Debra Prinzing

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Episode 632: Celebrating our 10th Anniversary! From the Slow Flowers Podcast Archives – an Encore of Episode 566 with Joanna Letz of Bluma Flower Farm

Wednesday, October 18th, 2023
10th Anniversary Slow Flowers Podcast

This is our final encore episode as part of the 10-year celebration of the Slow Flowers Podcast being on the air as the original floral podcast since our debut in July 2013. Thanks for celebrating with me as we returned to the archives and shared a few of the special the stories and voices of flower farmers and florists featured in the past decade.

This week, I’m sharing a favorite encore episode from the 10th year of the Slow Flowers Podcast, a video conversation with Joanna Lutz of Bluma Flower Farm based in Berkeley, California, recorded in July 2022.

Joanna Letz Bluma Farm

At Bluma Farm, located on a Berkeley rooftop, Joanna and her team produce hyperlocal, certified-organic flowers. Joanna grew up in Oakland and Berkeley, California, attended Berkeley High and then ventured across the country to Bard College where she majored in history and human rights.

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

rooftop overview
Rooftop overview of Bluma Flower Farm in Berkeley, California

Bluma Farm was born in the fall of 2014. I am so happy today to re-introduce you to Joanna and her story. She recorded our interview from her farm, located six stories high and silhouetted by a brilliant summer sky.

Harvesting flowers
Harvesting flowers

It’s so impressive to learn how this beautiful and sustainably-focused micro farm is cranking out gorgeous blooms on only 1/4-acre of growing area. And it’s incredibly inspiring to witness Joanna’s focus on community and on sharing Bluma Flower Farm with others.

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


News of the Week

Slow Flowers Summit 2024
Banff Centre for the Arts
Banff Centre for the Arts

We’ve just announced all the details, including dates, venue, program and speakers, for the seventh annual Slow Flowers Summit – It’s going to be our first international Summit, taking place June 23-25th 2024 at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

This will be such a special conference and we will have much, much more to share in the coming weeks, including speaker interviews, video tours, and travel tips for all of our folks – like you, dear listener – who might want to dust off that passport and make plans for a spectacular destination. Take note, Early Bird ticket sales open November 1st and continue through December 31st, during which time you will save $100 off the registration. And as always, Slow Flowers members always receive $100 off as a member benefit. We can’t wait to see you there!


Succulent pumpkin design by Eileen Tongson of FarmGal Flowers (left) and Marigold Garland by Caitlin Mathes of The Marigold Garden (right)
Succulent pumpkin design by Eileen Tongson of FarmGal Flowers (left) and Marigold Garland by Caitlin Mathes of The Marigold Garden (right)
Slow Flowers Meet-Up Logo Art

Next up, it’s October and our monthly Member Meet-Up will take place this Friday, October 20th at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. What’s on tap? It’s all about harvest and holidays – and we’re focusing on two iconic botanicals for the October-November season – pumpkins and marigolds.

You’re invited to Lean into Halloween, Harvest, and Home Decor and learn from two Slow Flowers members who will share their tips. Meet Eileen Tongson of  FarmGal Flowers as she talks about designing succulent pumpkins, and from Caitlin Mathes of The Marigold Gardens as she dives into growing, harvesting, and preserving marigolds for autumn celebrations and beyond.


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.

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 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 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.

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

I love all this floral goodness and I am so happy you joined 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; Chymique; Le Marais; 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

Episode 626: Celebrating our 10th Anniversary! From the Slow Flowers Podcast Archives – an Encore of Episode 304 with Janis Harris of Harris Flower Farm in Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, September 6th, 2023

Today is the 5th Encore Episode of our retrospective to highlight one episode from each year of the past decade and bring the best of the Slow Flowers Podcast to you. If you’re a longtime listener, you might recognize these flower folks; if you’re new to the Slow Flowers Podcast, I’m excited to introduce you to them for the first time.

Janis Harris of Harris Flower Farm
Janis, known in her community as the “flower lady”

In July 2017, we turned attention to the Slow Flowers Movement in Canada, where there is amazing flower farming and floral design community, with equally passionate kindred spirits like my guest Janis Harris of Harris Flower Farm.

