Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘American Grown’ Category

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

Wednesday, 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

Related posts

Episode 574: Fourth-Year Flower Farmer, a virtual tour and visit with Jenny Chantz of Merritt Meadow Flower Farm in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

I’m excited to share today’s show with you for a number of reasons. My guest is farmer-florist Jenny Chantz of Merritt Meadows Flower Farm. Recently, we recorded this conversation about her farm, her market, her flowers and her story.

Jenny Chantz and bouquet
Jenny Chantz of Merritt Meadows Flower Farm (left); the spring “friendship” bouquet that Jenny made and delivered to Debra’s friend.

Our conversation began this past April, when I reached out to Jenny for help with a few floral deliveries I wanted to send a friend who was experiencing some tough medical issues. I searched the map of Slow Flowers members in the greater Philadelphia market, comparing zip codes and distances, and determined that Jenny’s Merritt Meadows Flower Farm was pretty close to the facility where my friend had been admitted.

Glads at Merritt Meadows Flower Farm

I reached out and to my delight, what I needed was exactly the type of specialized service that Jenny offers! It was springtime, so she harvested and designed two bouquets during the season, delivering them in person to my friend. While the need for flowers was a sad one, I felt so comforted having a Slow Flowers member to call! Jenny took time to email me a list of the flowers she planned to harvest — an organic flower arrangement of anemones, ranunculus, daffodils and locally grown foliages of dusty, eucalyptus, euphorbia, privet, cherry laurel and pachysandra. She sent me photos and reassured me that it all went well.

Jenny Chantz bouquet and portrait
A custom Merritt Meadows Flower Farm bouquet – grown and arranged by Jenny Chantz (shown at right)

Getting to know more about Jenny and Merritt Meadows inspired me to invite her to join me as a guest on the Slow Flowers Show. We are in for a treat!

Find and follow Merritt Meadows Flower Farm:
Merritt Meadows Flower Farm on Instagram


Join our September Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up

September 2022 Meet-Up
Four of the new floral storefronts welcomed in 2022 (and there are more!). Clockwise, from top/left:
Feast & Flora (Charleston, SC); Morning Glory Flower Co. (Glenville, WV); Sunborn Gardens (Madison, WI); and Wilrett Flower Co. (DeKalb, IL).

It’s September and I wanted to give you a head’s up that our monthly Slow Flowers Member Meet-up is returning after our summer break! Typically, we all meet in the Zoom Room on the 2nd Friday of each month, but for this month only, we’ve scheduled the Meet-Up for the 3rd Friday – September 16th, 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Our focus is “Diving into Retail Flower Shops,” and you’ll meet four Slow Flowers members who will join us (virtually) from their new retail spaces and give us a virtual tour. How can you create your community’s “favorite little flower shop”? Our member experts will share a “checklist” for anyone thinking of moving from a private studio or farm to the retail landscape. 


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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 CalFlowers, the leading floral trade association in California, providing valuable transportation and other benefits to flower growers and the entire floral supply chain in California and 48 other states. The Association is a leader in bringing fresh cut flowers to the U.S. market and in promoting the benefits of flowers to new generations of American consumers. learn more at cafgs.org.

Thank you to Store It Cold, creators of the revolutionary CoolBot, a popular solution for flower farmers, studio florists and farmer-florists.  Save $1000s when you build your own walk-in cooler with the CoolBot and an air conditioner.  Don’t have time to build your own?  They also have turnkey units available. Learn more at storeitcold.com.   

Thank you to 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 is here to improve 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 detailsflowers.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 884,000 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 at slowflowerspodcast.com.


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:

Taoudella; 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
audionautix.com

Related posts

Episode 573: The 50 Mile Bouquet Series with Charles & Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co.

Wednesday, August 31st, 2022

If you’ve been following along for a while, you have noticed that 2022 is the 10-year celebration of the publication of The 50 Mile Bouquet, a book that, to be honest, started me along the journey that became the Slow Flowers Movement.

