Debra Prinzing

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Episode 475: How the COVID shutdown inspired Postal Petals, a conversation with founder and floral entrepreneur Talia Boone

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

I met today’s guest, Talia Boone, when two other Slow Flowers members reached out to tell me about her and her new floral venture. As soon as I learned about Talia and her Los Angeles-based company Postal Petals, I thought — “we need her to join Slow Flowers” because her mission is i100% alignment with ours. Thank you to Yoni Levenbach of Flowers Without Borders and Whit McClure of Whit Hazen, who separately connected me with Talia earlier this summer.

Talia is a veteran marketing, communications and branding strategist whose background is in professional sports and entertainment. About three years ago, she formed INTER:SECT, a creative, tactical solutions agency that serves as a catalyst for pioneering ideas, collaboration and creative opportunities at the intersection of sports, business, technology, consciousness, culture and the arts, with the goal of promoting socially and culturally relevant conversations and collective action.

Up until now, Talia’s focus has been the intersection of sports, business, culture and social impact. And now, FLOWERS. Her new business, Postal Petals, has a social impact mission and I’m excited to share her story in our conversation today.  Talia is a self-described floral enthusiast and DIY floral arranger. Since she’s based in Los Angeles, she often shopped at the Los Angeles Flower Market during public hours, bringing home flowers to arrange and enjoy — as part of her personal creativity and mental health practice.

You’ll hear how COVID is to blame for Talia’s newest venture, provoked by the closure of the Los Angeles Flower Market and her search for farm-direct flowers to fill her flower fix.

Postal Petals’ origins began with that search. Launched online in September, here’s how Postal Petals is described: Think of us as a farm-to-table produce box, but for fresh flowers! Postal Petals connects flower lovers directly to farms to receive fresh flowers at a competitive price point when compared to the retail marketplace. Each stem is handpicked and cut just hours before they are carefully packaged and shipped to you for delivery within 36 hours of harvest, ensuring quality and freshness. Once you open your Petal Box, you can build those beautiful loose blooms into stunning arrangements with a quick video tutorial or virtual hands-on workshop with one of our professional florists. Each Petal Box includes vibrant flowers sourced domestically from eco-friendly farms. From calla lilies to cheery sunflowers to picturesque peonies, there’s a new floral adventure inside every Postal Petals box.

Follow #blackfloristfriday to meet designers who are part of Postal Petals’ Black Florist Directory

Follow Postal Petals at these social places:

Postal Petals on Facebook

Postal Petals on Instagram

Postal Petals’ #blackfloristfriday series on Instagram — it’s a wonderful addition to the floral community.

Talia Boone, Postal Petals’ founder and CEO

Thanks so much for joining us today. There is so much inspiration packed into a conversation with Talia Boone! I jotted down one of her references, and it’s worth restating here: If you want to go fast, to alone; if you want to go far, go together. That is the true message of Slow Flowers and for everyone who is part of our community!

As I mentioned, you can read more about Talia in today’s show notes. Today we also posted a feature story about Postal Petals in Slow Flowers Journal — that’s at Earlier this week, we started a six-part editorial series called New Floral Marketing Models & Platforms, beginning with Amelia Ihlo of Rooted Farmers on Monday and Rachel Heath of Flora Fun Box yesterday. After today’s feature on Postal Petals, the series continues for three more days as we profile: American Grown at Home, a project of Kelly Shore and Petals by the Shore; Zap Bloom, Sally Vander Wyst’s new venture, and Tammy Meyers of LORABloom. I know this series will interest you because there’s inspiration for flower farmers, florists and designers to consider diversification in their own enterprises. And, I am pretty sure this series will prompt others to reach out and let me know who they are and tell me about their new models!

