members across the U.S. and it has evolved into the Slow Flowers Society with 750 sustaining members across North America, members who, like you, care about making a conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

(c) Mary Grace Long

So we have a lot to celebrate and a lot to be grateful for. We’ve shared conversations on topics important to progressive, sustainably-minded floral entrepreneurs and I’m excited to continue the strong momentum as this show is more popular than ever. Episodes have been downloaded by listeners like you more than 625,000 times over the past seven years, and we currently enjoy 10k to 12k monthly downloads. So while metrics aren’t everything, they are one important indicator of the relevance of our content.

I want to pause and thank all of our current Slow Flowers Podcast sponsors, just to remind you that their contributions sustain the production and distribution of this show.

Thank you to:
Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers
Longfield Gardens
Rooted Farmers
Syndicate Sales
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Mayesh Wholesale Florist
The Gardener’s Workshop
Florists’ Review

Meet Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm

We are in a season of challenge and change, and I want to bring you what I believe is a very special and timely replay episode from our archives. It has always been my goal to produce a fresh new episode every week, and but for a few exceptions, I’ve been able to do so. But with the heightened awareness about the fight against systemic racism and Slow Flowers’ stated commitment to support Black flower farmers and florists, we want to turn the focus on their voices, including revisiting past interviews you may have missed. In the coming months, we want to shine a light on Black pioneers and leaders in the Slow Flowers Community, members and friends. We have several new guests booked for the coming months, but today, I want to re-introduce you to Leah Penniman.

Pollinator flowers at Soul Fire Farm

I am so incredibly excited to rebroadcast my January 23, 2019, conversation with Leah as we discussed her new book, “Farming While Black, Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land,” published October 2018 by Chelsea Green Publishing.

Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim an ancestral connection to land. As co-Executive Director, Leah is part of a team that facilitates powerful food sovereignty programs – including farmer trainings for Black and Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system.

Soul Fire Farm – a life-giving hub for education, advocacy and activism

Leah holds an MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University. She has been farming since 1996 and teaching since 2002. The work of Leah and Soul Fire Farm has been recognized by the Soros Racial Justice Fellowship, Fulbright Program, Omega Sustainability Leadership Award, Presidential Award for Science Teaching, NYS Health Emerging Innovator Awards, and Andrew Goodman Foundation, among others. All proceeds from the sale of Farming While Black will be used to support Black Farmers.

Soul Fire Farm is a Black, indigenous, and people of colorcentered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. Soul Fire Farm raises and distributes life-giving food as a means to end food apartheid.

With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of ancestors, the farm works to reclaim its collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system.

Soul Fire brings diverse communities together on its healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice. Leah and her colleagues are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.

Please buy this book and educate yourself about the Black farming community.

Thanks so much for joining my conversation with Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm and Farming While Black, originally broadcast as Episode 385 on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. As I mentioned in the interview, Farming While Black is required reading for all farmers, and for anyone who wants to have a deeper insight into the racism and injustice in our country’s agricultural history. I highly recommend it — Leah’s passion and spirit jumps off the page as she inspires, informs, instigates and shares her important life’s work as well as her incredibly smart farming advice.

I invited Leah to return to the Slow Flowers Podcast this week and give us an update about Soul Fire Farm’s work, but due to the demands of farming and activism, her schedule didn’t work with ours. I’m grateful that Soul Fire Farm sent us an extensive list of new resources and action items to help the Slow Flowers Community get more involved in social justice work to support Black-owned farms.

Soul Fire Farm on Facebook

Soul Fire Farm on Instagram

Their message read as follows: We are humbled by the outpouring of support we have received from you in the last couple weeks, instilling us with hope for a more just future amidst the grief we feel about the continued legacy of anti-Black police violence in our nation.

Here is a list of action steps you can take right now.

Additional resources:

FAQ page

COVID-19 response

2019 annual report

Policy demands

Food and Land Sovereignty Resource List for Covid-19

BIPOC-led How To Videos, Gardening Projects, and Online Learning Resources

As a show of support from the Slow Flowers Podcast, we have made a $250 donation to Soul Fire Farm and sent Leah and her team a one-year membership in Slow Flowers. We are eager to learn and listen — and I invite you to join me in this important endeavor.

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:

Bombadore; Skyway (acoustica); 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; Acoustic Shuffle
audionautix.com

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

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

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

Alchemy Farm on Salt Spring Island, B.C.

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

welcome sign
Welcome to Alchemy Farm

Here’s more about Alchemy Farm and its owner:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Alchemy Farm at these social place:

Alchemy Farm Flowers on Facebook

Alchemy Farm Flowers on Instagram

Alchemy Farm Flowers’ new Bee Garden School

Erin McMullen of Rain Drop Farms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teresa Sabankaya in her garden in Bonny Doon, California

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

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

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

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

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

Thank you to our sponsors

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

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

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

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

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

The famous sweet pea tunnel!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Misty VanderWeele at these social places:

All Dahlia’d Up on Facebook

All Dahlia’d Up on Instagram

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

Shop for Misty’s Dahlia Pendants

Bethany Bernard of The Flower Peddler in Bridgeton, New Jersey

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

The beautiful fields at The Flower Peddler

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

Follow The Flower Peddler at these social places:

The Flower Peddler on Facebook

The Flower Peddler on Instagram

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

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

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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

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

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

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

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

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

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

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

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

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

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

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

Lisa Waud (c) ee berger photograph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 334 (January 31, 2018)

Episode 211 (September 16, 2015)

Episode 181 (February 18, 2015)

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

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

Here’s more about Lisa:

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

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

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

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

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

In late March, Lisa and I participated in a rather last-minute, spontaneous mind-meld with two other flower friends. Part getaway; part workation, the gathering of four women creatives in small and large ventures, from different generations and walks of life, was an electrifying experience to say the least.

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

What emerged from our time together was a new collaboration for Slow Flowers, with Lisa joining me to manage a project I simply did not have time to tackle. I had been yearning for someone who could help me untangle the crazy knot of our Slow Flowers Member Database. For many, this would be a mind-numbingly boring, clerical, rather than creative task. Yet for Lisa, this was a challenge that called her in — and rise to the occasion, she has.

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

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

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

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

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

Find pot + box on Facebook

Follow pot + box on Instagram

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

Bethany Frediani of Nevada-based Sunflower & Sage Floral

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

Nevada-grown blooms by Sunflower & Sage Floral

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

Designs by Bethany Frediani

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

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

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

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Facebook

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Instagram

Sunflower & Sage Floral on Pinterest

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

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

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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

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

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

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com Huge congrats to Andrew and Hannah Brenlan for the arrival on July 16th of their first child on Francis Lou Brenlan. We love you all and celebrate this beautiful new human in our world.

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

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

In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com