In a tribute to this small but mighty book, I’m spending this year circling back to interview as many people featured in its pages as possible. The 50 Mile Bouquet was photographed by David Perry, designed by James Forkner, and brought to market by St. Lynn’s Press publisher Paul Kelly.

The opening chapter of The 50 Mile Bouquet includes profiles of several of the flower farmers who shaped the story and influenced my understanding of domestic floral agriculture. These are people who grew specialty cut flowers long before the term Slow Flowers was coined. They are the OG’s the originals, who have quietly practiced their craft as artisan growers, supplying their customers, both flower lovers and florists, with superior quality heirloom blooms.

bethany and charles little

So, today, you will meet Charles and Bethany Little of Eugene, Oregon-based Charles Little & Co. Their story appears in a section called Growers’ Wisdom in which we introduce these inspiring growers.

Charles Little has tended to ornamental crops in the verdant Willamette Valley since 1986 and I value his perspective and insights about how flower farmers have navigated the past decade and more. You met Bethany Little earlier this year when I featured her as a guest during her appearance as a NWFGS instructor, and so this is a bonus interview.

Listen to Bethany: Episode 349: Finding a Market for Your Flowers with Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co.
Listen to Charles: Grower Wisdom with Flower Farmer Charles Little (Episode 207)

Here’s how to find and follow Charles Little & Co.:

Charles Little & Co. on Facebook

Charles Little & Co. on Instagram

Read: “Heart of the Country,” my first interview with Charles and Bethany, that appears in The 50 Mile Bouquet.


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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 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 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 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.


Joseph Massie The Flower School

I want to announce the winner of our special giveaway of The Flower School book by Joseph Massie, last week’s Podcast guest. We asked listeners to like and follow our @slowflowerssociety IG post and also like and follow Joseph Massie, as well as share a comment with the name or names of their favorite focal flowers. Thanks so much to all who entered our random drawing for this fantastic new book! Our winner is Whitney Muncy of Emerald Design in Evansville, Indiana! Congratulations, Whitney! We’ll get that book off in the mail to you soon.


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 881,000 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 at slowflowerspodcast.com.

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:

American
by Crowander
www.crowander.com

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:
audionautix.com

Song title by Crowander (www.crowander.com)

Related posts

Episode 571: Sustainable Everyday Flowers — how a retail studio honors its eco values with Kelsey Ruhland of Foxbound Flowers

Wednesday, August 17th, 2022
Kelsey Ruhland Foxbound Flowers
Left: a selection of Kelsey’s handmade ceramic vases; Right: Kelsey Ruhland

My guest today is Kelsey Ruhland, owner of Foxbound Flowers a floral studio offering same-day flower delivery to the Eugene, Oregon, marketplace.

4 business values

Her brand offers electric vehicle delivery, responsible sourcing, zero waste and non single-use plastics, as well as locally- and U.S.-grown flowers and plants. I’m especially fascinated with her flower shop hacks — using everything from upcycled cardboard and floral sleeves to create a second use for many materials that would otherwise land in the garbage or fill her recycling bin. You’ll see a few of those tricks in our interview.

Vases by Foxbound Flowers
Seasonal everyday arrangements featuring locally-grown flowers, designed by Foxbound Flowers

I visited Kelsey when I was in Oregon last month, eager to hear her story. Born and raised in North Dakota, Kelsey says she moved to Eugene, with her family to explore the mountains and big trees, enjoy the Pacific coast, the culinary scene, and frankly, to seek a warmer climate.

You will hear in our conversation that Kelsey has worked in the floral industry since 2008, previously owning a full-service retail floral shop in Bismarck, North Dakota, which specialized in wedding and event work. Her wedding florals have been featured on popular blogs such as Wedding SparrowMagnolia Rouge Style Me PrettyDainty Obsessionsand in Rock and Roll Bride Magazine.   

recycled wood fencing as floral containers
Kelsey recycles old wood fencing into beautiful, organic-looking flower vessels

When not arranging flowers, Kelsey enjoys hiking, playing piano, painting, and baking. And, as you will learn from our conversation, she is a true maker, adding ceramics, pottery, and woodworking skills to enhance one-of-a-kind offerings for customers.

