Debra Prinzing

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Episode 420: Pamela Parker of JP Parker Flowers – on combining full-service retail & event florals with an Indiana flower farm, plus, our state focus: Oklahoma

September 25th, 2019

Pamela Parker of JP Parker Flowers, Indiana florist, event designer, retailer and flower farmer

I recorded this week’s episode while I was attending the 2019 Society of American Florists conference on Amelia Island, Florida. Before I left on this journey, I remember thinking to myself: “I will find a great guest for there to invite onto the Slow Flowers Podcast. And guess what? That is exactly what happened.

During flower farming season, you can find Pam in the fields more than in one of her two shops. Here, she’s touring the peony fields.

On my first morning there, I was seated in the back row of a presentation on editing photos for social media. I struck up a conversation with a woman next to me as we compared notes on Instagram. I leaned forward to look at her name badge and read: Pamela Parker-Tucker, JP Parker Flowers, Indianapolis, Indiana. “Pam, I exclaimed, It’s so nice to meet you – I’m Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers.”

I had a pretty good idea that she would know who I was because we have a mutual friend, Jo Ellen Myers Sharp, a long-time professional colleague and friend through my garden writing life. Jo Ellen is a popular Indianapolis garden writer, editor and columnist. She had told me about Pam Parker, a very successful florist in her city who also owned a local flower farm.

Well, once we figured out our connection, Pam and I continued the conversation. That led to her joining me today on the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Sunflowers — 300,000 of them each season!

Here’s a bit more about Pam’s story, excerpted from J.P. Parker Flowers’ web site:

After working in the floral industry for thirteen years in Minneapolis, Pam returned to Indiana to live on the family farm. A third generation farmer, Pam developed her love of flowers and growing from her deep Indiana roots. J P Parker Flowers was born when her sister, Janet, became her first employee. They began growing flowers such as sunflowers, alliums and zinnias on the family farm. While Pam enjoyed growing flowers, she missed the corporate and event floral work she had been involved in Minneapolis. She had produced major projects for clients such as General Mills and as a personal designer for the Pillsbury family.

In 1986, Pam decided to follow her passion and return to event and corporate flowers.

As you’ll hear us discuss in this episode, JP Parker Flowers made its local debut in the event industry by decorating Indianapolis’ Historic Union Station.

A JP Parker & Co.-grown and designed arrangement

The executives of Union Station invited a handful of talented designers from across Indiana to compete for a highly sought after opportunity to design and decorate the venue for the Holidays. With nothing more than a mind full of ideas and a briefcase in hand, Pam beat out the competition and landed the contract. In a few short months, she and Janet assembled a makeshift team, and they handily completed this enormous task.

With the well deserved recognition for their décor and design work at Union Station, JP Parker Flowers truly began to blossom. Among their décor accomplishments: the Pan Am Games and the 100 year anniversary of the Columbia Club. After opening a storefront first in Franklin, Indiana, they then branched out to their Indianapolis location in 2008.

Success with numerous corporate clients soon led to weddings and after several exciting years Pam felt she had come full circle when she returned to Union Station to produce a large event for Super Bowl XLI in 2012.

Pam is still the owner of JP Parker Flowers, but the crew has grown to 26 talented designers and dedicated employees. The goal of JP Parker remains providing beautiful custom designs and excellence in customer service with a personal touch.

Thousands of Indiana peonies!

On top of all this, J. P. Parker Flowers is deeply rooted in Indiana’s agricultural history. Part of Pam’s heart and love of flowers resides at the family farm, where literally thousands of flowers grow each year. The farm is full of beautiful field crops during the growing season. In addition to sourcing local flowers from the Parker Family Fields, JP Parker Flowers buys from other area flower farmers, too.

I’m delighted to welcome Pamela Parker to our Slow Flowers Community – as she has just joined us as a new member.

The JP Parker Flower Farm

You can find and follow JP Parker Flowers at these social places:

JP Parker Flowers on Facebook

JP Parker Flowers on Instagram

JP Parker Flowers on Pinterest

Thank you so much for joining me today and learning from a very experienced retail florist who has built her entire business on the origins of flower farming.

