Debra Prinzing

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Episode 468: Slow Flowers’ Social Media Maven Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020
Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social, the talent and passion behind Slow Flowers’ social media

Whether we like it or not, establishing a social media presence is an essential business requirement. In any visually-driven marketplace, but especially in the floral world, we need to create Instagram and Facebook accounts that we want our brand, mission and values to be associated with.

I launched the first Slow Flowers business page on Facebook in 2013 when my book of that title was released. And I believe that I started the Slow Flowers Instagram account, called @myslowflowers, in 2015 (prior to that I had a personal account @dkprinzing — and it took Dani Hahn of Rose Story Farm to inform me that having a second account on Instagram was allowed!).

Debra and Niesha, photographed at the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit in Washington, D.C.

I muddled along for a few years posting a hodge-podge of images — all pretty, but there was no strategy. After meeting and working with today’s guest, things changed. As I discuss with her in this episode, she was definitely a game-changer, our secret sauce. Please meet Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social, the social media strategist and manager whose talents and creativity have magnified the message of Slow Flowers on Instagram and Facebook.

Niesha, on location at the Slow Flowers Summit in St. Paul, Minnesota (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Niesha and I first worked together as consultants to the Field to Vase Dinner Tour, a project I helped launch with Certified American Grown. We met up at a number of beautiful flower farms around the U.S. where I often hosted the VIP and media guests and Niesha managed the social media for each dinner.

Not long after I ended that contract in 2017, Niesha left her gig and started Fetching Social. I didn’t hesitate for a moment. I asked her to support Slow Flowers with a social media strategy. Niesha has been a vital member of the small but mighty Slow Flowers team and other than Andrew Brenlan, our podcast editor, Niesha been with me the longest. She basically acts as Slow Flowers Society’s freestanding social media department — and I’m so grateful for her talents.

Niesha manages all of Slow Flowers’ visual social media — on Instagram, Facebook and for our events, like the Slow Flowers Summit

Here’s a bit more about Niesha Blancas:
With a personality as colorful as her creativity, Niesha loves to think outside the box for new and exciting ways to showcase her clients’ stories. After graduating from Fresno State with a double major in Public Relations and Fashion Merchandising, Niesha has dipped her toes in various waters, many in which happen to be social-worthy: food, flowers, wine, travel, fashion, and events.

And more about Fetching Social:
Why settle for anything less than fetching? Fetching Social is your business’s ally. We understand that social media can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially while you’re running your own company. Let us do what we do best so you can get back to business. If you want to compare bucket list adventures, debate the existence of unicorns, or talk one-on-one with Niesha for her branding advice, DM her on Instagram or email her at fetchingsocial@gmail.com.

Last summer, Niesha was a featured presenter at the 2019 Slow Flowers Summit in St. Paul. She presented on Social Media and I’ve got a bonus for you. You can watch Niesha’s presentation — VISUAL STORYTELLING FOR SOCIAL MEDIA – part of a 3-speaker panel with Kalisa Jenne-Fraser and Missy Palacol, below.

Find and follow Fetching Social:

Check out Fetching Social’s JumpStarter Package

Download Fetching Social’s JumpStarter Package below:

Fetching Social on Instagram

Fetching Social on Facebook

Niesha is a vital member of the Slow Flowers Community

Thanks so much for joining me today for my conversation with Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social. I hope you consider reaching out to Niesha to talk about your own social media needs. She has an extensive menu of services suitable for any budget or wish list you might have.

I can honestly say that Niesha’s expertise, professionalism and passion for the Slow Flowers Community is worth every penny — she is priceless and influences so much of what I undertake!

Coming up in just two weeks is the second annual Sustainable Flowers Workshop, led by Slow Flowers member Becky Feasby of Prairie Girl Flowers in Calgary, Alberta. I was so looking forward to being there in person with Becky, the other instructors and the attendees

Not to be deterred, Becky is proceeding with the workshop, September 8 & 9, which will be held in Calgary at the Rosemont Community Hall. She’ll be joined by fellow Canadian, floral designer, artist, photographer and author Christin Geall of Cultivated by Christin. Tobey Nelson and I will join virtually via Zoom. Not quite the same thing, but since Tobey and I cannot cross the U.S.-Canadian border, we’re going to make it as fun and engaging as the Zoom platform will allow!

There are a few spaces left for this awesome workshop. I’ll have the full itinerary and signup information in today’s show notes. I know it will be a smashing event!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Debra and Niesha together in Boulder, Colorado

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:

The Wooden Platform; Heartland Flyer; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 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

Revisiting our Stylish Sheds

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

Published in 2008, Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways is more relevant than ever!

In 2008, after a year of scouting the country for “stylish sheds” with my wonderful collaborator, Seattle photographer Bill Wright, and after months of interviewing shed owners, designers and builders, then writing 50k words or some ridiculous amount of text, Clarkson Potter (Random House) published Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways.