I hope you grab a few takeaway tips for your own floral enterprise – I know I have.

Find and Follow Foxbound Flowers:
on Facebook and Instagram


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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 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 is here to improve 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 
detailsflowers.com.

Thank you to Store It Cold, creators of the revolutionary CoolBot, a popular solution for flower farmers, studio florists and farmer-florists.  Save $1000s when you build your own walk-in cooler with the CoolBot and an air conditioner.  Don’t have time to build your own?  They also have turnkey units available. Learn more at storeitcold.com.

Thank you to CalFlowers, the leading floral trade association in California, providing valuable transportation and other benefits to flower growers and the entire floral supply chain in California and 48 other states. The Association is a leader in bringing fresh cut flowers to the U.S. market and in promoting the benefits of flowers to new generations of American consumers. Learn more at cafgs.org.


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 877,000 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 at slowflowerspodcast.com.


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:
Simple Melody; 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
audionautix.com

Related posts

Episode 570: A visit to Blossom & Branch, Briana Bosch’s Colorado Flower Farm

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

My guest today is Colorado-based flower farmer and educator Briana Bosch. We recently met in person when Briana attended the Slow Flowers Summit and I’ve been wanting to host her on the show – so we finally got this conversation on the calendar to share with you.

Just a little bit of background: Armed with an MBA from the University of California, Briana established Blossom & Branch in 2019 with her husband.  As she writes on the Blossom & Branch website:

“. . . cubicle life has just never been a fit for me.  Farming runs in my blood: I am a fifth generation farmer, but I myself never thought I would get a chance to start up my own farm!  We got lucky when we found 1.7 acres in the suburbs of Denver and moved to the farm in 2018.”

Briana Bosch (c) Alex Brooks
Briana Bosch during our Slow Flowers Summit Floral Takeover (c) Alex Brooks

The farm name Blossom & Branch refers to the unique site, which is half field (home to field-grown flowers such as annuals, roses and peonies), and half woods–where Briana and her husband focus on providing habitat for wildlife and pollinators through native plants such as chokecherries, american plum, currants, and serviceberries.

Let’s jump right in and meet Briana and learn about her farm, her focus on regenerative farming processes and carbon sequestration – and how she shares her flowers with her community of flower lovers and wedding clients.

Find and follow Blossom & Branch:
on Instagram and Facebook
On-Demand Workshops
Sign up for Blossom & Branch’s newsletter (scroll to bottom of the page)


News for You

FREE Slow Flowers Webinar
Madison Square Park Conservancy Lecture Series
August 18, 2022

Madison Square Park

The Slow Flowers Movement is a response to the disconnect between humans and flowers in the modern era. Slow Flowers connects consumers with the source of their flowers, putting a human face of the flower farmer and floral designer behind each bouquet or centerpiece. 

Join Slow Flowers Society founder Debra Prinzing and Slow Flowers member Janet Kramka, proprietor of Backyard Blooms for a free webinar 3-4 pm PT/6-7 pm ET on Thursday, August 18th. The conversation will focus on the importance of the Slow Flowers Movement, and how their work has both supported and been inspired by it. The Madison Square Park Conservancy Program is free and will be hosted on Zoom.


Slow Flowers Member Discount
Sustainable Flowers Project Workshop
September 18-20, 2022

Sustainable Flowers Project 2022

SUSTAINABLE FLOWERS PROJECT: Slow Flowers has signed on as a partner in the September workshop produced by two of our members, Becky Feasby and TJ McGrath — the Sustainable Flowers Project. The three-day intensive + creative workshop explores sustainability with some of the biggest leaders in sustainable floristry today. The location: Jardin de Buis, in Califon, New Jersey; the dates: September 18-20, 2022.
You’ll learn from Ingrid Carozzi, Tin Can Studios; British Designer Shane ConnollyShane Connolly + Co.; flower farmer and social justice activist Amber Tamm, as well as Andrea Fillippone and Eric Fleisher, environmental designers and owners of Jardin de Buis, as well as from Becky and TJ. They have created a special $150-off promo code for Slow Flowers members who sign up. Register here with SF150.