Harris Flower Farm logo
This week’s encore guest: Janis Harris of Harris Flower Farm in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada

Here’s a little more about Janis and her family’s flower-filled business. There’s a twist, and that’s the other “crop” grown at their farm — husband Mark’s pasteurized pork livestock enterprise. You’ll hear more about THAT — and how flowers and piggies live in harmony in my conversation with Janis!

2017 portrait of the Harris family
Janis and Mark with their three young children in 2017.
Harris Family (c) Jenn Eggelston Photography
Harris Family growing up! 2023 (c) Jenn Eggelston Photography

Janis and Mark Harris and their three youngsters, Cameron, Nathan and Megan, live and farm just north of St. Thomas, Ontario. They have been going to the local market with their fresh cut flowers since 2010

Both Janis and Mark grew up on a family farm. Janis’ parents have an organic vegetable, poultry and beef farm and Mark’s parents have a cow/calf beef farm. They hope to instill the farm life and values to their children. Cameron already loves the farming life; he can be found playing with his tractor toys. Nathan loves helping in the fields picking and hauling in the flower harvests. Megan is already picking up tips on arranging flowers.

Janis and Mark Harris and their family.
Janis and Mark Harris and their family, 2020.

The fresh cut flower business is a family affair, everyone picks, packs and sells flowers. Cameron and Nathan have grown up at the market, they look forward to introducing Megan to the ins and outs of selling market bouquets.

Mark and Janis purchased Janis’ Grandparents former dairy farm where Grandma and Grandpa’s love of flowers is apparent throughout the property. There are many established flower gardens filled with collections of lilies, irises, peonies and lilacs. Currently with 3 acres in flower production, the farm is flourishing. Former corn and soyabean fields have been turned into sunflower fields. Lawn has been turned over for perennial beds. The farm is being revitalized and beautified with every growing season. Every year the flowers we grow have increased in number and variety.

A Janis Harris-designed bouquet ~ beautiful!
A Janis Harris-designed bouquet ~ beautiful!

As I mentioned, along with the flowers, pastured pigs are raised on the farm. Healthy, happy and MUDDY pigs. The pigs have access to outdoors and are cared for in the best way possible, hands on and one on one with each animal. You will often find Mark in the sows’ pens brushing them. Janis designs — literally – with her “Grandma’s garden” of flowers, as well as field production of flowers.  She sells her mixed bouquets at the Horton Farmer’s Market every Saturday from Mother’s Day to Canadian Thanksgiving.

I’m so happy to share this Encore episode with you today. Let’s jump right in and welcome Janis Harris!

Find and follow Harris Flower Farm on Facebook and Instagram

Thanks so much for joining me today! I’ll be hosting an IG Live conversation with Janis today, September 6th, so check it out @slowflowerssociety — and you’ll find all of my Slow Flowers Podcast 10th anniversary Live Chats in the archives there.


In this week’s news:

We’re resuming the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast! Our audio storytelling resonates with so many listeners — people like you who love local, seasonal, and sustainable flowers and who are joining in the Slow Flowers Movement as members, supporters, and allies!

We invite you to share your story of how the Slow Flowers Podcast has been an inspiring companion to you over the years! Post or send us a video tagged #slowflowerspodcast and we may feature you in our Slow Flowers social media feed! Check out our IG stories on @SlowFlowersSociety, which we will run for the next 10 weeks — you could win one of two priceless prizes! We’ll select two winners among eligible entrants:
1 – win a featured guest spot on a future episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast; and
2 – win a chance to co-host an upcoming monthly Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up. We’ll post the details on social media for you to follow along and participate.


Slow Flowers Newsletter for September 2023

First up, our September issue of the Slow Flowers Newsletter dropped on the first and if you missed it, check out our show notes at slowflowerspodcast.com to find the link. If you’re a Slow Flowers member, there is a final call for submissions for our Slow Flowers Journal fall editorial stories – we’d love to see your flowers and styled shoots, so check it out. The submission deadline is September 15th!