Okay, whew. Does October seem like the year’s busiest month so far? I feel it and you might, too. Flowers are still blooming in my garden – so far! Our expected first-frost date won’t come for another few weeks. One flower farmer recently told me that October 15th is his “frost date,” whether the thermometer is down to freezing or not. He’s ready for a break and I don’t blame him. The zeitgeist of anticipation in our lives is undeniable, and some (maybe most) of it comes with a side order of anxiety. How do we move forward with so much uncertainty? Taking positive action is sometimes the best antidote to that feeling.

The first Say Their Names Memorial in Portland, Oregon

To that end, I’m thrilled to share that next week on October 20th, our friend Karen Thornton of Avenue 22 Events is leading the installation of a new Say Their Names Memorial in Kirkland, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. Karen is Slow Flowers’ operations and special events manager — many of you have met her during our regular Zoom Meet-Ups or in-person at the past two Slow Flowers Summits. Karen also recently took over Slow Flowers membership management from Lisa Waud, who has taken a step back for other important projects.

I want to let you know about the Say Their Names Memorial because it continues the good work of Portland-based wedding and event designer Joy Proctor, who began the memorial on Juneteenth when she and others mounted black-and-white portraits of more than 200 Black women and men whose lives were lost due to racial injustice. Flowers play a role in the powerful and sobering gallery of faces and names, as each portrait is commemorated with a small bouquet.

Slow Flowers and several of our member florists and farmers are supporting the October 20th installation. Here is Karen’s Go Fund Me link and I invite you to contribute, and provide support.

More announcements

Before we get started, I want to announce the winner of our 2020 Tilth Conference registration giveaway, announced last week. I asked you to post a comment in last week’s show notes to tell us the one thing you are doing in your floral enterprise to address climate change. Our winner, Aishah Lurry, past guest of this podcast, commented: Patagonia Flower Farm is located in the high desert of Arizona; when we first started thinking about flower farming, the most important thing to us was water conservation. We have found that using landscape fabric slows down evaporation and has allowed us to use a minimal amount of water. It does this by blocking the sunlight In turn keeping the soil moist for a much longer period of time. Thanks for the great comment — and congratulations, Aishah! You’ll be attending – virtually – the 2020 Tilth organic farming conference on November 9 & 10! I’ll send you all the details for your complimentary registration.

First, there’s still time to complete the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey!

To thank you for sharing your time to take the survey, we’d like to send you an etched Slow Flowers Society botanical bookmark – and enter your name into the drawing for one free registration to the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, valued at $599! But you must give us your name and contact information to receive the bookmark and enter the drawing — if you choose to respond anonymously, we can’t bestow our gifts!

Tomorrow, October 15th, registration begins for my first online course, Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling. You can learn more details and watch a video message from me here. The course begins November 1st so check out link above and take advantage of the $200 off introductory promo code — SF97 –, meaning you can enjoy this course for just $97. It includes three modules, 11 lessons, six worksheets and three writing templates. I’m excited to see you in the course!

On Friday, October 16th, the 2020 Flowerstock, Virtual Edition launches. A combination of live presentations and pre-recorded presentations from a wide range of florists, designers, and more, Flowerstock is the brainchild of our friend and Slow Flowers member Holly Chapple. I’ve developed new module for my session “A Bouquet of Words,” recorded specifically for Flowerstock attendees. Follow this link to see the full program and register for just $297.

From Sunday, October 25th to Wednesday, October 28th, I’ll return to Fleurvana, a virtual floral conference that first took place in late August. Fleurvana Holiday Summit follows much of the same format, but has all new presentations and a combination of new and returning speakers. I’ve developed an entirely new presentation called Taking Stock: Writing your 2020 Year in Review & 2021 Forecast with Creative Intention. As with last time, you can register for a free pass to attend Fleurvana during October 26-28. And you can purchase a VIP Pass to access private speaker roundtables and watch the presentations at your own pace.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 649,000 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

This podcast is brought to you by, 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.

And thank you to 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

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. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at We have a new Slow Flowers article that dropped last week in Johnny’s Advantage, Johnny’s monthly newsletter. It’s all about Pricing and Profitability and features advice from five Slow Flowers growers. You’ll want to read it!