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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.

Thanks 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.

Thanks 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.

Thanks 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 874,000 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 in the column 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:
Enter the Room; 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
audionautix.com

Related posts

Episode 569: Flowers & Photography with Krista Rossow of O’Flora Flower Farm

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

My guest today is Krista Rossow of O’Flora Flower Farm in Oregon’s Southern Willamette Valley. The tagline for O’Flora Farm is: Small Farm, Big Blooms, Oregon-grown.

Krista Rossow
Flower farmer and professional photographer Krista Rossow of O’Flora Flower Farm (c) Krista Rossow
Krista and her zinnias
Krista Rossow (left) and the zinnia patch at O’Flora Flower Farm (right) (c) Krista Rossow

Krista and I met in person earlier this summer at the Slow Flowers Summit in New York, but we’re just a few hours away from each other by car, and when I traveled to Eugene, Oregon two weeks ago, I invited myself over for a tour and to record today’s interview. I know you’ll enjoy it!

Glorious ranunculus
Glorious ranunculus from O’Flora Flower Farm (c) Krista Rossow

You’ll hear Krista’s fascinating story about her path to flowers, which involves a 15-year career as both a photography editor at National Geographic in Washington, D.C., and a freelance travel photographer whose work took her to all seven continents on the planet.

Dahlias and mixed bouuqets
O’Flora Flower Farm: A dahlia still life and a vibrant palette for seasonal wrapped bouquets (c) Krista Rossow

Now, thanks in large part to being temporarily sidelined by the Coronavirus pandemic and the pause on traveling to teach, guide tours and take amazing photography, Krista is decidedly present, staying close to home on her Oregon cut flower farm. Let’s jump right in and you’ll hear the full, beautiful story!

Blue flowers
A blue study (c) Krista Rossow
Dried flowers
Dried flowers from O’Flora Flower Farm (c) Krista Rossow

Subscribe to updates about Krista’s upcoming online floral photography course.

Follow O’Flora Flower Farm:
On Instagram and Facebook


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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 the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.

Thank you to Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

And thank you to the 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 seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.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 872,000 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 at slowflowerspodcast.com.


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:
Silk and Silver; 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/


Acoustic Shuffle; In The Field
audionautix.com

Related posts

Episode 568: The 50 Mile Bouquet Series — Peterkort Roses with siblings Sandra Peterkort Laubenthal and Norman Peterkort

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022
My Q&A Interview with Norman Peterkort and Sandra Peterkort Laubenthal
Peterkort Roses Greenhouse Tour

Happy 9th Anniversary to the Slow Flowers Podcast!

This week, we are celebrating our 9th anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Yes, folks, as the first-ever flower podcast and the longest-running flower podcast series, with 469 episodes, we are committed to delivering fantastic episodes to you each week — all free for your education and enlightenment.

DebraPodcastProfile
You can find me in the recording studio every week! (c) Mary Grace Long Photography

It’s truly amazing to look back on how this show has become the voice of the Slow Flowers movement since our first episode #100, broadcast on July 23, 2013. We’ve brought you inside the Slow Flowers Movement, up close and personal, with hundreds of inspiring and intimate conversations with individuals who are deeply immersed in growing specialty cut flowers and designing with them. These are advocates who care deeply about a sustainable, safe, and local supply of seasonal floral ingredients — and they share their stories with heart and passion.