The fact that I came to last week’s conference with no guest lined up for today’s show . . . and that I miraculously found myself there, seated next to someone who I’ve been wanting to recruit into our community, well, that was pure kismet. Pam referred to her “luck of the irish woman,” so I’ll claim that for myself – I’m ¼ Irish, after all.

You never know where and who I’ll bump into my next guest – and it could be you!

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Terri Barr of Wild Lark Farm. Located about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa, in Claremore, Oklahoma, Wild Lark Farm’s tagline is: SEASONAL CUT FLOWERS FROM THE HEART OF GREEN COUNTRY

Wild Lark Farm is a small family farm committed to growing specialty and heirloom flowers. By using a mindset of sustainability, Terri is focused on the best of what Oklahoma has to offer – from mid-May to the end of October.

She says: “Flowers are what we love to do. They lift spirits and bring joy to countless lives, and we are honored to be a part of it. All of our flowers are grown using organic methods which promote a healthy environment for both people and pollinators. In keeping with the nature of Oklahoma farmers, we strive to make the land better than we found it.”

Thanks so much for listening today! You can find and follow Wild Lark Farm at these social places:

Wild Lark Farm on Facebook

Wild Lark Farm on Instagram

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 522,000 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.

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

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

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

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

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

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 419: Meet Slow Flowers’ youngest member, 18-year-old farmer-florist Mary Schaefbauer of Sonnenblume Flower Farm & Design, plus, our state focus: Ohio

September 18th, 2019

I want to introduce you to Mary Schaefbauer of Brainerd, Minnesota, a compelling young floral entrepreneur who is using her passion for Slow Flowers to build an impressive name for herself.

As you’ll hear in today’s episode, I met Mary when she attended a July 2018 meet-up hosted by Twin Cities Flower Exchange in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sonnenblume is the German word for Sunflower, which happens to be one of Mary’s favorite flowers to grow and design with

Mary’s story struck me as one I wish I had lived. Since her early teenage years, she has been driven to become a floral designer. And because she couldn’t afford to buy flowers with which to design, Mary started growing flowers on her family’s property — flowers that soon became more than just art supplies for a self-taught designer. Soon, a business emerged, one that serves her local community of Minnesota’s “Lakes District,” a vibrant destination wedding and tourism region.

Unique and beautiful: Grown and designed by Mary Schaefbauer

Sonnenblume Flower Farm and Design is a full-service floral design studio and flower farm in Brainerd, Minnesota. The flower farm is nestled in the old hay field behind Mary’s family’s home. The land is surrounded by forest and meadow, and is the perfect place to grow more than 40 types of flowers and hundreds of cultivars that supply customers whose flower needs range from weddings and events, everyday floral designs, farmers markets, and more.

Another take on sunflowers

Mary Schaefbauer is committed to customer satisfaction, delight, and education. She writes this on her web site: “I strive to use only the highest-quality local flowers, the most interesting and delightful varieties, and to educate customers about the joy of flowers through community outreach.”

She continues: “Sonnenblume floral designs are a celebration of color and texture. The flowers grown here on the farm come in a wide range of hues, allowing for beautiful tonal color combinations in each arrangement. I also love using a variety of textural elements, which are what make my designs so interesting and pleasing to the eye.I choose flowers that are unique and unusual, so I can surprise my customers with flowers they might never have seen before.

A playful bouquet by Mary Schaefbauer

“My designs have been described as romantic, natural, organic and different. People love how many different kinds of flowers there are in each arrangement, and how no two arrangements are ever the same.

A seasonal arrangement with lots of elements!

Find and follow Mary Schaefenbauer at these social places:

Sonnenblume Flowers on Facebook

Sonnenblume Flowers on Instagram

Mary poses with one of her lush, dreamy bouquets

Thank you so much for joining my conversation with Mary Schaefbauer. As you heard, she is hoping to freelance outside of Minnesota this coming winter and early spring. Having experienced her as a volunteer at the Slow Flowers Summit in St. Paul this past summer, I’m a big fan of Mary and her work ethic, maturity, creativity and personality.