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

I am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (c) Missy Palacol 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.

Music Credits:

Alustrat; Skyway; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field

Take the Slow Flowers Challenge in 2015

Monday, January 5th, 2015

ChallengeInvite_2015What better New Year’s Resolution than to resolve to live locally with your flowers and floral designs for the coming year?!

This week launches the Slow Flowers Challenge, and I invite you to join in the fun and creativity.

A possible collection of stems and fruit inspired by Slow Flowers, photographed by Katherine Tracy of Avant Gardens Nursery.

A possible collection of stems and fruit inspired by Slow Flowers, photographed by Katherine Tracy of Avant Gardens Nursery.

This inclusive project was inspired by Katherine Tracy, a talented plantswoman, designer and owner of Avant Gardens Nursery in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

Katherine's Nov. 7th arrangement, created the week after we met at Blithewold in Rhode Island.

Katherine’s Nov. 7th arrangement, created the week after we met at Blithewold in Rhode Island.

Katherine wrote on her Garden Foreplay Blog about taking the “Slow Flowers Challenge” after hearing my presentation at Blithewold Mansion and Gardens in Rhode Island this past fall.

She started using the hashtag #slowflowerschallenge, which in turn prompted other people to create seasonal bouquets, photograph them and share their designs on Facebook, Instagram and personal blogs.

Katherine’s artistic arrangements reveal her love of the natural world, the seasons, the plants, the gifts of the garden and wilder places where she lives and gardens in New England.

I’ve so enjoyed seeing these bouquets pop up across the web – thoroughly serendipitous and seasonal – representing pure joy for a moment in time. These personal expressions resonated with me – they brought me back to the year I spent making one bouquet per week from the flowers that grow around me.

“Why don’t we make the Challenge available to everyone who loves local flowers?”

It’s official and you’re invited to join The Slow Flowers Challenge 2015.

SlowFlowersChallengeCover.jpg (2)

The Rules: Live in the season. Source locally. Use earth-friendly materials and supplies. The more frequently you arrange flowers, the more familiar you’ll become with each of these aspects.

What: The Slow Flowers Challenge is an ongoing practice of creating seasonal arrangements and sharing your designs with the Slow Flowers Tribe.

Why:  The practice is timeless. The gesture is universal. Inspired by the exquisite beauty of a garden or by the sentiment of a special occasion, we gather flowers and foliage and place them in a vessel to display in our homes or give to another. Floral design is a three-dimensional art form that blends horticulture and nature with sculptural composition. At its best, bouquet making is a personal expression unique to the designer’s tastes and point of view.

When: This is the 2015 Challenge. It will run from January 2015 through December 31, 2015. You can join at any time during the year.

How Often: The Challenge format allows you to participate at whatever frequency works for your schedule. We like to suggest these options: 365 Days, 52 Weeks, 12 Months or 4 Seasons.

When I created the Slow Flowers book, I designed one bouquet per week for 52 weeks. But you might decide to create a monthly bouquet, or a seasonal arrangement – or, if you’re really dedicated – a daily design! The main thing is that you decide what works for you and get started.

Share! Post a photo of your arrangement to our Slow Flowers Challenge Pinterest Page. And if you share it elsewhere, please use #slowflowerschallenge or tag @myslowflowers link on Twitter so others can see what you’ve created.

Resources to Help & Inspire You:

  • Sign up here to Join and Receive a weekly email with season-perfect Slow Flowers Tips for your cutting garden and personal floral design studio. Each will include what to plant now, what to harvest now, how to find key resources like seeds, plants or cut ingredients, and essential tools/supplies for the Slow Flowers Challenge
  • Submit photographs of your arrangements to our Monthly Slow Flowers Challenge Pinterest Page.
  • Share your designs on Social Media. Please use #slowflowerschallenge or tag @myslowflowers link on Twitter so others can see what you’ve created.
  • Win prizes and the admiration of your fellow Slow Flowers Tribe members
  • Achieve Certified Slow Flowers Designer status.