One year ago, to mark the 8th anniversary, we added a video component to the Slow Flowers Podcast, so you have a chance to watch the conversations as well as listen to them — including seeing videos of flower farm tours and floral studio tours. We hope you value this content, created specifically for our Slow Flowers Community. It’s such a privilege to be your host as I share new episodes, week in and week out, can you believe it — for 9 entire years! As we enter our 10th year, this means we’ll be making a big splash by sharing more people and their flowers with you!


Peterkort Opening chapter spread
Opening spread of “The Last Rose Farm in Oregon,” from The 50 Mile Bouquet (St. Lynn’s Press, 2012)

Cover The 50 Mile Bouquet In another milestone of celebration, I’m devoting 2022 to a year-long series that revisits a book I wrote ten years ago — The 50 Mile Bouquet.

Today’s guests, siblings Norman Peterkort and Sandra Peterkort Laubenthal, are featured in the pages of this pioneering book, published by St. Lynn’s Press with photography by David Perry. The chapter about Peterkort Roses is titled “The Last Rose Farm in Oregon” and we’re bringing you both a reflection and a look ahead.

Peterkort Roses 2nd spread
Second spread: “The Last Rose Farm in Oregon,” from The 50 Mile Bouquet (St. Lynn’s Press, 2012)

I have visited Norman and Sandra on several occasions, but this week, I made a point of traveling to their greenhouses outside of Portland, Oregon, to film our conversation. Learn what’s been happening at this unique and resilient flower farm over the past decade, and gain new insights on diversification and innovations they have implemented.

READ:

Of Note: Last week’s episode included a visit to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative. As you heard us discuss, Peterkort Roses is not only a founding member farm of SWGMC, their family was also a founding member of the Oregon Flower Growers Association, which opened in 1942 as a farmer-owned wholesale hub. Pretty amazing history for one boutique specialty cut flower farm! Shop for Peterkort Roses at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. And if you’re in Portland, you can often catch Sandra and her roses in their stall at the Oregon Flower Growers Association.


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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 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 is here to improve 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 detailsflowers.com.

Thank you to CalFlowers, the leading floral trade association in California, providing valuable transportation and other benefits to flower growers and the entire floral supply chain in California and 48 other states. The Association is a leader in bringing fresh cut flowers to the U.S. market and in promoting the benefits of flowers to new generations of American consumers. Learn more at cafgs.org.

Thank you to Store It Cold, creators of the revolutionary CoolBot, a popular solution for flower farmers, studio florists and farmer-florists.  Save $1000s when you build your own walk-in cooler with the CoolBot and an air conditioner.  Don’t have time to build your own?  They also have turnkey units available. Learn more at storeitcold.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 870,000 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 at slowflowerspodcast.com.

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:
Camp Fermin (uptempo); Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

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

Acoustic Shuffle; In The Field
audionautix.com

Related posts

Episode 567: Portrait of a Local Flower Pioneer, with Seattle Wholesale Growers Market’s General Manager Brad Siebe, including updates about their new ecommerce platform

Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

If you are a longtime Slow Flowers member or follower, you know that the origins of our organization are closely rooted with those of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.
I was present at the 2010 regional meeting of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, which was held at Charles Little & Co., in Eugene. That’s when a group of Oregon and Washington flower farmers began to discuss banding together to establish a new flower hub in the Pacific Northwest. They studied the model of the Oregon Flower Growers Association, a producer-owned cooperative founded in 1942, and agreed to pursue the formation of a similar but updated wholesale flower marketplace in Seattle.

Brad Siebe and Katy Beene
Brad Siebe (left) and Katy Beene (right), the SWGMC management team, at a 2020 design event (c) Missy Palacol Photography

The following April, in 2011, the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market Cooperative opened for business in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, not far from the conventional wholesale companies who has shown little interest in doing business with those local flower farms.

The 50 Mile Bouquet_Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

You can read the story of these beginnings in my 2012 book, The 50 Mile Bouquet, and ever since that first 2010 meeting in a flower field, I have been the self-appointed “embedded journalist” who has documented the story of Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Known now as “the Market”— the destination is essential to the floral industry’s fabric in the Pacific Northwest. The Market has been studied, as other regional groups of flower farmers – all across the U.S. and Canada – have emulated its model to establish a market for local flowers in their communities.