Shane Connolly, British Sustainable Florist
Shane Connolly, British Sustainable Florist (left); Shane’s installation for a private event at the V&A Museum in London (right)

I also want to alert you to the Slow Flowers Member Meet-Up, resuming after our summer break! This Friday, September 8th, we are gathering again in the Zoom Room at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. Our very special guest is celebrated British Florist Shane Connolly! He has graciously accepted Slow Flowers invitation to lecture and teach in Seattle at the end of the month, so the September 8th virtual meet-up will preview Shane’s inspiring story. We’ll do a little Q&A and you should bring your questions about how to stay sustainable, shift to sustainability in your floral business, and keeping your sourcing in the seasons. Pre-registration is required, so check out our show notes to find the signup link. I’ll see you there!


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 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.

Thank you to The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

Thank you to Details Flowers Software, a platform specifically designed to help florists and designers do more and earn more. With an elegant and easy-to-use system–Details is here to improve profitability, productivity, and organization for floral businesses of all shapes and sizes. Grow your bottom line through professional proposals and confident pricing with Details’ all-in-one platform. All friends of the Slow Flowers Podcast will receive a 7-day free trial of Details Flowers Software. Learn more at detailsflowers.com.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

I love all this floral goodness and I am so happy you joined 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; These Times; Chymique; 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

Episode 611: A conversation with Julie Remy of Fleuris Studio and Blooms and a tour of her prolific cutting garden on Vancouver Island

Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

Last month, passports in hand, I traveled by car and ferryboat to the Island of Vancouver in British Columbia. The trip was to celebrate my mother’s 88th birthday, enjoy high tea at the famed Empress Hotel, tour the spring borders and displays at the famed Butchart Gardens, and enjoy this beautiful destination for a few days.

Of course, I had to invite myself to meet some of our Slow Flowers members in Victoria while there. As I mentioned, we took a ferry ride — 90 minutes to cross from Twassen to Schwartz Bay, and the views were incredible. On the first morning, we set out to visit Fleuris Studio and Blooms, and to meet Julie Remy in person. Julie greeted us, settled my mom and her book on a cozy chair for a while, and we embarked on a lovely tour of the small island farm where Julie and her partner live and work.

Early May arrangement by Julie Remy of Fleuris Studio & Blooms
Early May arrangement by Julie Remy of Fleuris Studio & Blooms

Fleuris Studio’s tagline is: Elegant & Eco-Friendly FLOWERS.

It was fascinating to learn about the journey that led Julie to this special place and to a life focused on growing and sourcing sustainable flowers for her luxurious florals, wedding designs, unique floral subscriptions, and private flower arranging workshops. 

Floral Umbrella
Floral Umbrella by Julie Remy

As she explains on her website: “I want to connect others to nature through the beauty of flowers. My business perfectly draws on my greatest passions: gardening, photography, interior design, antiques and a love of all colours, textures and lines.

Seasonal Summer Bouquet by Julie Remy
Seasonal Summer Bouquet by Julie Remy

I loved learning how Julie has travelled the world as a humanitarian photographer, after which she settled on Vancouver Island and built a small floral design studio surrounded by the flowers that she grows and work with.

We’ll start with an interview, recorded in Julie’s studio. If you’re interested in watching our 20-minute virtual tour of the gardens and flower production areas at Fleuris, check out the video above at the 35:45 time mark.

Botanical couture by Julie Remy
Botanical couture by Julie Remy

Julie’s story is a lovely example of how one woman chooses to leave a positive impact on her environment by thinking creatively and sustainably about the ways in which she grows, sources, and arranges flowers. This includes regenerative growing methods, focusing on seasonality, using recyclable packaging, and never using non-biodegradable floral foam in her designs. As she briefly mentioned, Julie sells her flowers through the Island Flower Growers, Slow Flowers members and a producer-owned co-operative of cut-flower growers on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. In a few weeks, you’ll learn more about this vibrant and vital regional flower hub when I host a conversation with Lorna Jackson, one of the founders and board president. I can’t wait to share that episode with you.