Let’s have fun, make beauty, and change the American floral industry with new (and more seasonal) habits.

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Studio Choo’s Jill Rizzo and Alethea Harampolis on The Wreath Recipe Book (Episode 166)

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Jill Rizzo (left) and Alethea Harampolis (right).

Jill Rizzo (left) and Alethea Harampolis (right).

I’m so pleased to welcome Slow Flowers Members Jill Rizzo and Alethea Harampolis. Floral designers and founders of SF-based Studio Choo, they have a carefree, nature-inspired design philosophy that touches everything they create.

As a floral design shop, studio and boutique, Studio Choo focuses as much as possible on locally-sourced flowers and plants, styled with a nod to the wild and untamed.

You have a chance to win a free copy of their newest project, The Wreath Recipe Book, courtesy of publisher Artisan. To enter, please post a comment below about YOUR FAVORITE wreath ingredient from nature, the woodland, the garden or flower fields.

You must post a comment in order to enter a drawing to win a free copy of this lovely new book. The drawing will take place at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday, November 8th and I’ll announce the winner on the Nov. 12th episode of The Slow Flowers Podcast.


Alethea and Jill originally met and worked together at an esteemed flower shop in San Francisco. Their shared passion led them to found Studio Choo in 2009.

After many weddings, deliveries and penning their first book, The Flower Recipe Book, Studio Choo expanded into a new studio space in South San Francisco last year. The Flower Recipe Book took them across the nation, teaching design classes in massive markets, quaint shops and beautiful farms. When they returned home, they worked tirelessly to turn their studio into a unique expanse devoted to design classes, an apothecary, a workspace for weddings and events, a well-curated shop and a place to honor the love of flowers that started it all.

Late winter-early spring: A camellia branch with a swag made of 65 little hyacinth blooms.

Late winter-early spring: A camellia branch with a swag made of 65 little hyacinth blooms.

I’ve gotten to know Jill and Alethea over the past few years, reviewing The Flower Recipe Book for Sunset magazine, hosting their book-signing presentation for florists at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, and inviting them to the stage when I produced the floral design workshops at the SF Flower & Garden Show last March. But due to the fact that we live and work in different cities, I simply had not been able to record a Studio Choo interview.

Welcome to the Studio Choo shop.

Welcome to the Studio Choo shop.

Last month, I took a last minute trip to SF and while there, I invited myself to visit the new Studio Choo space. *Thanks Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers for the lift – I’m so glad you got to stop by, too.

Even though it was a Friday and flowers for a few weddings were in production, Jill and Alethea were so sweet to take a half an hour and talk about their latest project — JUST OUT — “The Wreath Recipe Book: Year-Round Wreaths, Swags, and Other Decorations to Make with Seasonal Branches”

A wistful spring wreath uses flowering dogwood branches, sheet moss and earthy mushrooms.

A wistful spring wreath uses flowering dogwood branches, sheet moss and earthy mushrooms.

Using the same recipe-like approach to seasonal branches that they presented with cut flower arrangements in the Flower Recipe Book, this time Jill and Alethea employ the same clear format in explaining how to make wreaths, table settings, napkin rings, package toppers, wall hangings, and other branch-based decorations.

A gorgeous garland with cotoneaster branches, pomegranates, purple sage and strawflowers.

A gorgeous garland with cotoneaster branches, pomegranates, purple sage and strawflowers.

Divided into Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, and based on when the main plant “ingredients” are available. Ingredient lists and step-by-step photographs give readers a starting point for trying these recipes and adapting each to one’s own aesthetic and style.

Here's that amazing Tahoe wreath Alethea just made, using foraged material from her recent vacation.

Here’s that amazing Tahoe wreath Alethea just made, using foraged material from her recent vacation.

I know you’ll enjoy our conversation about Studio Choo, and how Jill and Alethea blend their unique point of view as designers with a dynamic business model that takes them in some very unexpected places. Alethea has just launched her own scent collection called Snake Face and together the two are cooking up workshops and other creative endeavors for the year to come.