I’ve had the privilege of interviewing most of the farmers who are part of the Market, visiting their farms and spending time learning from them, not to mention enjoying the beauty and superior quality of their floral crops.

In 2020, the Market moved to the next level with the hiring of Brad Siebe as general manager. Brad’s background as president and CEO of one of the Seattle area’s largest independent garden centers and also in general management in the commercial construction industry, has helped the Market weather the challenges of Covid and come out on the other side stronger and more successful.

I asked Brad to give us an update about what’s been happening with the growth of the Market, and we recently sat down for a conversation in the plant room there.

Find and follow Seattle Wholesale Growers Market on Instagram

SWGMC

Read: Seattle Wholesale Growers Market’s history and Cooperative Model, authored by cooperative expert Margaret Lund.


Watch this compilation from the Farm to Florist Series


More News of the Week

Old Goat Farm

COLOR IN THE GARDEN: First up, if you are in the Pacific Northwest, you’re invited to join me and several of my plant-lover friends on Sunday, August 7, at Old Goat Farm in Graham, Washington for “A Day of Color in the Garden.” This is a program of Garden Communicators International, of which I am past president. Open to all, the event includes invites you to immerse yourself in a day exploring the joy of color in the garden, art, photography, and fresh flowers. Our setting is the destination nursery Old Goat Farm, known for rare plants and luscious display gardens — located about 1.5 miles southeast of Seattle. Lunch is provided, and all participants receive a copy of Lorene Edwards Forkner’s new book “Color In and Out of the Garden.” I’ll share a floral design demonstration with hyper-local and seasonal flowers and plantsman Greg Graves will lead a tour of Old Goat Farm. We’ll also hear from photographer Grace Hensley, who will share her secrets for making magical garden photos using your phone. The ticket includes all watercolor supplies, Lorene’s book and lunch — all for $85. Register here.


The Sustainable Flowers Project

SUSTAINABLE FLOWERS PROJECT: Slow Flowers has signed on as a partner in the September workshop produced by two of our members, Becky Feasby and TJ McGrath — the Sustainable Flowers Project. The three-day intensive + creative workshop explores sustainability with some of the biggest leaders in sustainable floristry today. The location: Jardin de Buis, in Califon, New Jersey; the dates: September 18-20, 2022.
You’ll learn from Ingrid Carozzi, Tin Can Studios; British Designer Shane Connolly, Shane Connolly + Co.; flower farmer and social justice activist Amber Tamm, as well as Andrea Fillippone and Eric Fleisher, environmental designers and owners of Jardin de Buis, as well as from Becky and TJ. They have created a special $150-off promo code for Slow Flowers members who sign up. Register here with SF150.


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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 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.

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.


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 868,000 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 at slowflowerspodcast.com.


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:
Homegrown; Turning on the Lights; Falaal; 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/

Acoustic Shuffle; In The Field
audionautix.com

Related posts

Episode 566: Growing Cut Flowers on an Urban Roof with Joanna Letz of Berkeley’s Bluma Flower Farm

Wednesday, July 13th, 2022
Joanna Letz of Berkeley-based Bluma Flower Farm (TItle Slide (c) The Curated Feast)

In February 2018, I wrote an article about a Berkeley, California, based grocery store called Berkeley Bowl. The family-owned company opened in a former bowling alley in 1977, blocks away from the famed UC, Berkeley, and it has become an neighborhood institution in this college town. My story was about Berkeley Bowl’s floral department and its relationship with local flower farmers.

Today’s guest, Joanna Letz, owner of Bluma Flower Farm, was part of the story and I interviewed her about being one of Berkeley Bowl’s consistent sources of organic flowers.

