Debra Prinzing

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Episode 477: Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers and Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop

October 28th, 2020

You can see Sarah’s 50-foot-long floral V-O-T-E display at 329 North Cherry Strees (along Hwy 20) in Burlington, Washington (c) Sara Welch Photo Co.

Before we jump into today’s main segment, I want to recognize that Election Day in the U.S. is coming up in just six days on November 3rd. I’ve been wowed by the creative gestures of floral activism from our Slow Flowers members around the country. I’ve invited one of those members to share what she’s doing in her community as a bonus interview. Let’s jump right in and meet Sarah Wagstaff of SUOT Farm & Flowers In Burlington, Washington.

This indeed has been a year in which I’m acutely aware that my business, career and personal acts need more meaning to reflect my values. I hope you find Sarah’s floral VOTE message as encouraging as I do.

Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers in Baltimore, Maryland

Okay, let’s jump right into today’s wonderful conversation with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers and Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop.

Both women are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast, so I’ve added links to their earlier appearances in today’s show notes. And full disclosure, The Gardener’s Workshop is a financial supporter of Slow Flowers and we consider its founder Lisa Ziegler an important partner in furthering our mission in the Slow Flowers Movement.

When Lisa told me that she recruited Ellen to create an online business course to help florists learn her unique flower sourcing approach, I knew this was an important topic for the Slow Flowers Community. I’ve asked them to talk about their project today. The course is called “Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing.”

And guess what?! We have another course giveaway today! Ellen is giving away a complimentary registration to her new online workshop. “Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing,” is a six-week course that begins January 4, 2021. Valued at $495, this is a generous giveaway! For listeners of this Podcast, be sure to make a comment in the show notes below — and tell us one of your favorite ways to source locally-grown flowers. All comments posted by midnight Pacific on Sunday, November 8th will be entered into a random drawing for Ellen’s course. Click on the link below to sign up for notifications when registration opens Nov. 16-20. I’m excited for the winner already!

Here’s a bit more about Ellen Frost:

Ellen Frost loves flowers. Even more, she loves owning and operating a flower studio which exclusively sources local flowers. Ellen founded her company, Local Color Flowers, in 2008 as a part-time wedding floral business to provide Baltimore area couples a more sustainable flower option for their celebrations. Over the past 12 years, Ellen has grown Local Color Flowers into a thriving business adding floral design classes, corporate events, subscriptions, and retail as well as creative social and educational community events – all using 100% locally grown flowers. Ellen’s business is a vital contributor to Baltimore’s local economy and a vibrant community resource. 

Here is the outline for “Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing”
Class 1 — Landscape of the Cut Flower Industry
Class 2 — Why Local Flowers: Motivations, Definitions and Goals
Class 3 — Building Relationships With Local Growers
Class 4 — Logistics of Local Flowers
Class 5 — Differentiating, Marketing and Selling Local Flowers
Class 6 — Making Your Business An Indispensable Community Asset

Local Color Flowers on Slow Flowers Podcast
Episode 163 (October 15, 2014)

Find and follow Local Color Flowers at these social places:
Local Color Flowers on Facebook
Local Color Flowers on Instagram

Lisa Ziegler at The Gardener’s Workshop Farm in Newport News, Virginia

Here’s a bit more about Lisa Ziegler:

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, teacher, and the owner of The Gardener’s Workshop.

Lisa is the author of Cool Flowers in 2014 (St. Lynn’s Press) and Vegetables Love Flowers (Cool Springs Press 2018.)

In 2018 Lisa began creating online courses to share her programs and knowledge. This style of teaching with its convenience, cost effectiveness, and lifetime unlimited access has proven to be another wonderful educational tool. In 2019, embracing technology even further and building an amazing in-house administration and support team has allowed Lisa to produce online courses for others.

Lisa’s farm, known as The Gardener’s Workshop is still a small market flower farm (100% outdoor field grown), 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.

The Gardener’s Workshop on Slow Flowers Podcast
Episode 159 (September 14, 2014)
Episode 391 (March 6, 2019)

Find and follow The Gardener’s Workshop at these social places:
The Gardener’s Workshop on Facebook
The Gardener’s Workshop on Instagram


This is the final week you can sign up for my first online course, Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling. The course begins November 1st and you can take advantage of the $200-off introductory promo code, meaning you can enjoy this course for just $97. Sign up here and use SF97 for the discount. I’m excited to see you in the course!

And Head’s Up: This is the final week to participate in the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey. We will close the survey link and end the giveaway promotions on October 31st, midnight Pacific Time. To thank you for sharing your time to take the survey, we’d like to send you an etched Slow Flowers Society botanical bookmark – and enter your name into the drawing for one free registration to the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, valued at $599! But you must give us your name and contact information to receive the bookmark and enter the drawing — if you choose to respond anonymously, we can’t bestow our gifts! Click here to complete the survey.

Quick announcement before we get started. Last week, we promoted a giveaway for one VIP Pass to the Fleurvana Virtual Summit – Holiday Edition, taking place online this week through today. The winner is a Podcast listener and aspiring flower farmer: Jenni Hulburt, a wellness coach and host of The WILD Wellness Podcast. Congratulations, Jenni! And thanks to Shawn Michael Foley of Fleurvana! Click on this link to purchase your own VIP All-Access Pass to the conference. You’ll enjoy more than 25 floral design and business presentations, including my new session called Taking Stock: Writing your 2020 Year in Review & 2021 Forecast with Creative Intention.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by, 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

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

Rooted Farmers, which 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

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

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 653,000 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.

