Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

Episode 649: Flowers as Art: Botanical Couture and Floral Installations with Jennifer Reed of Jennifer Designs

Wednesday, February 14th, 2024

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone – if you’re listening on February 14th, it’s the day we released Episode 649. I hope you’ve had a great one.

Jennifer Reed of Jennifer Designs
Jennifer Reed of Jennifer Designs

Today’s guest, Jennifer Reed of Jennifer Designs based in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, regularly conjures up amazing botanical displays at the Philadelphia Flower Show, the largest indoor garden show in the country. Today, she’s joining me to preview America in Bloom, her most ambitious exhibit ever.

America In Bloom

The Philly Show draws gardeners and flower lovers eager for an early dose of springtime. She’s calling the large floral display a botanical road trip of a lifetime, as it celebrates flowers blooming across the U.S. – and in the exhibit’s description, Jennifer writes: “There’s nothing better than hitting the open road and experiencing the beauty of our nation’s public gardens, arboreta, and natural landscapes along the way!”

Tammy Tulip by Jennifer Reed for American Flowers Week 2021
Tammy Tulip by Jennifer Reed for American Flowers Week 2021
The Romance of Peonies by Jennifer Reed for American Flowers Week 2023
The Romance of Peonies by Jennifer Reed for American Flowers Week 2023

Another reason I invited Jennifer to chat with me for this episode is to share her advice to aspiring botanical couture designers thinking about submitting a floral fashion to be part of Slow Flowers’ American Flowers Week campaign later this year. We will review the two floral fashions Jennifer designed for the 2021 and 2023 campaigns – including seeing photos of her work and hearing her secret tips for success.

Thanks so much for joining me today! Here are links to the feature stories we included in past issues of Slow Flowers Journal about Jennifer’s two Botanical Couture looks – including Summer 2021 with Tulip Time, and last summer’s cover look – Jennifer’s dreamy and romantic peony gown.


Happy Valentine’s Day

Slow Flowers on The Weather Channel – click to watch

Slow Flowers has enjoyed some fun news coverage, including with INC. Magazine and The Weather Channel. We’re thrilled that the press is paying attention to the importance of local and seasonal flowers for gifting bouquets and arrangements.


Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

It’s also the beginning of flower & garden show season, with today’s opening of the 2024 Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle. If you attend, please come and say hello at the Main Stage, where Slow Flowers is hosting Blooms & Bubbles, the daily DIY flower and plant workshops! We’re excited to meet and great our members, seven of whom are teaching and speaking at the show.


February 23, 2024 Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up with Lennie Larkin

One more item of note – if you’re a newsletter subscriber, you’ve already seen the announcement that the February Slow Flowers member virtual meet-up will take place on February 23rd, postponed due to Valentine’s Day. Save the date for next Friday’s session with Lennie Larkin of b-side farm and author of Flower Farming for Profit – we’ll hear her insights on pricing and profitability for flower growers – Preregistration is required – bring your questions and I hope to see you there!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 750 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.

And thank you to Rooted Farmers. Rooted Farmers 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 RootedFarmers.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 johnnyseeds.com.

Thank you 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 mayesh.com.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thank you for joining me today! The Slow Flowers Podcast is a member-supported endeavor, downloaded more than one million 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


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. Thanks so much for joining us today and I’ll see you next week!


Music Credits:

Drone Pine; Gaena; Less Jaunty; Great Great Lengths
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

Episode 564: Meet the Creatives who designed our American Flowers Week 2022 Botanical Couture Collection

Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

We are in the midst of American Flowers Week, which runs annually from June 28th through July 4th. In 2015, Slow Flowers Society launched American Flowers Week as an annual advocacy, education and outreach campaign to promote domestic and locally-grown flowers. The project encourages flower farmers, floral designers, flower enthusiasts and gardeners alike to share photographs of their blooms across social media with the hashtag #americanflowersweek.

Elevating local flowers and communicating the many reasons to support domestic floral agriculture and sustainable floristry are at the heart of the campaign. According to the 2022 National Gardening Survey, research sponsored by the Slow Flowers Society, 65 percent of Americans say it is very or somewhat important that the flowers they purchase are local (up from 58 percent in the 2021 survey). These numbers are trending up!

Town and Country for American Flowers Week
Town & Country’s in-store merchandising during American Flowers Week 2016

Sharing red-white-and-blue bouquets to commemorate Independence Day celebrations, is one way to woo the eye of the beholder. Today, you will meet the individuals and creative teams responsible for our 2022 American Flowers Week Botanical Couture collection. Together, they have drawn inspiration from nature, using design and art to bring deeper layers of meaning to their work.

Let’s jump right in and meet the creatives. You can see their botanical couture looks and learn how you can use the social media graphics for your own AFW promotional projects.

We know that creativity is not a finite commodity, although time and space in which to create is a priceless factor that can make the difference for so many florists, designers, and makers. We thank our talented Botanical Couture creatives value local, seasonal and sustainable flowers above all else and together, they are stimulating curiosity and changing  people’s relationship with flowers. 

I hope you’re inspired to participate in American Flowers Week. You’ll want to log onto Americanflowersweek.com and check out the Media Resources:

2022 American Flowers Week Press Release

Press Photos

Botanical Couture Badges

and Free Downloads:

2022 Artwork by Shelley Aldrich

Slow Flowers Journal – Summer 2022 Issue

What a wonderful preview! I want to share a special thank you to our Botanical Couture Sponsors who supported many of our florists and farmer-florists with donated flowers. Thank you to Carlos Cardoza of CamFlora Inc., a Watsonville, California-based family-owned flower farm, for providing stems of flowers and foliage for several of the looks.


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.

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 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.

And thank you to Mayesh Wholesale Florists for providing shipping, delivery and logistics support. In addition, we are grateful for Mayesh’s support of the Slow Flowers Podcast. 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 mayesh.com.

Our final 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.


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 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 at 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:
Camp Fermin; 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

Episode 538: How Seattle floral designer Carlee Donnelly of The Rusted Vase created a floral mannequin for Fleurs de Villes Noel

Wednesday, December 29th, 2021
Today’s guest, Carlee Donnelly of The Rusted Vase Co.

Click on the video above to see Carlee’s beautiful botanical couture fashion and watch our recorded interview. At the conclusion, I added a video peek at all of the Fleurs de Villes creations by Seattle area Slow Flowers members.

December’s series of holiday-themed episodes concludes with a celebration of botanical couture by Fleurs de Villes.

Fleurs de Villes Noel 2021Listeners of the Slow Flowers Podcast met Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley, creators of FLEURS DE VILLES, when they brought the first collection of floral mannequins to the 2020 Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. This month, they partnered with Pacific Place and sponsor the Four Seasons Hotel, both venues in downtown Seattle, to produce Fleurs de Villes Noel. The exhibition ran from December 17 through 27.

And as with the Flower Show, this time around there is a lot of talent contributed by Slow Flowers Member designers. Last week you met Seattle florist Melissa Mercado-Denke of Campanula Design Studio, who whose floral installation centered around the giant LOVE signage at Pacific Place.

Today, you will meet Carlee Donnelly of The Rusted Vase Co., as Seattle wedding and event designer and past guest of the Slow Flowers Podcast. When Carlee mentioned that her Fleurs De Villes botanical gown would be on display at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seattle, I invited myself for a visit — and we recorded a short video tour of her beautiful and elegant winter-inspired look. It was the first thing guests of the Four Seasons saw upon their arrival. We also recorded a conversation in which Carlee discussed her foam-free design process and shared a surprise update about her upcoming studio branding change for 2022.

And, as a bonus, watch Carlee as she designs in the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market “Farm to Florist” educational series featuring Dan’s Dahlias. It will give you a good sense of her aesthetic and floral personality.

Find and follow Carlee Donnelly:
The Rusted Vase Co. on Instagram

Below is a link to our March 2018 interview with Carlee from Episode 342.


Slow Flowers Summit – Last Chance for Early Bird Pricing

2022 Slow Flowers Summit logo

There are just two more days to take advantage of early-bird pricing for your ticket to the Slow Flowers Summit — our fifth gathering, taking place June 26-28, 2022.

You can find all the details at slowflowerssummit.com, and if you act now and register before the end of December, you’ll receive the lowest price ever — $749. Registration to the 3-day event includes breakfasts, lunches, refreshments and an opening day welcome cocktail party reception.

We’d love you to join us! You can add the exclusive farm to table culinary experience of dinner at Blue Hill Restaurant to your Summit registration for an additional savings. You can find all the details at Slow Flowers Summit (www.slowflowerssummit.com) — don’t miss out!


Thank you to our Sponsors!

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, 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 farmgirlflowers.com.

This week we welcome three new sponsors who are joining us for 2022!

First, let’s welcome and thank 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.

Our next sponsor welcome is for Store It Cold, creators of the revolutionary CoolBot, which you just heard Carlee mention as a new addition to her studio.  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.  

and finally, let’s welcome and thank 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 799,000 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 Society.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 at debraprinzing.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. 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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Betty Dear; For We Shall Know Speed; Le Marais; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessionshttp://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

Episode 519: A Bloom-Filled visit to floral icon Françoise Weeks’ studio and to Sid Anna Sherwood’s flower farm

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021

Today, I’m thrilled to introduce Françoise Weeks and Sid Anna Sherwood. In celebration of our Slow Flowers Podcasts 8th anniversary, we launched our new, live-stream video format — calling it the Slow Flowers Show — with the goal of sharing the faces and voices of our members, as well as tours of their farms, their shops and their studios — and most of all, their flowers. In addition to finding the show notes for this episode at debraprinzing.com, you can watch the replay of our video interview, including some special floral design ideas and a show-and-tell of just-harvested blooms from our guests’ studio and farm.

Listen or Watch the conversation

Françoise Weeks is a past guest of the Slow Flowers Podcast on a few occasions. She is known for teaching botanical couture around the world.  Today, we’ll discuss one of her dreams — to teach a workshop combined with students picking their own design ingredients at a flower farm and collecting woodland materials in a forest.

Sid Anna Sherwood of Annie's Flower Farm in Sequim, Washington
Sid Anna Sherwood of Annie’s Flower Farm in Sequim, Washington

And thanks to the imagination of farmer-florist Sid Anna Sherwood, owner of Annie’s Flower Farm in Sequim, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula, that dream will be a reality later this month.

Long-time Slow Flowers member Sid Anna is a nature-inspired flower farmer and florist who creates beautiful and lush arrangements with the flowers she grows.

Through Sweet Annie’s Floral Design, she offers wedding florals, sells DIY wedding flowers and supplies hand-tied market bouquets to CSA customers and to local neighborhood grocery outlets.

Sid Anna grows more than 300 varieties of cut flowers using organic and sustainable methods.