Joanna Letz Bluma Farm

At the time, Bluma was based in Sunol, about 30 miles inland from the East Bay region, but soon after we published the story, Bluma moved back into the city to its current location — a Berkeley rooftop where Joanna and her team produce hyperlocal, certified-organic flowers.Here’s a bit more about Joanna:
Joanna grew up in Oakland and Berkeley, California, attended Berkeley High and then ventured across the country to Bard College where she majored in history and human rights.

rooftop overview
Rooftop overview of Bluma Flower Farm in Berkeley, California (c) Emily Murphy @passthepistil

During a study abroad program that spanned five countries in eight months, she looked at the impact of globalization on small farmers, realized the importance of small organic and diversified farms, and was inspired to create a farm of her own. She started farming in 2008 working with and learning from many long-time organic farmers in California.

Flowers at six stories in the air
Bluma Flower Farm, part of the Berkeley green skyline

Falling in love with the life and work, Joanna apprenticed on numerous farms including: Heaven & Earth Farm and Green Gulch Farm & Zen Center. She received a certificate in Ecological Horticulture at the UC Santa Cruz Farm & Garden Program (CASFS) and went on to be the Garden Manager at Slide Ranch. At Slide, I grew over 100 varieties of vegetables and flowers. 

Harvesting flowers
Harvesting flowers (c) The Curated Feast

But, from the beginning, she pursued her dream of one day starting her own farm. In the fall of 2014, that dream was realized and Bluma Farm was born!

I am so happy today to introduce you to Joanna and share her story. She recorded the interview from her farm, six stories high against a brilliant summer sky. I can’t wait for you to join us, so let’s jump right in and meet Joanna Letz.

What a fun conversation! It’s so impressive to learn how this beautiful and sustainably-focused micro farm is cranking out gorgeous blooms on only 1/4-acre of growing area. It’s inspiring to witness Joanna’s focus on community and on sharing Bluma Flower Farm with others. She writes: “For me, farming is a way of life- a re-connection to the cycles of life. I always wanted to work with my hands, be outside, and be of service to people and the planet. I believe enjoying fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers is a basic human right and hope that my farm can encourage others to grow plants and flowers too.

Find and follow Bluma Farm:
Bluma Farm on Instagram
Bluma Farm on Facebook


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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 the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org.

Our next thanks goes to Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

And thank you to the 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 seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.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 866,000 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 in the column 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:
Le Marais; 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/

Acoustic Shuffle; In The Field
audionautix.com

Related posts

Episode 565: Petals and Alpacas at Gholson Gardens in Walla Walla, Washington (Encore Edition)

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Greetings, friends. Here at the Slow Flowers Society, we have experienced a whirlwind several weeks, including producing our fifth and largest Slow Flowers Summit conference ever, celebrating American Flowers Week, and publishing our debut Summer issue of our Slow Flowers Journal e-zine quarterly. Add to that 10 days of me traveling away from home and honestly, I’m just beginning to recover from all the festivities.

Petals and Pacas
Alpacas are the best flower crown models!

So today, in what is an entirely rare occurrence, you will hear an encore installment of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Petals and Alpacas at Gholson Gardens in Walla Walla, Washington, originally aired as Episode 395 in April 2019, and it is one of my very favorite shows.

Elaine and Mike Vandiver
Mike and Elaine Vandiver at Gholson Gardens

I mean, alpacas AND flowers — what could be a better pairing? The people behind this fiber and flowers enterprise are an equally great pair — Slow Flowers member Elaine Vandiver and her husband Mike Vandiver.

Gholson Gardens is a small, 10-acre farm located in southeastern Washington state, in the quintessential rural community of Walla Walla, in the southeast corner of the state.  Mike and Elaine are both U.S. Army veterans turned first generation farmers. As they share on their website, Mike and Elaine purchased their farm in late 2013 as a way to start anew after learning a traditional family wasn’t in the cards for them.