Find and follow Fleuris Studio & Blooms:
Instagram and Facebook


News of the Week

In news of the week, I recently recorded two interviews and I want to share them with you.

First, check out the May issue of Shawn Michael Foley’s Fleurvana magazine, which includes a really fun conversation we recently recorded for video viewing. You can find the free link to read this monthly interactive floral design magazine, including my video clip with Shawn, in our show notes — good through the end of May.

Shawn has shared some Slow Flowers promotional codes for anyone interested in a membership in his Fleurvana+ educational hub and a significant discount to one of the upcoming Fleurvana retreats.

Here is the public link for viewing, free during the month of May:

Fleurvana+ Membership 50% Slow Flowers Discount with Code: SLOWFLOWERS

Fleurvana Retreats: Take a $600 discount with Code: SLOWFLOWERS


Next, I was delighted to be a return guest of Jennifer Jewell’s award-winning public radio show, Cultivating Place, which aired on May 11th. What a fun experience to catch up Jennifer and her listeners on the Slow Flowers Society, the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit, and Bloom Imprint’s latest release, Furrow & Flour. Click above to listen to Episode.


Speaking of the Slow Flowers Summit, last Friday’s May Member Meet-Up featured two of our keynote speakers who will take the stage — Amy Balsters and Lennie Larkin. These two floral luminaries shared a preview of what they will teach and demonstrate at the Slow Flowers Summit and you can watch the replay video above.


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

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

Thank you to Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at longfield-gardens.com.


Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much 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!

Episode 581: Meet Laura Gonzalez of Swallows Secret Garden, a gardener-florist and land steward in Santa Cruz, California

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

I met today’s guest, Laura Gonzalez, at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, which took place in the SF Bay Area at Filoli Historic House and Gardens.

Garden and trees
Swallows Secret Garden and the tree canopy that provides habitat to the resident swallows

She lives nearby, in a beautiful place called Swallows Secret Garden. Laura aspires to share the joy and beauty of the flowers she grows with customers, friends, and neighbors in the Santa Cruz community by growing a diverse collection of artisanal and seasonal flowers. She says: “As Gardener-in-Chief, I craft each arrangement exclusively from flowers and plants grown on site.”

Watch our Slow Flowers Video with member voiceovers that include Laura Gonzalez

If you watched our award-winning Slow Flowers video, released one year ago, you will have heard Laura’s voice as she spoke about the value of Slow Flowers Society. She says: “When I joined Slow Flowers, I felt like I had found the floral mothership. We’re all just sharing an exchange of information and a feeling of support that’s incredible.”

Swallows Secret Garden
A trio of daily arrangements, harvested from Swallows Secret Garden and designed by Laura Gonzalez

I wanted to learn about Laura’s operation, about the origin of her business name (all about those resident swallows) and how she came to flowers. First, you’ll watch a short video introduction that Laura created to share. And then we’ll wrap up with a Q&A. I know you’ll enjoy learning about this gardener-florist.

Find and follows Swallows Secret Garden on Instagram


News for the Week

October Member Month

This is the final week of the month and as you have heard, October is our Slow Flowers Society Member Appreciation Month. Perhaps you have enjoyed our bonus content, offered all month long, including Tuesday’s Instagram Live conversations with members on special topics, and Thursday’s Lunchtime Zoom Conversations with Tonneli Gruetter, our membership manager.

And if you haven’t joined us as a member, this is your final reminder to click on over to slowflowerssociety.com where you will find details on joining — all October new members and all members who upgrade from Standard to Premium Level will be included in drawing for a fantastic gift. One name will receive our Perennial Level membership– that’s 3 years, with a $649 value. Please reach out with any questions – membership@slowflowers.com.

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.

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

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

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


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 900,000 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


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:

Blue Straggler; 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

Episode 546: Oregon-grown flowers with Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co. and Beth Syphers of Crowley House Farm

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022

February has been a month packed with flowers, from Valentine’s Day to our annual spring ritual here in Seattle — the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival.