Inspiring florist and floral educator Francoise Weeks (c) Jamie Bosworth photograph

Françoise Weeks, a floral design icon, was born in Belgium and started her business in 1996. She has infused her work with a quintessential European reverence for flowers and nature. Combined with creativity and mechanical ingenuity, she has crystalized her singular style of Textural Woodlands and Botanical Haute Couture pieces, garnering a global following.

Francoise in Earth in Her Hands
Françoise Weeks, featured in Jennifer Jewell’s beautiful book: The Earth in Her Hands

Françoise’s studio is located in Portland, Oregon. Her innovation and love of teaching have brought her to many cities in the US in studios, at wholesalers, at garden clubs, Art in Bloom events and conferences, including at AIFD Symposium. She also taught in Mexico, Canada, England, Sweden, Iceland, France, China and Australia.

In 2019 she was invited to participate at two international flower events in Belgium: Flower Time at city hall in Brussels and Fleuramour at the medieval castle in Alden Biesen.

Her dynamic work has been published in national and international publications such as Nacre, Fusion Flowers, Modern Wedding Flowers, Huffington Post, Flutter and Millieu.

Françoise teaches and offers online courses, including Zoom workshops. And she is the author of “The Herbal Recipe Keeper” published by Timber Press in 2018.

Francoise Weeks workshop details

The two women have teamed up to offer a Françoise Weeks Botanical Couture and Woodland Workshop, a four-day floral retreat taking place August 22-26 in the historic town of Port Townsend, Washington. Students will stay at the 416-acre Fort Worden in an restored residence, with meals and lodging, as well as all materials and instruction included in the workshop price. The beach of the Salish Sea is steps away and hiking trails are nearby.

Françoise will cover botanical headpieces, purses and jewelry, as well as woodland design centerpieces. A model and a photographer will capture each student’s work for use in their portfolio. 

Last week, we scheduled and recorded a 3-way call to visit and talk with both Francoise and Sid Anna. Both have some lovely show-and-tell to share, as they discuss their creative practices and inspire us with botanical couture and woodland designs, as well as just-picked seasonal flowers.

Thank you so much for joining our conversation. As Sid Anna mentioned there are a few more spaces for students needing lodging and day students who might want to attend from close by. And I’m excited to see what happens when a flower farmer and floral designer collaborate. This approach is truly the heart of the Slow Flowers Movement and Sid Anna and Françoise are modeling a creative partnership that each of us should emulate.


Bonus Content for You

If you’re looking for some inspiring summer reading material, I have a few things to share — free to you — and you can find the links below.

floral details at slow flowers summit
Floral details at the Slow Flowers Summit (c) Jenny M. Diaz

First up, you’ll want to read “Flowering Filoli,” just published in the Slow Flowers Journal online — a room-by-room tour of the Slow Flowers Summit floral takeover at Filoli’s historic house.

With detailed photography by Missy Palacol and Jenny M. Diaz, you’ll read about the immersive floral takeover that occurred on day one of the Summit. See the flowers contributed by generous member flower farms and farmer-florists in attendance; and appreciate the floral artistry of our member designers who created installations worthy of the mansion’s grand scale.


Watch my conversation with Garden Design Magazine about our new book Where We Bloom

And if you’re more in the mood to watch something fun, I’ll share the replay video of my Garden Design Magazine Q&A with publisher Jim Peterson, as he hosted me for a conversation about our new book, “Where We Bloom” and tips to design your perfect outdoor getaway space. We featured five of the book’s inventive floral-filled environments as I shared the stories of the designers and their floral pursuits. I’ll share that link in today’s show notes, too — so everything will be easy to find.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, 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 farmgirlflowers.com.

sponsor logo bar
2nd sponsor bar

Our next sponsor thank you goes to Rooted Farmers. Rooted Farmers 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 RootedFarmers.com.

Our next thanks goes 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.

Our final 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 johnnysseeds.com.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 755,000 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.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com.


Debra Prinzing
(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Show. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers on the table, one stem 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. Thank you so much to Andrew for helping me set up our new Video Podcast platform and teaching me the technology! I’ll be relying more on his talents in the coming days. You can learn more about Andrew’s work at soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Mind Body Mind; Shift of Currents; 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

Episode 512: Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore celebrates American Flowers Week and shares domestic sourcing expertise through The Floral Source

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021
Kelly Shore Petals by the Shore
Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore & The Floral Source

Today we welcome back wedding and event florist Kelly Shore, owner of Petals by the Shore, based in Damascus, Maryland. In celebration of our 7th annual domestic floral promotion, American Flowers Week, which runs June 28-July 4th, I invited Kelly to discuss two of her recent projects:

First, the botanical couture ensemble Kelly created for this year’s American Flowers Week collection, which features wax flowers, heathers, serrutia and other South African plants grown by her friends at Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers in San Diego County.

American Grown at Home with Kelly Shore
One of Kelly’s promotional graphics from 2020 in which she regularly featured curated boxes of domestic cut flowers and foliages from a number of growers

And second, to update us on American Grown at Home, curated collections of wholesale flowers which she markets through The Floral Source, her sister business.

Kelly Shore, teaching at Scenic Place Peonies
Kelly Shore, teaching at Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska

Kelly has spent the past several years educating herself about domestic flower sourcing. She began in her own backyard, motivated by a desire to support flower growers in her area, many of whom she originally purchased from through local farmers’ markets.

As her involvement in the Slow Flowers movement grew, Kelly’s commitment and awareness expanded. She committed to only sourcing 100-percent American-grown ingredients for her designs. She reached out to flower farms around the country, introducing herself and asking how she could support them. For some, that meant directly selling their flowers to Petals by the Shore. For many, though, that meant suggesting that Kelly encourage conventional wholesale florists in her area to order more domestic product for their coolers.

In response, Kelly began to invest in photography and graphic design to launch her “American Grown at Home” branding through a new channel of her business, called The Floral Source. She says: “The whole purpose of creating curated boxes was not to generate money for myself, but to empower the design community with the knowledge about what is grown by U.S. flower farmers. I told my florist friends: ‘If you’re not confident or you don’t know where to get flowers domestically, here’s how you can sample these farms without taking a huge risk.’”


The Floral Source was originally designed to host retreats and farm tours for professional florists, with the goal of exciting her peers about domestic sourcing and demystifying the ordering process. The platform gave Kelly a way to highlight dozens of flower farms, their flowers and a seasonal approach to floral design. “I have often felt like my design community was intimidated about connecting directly with growers,” she explains. “And I know that it’s hard to break habits, because it’s easy to go to one place, buy the cheapest, and get the floral product you know and have relied on. But to break out of that mold and transition to sourcing domestically, you have to be willing to reach out to multiple growers.”

I’m so happy to welcome Kelly Shore to the Slow Flowers Podcast. You’ll also find all the details about The Floral Source and how you can subscribe to Kelly’s curated collections of U.S.-grown blooms. A few days after we wrapped up the recording for this episode, Kelly announced a new offering for American Flowers Week — a special American Grown at Home box of blooms This celebratory collection is for all flower lovers, not just designers, highlighting 22 farms in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia – all members of the Old Dominion Flower Cooperative, a Slow Flowers Member group.

The lush seasonal box of summer blooms and greenery will be a surprise box, curated by Kelly. It features a little bit of seasonal goodness harvested from all of the mid-Atlantaic botanicals grown by Old Dominion Flower Cooperative farms. Each $150 order includes a 5” Accent Decor metal vase that buyers can use when they participate in a virtual workshop with Kelly on July 1. Celebrate seasonality and our local and American growers and bring the joy of flowers into your home for American Flowers Week. The box will ship from the co-op on June 30 overnight to be delivered to you July 1.

Check it out! And if you miss this offering due to your schedule — no worries, there is a fantastic lineup offerings at The Floral Source, featuring domestic flower and foliage offerings all season long. 

American Flowers Week 2021

This episode is coming to you on Wednesday, June 30th, right in the heart of American Flowers Week, our 7th annual celebration, June 28th through July 4th. Please help us celebrate! You can find all the free social media badges, logos, branding and other resources like a coloring map of all 50 USA-state flowers at americanflowersweek.com! Show your floral patriotism and post photos of your red, white and blue, or any other color of your seasonal and local floral harvest! Be sure to use the hashtag #americanflowersweek when you post! I’ll be doing just the same, friends.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, 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

And 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 farmgirlflowers.com.

sponsor logo bar
5-channel-sponsor-block

For each Podcast episode this year, we thank three of our Major Sponsors.

Rooted Farmers 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 RootedFarmers.com.

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 mayesh.com.

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 has been downloaded more than 740,000 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.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com


Debra Prinzing

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Game Hens; Skyway; 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

Episode 510: An American Flowers Week botanical couture tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Tammy Myers of LORA Bloom

Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

Here we are, less than two weeks until the fourth Slow Flowers Summit begins on Monday June 28th and continues through Wednesday June 30th.

We launched the Slow Flowers Summit in 2017 in Seattle, intentionally scheduling it to take place during American Flowers Week as the core event during our annual domestic flower holiday week.

And as the Slow Flowers Summit has expanded and improved, so has American Flowers Week, its original impetus. We’ve been celebrating already, as the buildup to American Flowers Week begins in June, leading up to that specific holiday week of June 28-July 4th.

This year’s special botanical couture promotion is a perfect one-dozen floral garments, created by flower growers, farmer-florists, designers, and members of the Slow Flowers community — all with the motivation of elevating flowers and sharing their talents with the public.

Tammy Myers, LORA Bloom (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Today, I’m excited to introduce Tammy Myers of LORA Bloom. Seattle-based, LORA Bloom is an online E-commerce and marketing platform that provides an additional sales channel for florists, giving them a marketplace where customers can find custom, one-of-a-kind designer arrangements for local delivery. LORA Bloom’s florist partners are aligned with Tammy’s own values of supporting local flower farms and offering foam-free designs. 
Read our October 2020 article about LORA Bloom in Slow Flowers Journal. Listen to Tammy’s first appearance on the Slow Flowers Podcast in Episode 201 (July 8, 2015), where you’ll learn more about her evolution from a studio florist to her present role as creator of the LORA Bloom platform.

Tammy’s original concept board for her American Flowers Week 2021 submission

And when I asked Tammy if she was up for designing a second American Flowers Week botanical couture look (she was a participating designer in 2019, as well), Tammy came up with a stunning project that included six of her LORA Bloom florists as collaborators.

RBG-inspired Botanical Couture, at the University of Washington (c) Missy Palacol Photography
Business in the front; Party in the back, with botanical surface design by Tammy Myers; dress by Riva Juarez
A reimagined judicial robe, seen in sketches by garment designer and this project’s model, Riva Juarez

The result is what we are calling a Floral Tribute to RBG — the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who Tammy considers a fashion icon and a female role model. Because Ginsburg died in 2020, the timing was significant to honor her now.