You may want to invite her to work with you for a specific event or season. Mary is the future of the Slow Flowers Movement and I draw great comfort and encouragement knowing her.

Flowers from Rooster Ridge Farm in Bryan, Ohio

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Teresa Brown of Rooster Ridge Farms in Bryan, Ohio. From seed to bloom, Teresa grows and designs with flowers she loves, but also flowers that are unique and heirloom. Rooster Ridge offers beautifully fresh cut flowers through various channels, including supplying wholesale flowers to florist and serving local customers from the farm’s small design studio Seasonal floral subscriptions and delivery service is available.

Wedding florals by Teresa Brown of Rooster Ridge Farm

Find and follow Rooster Ridge Farms:

Rooster Ridge Farm on Facebook

Rooster Ridge Farm on Instagram

Rooster Ridge’s high tunnel filled with beautiful lisianthus

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 518,000 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.

We’re so grateful for two recent donations from listeners who shared their love and support. Thank you to Elaine Vandiver of Old Homestead Alpacas and Gholson Gardens – a Slow Flowers member and past Podcast guest who wrote: “I love the show, your work, your enthusiasm and all the inspiration you put into this world and our industry. And I had a great August, so wanted to share. Keep on keepin’ on!”

And thank you to aspiring Mississippi grower Mary Beth David who sent this note with her contribution: “Thank you for the hours of learning and entertainment with the Slower Flowers podcast!” 

We are so grateful for our listener support. It’s a blessing!

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.

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.  

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 in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

Photographed at Everyday Flowers in Stanwood, Wash. (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:
Spunk Lit; 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 418: A visit to Utah’s emerging cut flower community with Laura Pittard of Poppin’ Blossoms; plus, our state focus North Dakota

September 11th, 2019

Laura Pittard (right) of Poppin’ Blossoms, today’s guest, recently hosted my visit to her flower fields in Orem, Utah

I just returned from a short trip to Salt Lake City, where I attended the GardenComm annual conference, the gathering of professional garden communicators with which I’ve long been affiliated.

dahlia fields at Poppin' Blossoms
Dahlia Fields at Poppin’ Blossoms

I’ve known I would be traveling to Salt Lake in early September for quite a while — and I also knew I wanted to visit today’s guest while there. You see, Laura Pittard of Poppin’ Blossoms was the first Utah member of Slow Flowers.

Laura Pittard at Rose Design Workshop
Laura designing with roses at All My Thyme in Mt. Vernon, Washington (c) Becca Johnson of B. Johnson Photography

She joined a few years ago after we originally met in 2016 at Red Daisy Farm outside Denver. Laura was new to flower growing and she was pretty isolated as one of the first growers in her region, so I was doubly impressed that she flew to Denver to network with others at the Slow Flowers meet-up and BBQ hosted by Red Daisy’s Megan McGuire for Colorado flower farmers and florists. Laura and I reconnected on several other occasions – at conferences and workshops — and earlier this year, I was able to feature Poppin’ Blossoms’ profile and flowers in Florists’ Review’s Rocky Mountain-themed issue.

Poppin’ Blossoms’ dahlias are featured in a beautiful bridal bouquet (c) Bobbi Tolman Photography

Laura and her family (including husband Brian and son Grayson) welcomed me to Poppin’ Blossoms in Orem, Utah, about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City. We started off by recording this episode, followed by an informal gathering as seven local flower farmers and farmer-florists joined us for a tour of Laura’s beautiful growing fields. We enjoyed a great discussion over lunch, which Laura provided.

For me, it was an honor to witness the emerging and exciting local floral scene in Utah. There are many talented folks doing community-focused and collaborative projects — and I hope to feature some of them on upcoming episodes.

These photos bring back memories of meeting up with Laura in 2018 at the Rose Design workshop held on All My Thyme farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington (c) B. Jones Photography

Please enjoy this conversation with Laura Pittard of Poppin’ Blossoms. Laura’s mission is to supply her marketplace and community with the highest quality, premier specialty cut flowers. In my opinion, she has already reached that level of excellence — and the future is rosy as the momentum can only grow for local, seasonal and bespoke cut flowers.