Earlier this month, I hosting a number of out-of-town Slow Flowers Society members were here to speak and teach at the flower show, and it was so nice to see one another in person AND to celebrate locally-grown flowers and sustainable practices in growing and design.

My two guests today joined the Blooms & Bubbles workshop series at the flower show, produced by Slow Flowers Society. Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co., based in Eugene, Oregon, and Beth Syphers of Crowley House Farm in Rickreall (outside Salem, Oregon), taught on the first two days.

We had so much fun — Bethany led a romantic wreath-design class and Beth taught a flower crown workshop. The students loved it all!I’m so glad that Beth and Bethany had time to sit down and visit with me for a conversation we recorded to share with you today. We recorded at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market in Seattle, a farmer-owned cooperative that is also a Slow Flowers Society sponsor and longtime partner. You’ll see the beautiful Northwest potted orchids in the background as the three of us discussed news from their flower farms.

Beth Syphers and Bethany Little
Beth Syphers (left) and Bethany Little (right)

Here’s a little background of Bethany Little:
With her husband Charles Little, Bethany is co-owner since 1998 of Charles Little & Co. She has a background in floral design and is the farm’s sales & shipping manager, as well as a wreath maker extraordinaire. Charles founded the farm in 1986, establishing it on 35 acres of nutrient rich soil along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River. Located at the foot of Mt.Pisgah in Eugene Oregon, their crops consist of foliage of all kinds; ornamental herbs, grasses and grains, unique sticks, pods and berries. A sizable part of the farm includes popular annual and perennial flowers such as larkspur, snapdragons, sunflowers, peonies, calla lilies, lavender. And considerable acreage is devoted to woody shrubs and trees such as Viburnum, Ilex, Spirea, Weigela, Hydrangea, Cotinus, Lilac, Snowberry, Cornus, Eucalyptus, Specialty Conifers, Ornamental Cherries and Almonds.
Charles Little & Co. relies on the principles of regenerative agriculture. Over the years plants have become naturalized and now require very little weeding or pest control. All crops produced on the farm are in-season and field-grown without the use of hoop houses or green houses. Charles Little & Co.’s range of unique, high-quality floral materials distinguish us from many other growers.

Here’s a little background of Beth Syphers:
Beth and her husband Jason have two children and they live at Crowley House Flower Farm outside McMinnville, Oregon. What started out as just a flower design hobby ten years ago, has grown over time into the family farm of today. The need to produce high quality blooms for Beth’s floral designs, plus the appeal of the slower, simpler lifestyle for their family – the need to feel the soil on their hands and feet, to see the sun rise and set over their fields, has led them down the path of flower farming and the amazing adventure that has become Crowley House.
Beth is the co-author of the forthcoming book, Furrow & Flour, with her sister Sarah Kuenzi, which Bloom Imprint will publish this coming fall.

Listen to Bethany Little – Episode 349 (March 16, 2018)
Listen to Charles Little – Episode 207 (August 18, 2015)
Follow Charles Little & Co. on Facebook, Instagram & YouTube

Listen to Beth and Jason Syphers – Episode 259 (August 24, 2016)
Follow Crowley House Farm on Facebook, Instagram & YouTube
Listen: A Blooming Good Time Podcast with Beth Syphers, Rilley Syphers and Emma Dixon


Thank you so much for joining us today. There is plenty of bonus material in today’s show notes, including the video of our interview, as well as clips from both women’s design workshops at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival.

Learn some easy wreath-making design tips from Bethany Little
Make a charming flower crown with Beth Syphers

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 2022

Thank you to our lead sponsor, returning for 2022, 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.

More thanks 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.

Thanks 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.

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


2022 Slow Flowers Summit speakers
Top row, from left: Nicole Cordier, Xenia D’Ambrosi and TJ McGrath Middle row, from left: Philippe Gouze and Shannon Algiere Bottom row, from left: Ronni Nicole Robinson, Frances Palmer and Debra Prinzing

Last week we sent the February issue of the Slow Flowers Summit newsletter — it’s packed with details:

  • Lodging options
  • Sponsors thanks
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Private FB group for attendees

If you’re a member of Slow Flowers Society, take advantage of $50 off your registration as a Member Benefit!