RBG collars from Time Magazine
Tammy’s inspiration: RBG’s collars, featured in Time Magazine (c) Elinor Carucci
Creative botanical collars:
Top row, from left: Lori Poliski, Flori and Anne Bradfield, Analog Floral
Middle row, from left: Maura Whalen, Casablanca Floral and Kristal Hancock, Sublime Stems
Bottom row, from left: Sophie Strongman, The Old Soul Flower Co. and Sharlet Driggs, Sharlet Floral

Floral Palette: Domestic U.S.-grown botanicals from Washington, Oregon and California
Creative Concept/Creative Direction: Tammy Myers, LORA Bloom, lorabloom.com,
@lorabloom.flowers
Model: Riva Juarez, rivaladiva.com, @rivaladiva
Hair/Makeup: Riva Juarez
Photography: Missy Palacol, Missy Palacol Photography, missypalacol.com, @missy.palacol
Collaborating Slow Flowers Society florists: Tammy Myers; Anne Bradfield, Analog Floral, @analog_floral; Maura Whalen, Casablanca Floral, @casablancafloral; Sharlet Driggs, Sharlet Floral, @sharletfloral; and Lori Poliski, Flori, @flori.flowers
Other florists: Sophie Strongman, The Old Soul Flower Co., @theoldsoulflowerco and Kristal Hancock, Sublime Stems, @sublimestems
Location: University of Washington Campus, Seattle, Washington

Thanks so much for joining us today! I love something that Tammy shared with me when I interviewed her for the story that appears in Slow Flowers Journal Botanical Couture special edition:

“In my research, I learned Ruth Bader Ginsburg had favorite pieces that communicated subtle messages of the Court’s decisions. We know that flowers speak in similar ways.”

Tammy myers, lora bloom

By the way, if you haven’t yet seen the free, 72-page special edition of Slow Flowers Journal, released on June 1st, you can find the link here. You’ll read all about the RBG Floral Tribute along with stories about the eleven other botanical couture looks created for American Flowers Week. Prepared to be wowed at all the beauty and talent in our collective community! Maybe it will trigger some ideas for you to get involved in 2022!


Next week:

Susan McLeary designing a fabulous floral ‘fro (c) Amanda Dumouchelle photography

Next week, you’ll hear my interview with Susan McLeary, our keynote presenter at the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit. It is guaranteed to inspire you, as Sue is such an important influence, an incredible floral artist, and a boundary-pushing leader in our community. I can’t wait to share our conversation with you – and for attendees of the Slow Flowers Summit to see Sue’s design demonstrations and hear her keynote, The Creative Journey: Finding Your Artistic Voice, Truth and Expression.

To me, the Slow Flowers Summit gives our community the opportunity to gather annually and celebrate domestic flower growing and sustainable floral design, to go deeper than it is possible in an online, virtual, social media kind of way; to have human contact; a mind-meld, as one of our past speakers described it; to push ourselves to consider new ideas and unique perspectives; and to hear from a diversity of voices in the floriculture and horticulture marketplace. There are still a few spaces left to attend the Slow Flowers Summit and you can find all those details at slowflowerssummit.com.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, 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

And 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, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

sponsor logo bar

For each Podcast episode this year, we thank three of our Major Sponsors.

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.

We’re thrilled that our Podcast sponsor, Mayesh Wholesale Florist, is also a Supporting Sponsor of the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit. 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 mayesh.com.

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 has been downloaded more than 736,000 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.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

Debra Prinzing
(c) Mary Grace Long Photograph

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Skyway; Great Great Lengths; 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

Episode 487: Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast for 2021

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

The Pursuit of Nature

This Forecast began seven years ago in 2014 when I began documenting shifts and changes in the Slow Flowers Movement. I recently described the origins of this important exercise in my new online course, Taking Stock and Looking Ahead [P.S. follow this link to learn how you can take this free course as my gift to you.]

Here’s how I remember it:
In 2014, when I launched slowflowers.com as an online directory of American flowers and the growers and florists who supplied them, I worked with two talented public relations friends to get the word out to the media. While planning a visit to meet with lifestyle and garden magazine editors in New York, one of the PR experts urged me to create a Power Point slide deck that included an overview of floral trends I associated with the emerging Slow Flowers movement.

In creating that deck, which became my first forecast for 2015 (see above), I learned a few important lessons. I share this in the context of the social media term “impostor syndrome,” because it’s no surprise — we all feel that sometimes. When Lola and Marla encouraged me to write a trend forecast, at first I thought: Who am I to forecast trends? Isn’t that a role only for the experts?

Their response: You have a point of view and it’s based on hundreds of interviews that you conduct for articles and for your Podcast over the course of each year. See what bubbles up from those topics and themes that excites you about the year to come.

I realized that since I was the one who conducted those interviews and wrote those articles, I was viewing trends through my own lens and filter — the Slow Flowers perspective.

When I shared that Power Point deck with editors and had positive responses (as in, they took it seriously during our meetings), I later decided to post the 10 insights on my blog and record a Slow Flowers Podcast episode about it. You can go back and listen to episode 174 from December 31, 2014

The Power Point deck I shared with editors became a blog post and, as I mentioned, the Podcast show notes. Then I shared it with Slow Flowers members in my monthly newsletter. And then a few floral trade publications picked it up.

As a result, I became an “Accidental Forecaster”, and that has elevated Slow Flowers’ unique and relevant viewpoint in the floral marketplace. I’ve learned some valuable lessons. We’re no longer waiting for Martha Stewart or Oprah or Chip and Joanna to tell us what’s on trend. Each of us can speak with an authentic voice about our observations, key cultural shifts and new creative directions in the floral space. In the end, the forecast is a tool; a roadmap that helps me and others consider what is around the bend or across the horizon. It sparks conversation and sometimes, to be honest, it sparks controversy.

The Pursuit of Nature


So let’s get started! I have 10 insights to share with you for the year to come. I’m calling our 2021 Report: “In Pursuit of Nature,” and you can understand why, right?

As we enter 2021, at least in the short term, not much will feel different from the past nine months. And if there is anything we’ve learned since mid-March 2020, it’s the essential and irreplaceable role of flowers and plants for our survival. And that’s why my outlook is deeply connected to humankind’s pursuit of nature — and how floral entrepreneurs like you can and should tap into and enhance that pursuit through your efforts.

I learned about the term “Biophilia” in October 2019 when I interviewed Tom Precht and Sarah Daken of Grateful Gardeners. Tom is a big advocate of Biophilia and he opened my eyes to its relevance as we make personal and business decisions that impact our planet’s survival. He discussed the definition when I interviewed him, but here it is again, according to Merriam Webster:
Biophilia: “a hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature

All you have to do is read the headlines of 2020 to see a collective shift toward nature, plants, the environment – and yes, flowers.

A recent article in the Washington Post caught my attention. The headline reads: The isolation of the pandemic caused her to form a new and intense relationship to nature. She was hardly alone. The benefits of being outdoors for your physical and mental well-being are well documented, but in this coronavirus era, they may be immeasurable.”

A Forbes headline reads: “Nature Is Good For Your Mental Health, Sometimes”

The University of Washington shared this research: “Dose of nature at home could help mental health, well-being during COVID-19” The report stated:

“Studies have proven that even the smallest bit of nature — a single tree, a small patch of flowers, a house plant — can generate health benefits,” said Kathleen Wolf, a UW research social scientist in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “Look closely in your neighborhood, and the bit of nature you may have taken for granted up until now may become the focus of your attention and help you feel better.”


What are we watching for in 2021? The Slow Flowers Community’s experiences of 2020 definitely inform what is top of mind for 2021. Over the past several years, as we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to educate consumers and professionals alike; and thankfully, we are coming off a year when the attention of many turned to the Slow Flowers Movement.

Locally-grown, seasonal and sustainable flowers answer questions about a safe and reliable supply of flowers. Awareness our Movement continues to increased as floral consumers and florists alike shifted their focus to what’s closer to home. Panic over the international floral supply chains has quickly turned to a subtle but significant and newfound understanding that if we don’t nurture and support our local flower supply, there may come a day when farmland has been converted to real estate developments; where commitment to a safer, more sustainable earth has been displaced by convenience.

The anecdotal feedback I’m hearing is heartening. I received an email recently from a leader in, shall I say, “mainstream” floristry, who wrote:

“After two decades of thinking traditional wholesaler connections were the only way to run a floral studio or shop, I’m slowly starting to learn about local flower-farmers and am constantly in awe of their entrepreneurial spirit, and can’t imagine how much hard work goes into what they do. For that, I want to give them as much business as I can! I know that you had a big hand in getting this trend in motion and I thank you for that!”

As we seek new and diverse voices in the Slow Flowers Movement, I believe we will continue to witness a positive shift to a more progressive, inclusive, conscious marketplace for the flowers you grow and design with. And we will continue to document the shift with stories, interviews and resources to encourage you.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey, more than 200 of you, who I mentioned during last week’s “Year in Review” report, is triple past year’s participation.

In addition to the Survey, which asked members to share about their floral businesses, including emerging themes and topics important to them, this Forecast is informed by my 2020 storytelling — first-person interviews for print and digital Slow Flowers Journal stories, interviews with more than one-hundred Slow Flowers Podcast guests, and conversations with thought-leaders in floral design, flower farming and related creative professions.

I hope you find these insights and the 2021 forecast valuable to you. You may hear some themes that resonate with you and I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions about what you agree with and what topics you wish we included.

You can Download a PDF of the 2021 Forecast here:


#1 Floral Wellness

Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers in Brooklyn created the “Seasonal Flower Project” in 2020 — a popular local-flower subscription program that supported her favorite farms and put those flowers in the hands of people eager to connect with nature. Listen to our interview with Molly in Episode 451

The yearning for a connection to nature is truly unprecedented in our society, something many of you witnessed first-hand when Mother’s Day 2020 shattered prior years’ records for floral sales. Demand added up to three words: People. Need. Flowers.

In past Forecasts, I’ve touched on similar themes, including the popularity of Aromatherapy Bars (2018) and the Year of the Houseplant (2019). Floral Wellness is more sweeping in its meaning. More than ever, consumers and their senses are drawn to your blooms. They are drawn for fragrance and scent, for medicinal qualities, for skin and body care benefits, for nutritional meals, palette-satisfying beverages, and for — above all — their mental health.

I define Floral Wellness as
An embrace of the therapeutic importance of flowers, both in our own environments and as a meaningful way to share with others. Floral Wellness nurtures a positive and habitual desire to have flowers in our lives and as an expression of our desire for others to also experience flowers’ emotional, physical, mental and psychic value.

This idea can be manifested in ways both simple and accessible to your clients, as well as more ambitious endeavors. From the rise of flower workshops (in person at a safe distance or in many virtual forms) to the explosion of CSA subscriptions as more consumers desired more flowers, Floral Wellness took root in 2020 and is yours to nurture and enhance with new offerings to your community in 2021.