Find and follow Poppin’ Blossoms at these social places:

Poppin’ Blossoms on Facebook

Poppin’ Blossoms on Instagram

Poppin’ Blossoms on Pinterest

Download a PDF of the Rocky Mountain-themed “Slow Flowers Journal” section that includes a piece on Poppin’ Blossoms

05_Slow Flowers Journal_FR

The emerging Utah flower farming community gathered at Poppin’ Blossoms on September 7th. I’m so glad I met everyone!

So happy we visited Utah — and a special shout-out of thanks to Laura for hosting our Slow Flowers meet-up. I’ve written a recap of my visit to Poppin’ Blossoms and the wonderful group of kindred spirits I met last Saturday. We now have five members in Utah, representing the exciting shift towards seasonal and locally-grown flowers serving everyone from farmers’ market customers and CSA subscribers to wedding florists and event designers.

Tammy Krein, photographed at the recent Inspired Design Retreat, courtesy of Patience Pickner and Ace Berry

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with Tammy Krein of Ken’s Flower Shop in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Tammy Krein’s designs using all domestic flowers, photographed at the Inspired Design Retreat.

Ken’s is a local, full-service floral retailer based in the state capital of Bismarck. Tammy purchased an established shop in 2001 and decided to retain its original branding, although she has put her own spin on the business, developing a loyal customer base.

Bridal flowers by Ken’s Flower Shop and owner Tammy Krein

I first learned about Tammy through one of our South Dakota members, floral designer and educator Patience Pickner, and through Jason Lenz of Minnesota-based Len Busch Roses, which supplies Ken’s Flower Shop and others with a regular flow of fresh, high quality midwest-grown blooms on its delivery route through North Dakota. You’ll hear Tammy and I discuss the challenges to sourcing local flowers faced by a florist like her, located in a northern state (wedged between Minnesota and Montana, and sharing its entire northern border with Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Inspired Design by Tammy Krein

Find and follow Tammy Krein at these social places:

Ken’s Flower Shop on Instagram

Ken’s Flower Shop on Facebook

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 515,000 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Credits:
Bombadore; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessionshttp://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 417: Meet Hometown Flower Collective – a Mobile and Digital Florist on Long Island

September 4th, 2019

Jaclyn Rutigliano and Marc Iervolino of Hometown Flower Collective (c) Hometown Flower Co.

Jaclyn Rutigliano of Hometown Flower Collective is today’s guest. During our conversation, you’ll hear us trying to recall how we originally connected. And finally, while writing this intro, I searched my email archives to find the back story of how Jaclyn and I really did meet!

A new concept (with a twist) for Long Island floral customers — the mobile flower truck that comes to you! (c) Erica Schroeder photography

In March 2015, she reached out to me via the Slow Flowers “contact us” form. She wrote:

Hi there, I handle public relations and communications for the slow fashion brand Zady (Zady.com) and we are currently coordinating our events for Fashion Revolution Day and Earth Day. 

I am wondering if there is someone I can speak with about possibly bringing in a slow flowers aspect to our events. 

I would love to connect and look forward to hearing from you.

Long Island-grown flowers on the “baby blue” mobile flower shop (c) Erica Schroeder photography

That email led to a long phone call during which Jaclyn brought me up to speed on slow fashion and I brought her up to speed on slow flowers — and we discussed some possible cross-promotions and collaborations. In her follow-up note to me, Jaclyn signed off with these comments:

I am going to spend a ton of time digging into your site  but if you have any other initial suggestions for where I can begin to tackle these issues from the retail and floral design standpoint, I would love to look into that for my parents. Who knows- maybe I will take on the family business one day after all! 

Fast-forward to this past January and I again heard from Jaclyn. It was long after her gig with Zady ended and many years after my Field to Vase Dinner Tour consulting that we referenced. But of course I remembered her immediately.

