Debra Prinzing

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Episode 576: Georgia Flower Farm Visit with Rita and Mike Williams of WilMor Farms

September 21st, 2022

Today’s episode has been a long time coming. I first met Rita and Mike Williams, owners of WilMor Farms Flowers based in Metter, Georgia, when the Lowcountry Flower Growers invited me to speak at their Southern Flowers Symposium in August 2018.

WilMor Farms Flowers
WilMor Farms Flowers’ cheerful logo (left) is the graphic reflection of the vivid bouquets grown and produced there.

Rita and Mike motorcycle The conference took place in Charleston, South Carolina, and Rita and Mike arrived by motorcycle — a more than 150-mile trip that impressed me and let me know they were the cool kids.

Theirs is a family-owned agricultural enterprise, rooted deep in history. WilMor Farms is based on land that has been on Rita’s side for nine generations. You’ll hear more about that in our conversation, as well as how what started as a “hobby farm” has grown into a diversified, viable and sustainable operation.

Day in and day out, WilMor Farms tags @Slowflowerssociety on social media, ensuring that we stop and check out the beautiful flowers that they grow and sell. It gives me a good sense about what they’re doing — and I always feel connected to these longtime Slow Flowers Members!

Rita and Josie Williams
Rita with her favorite Rudbeckia triloba (left) and Rita with Josie, one of their four children, featured in a Whole Foods Market poster (right).

Launched in 2015, WilMor Farms takes its name from Mike’s surname — Williams — and Rita’s maiden name — Morgan. With four children, this is truly a multigenerational project that you’ll find inspiring. We recorded this conversation in mid-August and I loved seeing rows of all the delicious blooms on our virtual tour, as well as some of the farming techniques and efficiencies they have developed through trial and error.

The WilMor Farms Flowers display at Whole Foods Market in Savannah, Georgia

Follow WilMor Farms Flowers: on Instagram and on Facebook

Resources discussed:
Compostable Plastic Mulch Sheeting
Deer Busters Fencing
CoolBot Refrigeration System


This week’s Slow Flowers News

Freesia Summit graphics

This coming weekend, you’re invited to join me as I share the story of Slow Flowers and our Mission at the FREESIA Summit, a Virtual 3-Day Conference taking place September 23-24, 2022. FREESIA stands for Florists Recognizing Environmental & Eco-Sustainable Ideas & Applications. Hosted by Hitomi Gilliam AIFD and Gregor Lersch, the first FREESIA Summit will cover presentations from industry leaders on sustainability in floristry. I’ll be presenting a new lecture called “Walking the Talk: Putting your sustainability values into practice.”

And I’m excited that  Slow Flowers members Susan McLeary and Holly Chapple are also part of the speaker lineup, present design demonstrations and lectures, along with an international slate of designers — 15 hours of live presentations in all. The Standard Registration is $99 and Full Registration, which includes a bonus session with Gregor Lersch, is $129.


Sponsor Thanks

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 850 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 2022

Thank you to our lead sponsor, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $10 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

Thank you to 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.

Thank you to The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

Thank you 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 johnnysseeds.com.


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 889,000 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 SlowFlowersSociety.com and consider making a donation to sustain Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button to the right.


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. The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. 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.  Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers on the table, one stem, one vase at a time.


Music credits:

Molly Molly; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

In The Field
Songs by:
audionautix.com

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