Bittersweet wreath with fall chrysanthemums, marigolds and safflowers.

Bittersweet wreath with fall chrysanthemums, marigolds and safflowers.

And here’s some background on this dynamic duo:

Studio Choo BFFs.

Studio Choo BFFs.

Alethea spent her time before Studio Choo as an estate gardener in Seattle where she managed the wet and wild rolling hills of the city’s rich and famous. After working in other boutique flower shops perfecting her art, she returned to her native Bay Area to settle back in.

Jill grew up with her mother, aunt, and uncle all running their own flower shops, so it now seems only natural that she would do the same. After spending her childhood in Rhode Island learning the difference between roses and ranunculus, she graduated with a degree in illustration from Parsons School of Design and moved to San Francisco to try life out west.

Studio Choo started with a sneeze. Jill’s tiny sneeze, to be exact. It was so small Alethea remarked upon this tiny sneeze and thus “Choo” became a shared nickname between the two. They remained friends when Alethea left the Bay Area, and they dreamed of starting a business together one day. Upon Alethea’s return a few years later (early 2009), they finally took the plunge to open their floral studio and the eponymous Studio Choo was born.

Studio Choo's Friday deliveries, ready to go.

Studio Choo’s Friday deliveries, ready to go.

Jill and Alethea encourage their readers and customers alike to bring the outdoors into our homes and celebrate the special qualities of each season.To find inspiration in plants that are in season wherever you to live — I wholeheartedly endorse this philosophy because it’s at the heart of what the Slow Flowers Movement is all about.

Listeners like you have downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast nearly 25,000 times. If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

My personal goal is to put more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. I promise that when you tune in next week, you’ll hear another insightful and educational episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at

What’s in bloom now: Spring seasonal floral design

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Yesterday, I hosted a hugely inspiring gathering of floral designers

We celebrated spring with a hands-on workshop to explore color, texture, form and scale

Below is the result of our creative expression 


Floral Designs Above, from top: SUSAN WADE and TRACY STRAND (Mother & Daughter)


Floral Designs Above, clockwise from top left: DEBRA PRINZING, SUSAN CARTER, SUSAN KESE and SHAWN CHAMBERLAIN


Floral Designs Above, clockwise from top left: KEITA HORN, KRISTIANN SCHOENING, MAIJA WADE and KRISTIN MATTSEN


Floral Design Above: ZAPOTE GREGORY

Floral Sources:

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Curly willow, Oregon Coastal Flowers

‘Peony’ Tulips, Ojeda Farms

Bleeding Heart, Ojeda Farms

Sweet Peas, Jello Mold Farm

Bupleurum, Foxglove, Gerrondo Gerberas, Yarrow and Veronica — California Grown

Florabundance (thanks for the donation of California-grown products!)

Garden Roses from Rose Story Farm

Dusty Miller


Parrot tulips


Sunday, December 15th, 2013


One must maintain a little bit of summer,
even in the middle of winter.
–Henry David Thoreau

Welcome to the Holiday Season, when flowers are less likely to originate - at least in my garden. This festive combination is a great option.

Welcome to the Holiday Season, when flowers are less likely to originate – at least in my garden. This festive combination is a great option.

5 paper white bulbs (Narcissus papyraceus), available at many garden centers beginning in autumn. I like to plant pots of these bulbs indoors around Thanksgiving so that their blooms (and scent) fill the house by the December holidays.
20 stems scented geranium foliage (Pelargonium citrosum), grown by Charles Little & Co.
10 stems winter berry (Ilex verticillata), grown by Charles Little & Co.
This is how all three ingredients appear together in a low tray.

This is how all three ingredients appear together in a low tray.