Hometown Flower Collective’s web site

This time, Jaclyn had some news that delighted me:

Happy New Year and I hope this finds you well. You likely don’t remember but we had emailed nearly four years ago at my previous job when I was representing a company called Zady which was focused on the sustainable fashion movement. I am from a family of florists and when I heard about your slow flowers movement, it really resonated with me and you were kind enough to provide some additional reading materials for me to further educate myself. 

From Long Island flower farms to Long Island floral customers (c) Francesca Russell photography

Years later, my husband and I are in the planning stages to open up our own business . . . possibly a mixed use retail space which will have the retail arm of my parents’ floral event design business. I am keen to approach this differently as currently, I don’t believe there is any florist in Long Island focused on locally sourced flowers. I really want to provide artistically designed flowers that embrace natural beauty, lesser known flowers, greens, naturally grown varieties, etc. And it would be great to source these within a 50 mile radius or at least domestically. Our business will be focused on a tight inventory to minimize waste and to embrace what is readily available. 

I would love to receive some guidance in terms of identifying the right farmers, varieties, the questions to ask, etc. It will be easy for me to follow the same path of my family and just source product from a regular importer but I would love to support local small farmers and source directly- though there are concerns about the cost associated. We are even considering planting our own flowers as well.

Anyways, I’m not sure if you do this or are speaking anywhere on the east coast in the future but I would love to learn from you to help get on the right foot.

Hometown Flower Collective offers a floral subscription (left) and festive, floral-focused events (right) (c) Hometown Flower Collective photographs

It’s so wonderful how people can come into your life for what looks like one reason – only to learn from that experience that we can’t even predict how we influence and inspire one another. Hearing from Jaclyn four years later was an affirmation that all the messages and information I put out into the marketplace about flower sourcing and sustainable practices doesn’t land on deaf ears! When the timing was right, she eagerly devoured the mission of Slow Flowers.

Hometown Flower Collective’s beach-inspired flower crown party and feast (c) Christie Monteleone

Not only has Jaclyn absorbed these Slow Flowers concepts but she has put her entirely personal spin on them. Along with her husband Marc Iervolino, they launched Hometown Flower Collective earlier this year on Mother’s Day weekend, in fact. Their hometown is Huntington, New York – on Long Island. These two Long Island natives and residents are running Hometown Flower Collective as a family operation with their two daughters, August and Sage. Jaclyn’s the ones with her arms up in flowers, overseeing the floral designs, creative marketing, and branding for the company. Marc oversees the day-to-day business operations and logistics. Here’s a fun fact: they are two Leos who share the same birthday and a bold mission to shape a better future for their children and community.

More from the beach party (c) Christie Monteleone

Jaclyn and Marc write this on their web site:
Hometown Flower Collective connects people who love flowers with the local farmers who grow them. A new take on the traditional neighborhood florist, Hometown Flower Collective offers fresh, local varieties delivered right to your doorstep through monthly subscriptions, and through its vintage pick-up truck, Baby Blue, a 1976 Ford F-100, re-imagined to become Long Island’s first mobile flower truck.

The “baby blue” flower truck is party-ready! (c) Christie Monteleone

Our mission is simple: to encourage people to look no further than their hometowns to find beauty grown nearby, and to provide access to locally-grown varieties in places where our farmers are typically unable to consistently reach. Inspired by a third generation flower designer’s experience growing up around the floral industry and witnessing how removed consumers and retailers were from where and how their flowers were sourced, Hometown Flower Co. was founded with a strong desire to change the status quo and encourage people to embrace their roots.

Please enjoy this conversation and listen for some very useful tips from Jaclyn on how to interest the local media in your floral enterprise. I’m inspired and energized by Jaclyn and Marc’s story and I hope you can draw at least one wonderful branding tip or marketing technique from our conversation to enhance your efforts.

Social media, collateral material, messaging and education — all have helped launch Hometown Flower Collective in their marketplace (c) Francesca Russell photography

Find and follow Hometown Flower Collective at these social places:

Find HFC on Facebook

Discover HFC on Instagram

See more pretty from HFC on Pinterest

We’re taking a little hiaitus from our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – I’m committed to recruiting a North Dakota guest for you  and we just need another week to pull that off!