We loved that book so much. We loved how beautiful Bill’s photography was, capturing the personalities and stories of each shed owner, not to mention unique geographical and architectural characteristics of each shed. We loved storytelling through my interviews, conversations that dug deep into the psyche of hideaways, retreats and shelters.

Bill and I were truly ahead of our time. We saw around the corner and we believe that Stylish Sheds captured a shift in how people viewed their gardens and the once-neglected huts or sheds that stood there.

Our book documented that lovely shift toward viewing sanctuary not as somewhere you have to travel to, but somewhere that exists just steps away from your backdoor.

Stylish Sheds Well, 2008 was a financial disaster and the bottom fell out of the real estate market. Our timing could not have been predicted. Ten years later, a number of copycat books emerged on the marketplace. And Bill and I just sat their and thought: Wow, we were visionaries! The promotional machine we needed in the lifestyle media marketplace was in its own crisis when Stylish Sheds was published. That was the era when magazines like House & Garden, Cottage Living, Domino and others suddenly folded.

Eventually, nearly 20k copies of Stylish Sheds were shipped to booksellers, more than any other book I ever wrote. But then, it went out of print a few years later. You can still find this special title on your library shelf and through online sellers of used books.

We were quite suprised recently when Lyda Kay Ferree, a lifestyle writer for a group of magazines in the South, contacted us to see if she could excerpt a few of Bill’s photos and interview me for an April 2020 Home & Garden feature for VIP Jackson Magazine and one of its sister publications.

Lyda Kay definitely “gets” this book. When she contacted me to set up the phone interview, she wrote: “I am fortunate to live in an historic district in a 100-year-old home, complete with the original potting shed with brick walls. (It has electricity but no running water.) I had saved an article about your book as I am getting ideas for my potting shed.”

Well, we had a lovely conversation about Stylish Sheds, and Lyda Kay’s article appears here, with photography graciously provided by Bill. Seeing those beautiful and diminutive structures we documented brings back a flood of memories of that year — between summer of 2006 and summer of 2007 — when Bill and I produced 35 photo shoots in 52 weeks.

Itinerant seekers of inspiration, we felt like we were on a treasure hunt, gathering the best tiny architecture and design ideas to share in our book’s pages.

Lyda Kay has shared the PDF of her article and you can download or read it here. We’re so pleased that she reached out and helped to remind us of this special book and the memories of creating it. Thank you, Lyda Kay!

Solidarity and Social Justice

Monday, June 1st, 2020

We are watching our cities in crisis as people struggle for justice during what feels like endless and senseless acts of violence (and worse, murder) against people of color.

There is no other way to say this: The killing of black people by police has to stop.

Until those in white privilege (myself included) address generations of neglect, ignorance, unwillingness to understand, and acceptance of systemic racism in our country. This is the world we brought our children into and this is the world we absolutely have to confront and change.

Along with many friends and colleagues in the Slow Flowers community and the larger horticulture and floriculture community, I feel like I need to do more than speak out. I need to act.

To start, I’ve decided to donate $5,000, all of the Slow Flowers revenue for the month of May, to the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson’s amazing nonprofit legal organization that works in criminal justice reform, racial justice and public education. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, they are literally working on the front lines to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenge racial and economic injustice, and to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

We care about “Stories of Resilience” here, on the podcast and in the larger Slow Flowers community. I thank you for reading this post and encourage you to make a human gesture of support for the marginalized and disenfranchised in your community.

I ask you to join me and find ways to do more than nod or shake your head. I urge you to act in doing this essential work. Let’s do some justice with our flowers. Here is a list of organizations you may wish to consider for your donations, volunteer efforts, and – most importantly – personal education.

This list was compiled by the Slow Flowers Team and will be updated:

Equal Justice Initiative
@eji_org
The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

Campaign Zero
An online platform and organization that utilizes research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in America.

Black Visions Collective
A black, trans, and queer-led organization that is committed to dismantling systems of oppression & violence, & shifting the public narrative to create transformative, long-term change.

We also recommend you use this valuable tool when considering a charity to support. Charity Navigator.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cultivating Place on Facebook

Cultivating Place on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

Cultivated on Facebook

Cultivated on Instagram

Lorene Edwards Forkner (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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

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

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

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

LEF on Facebook

LEF on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 583,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field; Paper Wings
Music from:
audionautix.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the article “Creative Fulfillment.”

An arrangement to illustrate the concept of “torque.”

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

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

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

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

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

Seeing color

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

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

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

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

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

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

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:

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

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A polychromatic series: Seeing Color in the Garden @gardenercook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find and follow Lorene Edwards Forkner at these social places:

LEF on Facebook

LEF on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

Dahlias at Hart’s Garden & Nursery

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

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

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

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

Here are the details:

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

HARTS GARDEN & NURSERY, Missoula, Montana

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

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

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com