A few comments bubbled up from our 2021 Member Survey that underscore this idea and I’ll share them here:

“People want more flowers!”
“More local and more of it!”
“I believe local will become more desired.”
“People want to bring more flowers into their homes and are getting into floral design as a hobby.”
“Flowers bring smiles and happiness in times when we need it most.”
“I think people will be more oriented towards decorating their living spaces. Also, gifting flowers to loved ones.”

“Customers may start treating themselves with fresh flowers.”
“As work-from-home becomes normalized, the interest in gardening/flowers/natural world grows.”
“I’m seeing a desire for more beauty and more positivity.”

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Use a megaphone to share your story, your flowers, and your belief that flowers are essential to our wellness and health.


#2 The Virtual Florist

All images from “Designer’s Choice,” a July 2020 Slow Flowers Journal Report in Florists’ Review — featuring (clockwise, from top left): greenSinner, Maple + Mum, Floral Alchemy, Sellwood Flower Co. and Studio Artiflora

What do I mean by the Virtual Florist? We’re living in a world of “virtual” everything, so the term is truly relevant and timely. In the Slow Flowers Community, we spent 2020 covering the ascent of virtual floristry, through our podcast interviews, in Slow Flowers Journal stories, and during our weekly and monthly Slow Flowers member virtual meet-ups. For the Virtual Florist, innovation and creativity meet a marketplaces of Covid-imposed limitations and constraints.

The Virtual Florist
is adaptable, flexible and inventive in finding ways to successfully deliver flowers to his or her community.
The Virtual Florist utilizes technology and serves customers’ needs where they are. The Virtual Florist disrupts “definitions” of what type of florist you may have been in the past.

This means you might own a retail flower store, but you’ve added an online shop; or, you’re studio-based, but you now offer everyday flowers through contact-free curbside delivery; or, you’ve never grown flowers before, but this year you’ve planted thousands of tulip bulbs to sell from your front porch using only your neighborhood’s Facebook page to get out the word (that’s a real story about one of our members!)

The Virtual Florist consults, teaches and inspires in new ways, too. Virtual floristry is more egalitarian and transparent. Anyone can turn on a camera and film a demonstration or tutorial for IGTV, Facebook Live, YouTube and on other platforms — the field is more level than before. It’s not just the “big names” who are attracting audiences, especially because the return to expensive, in-person workshops will be slow and gradual.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Dial up your imagination. What may have began as a coping mechanism to stay busy or stimulate creativity is now a new business opportunity. Develop and invest time and resources into at least one virtual component of your floral enterprise. Be ready to connect with your community whose shopping habits have dramatically changed, perhaps forever.


#3 Flowers in a Box

Mail-order Floral Offerings from Slow Flowers members, clockwise from top left: Petals by the Shore, Postal Petals, Harmony Harvest Farm and Flora Fun Box

Shipping flowers is nothing new, but until this moment, only a few successful companies were getting it right.

In our 2018 forecast, I identified the early adopters behind this shift with the insight “Flower Farmers Launch Direct-Ship Wholesale Programs,” so what’s new about “Flowers in a Box?”

Now, based on necessity, we are witnessing more models, most consumer-direct, designed to move local and seasonal flowers from point A to point B, with more Slow Flowers members experimenting in the world of boxed and shipped blooms.

Slow Flowers members who had never before shipped flowers began to do so in 2020. The first report we shared about this shift can be heard in early April when I interviewed Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm about the decision to ship early spring flowers when local farmers’ markets and on-farm sales were impossible. It was a survival strategy that foreshadowed a strategic business shift. You can find a link to that conversation in Episode 448.

Flowers in a Box covers a diversity of methods and formats, from overnight shipping of bulk flowers, arrangements, floral packages for weddings and more.

Members are also experimenting with the shipping of dried flowers and live plants. And others are mixing design tutorials into the mix (a nod to Insight #2 and The Virtual Florist).

This past fall, we published a six-part Slow Flowers Journal series, called New Floral Marketing Models and Platforms. I’ll share the link for you to go back and read the series in case you missed it. One of the series’ most interesting themes – to me – explores how designers and flower farmers are partnering to create boxed floral collections for home-based floral enthusiasts. Check out my stories about Petals by the Shore, Postal Petals and Flora Fun Box as examples.

We will be tracking more of this “Flowers in a Box” phenomenon moving into 2021, relying on our membership in CalFlowers, the only national trade group that offers flower farmers and floral designers access to deep discounts on overnight shipping rates. CalFlowers has joined the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit 2021 as a Supporting Sponsor, and we will be sharing more about this organization in future programs.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Ask yourself: What can you put in a box — perishable or non-perishable — and offer to customers who are not in your physical market, but who want to share and experience your brand?


#4 Botanical Activism

Scenes from Slow Flowers initiatives around the U.S., clockwise from top left: Portland, Maine, installation; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, installation; Slow Flowers’ social media badge; Detroit, Michigan, installation; and Say Their Names Memorial in Kirkland, Washington

2020 was a year in which I stepped back to evaluate whether my beliefs and values were in alignment with our brand. And I know this was the case for many of you, as well.

We highlighted “Cause-Related Flowers” in our 2018 Forecast, citing the news that more flower farmers and florists were investing their talents to help nonprofits and others in their communities through floral philanthropy efforts.

The contributions of so many of our members – growers and designers alike – continue to impact our communities. It began with the simple question: Did you donate your flowers to any causes or charities this past year? So many of you can answer in the affirmative.

But something is different now. We’ve all been touched by the awareness that the social and environmental landscape is dramatically changing. And if we do not step up to walk the talk in our own floral enterprises, I believe we are only deceiving ourselves.

I define Botanical Activism as one expression of social enterprise.
For Slow Flowers members, this takes shape in many ways:

Writing a statement of purpose for
your brand
Committing resources to racial equity, inclusion and representation in your business practice

Using your flowers to speak volumes about the issues you care about, from climate change to human rights.

And yes, you may occasionally feel the sting of criticism. I’ve seen it in social media posts, along the lines of this comment: “I just want to see beautiful flowers and I come here for a respite away from the conflict and disagreements I watch or hear on the news. Why do you have to be so political here on a floral feed?”

I believe we can no longer stay comfortable in our safe flower worlds when others are suffering discrimination or injustice. I’m not saying we need to become full-time activists. We have businesses to run, bills to pay, households to support, of course. But even in small and subtle ways, we can be Botanical Activists to signal our values and beliefs.

Your answers in the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey revealed your beliefs and passion for causes important to your brands:

  • 61% of our Members say they are taking steps to create Inclusion, Representation and Equity policies for their businesses
  • 53% of our Members are aligning their brands with human rights and social justice messaging/activities
  • 46% of our Members’ businesses have participated in cause-related activities to support Black Lives Matter and antiracism campaigns

In 2020, I witnessed the manifestation of these values across the Slow Flowers membership, inspired by so many of you, your efforts to take a stand for social justice, and to show positive support through your flowers.

Moving forward, this isn’t optional. It’s essential. For Slow Flowers, we are adding a sixth statement to the Slow Flowers Manifesto, originally written in 2017 and published on Slow Flowers Journal. Every one of the five original statements in our Manifesto could be considered by some to be radical and norm-busting in the conventional sense. They include:

Slow Flowers commits to the following practices:

  • To recognize and respect the seasons by celebrating and designing with flowers when they naturally bloom
  • To reduce the transportation footprint of the flowers and foliage consumed in the marketplace by sourcing as locally as possible
  • To support flower farmers small and large by crediting them when possible through proper labeling at the wholesale and consumer level
  • To encourage sustainable and organic farming practices that respect people and the environment
  • To eliminate waste and the use of chemical products in the floral industry

Today I am adding a sixth statement, long in coming and inspired by the actions of many of our members and colleagues in the green profession:

To proactively pursue equity, inclusion and representation in the floral marketplace, intentionally valuing
Black floral professionals
(farmers, floral designers and vendors) in our business practice with as much support as we give to environmental sustainability.

I recently came across a wonderful affirmation from SF-based diversity and inclusion expert Arthur Chan of Arthur Chan Consulting and it resonates with this new addition to our Manifesto.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Belonging implies community and my pledge to each of you is to model this value in all of Slow Flowers’ actions, programs, content and investments, not just for 2021 but beyond. As I said last week in our year-in-review, until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in, more needs to be done. So, in the coming year, we will be highlighting your Botanical Activism — what causes are your flowers supporting? How are you enhancing your community and sharing your values? Please keep me posted as I seek stories of equity and inclusion, and continue the conversation.


# 5 Theatre of the Tabletop

Designs from left: Tobey Nelson, Tobey Nelson Weddings & Events; Susan Chambers, BloominCouture; Dawn Clark and Mary Coombs, A Garden Party LLC; Beth Syphers, Crowley House Flower Farm; and Kelli Galloway, Hops Petunia Floral

The inspiration for this insight arrived in my in-box in October, when a college friend of mine sent a link from The Guardian, a UK daily newspaper. The headline read: “‘Napkins are the new fashion’: the improbable rise of tablescaping”

Written by lifestyle reporter Hannah Marriott, the article captured my imagination, as she likens tabletops to our own personal stage for artistic expression.

She wrote: ” . . . it was in lockdown, perhaps inevitably, that tablescaping became a phenomenon. With so many of us working from home, our social lives disappearing and desperate for some comfort, our focus on our homes was never sharper.

The article continues: “Tablescaping, a small joy that can take a few minutes or a few hours, and makes dinnertime instantly prettier, is part of this national self soothing.”

Gate Cottage Garden botanical tabletop collection @scottwittmanartsculpture

The person who shared this article with me, my friend Scott Wittman, is a creative director who has spent his own COVID year exiled in the Kent countryside away from his London office. He has invested all of his free time photographing the blooms in his garden to document the passing of time, season by season. It helps that his pre-Georgian cottage is surrounded by an acre of a traditional English garden planted about 40 years ago — that’s priceless inspiration!

Scott’s garden and his photography project led him to produce an entire product line for the table, including dishes and linen tablecloths and napkins adorned with his graphic and polychromatic botanical photography. He plans on debuting the “Gate Cottage Garden” collection at the 2021 Chelsea Flower Show and I’ve been urging Scott to figure out distribution in the U.S. For now, check out images of his garden-inspired table accessories in our show notes and follow him on IG at @scottwittmanartsculpture

As I pulled together insights for 2021, I couldn’t forget this old-new idea of tablescaping and it came up again in several conversations, including, most recently with Susan Chambers, Slow Flowers florist based in San Francisco. She described to me how her business BloominCouture has changed in 2020, with more residential floristry accounts than ever.

“It goes beyond flowers,,” Susan says. “So much of what I’m hearing my clients say (is) that they want to understand, not just the floristry, but creating that moment at the table. They want me to create the vision, the pomegranates down the table, the privet berries dripping out of the arrangement. They’re wanting that me to come in and create that moment for them before the dinner party.”

