Debra Prinzing

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Episode 362: Transitioning From Floral Design Studio to Retail Space with Kate Estwing of St. Louis’s City House Country Mouse

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Kate Estwing, City House Country Mouse

Today’s guest hails from the same place that many of us began: The Garden.

In 2015, Kate Estwing launched a flower and garden venture out of her home. Today, it has grown enough to transplant her business, City House Country Mouse into a brick and mortar storefront that opens this week in St. Louis’s The Hill neighborhood.

Kate has grown City House Country Mouse from a gardening business into a full-service floral design studio providing floral arrangements for weddings, businesses, events and residential clients.

A trio of arrangements from Kate Estwing and City House Country Mouse using all locally-grown botanicals; from left: From a workshop at B-Side Farms in Sebastopol, CA; a winery wedding featuring local and U.S.-grown shiso, grasses, dahlias and scabiosa; at the same event, locally-grown amaranth, purple basil, mint, and zinnias, plus a coreopsis plant that the couple took home to plant (c) Virginia Harold Photography

“It was very organic and made sense to me,” she says. “I saw a huge industry involving the beauty of nature, but also saw a lot of waste occurring within the industry. I knew I wanted to help people experience fresh, unique and local flowers and find ways to provide artful arrangements with references to the garden.

Stunning palette; Local blooms, by City House Country Mouse — all St. Louis-grown

“Cutting down on waste and plastic use is a hot topic, but you don’t always see the production waste that’s behind the flower arrangement you purchase. I’m happy to offer design services I know are cutting down or eliminating inorganic waste from the process.”

A Slow Flowers Member who puts a big priority on sourcing from local St. Louis area farms and other Missouri growers, Kate loves making garden-inspired arrangements that are whimsical and imperfect, a celebration of nature’s ways.

After operating as a home-based studio, this week City House Country Mouse moves into a charming storefront in a historic St. Louis neighborhood. I invited Kate to talk about the transition, because hers is a hybrid model I’m seeing occur more frequently than ever.

A new storefront in St. Louis!!

The new space operates as a design studio for weekly deliveries and wedding production, and Kate will open her doors with regular retail hours, beginning next week, Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 a.m.

Bouquet by Kate Estwing, inspired by the garden and local flower farms, plus peonies, greens and amaranth from U.S. west coast (c) Kate Estwing

Follow City House Country Mouse at these social places:

City House Country Mouse on Facebook

City House Country Mouse on Instagram

City House Country Mouse on Pinterest

A wedding ceremony centerpiece — so lovely! Outdoor backyard wedding featuring local peonies, yarrow and feverfew (c) David Weis.

There’s a lot of excitement around locally grown flowers and sustainable floral design in St. Louis, and as you heard me mention, I originally met Kate when I was there in 2016 to be a featured speaker at the St. Louis Art Museum’s Art in Bloom event. I recorded two wonderful podcast episodes with other Slow Flowers members when I was there — and I’ll post them in the show notes for you to listen, either for the first time or again!

They include:

Episode 238: St. Louis’s Urban Buds: City Grown Flowers

Episode 243: More About Missouri Grown with Two St. Louis-based Slow Flowers Voices (featuring Vicki Lander of Flower Hill Farm and Jessica Douglass of Flowers & Weeds)

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

Before I close, I want to say how grateful I am to all you — 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 348,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all our programs.

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of passionate family farms in the heart of Alaska providing bigger, better peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at

Longfield Gardens 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. Visit them at

Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at

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. Check them out at

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

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

Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit

And the Team Flower Conference – a professional floral event where flower lovers from all over the world gather for networking, learning, and celebration. It’s a special time for the floral industry to come together and whether you’re a farmer, designer, wholesaler, or just love flowers, you’re invited to attend as Team Flowers dreams big for the future of our beloved industry. You can head to to learn more about the 2019 conference in Waco, Texas!

(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at

Music Credits:
Turning On The Lights
by Blue Dot Sessions
Music from: