Debra Prinzing

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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!


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

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  

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 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

Music Credits:
Spunk Lit; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field
Music from:

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