We learn so much when we gather together! This photo was taken at the August 28th Slow Flowers Summer Soiree for members in the Oregon & Washington area (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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.

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

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

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

Local dahias from Laughing Goat Farm, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden, arranged by Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore (c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 513,000 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:
 
Lahaina; Flagger; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
 
In The Field
Music from:
audionautix.com

Episode 416: North Carolina-grown, with Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary Floral and Flourish Flower Farm

August 28th, 2019

Just-picked North Carolina flowers, so beautiful! Photographed at Flourish Flower Farm.

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with the entire episode dedicated to North Carolina, celebrated for naming the flowering dogwood as its state flower.

There is so much great news coming from North Carolina! We have featured several Slow Flowers members as previous podcast guests, so to give you a richer snapshot of the state, I’ve collected all of their appearances for you to find below. They include a great introduction to the dynamic floral scene — in both growing and design:

Jonathan and Megan Leiss of Spring Forth Farm, Episode 266

Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm and Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers, Episode 273

Kelly Morrison of Color Fields and Piedmont Wholesale Flowers, Episode 296

Diane Joyal and Lily Joyal of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary (c) Kim Branagan

Our first guests are mother-daughter duo, Diane Joyal and Lily Joyal of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary, based in Chapel Hill. In our conversation, Diane and Lily share their “local floral” point of view as retail florists in the eastern part of North Carolina’s triangle of Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham. They have grown rapidly and have some cool news to share with you.

Niki and William Irving (left) and Niki teaching at an event on Flourish Flower Farm (right)

Part Two features Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm in Asheville, the heart of western North Carolina. Niki is a farmer-florist who serves a diverse range of customers– from grocery to weddings and events — to on-farm customers.

I hope you enjoy our tour of North Carolina! Before we jump into the recordings, here is a bit more about each guest:

Beautiful blooms, North Carolina-grown, from Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

Diane Joyal is the founder/Ceo of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary. She loves anything that keeps her smiling. This includes small puppies, big local blooms, and a good conversation. Her days at Bowerbird are filled with client interactions, vendor relations, and tracking down the best of the best in product. Diane’s Secret talent is being up with the floral trends and knowing just where to find a specific flower. Her favorite flowers are off-beat tulips, bearded iris, and not your average roses.

Two appealing floral palettes express the range of styles by Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

As the Founder of Bowerbird, Diane started the business with the idea that arrangements should be created to showcase what each individual bloom can do. Diane trained with Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua and she has taken classes with well known designers such as Pondarosa & Thyme and Bows & Arrows Flowers.

A wedding by Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

Lily Joyal is operations manager and designer at Bowerbird. She loves anything that keeps her moving, including but not limited to coffee, a nice sunny day, and a good work-out class. Her daily duties at Bowerbird include making lists, gathering blooms, and accomplishing the impossible. Her secret talent is car tetris she can load any car with flowers without a single snapped head. Her favorite flowers are Hellebore and whatever is in season. In her free time she enjoys going for a nice long run and getting good food with friends. She is also a painter and graduated from UNC Asheville with her BA in 2017.

Find and follow Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary at these social places:

Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary on Instagram

Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary on Pinterest

Niki (right) and a floral display at Flourish Flower Farm (left)

Niki Irving and her husband William Irving own Flourish Flower Farm. After years of working in education and outdoor education, Niki finally turned the dream of becoming a Farmer-Florist into reality. As the daughter of a landscaper and tree farmer, you could say that Niki’s love of plants was inevitable. Niki loves growing, nurturing and creating beauty. William spent his childhood helping his grandfather tend a giant vegetable garden and he is the master of the farm maintenance tasks. William still has a full-time job off the farm, but he helps Niki make sure the farm is run like a sustainable business and fixes the things that she breaks.

Wedding personals and ceremony flowers by Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm.