Walla Walla flower farmer and alpaca farmer Elaine Vandiver
Walla Walla flower farmer and alpaca farmer Elaine Vandiver

Ten acres seemed sufficient. It had a big old red barn that reminded Elaine of the ones she saw growing up in Indiana. Plus it had a handful of outbuildings. And of course the farmhouse. A two-story folk-victorian number, with a wraparound porch. The whole place had charm, potential and good bones — If you could look past the peeling paint & tatters of time. In other words, it was a lot like she and Mike.

The seller told the couple it was “an old homestead” and that “those two llama come with the place.” As city kids, Elaine and Mike were unfamiliar with both homesteads and llamas. But they were in a place in life where they weren’t going to question things. So a homestead with llamas it was.

Elaine and the Hometown Heroes program
Elaine and the Hometown Heroes program

The first spring arrived, and the once sad-looking pastures sprang to life. And their two raggedy llama (LeRoi & Loretta) could not keep up with their grazing tasks. As Elaine writes on their website: “With all our resources tied into farmhouse renovations, we couldn’t exactly get a tractor. So naturally, we got the next best thing: alpaca. You know . . . the cute, smaller, softer version of llamas. They were supposed to be nothing more than cute little lawnmowers. And they were. But it sorta took a whole gaggle of them to keep up with the grass. And then they needed to be shorn. And that pile of raw fleece had to go somewhere.”

alpacas and knitwear

Ultimately, they started having it professionally spun into yarn . . . and then launched Old Homestead Alpacas, with a line of knitwear made exclusively of the alpaca fiber, manufactured entirely in the USA.

Elaine and dye flowers
Elaine and dye flowers

Elaine had begun to grow dye flowers, so in the summer of 2017, she decided to start selling them as cut flowers? She began by planting 100-row-feet of zinnia, cosmos, sunflowers and celosia.

I recorded this episode in March 2019 when I was in Walla Walla to speak (along with Elaine) about the Slow Flowers Movement for the Washington State Farmers Market Association.

Hers is a very personal, inspiring story and I know it will inspire anyone who views growing cut flowers as a new way of life, perhaps as a catalyst for all sorts of change. To learn how this story unfolds, I’ll let you hear from Elaine.

Learn More; Find and follow Gholson Gardens
Instagram
Facebook
Subscribe to Gholson Gardens’ newsletter

For Elaine and Mike, growing flowers is the latest chapter of their agricultural lifestyle, one that began with a llama and too many adorable alpacas for me to accurately count, continued to a flower and herb garden to grow plants that produce natural dyes for the wool, skeins and garments made with the alpaca fiber, and expanded just over a year ago to become a full-fledge cut flower farm.


Slow Flowers in the News

We’re always thrilled when members of the media ask to learn more about the Slow Flowers Movement — and I have a new story by journalist, writer and editor Karin Vandraiss to share with you. She recently profiled Slow Flowers for Avocado Magazine in a feature titled: “How to Support the Slow Flowers Movement.” The story is illustrated with so many of Missy Palacol’s gorgeous photographs and it’s a great piece you’ll want to read and share with your customers and clients. I love how Karin wrapped up the piece with 4 tips for making Mindful Floral Purchases.


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

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 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 detailsflowers.com.

Thank you to CalFlowers, the leading floral trade association in California, providing valuable transportation and other benefits to flower growers and the entire floral supply chain in California and 48 other states. The Association is a leader in bringing fresh cut flowers to the U.S. market and in promoting the benefits of flowers to new generations of American consumers. Learn more at cafgs.org.

Thank you to Store It Cold, creators of the revolutionary CoolBot, a popular solution for flower farmers, studio florists and farmer-florists.  Save $1000s when you build your own walk-in cooler with the CoolBot and an air conditioner.  Don’t have time to build your own?  They also have turnkey units available. Learn more at storeitcold.com.   


Thank you for listening to the Slow Flowers Podcast!

Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! We’ll be back on our regular schedule with new episodes starting next week! The Slow Flowers Podcast is a member-supported endeavor, downloaded more than 864,000 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 in the right column.


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:
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/

Acoustic Shuffle; In The Field
audionautix.com

Related posts