Debra Prinzing

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Episode 533: Flowers as Artist’s Muse with TJ McGrath of TJ McGrath Design

November 24th, 2021

Thank you so much for joining us today! You are in for a very special treat because I’ve invited TJ McGrath of TJ McGrath Design to join me for a conversation about his flower-filled life. The timing is perfect because we just announced the speaker lineup for the 2022 Slow Flowers Summit and I’m thrilled to tell you that TJ will be one of our guest designers at the 5th annual Slow Flowers Summit, June 26-28, 2020 in Bedford and Pocantico Hills, New York. You can find all the details at

I first met TJ McGrath when I interviewed him for a Florists’ Review article about the floral business in New York City. Ironically, that entire New York issue was never printed; it just appeared online because it was the May 2020 issue right smack in the middle of COVID. Click on the link below to read that story.

Two bouquets by TJ
Two expressive and highly individual designs by TJ McGrath
Watch TJ McGrath present at the (virtual) September 2020 Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up

But that experience put TJ on my radar and I regularly admired his floral designs, as he transitioned from working at a retail flower shop to going solo and renaming his IG account @tjmcgrathdesign. We invited TJ to be a guest at last September 2020’s Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up where he shared his unique, fresh, modern approach to foam-free floral designs.​

Dahlias and bananas
A whimsical arrangement, quirky and quite elegant, which TJ designed live during our recorded interview. Yes, there are 3 bananas combined with chocolate dahlias!

TJ’s design philosophy is pretty simple: there are no real rules in nature, so there are no restrictions or rules in his designs. “I strive everyday to push beyond my boundaries and to create one of a kind designs that feel modern, whimsical and fresh. I’m reaching beyond what I’ve done thus far to discover engaging new shapes, color palettes, and foraged organics to design with using advanced floral foam free mechanics,” he says.​

TJ design workshop
TJ’s recent workshop took place at his favorite greenhouse grower, H J Hautau & Sons Florist (c) Jessica Gallo, Fine & Fleurie Photography

Committed to fostering a community that is inclusive as well as environmentally and socially aware. TJ believes a sustainable floristry industry is achievable and it starts at home. He has and continues to seek out and support the local flower farming community where he lives in New Jersey. 

Check the entire program for the Slow Flowers Summit 2022 and meet our amazing speakers, view the schedule, venue, lodging, and registration details — all found at Ticket sales open on December 1st with a fabulous discount offered to the first 50 who register. TJ’s presentations include:

Enjoy Slow Flowers x Small Business Saturday Savings!   

It’s the week of Thanksgiving, so that means coming up this weekend, you have lots of opportunities to save — on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (and Sunday) and Cyber Monday — from November 26-29th. Find all the details and coupon codes here.

Offer #1 — use coupon code SmallBiz20 — valid for 20% off Slow Flowers Mercantile items 11/26-11/29. Right now, you can find books by me, plus American Flowers Week bouquet labels, prints from our favorite artists and lots of Slow Flowers Society merchandise. 

Offer #2 We’ve packaged 9 very special video presentations from the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, available for purchase for the first time at just $99 (a value of $129). Access 8+ hours of valuable content, including demonstrations and talks by Susan McLeary, Max Gill, Abra Lee, Pilar Zuniga, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Jennifer Jewell, our fantastic Sustainable Farming x Floral Design Panel (Molly Culver, Kellee Matsushita-Tseng and Emily Saeger) and Teresa Sabankaya!

Offer #3 — Enjoy a $100 discount on my online course, Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling, which returns with a January 11, 2022, start date and runs weekly for four weeks. Pre-registration opens this Friday, November 26th. If you register during our Small Business Saturday Weekend (November 26-29) — as a Slow Flowers member or not — you will receive $100 off the course ($297 value), paying only $197. I haven’t offered this course for an entire year and those who sign up will receive a new BONUS MODULE on “Visual and Verbal Storytelling,” which I’m teaching with BLOOM Imprint’s Creative Director Robin Avni. You’ll also receive our 28-page workbook, “The Journey from Blog to Book.” 

Last Call to Take the Member Survey for 2022!

2022 Member Survey Graphic

And here’s your final reminder to take the Slow Flowers Member Survey, which closes on December 3rd. For those who have not yet completed the annual member survey, here’s an enticement. Complete the survey by December 3, 2021 and share your contact information on the survey to be entered into drawings for:

Thank you to our Sponsors!

This show is brought to you by, the free, online directory to more than 880 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

Farmgirl Flowers Banner

Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually. Discover more at

Our next thank you goes to new sponsor, Details Flowers Software, a platform specifically designed to help florists and designers do more and earn more. With an elegant and easy-to-use system–Details improves profitability, productivity, and organization for floral businesses of all shapes and sizes. Grow your bottom line through professional proposals and confident pricing with Details’ all-in-one platform. All friends of the Slow Flowers Podcast will receive a 7-day free trial of Details Flowers Software. Learn more at

Our next sponsor thank you goes to 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

Our final sponsor thanks goes to 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

Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast is a member-supported endeavor, downloaded more than 788,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

If you’re new to our weekly Show and our long-running Podcast, check out all of our resources at Slow Flowers and consider making a donation to sustain Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at

Debra in the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden
Thank you for listening! Sending love, from my cutting garden to you! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Show & Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers on the table, one stem, one vase at a time. 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. You can learn more about Andrew’s work at

Music Credits:

Daymaze; Club Felix; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

by Tryad

In The Field

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