2½-inch deep x 6 inch diameter ceramic dish used as a bulb planter (this one has no drainage, so I watered sparingly)
2½-inch deep x 13-inch long x 9½-inch wide oval tray (wicker with a metal lining)
Divided arrangements: When the ingredients in your bouquet have different requirements, you can devise a two-sectioned vessel. Here, the bulbs needed a small amount of soil, but the cut foliage and branches needed only fresh water.
The solution was to place a dish with the planted bulbs in the center of the wicker tray. Then, I arranged the ingredients needing water around its edges, making sure to keep the water level lower than the rim of the center dish.




Sunday, October 6th, 2013


Vintage green vase

This evocative palette of green and dark maroon expresses complementary colors in a surprising new way.

9 stems Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, grown by J. Foss Garden Flowers
7 stems bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis), grown by J. Foss Garden Flowers
7 stems chocolate sunflowers (Helianthus annuus ‘Moulin Rouge’), grown by J. Foss Garden Flowers
3 branches fruiting crab apple (Malus ‘Professor Sprenger’), harvested by Jello Mold Farm
Green Jar with flowers

Welcome~ the dramatic scale of my glass jar looks just right at the front door!


13-inch tall x 9-inch diameter with 5½-inch opening, vintage Portuguese oil jar
Botanical elements as flower frogs: I often start an arrangement using soft, fluffy foliage or dense flowers like the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ as the “base” that peeks out over the top of the rim. Once the stabilizing element is in place, all the other stems can be inserted through it and they will remain just where you want them. The foliage and flowers are integral to the overall composition and there’s no need for florist’s foam.



Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Bowl on kitchen counter

I placed my beautiful bowl of zinnias on the kitchen counter, in front of a botanically-inspired tile triptych by artist Paula Gill of Red Step Studio

5 stems fancy-leaf scented geranium (Pelargonium crispum), grown by Charles Little & Co.
7 stems Boltonia asteroides, a small daisy-like perennial, grown by Charles Little & Co.
7 stems Artemisia capillaris, a woody perennial, grown by Charles Little & Co.
6 stems pink crested cockscomb (Celosia cristata), grown by Charles Little & Co.
9 stems apricot cactus zinnias (Zinnia elegans ‘Pinca’), grown by J. Foss Garden Flowers
Great details add texture and interest!

Great details add texture and interest!


4½-inch tall x 6¼-inch diameter hand-thrown clay bowl
Design 101
The power of green: The difference between one arrangement being just pretty and another being completely arresting is often not the flowers but the foliage. You see here that three similar-toned green elements are woven  together as a textured and verdant tapestry.
They are definitely the supporting actors to the zinnia and cockscomb divas, but they help this bouquet sing. Whenever you can use unexpected greenery, your design will take on a similar star quality. Often, these elements come straight from the garden – growing right under our noses.



Sunday, September 15th, 2013


Fading hues

This lovely autumn palette of fading flowers, foliage and seed heads reflects the season’s beauty.


7 stems smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria ‘Grace’), harvested from Lizzy Jackson’s garden
7 stems pittosporum (Pittosporum sp.), harvested from the Lila B. lot garden
5 stems Dahlia ‘Hy Suntan’, grown by Jello Mold Farm
5 stems gold and pale pink garden roses, harvested from the Lila B. lot garden
3 stems terracotta-orange lilies (Lilium ‘Olina Tango’™), grown by Peterkort Roses
5 stems pale peach stock (Matthiola incana), grown by Repetto’s Nursery
7 stems perennial flax (Linum perenne), grown by Charles Little & Co.
7 stems brown millet (Setaria viridis ‘Caramel’), grown by Charles Little & Co.
Miscellaneous seed heads, harvested from the Lila B. lot garden, including purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Euphorbia sp., and rose hips
2 clusters yellow pear tomatoes, harvested from Marritje Green’s garden
7-inch tall x 10-inch diameter antique-finish urn with 6½-inch opening
Delicious array

The luscious selection of California, Washington and Oregon-grown floral elements – on display


A fresh drink of water: There’s a proliferation of advice for keeping a bouquet of floral ingredients fresh and lasting for many days. But one of the most important things you can do is give stems clean water. That’s not so easy with an arrangement like this one, where all the stems are knit together in a tangle of chicken wire.
My friend Lorene Edwards Forkner shared this easy water-changing trick: Place the entire arrangement in the kitchen sink. Gently lift the foliage at one edge of the vase so the faucet’s spray nozzle is directed inside. Turn on the water and let it flow for a minute or two. The existing water will begin to overflow and go down the drain, displaced by fresh water that now occupies the vase (dry off the bottom and outside of the container when finished). Do this every day or two for the life of the arrangement.