Tablescaping can be the ultimate Slow Flowers expression, as your florals enhance human interactions, mark occasions both special and ordinary, and celebrate the art of dining. Many of you design tablescapes for styled shoots — some of the most adventurous and theatrical meals imaginable. Let’s celebrate the objects we cherish, and create palettes that honor both how food is grown and the origin of the floral decor. I view the theatre of the tabletop as a way to honor the gift of time.

Tablescape designed by Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse and Laura W. Tibbitts of Midcoast Blooms

This insight’s key takeaway for you: How can you combine your flowers and floral designs into a full package? Hannah Marriott’s article in The Guardian triggers so many ideas that you’ll want to explore in 2021. She writes: “Thanks to social distancing and unbridled screen time, the ‘tablescapes’ hashtag now has 455,000 Instagram posts and counting, and it is lifting sales during the crisis. In lockdown, with the hospitality industry on pause, tablescaping took a different direction. For one thing, it provided an income stream – or at least a trickle – to companies whose businesses might have capsized in the crisis.”


#6 Reversing Climate Change

Slow Flowers’ member farms, from left Seattle Wholesale Growers Market dahlia farm shown against the September 2020 wildfire smoke; Stacey Denton of Flora Farm in Ashland, Oregon, using high tunnels to grow sweet peas; at Red Twig Farms in Johnstown, Ohio, low-tunnels for crop protection

Last year, in the 2020 Floral Insights & Industry Forecast, I featured Climate Change for the first time with an insight titled “Responding to Climate Change.” The urgency felt by the Slow Flowers Community is heightened as we move into 2021. Your responses to Climate Change questions in the Slow Flowers Survey reveal that urgency. It can seem overwhelming, but our individual actions and the policies we collectively support are powerful tools to employ as a community.

Last year, Forty-four percent of our survey respondents said they were adjusting growing practices to adapt to climate change. In this year’s Survey, 54% of Members say they are aligning their brands with climate change messaging/activities.

We also asked you to share about How Has Climate Change Affected You and Your Business? Here is a recap:

  • Nearly 60% of you cite weather irregularities (too much or too little rain)
  • 30% say abnormally warm OR abnormally cold spring seasons
  • 25% cite early frost arrival
  • Nearly 20% blame disaster-related damage (wildfire, flooding, hurricane, hailstorms, tornados and other weather tragedies)
  • Another reason cited includes extended hot periods with no precipitation. 

One respondent put it this way: “Weather seems more extreme and unpredictable.”

Another wrote: “It’s not at disaster level yet, but the damaging winds and rains devastated my cosmos and the smoke from the fires sullied my white roses and strawflowers.”

What can we do? What active steps are you taking to address Climate Change in your farm, shop or studio? We know about and have covered the importance of No-Till Farming Methods, Cover Crops, Crop Rotation, Raised Beds, Water efficient irrigation. We know florists are more actively than ever rejecting single-use plastics and other chemical-based products in their designs.

What else? In the coming year, Slow Flowers commits to more reporting on your efforts to reverse climate change, efforts that will inspire others and will empower our members to take positive action in small and large ways.

For now, this insight’s Key takeaway for you: Educate yourself. Join me in seeking meaningful change as we strive to protect our climate, environment, communities and planet.


#7 Beyond the Hobbyist

Deeper Learning, clockwise from top left: Farmer-Florist workshop taught by Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm; a similar workshop taught by Liz Kreig of Maple Flower Farm; Cutting Garden Design with Longfield Gardens & Slow Flowers; wreath design workshops taught by Sarah Nixon of My Luscious Backyard; and Debra Prinzing floral design to fellow Garden Writers

The DIY trend has been with us for a decade, and according to my friend and publishing partner Robin Avni, after that length of time a trend that was once new, such as do-it-yourself, folds into the broader culture and becomes mainstream. Originally, I wanted to call this insight “Beyond DIY: Figure it Out” and I turned to Robin to help me flesh it out. My idea was that since more consumers than ever are seeking new knowledge, floral enterprises need to be attuned to this reality in order to offer them what they’re seeking.

But a conversation with Robin gave me a new term: Beyond the Hobbyist. Robin is my go-to expert when I want to understand what’s happening in the consumer marketplace; she spent many years working in consumer research managing a portfolio of Fortune 500 clients as a Senior Director and Lead Consumer Strategist at Iconoculture, and as a Senior Ethnographer at The Hartman Group, where she engaged in primary consumer qualitative research. And those of you who have a copy of my new book Slow Flowers Journal-volume one will know of Robin’s influence as a visual designer — she is the creative director for that publication and my partner in the BLOOM Imprint, the new book-publishing arm of Slow Flowers.

According to Robin, DIY is everywhere, and thus, no longer new. “People feel they can access information on YouTube and figure things out themselves, from painting their walls to building a deck to designing an outdoor space,” she explains.

As an insight, though, Beyond the Hobbyist embodies so much more than DIY, more than saving money or exploring a hobby, Robin explains. “It’s about embracing a skill that gives you a sense of pride and feeds your soul. It’s about having a deeper, long-lasting connection to a skill, such as flower gardening and floral design.”

She continues: “People want to learn new skills, but then, they want to fold it into their lifestyle. They want to go beyond something superficial. They want to know that when they gather flowers from the farm-stand they can replicate at home what they learned in your design class; thanks to your class, they understand why it’s important to support the stems and change the water regularly.”

Easy, mechanics from the professional to Beyond the Hobbyist

I suspect this sentiment is a driving force behind the popularity of product lines like Holly x Syndicate’s egg and pillow mechanics, available not just to the trade, but to the enlightened floral enthusiast who wants to use the same tools and supplies that the pros use. Similarly, having the ability to order single units of the Floral Genius pin-frogs means these professional tools are getting into the hands of anyone who wants to elevate their floral design practice.

Beyond the Hobbyist is all about intentionality rather than a random DIY experience.

We will continue to witness this urge to both know a skill AND understand the why and how behind it, Robin explains. “For example, once a customer experiences a flower farm, they want more. They don’t necessarily want to be a flower farmer, but they want to understand how to grow their own cut flowers, and nurture that practice through the seasons for their own enjoyment and to share with friends and family.”

A polychromatic series: Seeing Color in the Garden @gardenercook

We talked about this further and what came to mind is the desire among many consumers to have a “Daily Practice.” And that led to my friend Lorene Edwards Forkner, Seattle Times gardening columnist, author and artist. Lorene’s Instagram feed @gardenercook features her daily practice called #seeingcolorinthegarden. Lorene is a past guest of this podcast and she will share her story and talents at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, leading participants in her mindful practice of painting small watercolor studies of plants and other items she collects from nature. You can see more in our Slow Flowers Mercantile, where we have a digital download gallery of Lorene’s work.

While learning a new skill and adopting a practice is useful for all floral professionals, the key takeaway from this insight is actually a challenge question to you: How do you help your customers and clients embrace a more meaningful connection to flowers? How can you create and nurture opportunities that go beyond DIY hobbies and convert your customers into floral practitioners?

When you draw back the curtain and share insider knowledge that your clients and customers can incorporate into their lifestyles, you build deeper engagements. People want to know the professional skills of growing and design; they don’t necessarily want to adopt a new profession, but you can interpret and empower them with skills, knowledge and confidence.

Learning and gathering knowledge is more important than ever. What services, products and experiences can you offer to your marketplace in 2021? What are you teaching and sharing? A final thought, one that I learned while developing online courses for the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop. Teach what you know. Nothing is more authentic.


#8 Marketplace Inclusion & Farmland Equity

Top Row: Slow Flowers Members who recently presented at the Young Farmers & Cooks Conference: Julius Tillery, Black Cotton U.S.; Taij & VC Cotten, Perry-winkle Farm; Aishah Lurry, Patagonia Flower Farm; and Julio Freitas, The Flower Hat
Bottom Row: #BlackFloristFriday social media campaign, created by Talia Boone of Postal Petals and Quote from Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm

This insight is closely connected to Insight #4 – Botanical Activism, while also addressing two themes essential to the future survival of the floral economy.

The first topic – Marketplace Inclusion — speaks to the importance of proactively changing our business practices to support floral enterprises owned by the BIPOC community, (that’s Black, indigenous and people of color). For so long, I focused my energies on the belief that our floral profession would survive if only consumers learned to ask “where were these flowers grown” and “what growing practices were used to grow them?”

If there is one important lesson from the racial awareness and awakening of 2020, it’s that my values demand that I ask a different set of questions, such as: “how can I support and shine a light on florists, flower farmers, vendors and customers who look different than me, a middle-aged white woman?” “How can I invest in the success of underrepresented and overlooked talent, and in doing so, ensure their success and my success are equally valued?”

At Slow Flowers, we enter 2021 with an embrace of inclusivity, representation and equity in our profession. As I discussed last week, our Professional Development Fund devotes resources to invite Black farmers and florists to join the Slow Flowers Society. YOU are encouraged to participate in this endeavor by nominating Black farmers and florists in your community to be part of our efforts — please reach out with your suggestions!

Until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in, we will not be sustainable.

I have learned much from garden designer and Slow Flowers advocate Leslie Bennett, who earlier this year joined me as a return podcast guest. Leslie owns Pine House Edible Gardens, an Oakland-based design-build landscaping studio. She is the creator of Black Sanctuary Gardens, which believes that gardens are places that provide respite and restoration; healing and inspiration. The Black Sanctuary Gardens project creates and documents garden sites where Black women’s creativity, spirituality, and human experience can be cultivated and nurtured. 

Slow Flowers donated to the Black Sanctuary Gardens project in 2020 and we feel grateful to learn from the example Leslie is modeling — using her talents and resources to design and build gardens where transformative change can take place, and where we can work to grow the world we want for ourselves and for our communities. 

Leslie and the team behind the Black Sanctuary Gardens project are curating their time and talent to create safe and beautiful garden spaces that celebrate Black women’s humanity and the communities they hold dear within the Oakland, California area. Financial contributions allow them to provide their gifts at low to no-cost to these valued community members. This is a model I’d love to see replicated across the community in other regions.

Soul Fire Farm – a life-giving hub for education, advocacy and activism

The second theme included in Insight # 7 is Land Equity. Joining progressive voices in domestic agriculture to advocate for land equity is a cause I believe will benefit the Slow Flowers community as we see much-needed diversity and representation in flower farming.

In 2020, we financially supported Soul Fire Farm. Based in Grafton, New York, Soul Fire Farm was co-founded by past Podcast guest Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black. She is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer, author, and food justice activist whose mission is to end racism in the food system and reclaim an ancestral connection to land. As co-Executive Director of Soul Fire Farm, Leah is part of a team that facilitates food sovereignty programs – including farmer trainings for Black and Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system.

Soul Fire Farm recently provided us with a list of well-established Black-led farming organizations and I’ll share it in today’s show notes for you to check out. Please consider following and supporting the farming organizations in your community as we move into 2021, while seeking a more diverse Slow Flowers community that benefits all.


