Episode 391: Catching up with Flower Farming Educator Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop
March 6th, 2019
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Today I’m sharing a wonderful conversation, recorded recently during the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle.
Lisa Mason Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop has returned and you may recall she was a past guest of this podcast in 2014. I remember first meeting her in person during the summer of that year, at the Garden Writers annual conference in Indianapolis, soon after her book Cool Flowers was published.
Lisa and I shared the same publisher, St. Lynn’s Press, which also produced The 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers, so I had been asked to provide a blurb for her new book. When we finally met, I knew I wanted to invite Lisa to join me on the podcast — and I simply can’t believe that was nearly five years ago. I will share links to that Episode — Number 159 — in today’s show notes so you can go back and have a listen to our conversation.
A lot has happened in the time that’s followed, including the explosion of the Slow Flowers community, heightened interest in flower farming in general, both in the US and in other countries that have seen outsourcing of their floral production, and I believe, an aesthetic shift in floral design, based on a more garden-influenced approach that relies on uncommon, couture blooms that large production growers aren’t able to raise efficiently, opening the door for micro and medium farms to capture that market.
Lisa has been at the forefront of efforts to disseminate accurate flower farming education, setting the bar for best practices along with many of her fellow members in the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. With the launch of her Flower Farming Online Course last fall, she’s been able to reach an even larger audience of students, spreading knowledge and encouragement through a new medium designed to fit lifestyles and budgets that don’t always allow for in-person training.
She also last year released a new book with a new publisher, Vegetables Love Flowers, published by Cool Springs Press. I invited Lisa to meet me for breakfast, good conversation and a quiet moment to record this interview. I know you’ll enjoy it.
Here’s a bit more about today’s guest, excerpted from The Gardener’s Workshop web site:
What began as a small cut-flower farm producing for local markets has grown into so much more. Lisa has become a leader in the cut-flower growing industry, author, accomplished speaker and the owner of The Gardener’s Workshop.
It all began in 1998 because Lisa wanted to work in her garden as her career. At first, she sold her cut flowers to local florists and Colonial Williamsburg. The business soon grew to include florist throughout the Hampton Roads region, supermarkets, farmers markets, a members-only on-farm market, and a bouquet drop-off subscription service.
During this time Lisa began giving programs to garden clubs, master gardeners, commercial growers, and other groups. What became apparent is that people were eager for her simplified organic gardening methods and her greatest gift is sharing them.
The next natural step came when Lisa self-published The Easy Cut-Flower Garden in 2011. a 100-page guide on how-to grow and harvest a small home cutting garden. Her program travels began to spread from Texas to Oregon to New York City and she went on to become published with Cool Flowers in 2014 (St. Lynn’s Press) and Vegetables Love Flowers (Cool Springs Press 2018.)
Lisa’s farm, known as The Gardener’s Workshop is still a small market flower farm, and an online garden shop. The online store sells the same seeds, tools, supplies, and seed starting equipment that Lisa uses as well as signed copies of her books. Lisa’s simple, instructive, and delightful gardening messages are reaching far beyond any expectation she ever had.
Lisa now offers four online courses that range in length and subject. Her signature course, Flower Farming School Online, will return this fall. It is a 6-week self-paced course designed to guide you to becoming a successful cut-flower farmer–even if you live in the midst of a city or have no previous farming experience! Course cost $495. Follow the link for more details and sign up to be notified with the course is released again.
As Lisa says: “If you have dreamed of becoming a flower farmer, but think it’s impossible, or if you are already growing but feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, I designed this course for you. I know exactly how you feel, because I’ve been there.“
Here’s how to find and follow Lisa:
The Gardener’s Workshop on Facebook
The Gardener’s Workshop on Instagram
The Gardener’s Workshop on Instagram
Thanks so much for joining me today. After spending most of last week inside the Washington State Convention Center where an entirely beautiful & fragrant, but somewhat faux spring was in bloom throughout the garden displays, I am soooooo ready for real spring to arrive.
I simply can’t wait and I know you’re experiencing that urge, too. It was my privilege to produce the floral stage at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, bringing in five Slow Flowers member designers to each teach for one day during the new featured series called “Blooms & Bubbles.” I bet you can guess where the “bubbles” came from — each day 30 participants enjoyed a hands-on floral design workshop while sipping a special floral cocktail or glass of champagne.
The series was a huge success, selling out a few weeks before the festival opening. I’m grateful to all of our presenters: Jeni Nelson of The London Plane; Baylor Chapman of Lila B. Design; Meridith Isaacson of Verde Seattle; Hannah Morgan of Fortunate Orchard; and Jean Louise Paquin Allen of Juniper Flowers.
Immediately after the Seattle Flower Festival, I headed off to the Philadelphia Flower Show — where I met seveal Pennsylvania flower farmers and floral designers whose creativity inspired me!
The Slow Flowers Summit is four months away on July 1 & 2nd in St. Paul, Minnesota. Make your way to slowflowerssummit.com to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Subscribe to Summit news and updates at slowflowerssummit.com.
Thanks so much for joining me on this journey, seeking new and inspiring voices, people with passion, heart, commitment and expertise to share with you. I hope today’s episode gave you at least one inspiring insight or tip to apply to your floral enterprise. What you gain will be multiplied as you pay it forward and help someone else.
Truly, we have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.
I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.
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. Visit them 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.
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.
The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 417,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!
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.
Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – is taking a break today. So far . . . we’ve made it from Alabama to Connecticut, with some delightful and insightful conversations with Slow Flowers members in those states.
I had scheduled this week’s focus on Delaware. But guess what? It is one of only two states where there are no Slow Flowers members. I’ve been seeking for someone in the Delaware floral scene — farmer or florist — to talk with and record a short spotlight, including searching the #delawaregrownflowers hashtag on social media.
I’ve even messaged and emailed a few folks to invite their participation. But, crickets. Sadly. I know they’re out there, so if you can help — reach out and connect me with Delaware’s local flower peeps! (PS, While Delaware is the 2nd smallest state in the U.S., it follows Rhode Island. I’m so thankful that we have a vibrant Slow Flowers community in the smallest state!)
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.
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