Debra Prinzing

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Episode 348: Farm-to-Retail with Beth Barnett of Larkspur Chicago

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

Beth Barnett, farmer-florist and owner of Larkspur, a Chicago-based floral design studio and farm.

Today’s guest, Beth Barnett, is the owner of Chicago-based Larkspur. Her story is fascinating because I think many of you will related to experiencing the pull between growing flowers and designing with flowers.

Beth is deeply involved with both and last week, after a five-year hiatus from retail floristry, she reentered the retail scene in Chicago with a seasonal pop-up shop — and you’ll learn more about that during our conversation.

A freshly-harvested Larkspur seasonal bouquet.

Harvest time at Larkspur’s flower farm.

Beth Barnett has been a fixture on the Chicago floral scene for over 20 years, launching Larkspur with a vision of floral designs that are lush, organic, and bound to the rhythms and textures of nature.  No matter the season, Beth and her team strive to create artful arrangements in tune with natural forms.

Larkspur has been creating beautiful, nature-inspired floral and event designs in Chicago since 1994. What began as a small business specializing in weddings eventually grew into a charming retail shop in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, operating as a favorite of locals for a decade.

Peonies from Larkspur’s Michigan flower farm.

The meadow effect from a field planting of yarrow at Larkspur’s Michigan flower farm.

Farmer-florist Beth Barnett of Larkspur, flowers, design and farm.

Beth’s passion for flowers went beyond design, and in addition to a retail space, in 2008 she began growing flowers on a sustainable flower farm in Buchanan, Michigan.

Specializing in peonies in May and heirloom annuals and perennials all summer long, the Larkspur team continues to honor the farm’s long floral farm history with new, unique heirloom varieties every year.

Today, Larkspur has transformed from a retail shop into a modern timber loft space offering wedding and event design, floral deliveries, farm CSA and flowers & plants for corporate accounts.

Larkspur shares our love of natural, seasonally-inspired design during seminars and classes throughout the Midwest. Larkspur is a proud member of Slow FlowersAssociation of Specialty Cut Flower Growers,  Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce and Green Wedding Alliance.​

Larkspur’s new flower cart at Chicago’s Revival Food Hall.

Revival Food Hall welcomed Larkspur and Beth’s flowers on May 1st.

Beth’s new pop-up retail flower project can be found at Chicago’s Revival Food Hall.

Find Larkspur on Facebook

Follow Larkspur on Instagram

Larkspur Flowers on Pinterest

Larkspur Flowers on Twitter

Harvesting the bountiful floral production at Larkspur’s farm in Michigan.

Larkspur’s seasonal, Michigan-grown dahlias.

Thank you so much for joining me today and meeting Beth Barnett, a longtime Slow Flowers member who is part of the new model of bringing flowers from the field to the bouquet.

There are many similarities between what Beth has accomplished as a veteran florist-farmer with Larkspur in Chicago, and what last week’s guest April Lemly of Kamama Flowers is pursuing on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. And I know there are many other similar stories in the Slow Flowers world that I am committed to bringing to you in the coming season.

I want to remind you about the Dream Designer Package — a ticket promotion that runs through Sunday, May 20th. All May registrants for the Slow Flowers Summit will be entered into a drawing for one spot to join me on Sunday evening, July 1st at an exclusive gathering with Laura Dowling, author and former White House Florist.

This private event benefits the AIFD Foundation and I’m going to bring one of you with me to attend and enjoy a dazzling and unforgettable evening. So if you’ve been thinking about attending the Slow Flowers Summit, this promotion might just be your incentive! The Summit promises to be a fantastic day of networking, inspiration and personal growth. I can’t wait to see you there!

And I’m so happy to tell you that the Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 315,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing — it means so much.

As the Slow Flowers 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 right column.

Thank you to our sponsors who have supported Slow Flowers and all of our programs including this podcast, American Flowers Week, the online directory to American grown flowers, as well as our new channels, Slow Flowers Journal and the 2018

Our lead Sponsor, 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.

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

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:

Lanky; Yarrow and Root
by Blue Dot Sessions