#9 Opposite Palettes

Contrasting and Complementary Palettes from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

Last year, 24% of our Slow Flowers Survey respondents cited YELLOW as their top color prediction for 2020. Yellow edged out all other colors by single-digit percentages, but there was still no clear standout, leading me to predict a Polychromatic Palette for 2020.

Here we are in January 2021, and Pantone already has declared “Illuminating,” a glowing shade of yellow, as one of two colors for 2021.

For the 2021 survey, both Yellow and Orange topped your list. Specific percentages break out as follows:

Shades of Yellow (23%) “Yellow for optimism.” Mustards and mauves.” “From rich masala yellow in curries to lavish buttercream yellow on cupcakes, the comfort of food will translate to floral expressions.”

Shades of Orange (19.5%) “I think we are seeing hints of orange, and yellow with pinks and blush.” “Everything across the range of citrus tones to fruity apricot.”

Shades of Green (14%) “The clean feeling of green, with foliage in an array of green tones and various shapes.”

Shades of Purple & Violet (13%) “I think we will see a trend towards subdued jewel tones that play off of each other.” “I find the possibilities with purple are both complimentary and contrasting and love finding those matches. People also seem to really gravitate to the purple tones, or at least, that’s what I think, maybe because I like purple flowers so much!”

Shades of Red (4.5%) “Reds, burgundy, pinks monochromatic.”

Shades of Blue (3%) “Mellow, soft blues — the world needs calming tones in these crazy times.”

So what notable color palette do we predict will influence flower farming and floral design in the coming year?

I flipped to the color section of my book Slow Flowers to see what I wrote back in 2013. I quoted Harold Piercy, former principal of the Constance Spry Flower School in England, who wrote this in 1983: ” . . . in flower arranging, I have always found it advisable to discard any prconceptions about colours.” He went on to write: “Keep an open mind and do not be ruled by the colour wheel. You may hit upon unexpected satisfactory results during your experiments.”

Yellow Roses from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

I dove deep into the comments that you shared in response to the survey’s Question#23 — Describe in more Detail Your Floral Palette Prediction.

I have to give a huge congratulations to the many Slow Flowers Survey responses that were spot on about YELLOW. In 2017, Slow Flowers’ Floral Forecast predicted soft yellows in an insight titled: “Beyond Blush.” It has taken four years since then for Pantone to agree! Let me include a few of your comments here so you can congratulate yourself on nailing Pantone’s color declaration for 2021 — an important emerging floral palette we forecasted here years ago!

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

“I’m only wishing. I have lemon chiffon peonies that I would love to see a bump in desire for.”
“Into yellow lately.”
“Cream-mustard; pale yellow. Happy shades.”
“More sunny, happy color.”
“Bright, positive, with an endless summer-like feeling.”
“Pale yellows to golden tones.”
“Yellow is inherently cheery and I think people will want more good cheer. Also, floral designers have been trying to sell clients on yellow and mustard forever — maybe this is our year that clients will finally go for it!”
“Orange or yellow. We need some brightness in 2021!”
“Soft, buttery yellows.”
“Yellow is building momentum! And there are so many shades that blend well with the popular muddy/neutral palettes.”
“Soft, light, buttery yellow.”
“Seeing more demand for yellow flowers.”
“2020 has been a dark year and I think we could all use a little sunshine in our future.”
“Warm yellows — amber, mustard, butter – seen alone or with accents in deeper shades.”
“After the Pandemic, we want LIFE! We will want color and variety. Yellow was a very big color in fashion just before the Pandemic and I think it will be picked up again after.”
“I think the soft yellows and warm golden colors are what we need for 2021! We need a soft glowing hug after 2020!”

Orange & Blue(ish) dial up the palette contrast! (c) Debra Prinzing design and photograph

Clearly, we all love yellow. But of course, we do not want to follow Pantone. Let’s move beyond a single hue and explore what’s coming next:

I predict the most exciting floral palettes will feature Complementary or Contrasting Colors. With color pairs that reside opposite each other on the color wheel — combinations and variations of of course Yellow + Purple, but also interpretations of Red + Green; Orange + Blue.

What do you think of “Opposite Palettes”? A few survey comments jumped out to me in agreement:

“Oranges reaching out in different directions — yellow, reds, or complementary purple.”
“Purples combined with pale yellows, oranges and whites.”
“I find the possibilities with purple are both complimentary and contrasting and love finding those matches.”
“Pink, peach, coral, orange, yellow and then contrasting with blue.”

Red & Green Complements (c) Debra Prinzing design and photograph

What is the key insight here?
Simply, that we live in a colorful floral world and we need to experiment more! And find ways to excite customers and clients with new, shall we say, contrasts and complements, on the horizon!

At the core of it, this insight reinforces the importance of selling color as a much-desired product. Remember, you and your flowers are ready to meet consumers’ hunger for more color in their lives.


#10 Star Quality

From Left: Fleurs de Villes designs by Tobey Nelson and Thomasi Boselawa; Kristen Griffith VanderYacht of Big Flower Fight; Ace Berry, AIFD, PFCI – a finalist on Full Bloom; the Full Bloom judging panel

All of a sudden, miraculously in 2020, celebrity florists are taking center stage alongside chefs and fashion designers!

Whatever you think about floral competition television, seeing flowers and plants in the hands of professional designers on programs like Netflix’s “Big Flower Fight” and HBO’s “Full Bloom” definitely felt validating. We are witnessing flowers – elevated — in mainstream TV programming! That’s news worth celebrating!

I lived vicariously through both programs and was honored to host Big Flower Fight’s head judge Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht as a guest on the Slow Flowers Podcast and profile him for a Florists’ Review cover story earlier this year.

I also enthusiatically rooted for Ace Berry, AIFD, PFCI, another past guest of this podcast, who competed in HBO’s “Full Bloom.” I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t watched to the finale, but you can learn much more about Ace in Episode 421, originally aired in October 2019.

Nine Slow Flowers members designed floral fashions for the 2020 Fleurs de Villes Exhibit at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival
DESIGN CREDITS (c) samanthasmith.photo for Fleurs de Villes
Top row, from left: Casablanca Floral, Flirty Fleurs and Garden Party Design
Center row, from left: Hazel Landscapes & Design, LORA Bloom, Smashing Petals
Bottom row, from left: Terra Bella Flowers & Mercantile, Tiare Floral Design, Tobey Nelson Weddings & Events

I felt quite the same sense of pride earlier this year when the popular Fleurs de Villes exhibition came to Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. With flowers transformed into wearable fashions displayed on a parade of mannequins — it clearly was the most popular feature of the flower and garden festival. The success of Fleurs de Villes is similar to the buzz created by the two floral competition shows I just mentioned.

I was delighted to interview Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley, the creatives behind Fleurs de Villes – which I called a Bespoke Floral Phenomenon, on the Slow Flowers Podcast this past February.  Much like the response people have when they see the photo shoots of real models wearing botanical couture for our American Flowers Week campaigns that Slow Flowers began commissioning in 2016, the botanical couture on Fleurs de Villes’ three-dimensional mannequins takes floral fashion to a new level. 

What is the magic? I believe that seeing flowers used as an artistic expression ignites the imagination of those who view them. Beyond the sheer scale and beauty of floral installations, massive topiary and botanically-dressed mannequins, flowers are the starting point that connect many consumers with the natural world. And who can argue with that?

For Fleurs de Villes, show-goers were invited to vote for their favorite design. For Big Flower Fight and Full Bloom, viewers rooted for their favorite contestants. There’s buy-in when the audience has a stake in the outcome, and ultimately, more people know more about flowers, which takes us full circle to our Insight #1 — Floral Wellness.

I hope to see all of these floral celebrity projects return to our lives in 2021, but I will offer a vocal plea for one change: Please, No FLORAL FOAM. As we’ve urged the mainstream floral profession for years: please wean yourself from a dependence on foam. Be truly creative and find alternative mechanics to express your art!

It can be done; believe me, we’ve consistently documented no-foam mechanic strategies on this podcast and in our other Slow Flowers channels. For goodness sake’s, even the famed Chelsea Flower Show has declared future exhibitions to be foam-free.


If you’re interested in showing off your own Star Quality, I invite you to join the 2021 American Flowers Week botanical couture creative team. Our creators are Slow Flowers member florists and flower farmers who and produce wearable botanical couture photographed on live models for publication.

On Friday, January 15th, you’re invited to join me for a free webinar and Learn how YOU can participate in American Flowers Week 2021

Hear advice and tips from Slow Flowers member designers and growers! We will discuss how each created an iconic botanical couture look for American Flowers Week, including flower sourcing, model selection and photography. You can join the Webinar to learn whether this opportunity is right for you! The Webinar takes place 9am Pacific/Noon Eastern on Friday, January 15, 2021.


Okay, what an inspiring list of 10 insights! Thank you for reviewing this list with me today. I  want to pause here to marvel at what has happened since I began writing down what I viewed on the horizon for the Slow Flowers movement and its followers and members.

The simple act of speaking, writing and sharing one’s perspective is a personal superpower, one you can also claim, because each of us has an utterly unique world view. While it seems trite to seek out COVID’s “silver linings,” you may find meaningful truths to interpret from the past year’s chaos. Use them as a foundation for your 2021 planning. Yes, you want to make resolutions and set goals. You can also set your Intention. And intention can be our rudder to guide us through choppy waters and uncertain times. That’s clearly what we need in this moment.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 800 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.

And 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, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

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.

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 mayesh.com.

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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 675,000 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.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Heliotrope; Vittoro; Open Flames; Shift of Currents; Surly Bonds; 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/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 457: American Flowers Week, Botanical Couture and Dahlia Dresses with Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020
An apricot-hued dahlia frock designed by Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms (c) Katherine Buttrey

A Message from Debra Prinzing:

Thanks so much for joining today’s conversation. Like me, I know you’ve experienced the healing role that flowers can play in our lives. And if you come from a position of white privilege, like me, I hope you’ve been watching, listening and educating yourselves over the past two weeks as we take stock of the reality that we’ve ignored systemic racism for too long and we must speak out against injustice. I also believe as a white woman, I need to step back and let others speak to power. I have been so moved by the voices and actions of our black Slow Flowers members and by those aren’t black but who are, like me, personally influenced because they have partners and children who are black. It’s raw and on the surface, and certainly centuries of racism will not be reversed over night.

But I encourage you to join me in this self-education and openness to hear. Last week and in the coming weeks, we are featuring our black Slow Flowers members on the Slow Flowers’ IG and FB feeds. Several are past guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast, past speakers at Slow Flowers Summit conferences and flower people who I’ve featured in articles for Slow Flowers Journal and other outlets.

We want to grow our black membership beyond its disproportionately small percentage. Please help me with suggestions of flower farmers, floral designers and farmer-florists who we need to include in this community. We have established a Professional Development Fund to underwrite their membership costs. If you’d like to contribute financially to that fund to sponsor a new member and expand our inclusion and representation — please reach out, too! You can contact me at debra@slowflowers.com. I’d love your suggestions and support.