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:

Shift of Currents; Heliotrope; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field

18 Responses to “Episode 477: Growing Your Business with Local Flower Sourcing with Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers and Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop”

  1. Anni Johnson Says:

    I’m interested in learning about sourcing local flowers. Thanks!

  2. Debby Meyer Says:

    so much to learn!! And learn I will from experts like Ellen.

  3. Kelly Lewis Says:

    As a new flower farm in West Michigan we are excited to begin reaching out to our local florist. We love the idea of sourcing locally and the community that comes with it. Our area seems behind on this idea and we are ready to get this movement started in West Michigan.

  4. Ellen Frost Says:

    Thank you so much for having us as guests in the podcast! It was a pleasure!

  5. Markli West Says:

    I’m a small scale flower farmer in Kansas City and I’d love to know more about marketing to florists!

  6. Amy Cordy Says:

    I loved listening to this episode! My favorite way to source local flowers is really by building relationships with farms closest to me. The concept of elevating others in this industry has really hit home for me this year as I’ve connected with two flower growers in my county, who are BOTH in the first year of business. I can’t wait to see these beautiful relationships unfold through the seasons of growing and designing.

  7. Kelsey Adams Says:

    I’m working on building relationships both with farmers, florists, and all the other flower people in between. I’ve learned something from everyone, and we’re stronger together. Really looking forward to Ellen’s course.

  8. Gay Thorn Says:

    Love this!
    I contemplate starting a garden to grow flowers for my bees to pollinate and good stewardship of my back land. Ultimately to grow for give away to local nursing homes and/ or sell at farmers mkt.
    Thank you for making this available!

  9. Jessica Says:

    I loved this episode of your podcast. LocalColorFlowers looks like an amazing shop. I wish I lived closer, so I could visit in person. I am an aspiring flower farmer, so the class sounds amazing! I hope to win the chance to take it! 🙂

  10. Sara Says:

    Thank you for sharing! I love growing flowers to share with friends, family and in my classroom. Between managing an in-person/digital classroom, raising a baby, and taking every small opportunity to be in the garden, podcasts are about the only option I’ve had time for this year to help shape my flower farming business.

  11. Allison Lavigne Says:

    ONECommunity Museum’s mission is to locally develop global citizens through sustainability education, so we love this podcast and are so excited about the educational opportunities that all of this week’s the speakers provide to the floral community! In the cold months we love to safely forage beautiful material to add to our arrangements. For example, pods, berries, pinecones, leaves, clippings from evergreen shrubs, especially if they are already being trimmed, and fallen branches from a storm. For example, Nandina berries are not good for the birds, but are pretty in arrangements, so it’s a win-win to clip them off the shrub and incorporate them into our designs. We gather year round and also dry floral and other material to be used later in the season. Using live plants and forcing bulbs are more good ways to source material locally.

  12. Brenda Embry Says:

    I have heard Ellen on a couple of different podcasts and love what she does,

  13. Brenda Embry Says:

    Continued from above comment…
    As a flower farmer, I am committed to spreading the local flower
    gospel to as many designers and florists as I can. Once they see
    how fresh the flowers are and longevity of vase life, I hope they
    can embrace locally grown. I can also grow many unique varieties
    that they might not be able to get.
    Love the podcast!

  14. Zoe Dellinger Says:

    I am in the transition from flower gardener to flower farmer as Lisa Ziegler wisely points out the difference and am enjoying learning from these seasoned professionals. Right now I am sharing flowers with one other person locally and am looking forward to meeting and working with other growers to pool our resources.

  15. Nancy Jordan Says:

    Our website is under construction –

    We are just finished our second year of growing and are so excited to be selling local blooms to florists in the Ottawa, Ontario area. We have developed a following, once they try our blooms and see how vibrant, fragrant and long lasting they are – they are hooked. We love hearing comments like ‘our cooler smells so good when your flowers are in it’! We owe a lot of our success to the Gardener’s Workshop, we were in Lisa’s first year of her course, Dave’s first year of his course and we have done every course since! We loved the podcast and look forward to learning more from Ellen! Thank you Debra for the amazing guests you manage to have on your show. Look forward to the show every week.

  16. Allie Lavigne Says:

    We are focused on locally educating global citizens through sustainability education, so locally sourcing flowers and foliage and highlighting it to our customers is critical to our mission. Year-round we keep our eyes open for interesting items we see in nature that can be safely foraged to used in arrangements, such as fallen branches, greens from maintenance trimming, pods, hips and berries. We also dry flowers and foliage to be used in months when there is not as much in bloom. Thank you to all of the speakers, for a great episode and for all you do in the industry.

  17. Whitney Muncy Says:

    My tip for using local flowers is to be flexible. I work extra space into my recipes so that I can allow for whatever special item is being harvested that week. Those items always become the showstoppers.

  18. Episode 478 Portland Wedding Designer Joy Proctor on creating the Say Their Names Memorial + a Bonus Conversation with Karen Thornton of Avenue 22 Events - Debra Prinzing Says:

    […] $495. What a generous giveaway! To enter, make a comment in the show notes at for episode 477 (and be sure to listen to my conversation with Ellen while there)  — and tell us one of your […]

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