Sunday, August 18th, 2013


Yellow Vase with local flowers

The stars of this arrangement are the alluring ‘Queen Red Lime’ zinnias.

5 stems Zinnia elegans ‘Queen Red Lime’, grown by Jello Mold Farm
5 stems Dahlia ‘Rebecca Lynn’ in flower and bud, grown by Jello Mold Farm
4 stems Sedum ‘Green Expectations’, grown by Jello Mold Farm
7 blades green millet (Setaria viridis), grown by Jello Mold Farm
5 stems golden ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Luteus’), grown by Jello Mold Farm
8-inch tall x 5-inch diameter fluted vase by artist Frances Palmer
Potter, artist and flower-grower, Frances Palmer created this yummy buttercream vase.

Potter, artist and flower-grower, Frances Palmer created this yummy buttercream vase.

Design 101

A very special vase: I was first introduced to the work of Frances Palmer when Stephen Orr profiled the American potter and her Connecticut cutting garden in Tomorrow’s Gardens. Then Frances appeared on Martha Stewart’s television show, where she discussed how she creates her exquisite one-of-a-kind vessels and dinnerware, including vases for the flowers she grows. Her delightful pottery style – classical with a touch of whimsy – is a floral designer’s dream come true.
Naturally, I set my sights on acquiring one of Frances’s pieces. For the vase-lover on a budget, her Pearl Collection reflects the artist’s signature style at everyday prices. I chose this fluted vase because of the generous diameter of its opening (nearly 5 inches). And to me, this butter-yellow glaze is a perfect foil for all sorts of flowers, but especially the zinnias and dahlias.



Sunday, August 11th, 2013


Rooftop bouquet

I made this bouquet at the invitation of Ellen Spector Platt, a fellow garden writer who shared her NYC rooftop bounty with me


All elements were grown by Ellen Spector Platt on the roof of her Manhattan condominium or in the tree pits along the sidewalk by the building’s lobby 
5 stems Caladium x hortulanum ‘Kathleen’
3 stems bi-color sage (Salvia officinalis ‘La Crema’)
3 stems staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Tiger Eyes’)
5 stems Genovese basil leaves and flowers (Ocimum basilicum ‘Genova’)
3 stems red-leaf Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea ‘Rose Glow’)
7 stems black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)
8½-inch tall x 7-inch diameter celadon green glass
Caladium foliage in bud vases

Long after I left Manhattan, Ellen redesigned the longest-lasting floral elements, using several bud vases to each display a single Caladium leaf (c) Ellen Spector Platt

Bouquet 2.0: After my visit, Ellen emailed me: “Your arrangement still looks good, but after 4 days it needed some grooming.” Here are her tips for reviving a bouquet: “Don’t try to groom it by pulling out a wilted stem, since you’ll likely take out other good stuff along with it. Instead, leave the stems where they are and reach in to snip off a single dead flower. Or, cut off the entire top of the stem, leaving the bottom in place. No one will ever know it’s there.” In this arrangement, the black-eyed Susan blooms were the first to be removed.
“By the time many of the stems start to die, I just pick out the few good ones that are left and put them in a narrow vase or bottle to wring out my last bit of enjoyment,” says this experienced floral designer. “I’m sure I’ll be left with the caladiums, looking like an entirely new design.” And sure enough, nine days after we made the original bouquet, Ellen sent me this photo of her green bud vases with the beautiful – and long-lasting – caladium leaves.