Together, they balance a love of nature, hard work, creating beauty and spreading joy at the farm.  They believe that flowers make the world a more beautiful, enjoyable place and are inspired by the way a fresh bouquet of flowers lights up someone’s entire face. Niki loves creating lush, seasonally-inspired arrangements for weddings and special events with their gorgeous farm fresh flowers, and William is always behind the scenes helping to make it all run smoothly.

Students are immersed in hands-on design at one of the popular Flourish Flower Farm workshops.

Find and follow Flourish Flower Farm at these social places:

Flourish Flower Farm on Facebook

Flourish Flower Farm on Instagram

Flourish Flower Farm on Pinterest

I think you’ll enjoy this cross-state North Carolina tour featuring two Slow Flowers business models that are design-driven and dedicated on local sourcing. I love our visit, giving you two unique ventures from which to draw inspiration and lessons for your own enterprise.

Here is another cool resource about North Carolina-grown blooms: Click below to download a PDF of my 2017 Florists’ Review article about Southern Flower Hubs — with sections on Piedmont Wholesale Florists of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area (which Diane and I discussed in her segment); and the Western NC Flower Farmers group, which Niki and I discussed.

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.

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 in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

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.

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

I want to give a special shout-out and welcome this week to Terri Carstens of Dream Dirt Florals in Reardan, Washington in the Eastern part of the state. Terri is the lucky winner of a one-year Premium membership in Slow Flowers — which we donated to the Washington Flowers Project for their summer promotion. The WA Flowers Project aims to increase awareness of locally-grown flowers, build relationships within the flower industry, & increase local sales – and is a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant funded initiative. Welcome Terri!

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.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 510,000 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:
Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions http://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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

In The Field; Acoustic Shuffle; Mountain Sun
audionautix.com

Episode 415: Floral design takes a botanical journey with Sylvia Lukach of Cape Lily, plus our State Focus: New York

August 21st, 2019

Sylvia Lukach of Cape Lily, sharing her love of South African flora with lovers of flowers and travel

This wasn’t entirely planned but it turns out, we have two New York-based guests this week.

Our first featured guest comes by way of South Africa, Harlem and lower Hudson Valley, Sylvia Lukach of Cape Lily.

Our second guest is Charles Sherman of North Fork Flower Farm in Orient, New York, who appears as part of the 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers series. Listen for my great conversation with Charles in the second portion of this episode.

A botanical display from Cape Lily’s first botanical excursion to South Africa

Sylvia and I first connected when I hosted a Slow Flowers Upstate New York Meet-up in Hudson, New York about three years ago. She traveled about two hours north of her home and studio in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood to join the gathering of Hudson Valley flower farmers, farmer-florists and other designers like herself — a group that loosely called themselves the Hudson Valley Flower Growers Network. We discussed some of the emerging issues facing Manhattan and Brooklyn-based wedding and event florists like Sylvia and the growers whose flowers they so eagerly source. Issues like transportation, special ordering, access to markets and more.

It’s a theme that continues today and you may have listened to my conversation just a few weeks ago with Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers in Brooklyn — we addressed the same issues and Molly’s sourcing goals, successes and challenges.

Two floral collaborations that reflect Sylvia’s Harlem, New York, ties with artists and makers.

Sylvia and I continued a friendship when Cape Lily joined Slow Flowers and after we reunited just months later at the first Whidbey Flower Workshop in 2017, hosted by Tobey Nelson. There, during our introductions and the creative writing exercises I led, it emerged that Sylvia dreamed of blending her South African heritage, her love of South African floral, and her love of travel into an unique brand for her business Cape Lily.

Since then, Sylvia has developed a studio-based floral enterprise serving New York City, Westchester County, where she now lives, and the Hudson Valley wedding and event marketplace. And she led her first botanical journey for Cape Lily — a floral-themed tour with Susan Mcleary to South Africa last fall.

Beautiful creations from the Sue Mcleary workshop during Cape Lily’s South African botanical excursion

I wanted to invite Sylvia onto the Slow Flowers Podcast to share her story and to discuss how she has indeed zeroed in on the unique brand attributes of Cape Lily. If you’re at a similar place in your own floral enterprise — seeking a way to highlight your singular story and distinct place in the marketplace — I know that Sylvia’s narrative will be inspiring.