The opening pages of Slow Flowers Journal coverage of American Flowers Week botanical couture features one of Sarah Pabody’s dahlia dresses, photographed in the fields at Triple Wren Farms (c) Katherine Buttrey

We all love dahlias, but have you ever thought about wearing a dress adorned with them? Today’s guest, Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms, lives and breathes dahlias at the farm she operates with her husband Steve Pabody in the Northwest corner of Washington State. I asked Sarah to join me on the Podcast today as part of our leadup to American Flowers Week, which takes place June 28th – July 4th for the sixth consecutive year.

At its heart, American Flowers Week focuses on the origin of each beautiful stem, where it comes from and who is the grower behind that bloom. The campaign also shines a light on floral design, promoting domestic flowers and foliage, inspiring professionals and consumers alike with a new aesthetic connected to locality, seasonality and sustainability.

Created by members of the Slow Flowers Society, the 2020 botanical couture collection for American Flowers Week presents cut flowers re-imagined as a wearable art. These designs combine fantasy with reality, imagination with technique, inventiveness with grit. Flowers are fleeting, yet sensory and evocative, inviting us to view the natural world as a true art form. American Flowers Week captures imaginations and sparks curiosity. It is a true celebration of the artists who grow flowers and the artists who design with them.

Sarah Pabody (second from left) with three models wearing dahlia gowns made from her fields. (c) Ashley Hayes and Sarah Joy Fields

In addition to farming and growing flowers, Sarah also runs Triple Wren Weddings, a wedding and event design studio. After seeing how popular the farm’s dahlia fields were with local photographers and their portrait clients, Sarah fantasized about what it would look like if the people having their photos taken wore dahlias rather than only standing among the flowers. Her idea took hold and now Sarah teaches Dahlia Dress Masterclasses for designers and floral enthusiasts who want to create, wear and be photographed in dahlia couture. Beyond fantasy, the garments are thoroughly alluring, but also accessible, prompting others to imagine themselves wearing a dahlia dress of her own.

Click here to read the full story from the June issue of Florists’ Review:

Sarah and Steve Pabody of Triple Wren Farms, captured with their children among the dahlia fields.

Here’s a bit more about Triple Wren Farms: Founded in 2012, Triple Wren is a 22-acre farm in Ferndale, Washington. It is the second growing site for the Pabodys, who in 2016 acquired a distressed berry farm with great soil and water rights after previously leasing land elsewhere. Triple Wren Farms currently grows on about nine acres.

The Pabody family during a past August sunflower harvest.

The farm supplies cut flowers to wholesale customers and has developed an agritourism focus that includes you-pick blueberry fields, a fall pumpkin patch, flower workshops and open farm events, including a Dahlia Festival and a Blueberry Party. The farm also sells dahlia tubers, growing close to 200 varieties selected for superior cut flower performance. Triple Wren Farms’ tuber store has the tagline: ‘Dahlias for cuts in a modern palette.’

You can listen to Steve and Sarah Pabody’s story when they were guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast back in 2014.

Upcoming Classes, Workshops & Events at Triple Wren Farms:

Dahlia Camp (September 10-12, 2020)

Flower Therapy Workshops and Sunset Yoga (ongoing)

Dahlia Dress Masterclass

Triple Wren Farm & Weddings on Social Media

Triple Wren Farms on Facebook

Triple Wren Farms on Instagram

Triple Wren Weddings

Triple Wren Weddings on Instagram

Sarah and her daughter Chloe Wren, who is wearing one of her mother’s dahlia dresses at Triple Wren Farms (c) Abigail Larsen

I know you’ll enjoy learning from Sarah as we discuss her farm, her flowers, and her floral art.

A lot of happenings are coming up in the month of June and I’m so excited to include any listeners in these opportunities!

On June 12th, we will hold our monthly Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-Up — an online gathering of florists, growers, farmer-florists and supporters, launched in late March. The Virtual Meet-Ups have moved from weekly to monthly and will now continue as a regular event on the 2nd Friday of each month.

Join me and the Slow Flowers Community at our next gathering on Friday, June 12th, same time as before – 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Follow this link to join us. Click here to watch the replay of our May 29th Meet-Up and read more about our June Meet-Up guests.

On June 24th, please join me for a Virtual Book Launch party to celebrate the publication of our new book, Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One!

Eighty Slow Flowers members are featured in its pages and we will share a big reveal of this beautiful, 128-page book, published by our partners at Wildflower Media/Florists’ Review.

The all-virtual Launch Party and Happy Hour will take place at 4 pm Pacific/7 pm on June 24th and we will welcome many special guests who appear in the pages of Slow Flowers Journal. And if you want to grab your own copy, our bookstore is open for orders, so you can find that link in today’s show notes, as well.

Please plan on participating in the sixth annual American Flowers Week, June 28th-July 4th. I hope Sarah Pabody’s dahlia dress project inspires you to create beauty with your flowers and your creative community. Use your flowers to communicate a message of beauty, sustainability, wellness and inclusion – and help us promote domestic floral agriculture across the U.S. You can find all sorts of free resources at Americanflowersweek.com. For members only, you can order our red-white-and-blue bouquet labels to use during the weeks leading up to American Flowers Week. I’ll share that link in today’s show notes. Hope to see you online with photos and videos and in live displays of your American flowers. Please use the hash-tag: #americanflowersweek to help us find and highlight your talents!

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, 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.

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 slowflowersjournal.com.

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.

Rooted Farmers 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 RootedFarmers.com.

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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 612,000 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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Vienna Beat; 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

Meet Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley, the creatives behind Fleurs de Villes – a Bespoke Floral Phenomenon

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020
Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley of Fleurs de Villes
Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley of Fleurs de Villes

In Seattle, we have a rite of springtime called the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, which always takes place in February when everyone craves the fragrance of flowers (not to mention the scent of potting soil), and the unfurling of foliage, fronds and petals as seen in the excellent garden displays that cover the floor of the Washington State Convention Center.

I’ve been involved in one way or another with this amazing experience for more than two decades. In fact, in 1989 when it was launched by founder Duane Kelly, I covered the story for the local business newspaper where I was a staff reporter. I recall then thinking that I so wanted to join Duane’s world. For years, I covered the Flower and Garden show as a journalist and editor; then, when I made the leap to home and garden writing, I actually spoke at the show in 2002, beginning a recurring gig every year since.

In the past few years, though, instead of speaking, I’ve produced and hosted the Flower Stage at the NWFGF. This role has allowed me to invite Slow Flowers members to participate and engage flower show audiences in the conversation about floral design, local and seasonal botanicals, and more.

Blooms & Bubbles instructors will appear at the Northwest Flowr & Garden Festival’s DIY Floral Stage

This year, we’re again producing Blooms & Bubbles, a daily DIY workshop series with American-grown and locally-grown “blooms” and a glass of champagne aka “bubbles.” Five Slow Flowers members are teaching and I want to give them a shout-out right now so you can follow along on social as we post workshop images of their classes and students.

They include Thomasi Boselawa, CFD, Tiare Floral Design Studio; Erin Shackelford, Camas Designs; Maura Whalen, Casablanca Floral; Carolyn Kulb, Folk Art Flowers; and Teresa Engbretson and Katie Elliott of My Garden Overfloweth. Tickets are going fast but you might be able to snag a seat to join us! And PS, even if you aren’t able to sign up for the DIY workshop each day at 2 p.m., there is public seating and you’re invited to watch along! The dates: February 26-March 1.

Because I’ve been able to work closely with the management at Marketplace Events, the current owners of the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, I learned last fall that FLOWERS were taking center stage at the 2020 show. Operations manager Courtney Goetz and I met for lunch and she pulled out a few images to share the secret with me. It’s no secret anymore — and today’s guests will tell you all about the phenomenom called Fleurs de Villes. That’s Fleurs with an “S” and Villes with an “S” – as in “Flowers of the Cities.”

As soon as Courtney showed me photos of flower-clad female mannequins, I knew I had seen the images on my Instagram feed. I soon learned from Courtney that this woman-owned company was based just a few hours to the north of us – in Vancouver, B.C., and that the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival had invited Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley to bring Fleurs de Villes here to Seattle.

I’m so exited to bring you today’s conversation with two event and marketing experts. Karen and Tina are elevating flowers in a way that feels fresh, fashion-forward, and inventive.

Much like the response people have when they see the photo shoots of real models wearing botanical couture for our American Flowers Week campaigns that Slow Flowers began commissioning in 2016, the botanical couture on Fleurs de Villes’ three-dimensional mannequins takes floral fashion to a new level. That level is different in one key way from what I’ve been doing with American Flowers Week. And it is a feat to pull off, I can tell you. That’s because Tina and Karen are gathering more than a dozen mannequins, each designed and created by an area florist, and each on display for the full run of the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. I am in awe of the theatrical levels achieved by Fleurs de Villes.

I want to jump right into this conversation, but first, a bit more about Fleurs de Villes and its founders:

FLEURS DE VILLES combines the love of flowers, local design talent, and bespoke, utterly unique displays, for experiential events like none other. The name speaks to that – Fleurs de Villes – flowers of the cities. Connecting with each city we launch in, we work with top local florists, designers, growers and nurseries, to showcase that city’s world-class talent and create stunning displays of art. Fleurs de Villes not only showcases artful flower displays, we create engagement – with audiences viewing our events, and with the partners who support us, from leading sponsor brands to local and national media, as well as community-based groups. We believe in the power of partnerships and the amplification of messaging that comes when audiences have an experience of the senses. Our team of highly professional individuals is dedicated to ensuring every touch-point is on brand to deliver an event experience people will be talking about – and sharing – for a long time to come.

Floral mannequins from past Fleurs de Villes events

TINA BARKLEY is one of Vancouver’s best known lifestyle experts regularly working with Chatelaine Magazine, Today’s Parent and appearing on TV cooking, styling, decorating. Tina has also been a serial entrepreneur for over 25 years, researching, structuring and building businesses. Creating a brand and building a solid product, strategic partnerships, operational structure, marketing and sales are all areas Tina thrives in. As an effective event builder and planner, Tina has a ‘knack’ for making it happen, and empowering everyone around her.

KAREN MARSHALL has a long term international career in publishing and the digital space. She is a strategic thinker with a laser focus on partnership cultivation. With a belief that no brand is an island she has put together countless programs bringing key organizations and media together to create outstanding promotions. Working for some of the largest media brands in the world and in Canada and within the luxury space with numerous consumer brands across a broad spectrum, her focus is on quality engagement and experiential offerings for all partners.

Thanks so much for joining me today.  Find and follow Fleurs de Villes at these links below:

Fleurs de Villes on Facebook

Fleurs de Villes on Instagram

You can find details about the Seattle Fleurs de Villes display — February 26-March 1st at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Future schedule to see Fleurs de Villes around North America and beyond.

As promised, here are the local florists and designers participating as Fleurs de Villes artists. Each will create a floral garment to adorn the lifesize mannequin. It’s no surprise, but a number of them are Slow Flowers members!

First of all, I am thrilled that Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers & Mercantile is designing the Slow Flowers-sponsored mannequin featuring all local and domestic botanicals. We are so grateful for Melissa’s longtime membership and support and I can’t wait to see what she creates!

Of course, as anyone who is committed to sourcing domestic and local flowers in the Pacific Northwest in February, which faces a dormant growing season that many of you also experience, I want to just acknowledge what a feat it will be to bring a Slow Flowers sentiment and values to an undertaking like a botanical garment made entirely from fresh and natural materials. I’ve heard anecdotally from several Slow Flowers members as they’ve planned their creations and I know they are committed to sourcing a good percentage of their looks with domestic crops. Let’s cheer them on and see what they create. Including Melissa of Terra Bella, nine Slow Flowers members are participating as Fleurs de Villes designers — more than half of all the dresses you’ll see! They include:

TJ Montague of Garden Party Design

Tobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events & Design

Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral

Alicia Schwede of Flirty Fleurs

Keita Horn of Smashing Petals

Annika McIntosh of Hazel Landscapes & Designs

Tomasi Boselawa, CFD, of Tiare Floral Design

Tammy Myers and the florists of Lora Bloom

Other Fleurs de Villes florists include: a Natural Design; Fena Flowers; Seattle Floral Design; Zupan’s Markets; Leah Erickson; Ondine; and you’ll see supporting floral installations by Apotheca Design and Soren Events.

Jennifer Jewell is the author of The Earth in Her Hands, which includes a profile of Lorene Edwards Forkner, Christin Geall and Debra Prinzing, among many others.

If that’s not enough floral, horticulture and botanical inspiration, you can find me on Thursday, February 27th at 12:30 pm, as part of a panel entitled:WOMEN AT WORK: MAKING A LIVING WHILE FOLLOWING YOUR PLANT PASSION,” moderated by author Jennifer Jewell, and featuring Lorene Edwards Forkner, Cristin Geall and me. Get your Northwest Flower & Garden Festival tickets here — and I’ll see you there!

Jumping ahead to future events . . . the clock is ticking along as we continue to finalize details for the 4th Annual Slow Flowers Summit – June 26-28, 2020 in San Francisco Bay Area at Filoli.

We only have 50 seats left so I urge you to follow the links in today’s show notes and reserve your space with the Slow Flowers tribe! Your Ticket Includes: All-Day Sunday, June 28 + Monday, June 29 with 5 Presentations + 7 Fabulous Speakers, all meals, refreshments and evening cocktail receptions;

Floral Design Demonstrations; an Interactive Floral Installation; Author Book-Signings; Cool Take-Home Gifts . . . and then, on Tuesday Morning, June 30th, a behind the scenes tour at Farmgirl Flowers HQ where you’ll enjoy a Light Breakfast + Coffee, and meet our good friend Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers.

I can’t wait to see you there!

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 578,000 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.

Thank you to our Sponsors

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Our partnership with Florists’ Review is such a valuable one, providing a forum for beautiful and inspiring editorial content in the #slowflowersjournal section – month after month. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

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 mayesh.com.

FarmersWeb. FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at  www.farmersweb.com.

Our next sponsor thanks goes to 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.

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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Le Marais; Symphony 40 in G Minor; Via Verre; Gaena; Glass Beads
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
Music from: audionautix.com

Episode 408: Botanical Couture in Charleston, S.C., with Toni Reale of Roadside Blooms and Laura Mewbourn of Feast and Floral, plus our State Focus: Missouri

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

American Flowers Week 2019 is coming to a close after we enjoy the fireworks and sparklers of July 4th Independence Day celebrations. I hope you and your flowers were part of the festivities!

Laura Mewbourn (left) and Toni Reale (right), photographed when I visited her shop last summer.

My two guests today have played an important part of this year’s American Flowers Week campaign as co-creators of one of our nine Botanical Couture looks. Please meet Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora Farm, based in Meggett, S.C., and Toni Reale of Roadside Blooms, based in North Charleston, S.C., who teamed up to design an incredible and deeply meaningful floral fashion look that represents coastal South Carolina’s unique heritage and cultural roots.

The women collaborated with their friend Giovanni Richardson, an oral historian representing the region’s Gullah Geechee community of South Carolinians who descended from West African and Central African enslaved people. Giovanni served as cultural and historic advisor to the project, which incorporated locally-grown flowers into the colorful  wardrobe of a Gullah Geechee woman.

Production day at the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767; Toni Reale (left) attaches a vibrant palette of Lowcountry S.C.-grown blooms, including those from Feast & Flora Farm (right). (c)
@philipcaseyphoto

Click here to see more photos of this project, featuring flowers grown at Laura’s farm and an historic setting where independent black farmers erected a fraternal common house in 1915, as well as the marshland of coastal Charleston.

I could go on and on about how inspiring I found their dress, styling and setting, but you’ll want to meet Laura and Toni right now. Let me give you a little background on their stories:

Attaching blooms, one at a time (left) and the dream team (right); (c)
@philipcaseyphoto

Laura Mewbourn grew up surrounded by gardens and flowers and had her first garden plot when she was still very young. Just a couple generations ago, farming was a way of life for Laura’s family, but when it was time to decide on her college major, she landed on English Literature and Language. Life had other ideas for Laura, though. In 2015, she completed the Growing New Farmers program through Lowcountry Local First. She apprenticed on a vegetable farm and landed a full-time job at a hydroponic farm.

I had a wonderful visit to Charleston, S.C., last summer to speak at the Southern Flowers Symposium, where Laura Mewbourn and I finally met in person.

She continues in her own voice: “I absolutely loved it and knew I really wanted to start my own farm. In the meantime, I pruned tomatoes, welcomed a new baby into my family, and took coursework in floral design.

In 2017, I was fortunate enough to purchase a home on acreage just outside of Charleston, SC, and before I knew it, my dreams of flower farming and growing vegetables were off and running with the launch of Feast & Flora, supplying friends, family, and the Charleston community.”

Find and follow Laura at these social places:

Feast & Flora on Facebook

Feast & Flora on Instagram

Toni Reale was a featured floral designer at Southern Flower Symposium in 2018. You can see her hand-tied bouquet at left.

Toni Reale founded Roadside Blooms with a story to tell and a mission to share, believing that beauty and sustainability don’t just co-exist, they work in concert. With over 8 years of experience in the event-planning and floral-design industries, Toni’s many adventures have led her to this chapter (ask her about the time she converted a 1971 British ice cream truck into a mobile flower shop; or about her Environmental Geology background).

A leader of Charleston’s “green and local” movement, Toni has served on various nonprofit boards, including the Charleston Green Fair, and has been recognized as one of Charlie magazine’s “50 Most Progressive” in Charleston in 2014.

She says this: “At Roadside Blooms, we are committed to using American-grown flowers and foraged elements. It’s an important part of our team’s story, and we take great pride in it. Our arrangements prove that sustainability and style aren’t mutually exclusive, all while elevating the grandest of galas or the simplest of ceremonies. We speak the language of flowers and believe every petal, leaf, and twig has a story. Each stem organically influences the direction of our designs and reflects the beauty of local, seasonal flora while embodying the beauty of our surrounding natural world.”

Find and follow Toni at these social places:

Roadside Blooms on Instagram

For more about this gorgeous floral project, read Laura’s recent article, “Botanical Couture and the importance of American-grown.”

Toni recently wrote about the experience on her blog, as well: “American Flowers Week 2019.”

Lowcountry Flower Farmers in Charleston, S.C., brought a popular design event to a local farmers’ market to promote American Flowers Week in 2018

Thank you so much for joining my conversation today and for hearing Laura and Toni’s stories. You’ll want to also check out their local organization, Low Country Flower Growers, where farmers and farmer-florists from Myrtle Beach to Savannah, along coastal S.C., have come together to educate themselves, their peers, and their customers – florists and consumers alike. It was a delight to spend time in Charleston with these wonderful talents – people committed to a sustainable floral landscape, last August when they invited me to speak at the first Southern Flower Symposium. And yes, you heard correctly, another symposium is in the works. We’ll post details as soon as they’re announced — and you check out updates on their social places — which I’ll share!

Cassie Hartman, with “Stella,” her mobile flower shop (c) Springfield Business Journal

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Cassie Hartman of Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck in Springfield, Missouri.

Cassie grew up there and returned there after college. She wanted to bring a small piece of her European travels to the community and that’s where Stella, a 1970 Volkswagen Truck, comes in!

As Cassie says, Stella enjoys parking in front of our favorite local businesses – sometimes getting so excited to meet new customers she breaks down on the side of the road and we just start selling there! Whether you’re grabbing flowers on your way to a friend’s house or just wanting to brighten your home, Stella and Cassie dream of bringing that “big city” feeling to Springfield making fresh cut flowers more accessible and spontaneous for the Ozarks.

Find and follow Cassie at these social places:

Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck on Facebook

Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck on Instagram

P.S., It was so completely cool but utterly unplanned . . . two of today’s guests have used vintage vehicles as mobile flower shops! That’s a fun coincidence.

OUR BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Before we wrap up, I promised to announce the dates and location of the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit, so here we go . . . drumroll please!

We will bring the Slow Flowers Summit to Santa Cruz, California, on June 29-30, 2020, with a Slow Flowers farm-to-table dinner on Sunday, June 28th.  Our partners include UC Santa Cruz’s famed Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) and Bonny Doon Garden Co., owned by member Teresa Sabankaya.

Yes, after holding the Summit first on the west coast in Seattle in 2017; moving to the east coast in Washington, D.C., in 2018; and landing in the central part of the country in St. Paul, MN, this year, we’ve decided to continue the rotation by returning to the West.

You have a full year to plan, but more details will be announced in the fall. Visit slowflowerssummit.com for updates and I can’t wait to see you in Santa Cruz! Below are photos of the recently renovated and restored Cowell Rancy Hay Barn at USCS-CASFS, our venue for the Slow Flowers Summit 2020! (c) Cesar Rubio; and Teresa Sabankaya (right) of Bonny Doon Garden Co., outside Santa Cruz, Calif.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

Today we welcome a new sponsor to the Slow Flowers Podcast, FarmersWeb. FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at www.farmersweb.com

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community

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 syndicatesales.com.

Our Slow Flowers Summit hosts, Green Earth Growers, welcomed us to Prior Lake, Minn.

Thank you for taking the time to pop in the ear buds and join the Slow Flowers Podcast. Thank you to our entire community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause 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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 490,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:
Heartland Flyer; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessionshttp://www.sessions.bluehttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Lovely by Tryad http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
Music from: audionautix.com