Sue Mcleary joined Sylvia as floral design instructor. Photography (c) Heather Saunders

Sylvia wrote a beautiful essay for our Slow Flowers Journal online magazine called “An African Slow Flowers Story,” which we published in December 2017. Its opening lines begin as follows:

Florists, flower farmers; local South African designers + North American students. They all came together for a love of flowers, place, friendship.

I grew up in a small coastal town in South Africa, Plettenberg Bay, in an area called the Garden Route, where fynbos, a distinct aromatic indigenous shrubland, flows down the mountains and hovers on the sand dunes along the ocean. I would run up the hill in my Wellies (for protection from snakes) to harvest some of the pride of the Cape Floral Kingdom like Sugarbush Proteas, Leucadendrons and Ericas, which my mother, our town’s first florist, would use to supplement her designs.

Fast-forward to present day and I find myself a long way from home here in the urban hustle of Harlem, New York, but with that same urge to harvest seasonal, local flowers.

Thanks to the growing network of local cut flower farmers and support from the Slow Flowers community, this is still possible. My go-to supplier is Rock Steady Farm, a women-owned cooperative farm using holistic and sustainable farming practices, located outside Millerton, New York. I love the creative possibility yet natural constraints that exist when designing with buckets-full of flowers harvested just up the Hudson Valley that same morning. 

As I embraced the Slow Flowers philosophy in the U.S., I was curious to learn if something similar existed in my home country, given its long floral history and current status as one of the largest Protea exporters in the world.

Images from Sylvia’s recent installation for the LEAF Flower Show in New York. Sylvia embellished a vibrant fountain called called “The Source,” by Ester Partegàs at Plaza de Las Americas.

Find and follow Cape Lily and its creative director Sylvia Lukach at these social places:

Cape Lily on Facebook

Cape Lily on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today! As Sylvia mentions, the next Botanical Journey to South Africa is scheduled for this coming October, so check out the itinerary and learn how you can be part of the trip.

Three of the four partners in North Fork Flower Farm, from left: Charles Sherman, Karen Braziller and Kevin Perry. Not pictured: Drianne Benner

We’ve been to the suburbs of New York City where Sylvia is based. Now, let’s travel to the farthest point of Long Island’s North Fork, to the town of Orient, where we’ll continue the #fiftystatesofslowflowers series and meet Charles Sherman of North Fork Flower Farm.

Charles Sherman is one quarter of North Fork Flower Farm, the two-acre farm he started four years ago with his life partner, Karen Braziller, along with Kevin Perry and Drianne Benner.

As you will hear in our conversation, Charles and I have a dear mutual friend in fellow Orient resident Charles Dean, who I’ve known for more than 15 years through the Garden Writers Association (now GardenComm) and who has produced a number of books with editor Karen Braziller, Charles Sherman’s partner. So this is a fond conversation and it makes me yearn to return to Orient, NY, since I haven’t visited there since 2011.

Find and follow North Fork Flower Farm at these social places:

North Fork Flower Farm on Facebook

North Fork Flower Farm on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining me today as we visited two distinctly beautiful floral destinations in New York. Download the PDF of “Botanical Influences,” my March 2018 Florists’ Review interview with Sylvia Lukach.

Follow this link to a recent article written by Jim Merritt of Newsday, the daily newspaper on Long Island, which features Slow Flowers members North Fork Flower Farm and florists Jaclyn and Marc Rutigliano of the Hometown Flower Co. It’s exciting to see the local press feature Long Island’s local flower renaissance against the backdrop of the Slow Flowers movement!

Mums, zinnias, dahlias, gomphrena, amaranth, scented geranium — all from Washington. I added a few goodies from my friend Cheryl’s backyard in Altadena, California (including tree fern fronds and limelight hydrangeas)

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, 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. Yes, the dahlias are exploding in the #slowflowerscuttinggarden, but now it’s time to start our spring bulb order! Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.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.

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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 507,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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:
Red City Theme; 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
audionautix.com