We have three incredible flower-filled days planned and we can’t wait for you to join us June 26-28, 2022 in New York! Find more details at the link below. I hope to see you there!


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 819,000 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.

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.

Music Credits:

Darn That Weasel; 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

Episode 495: A farmer-florist creates a boutique business on a small island. Meet Lindsey Cummins of Dancing Flower Farm

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021
Lindsey Cummins
Lindsey Cummins of Dancing Flower Farm on Lopez Island, Washington — showing off her first early spring bouquet of the year!

Last month, I was treated to a lovely *workcation* opportunity to join two friends at a home they rented to work remotely through the covid pandemic. They promised me my own bedroom and bathroom, a dining table with a view of sea, mountains and islands, an friendly golden retriever named Rocky (who seemed in constant need of a human beach-walking companion, lots of good conversation with adults and a dip in the hot tub each night. How could I refuse? I got my negative test and took a ferry to Lopez Island for four days.

Lopez Island
The restful view I enjoyed from my workcation spot on Lopez Island.

And yes, it was a workcation, but I enjoyed lots of R&R at the same time. I also made a point of visiting today’s guest, Lindsey Cummins of Dancing Flower Farm, the only Slow Flowers member on Lopez Island. I couldn’t pass up the chance to visit her homestead and learn more about how she and her young family are putting down roots while also growing flowers. It was especially gratifying to do something I used to do all the time, pre-covid: conduct in-person interviews of flower farmers and floral designers whenever and wherever I traveled. I will never again take that privilege for granted.

Lindsey, with her son Ira, at Dancing Flower Farm

My fresh-air conversation with Lindsey, which you’ll hear today, was only the third in-person episode I’ve recorded in 12 months. Wow. We are living in a world of Zoom and FaceTime, and while I’m grateful for the technology, I have to say that sitting on a picnic bench, sipping tea, chatting with Lindsey and appreciating her first early-spring arrangement on the table, well, that was a treat. Even when the skies opened and we were pummeled with an unexpected hailstorm — hey, it was all part of the experience, which you’ll hear midway through our conversation.

The Vase shelf
Lindsey has a potting and prep bench built onto the back of a vintage 1950s bus

Lindsey is the owner, grower and florist of Dancing Flower Farm, a micro specialty cut flower farm on Lopez Island in the Pacific Northwest.

She writes: I am deeply inspired by nature’s seasons.  I grew up being outside all of the time helping my mom in her vegetable garden, playing in her herb garden and being encouraged to explore. Those early years definitely made an impact on how I live my life now and how my floral designs continue to develop. I recently came across notes my mom had helped me write outlining my first business adventure at 8 years old, growing flowers to sell to our neighbors in my little red wagon. I grew Cosmos, Sweet Peas and Zinnias that year. It only took me twenty years to realize that that was my calling in life, though cooking, baking and landscaping helped me get to where I am today and are skills I value greatly! 

greenhouse at dancing flower farm
The new greenhouse at Dancing Flower Farm

I start each design as a tiny seed, corm, bulb or tuber, caring and tending them using naturally organic practices till they produce beautiful blooms. I am passionate about designing with only seasonal flowers and foliage that I grow or forage. Growing flowers gives me a sense of purpose, adding beauty to the world and seeing how they bring joy to people makes me happy. I feel every step of the growing process helps me design naturally abundant arrangements, letting the flowers elegantly move to form romantic pieces, from bouquets to installations. No occasion is too small for local flowers!

As well as offering fresh flowers I grow everlasting flowers that dry beautifully for creating special lasting pieces: flower crowns, hair combs, wreaths and bridal flowers, keeping color around all season long naturally. If you have an event that is happening during the winter when fresh flowers are not available I encourage you to ask about local dried flower options! 

Lindsey told me that she’s hoping to offer personal flower packages for Island elopements this season, as well as continuing to design for intimate wedding ceremonies. It was a lovely chat and I’m not sure when I’ll get to do that again — either take a ferry boat to an island OR visit a flower farmer or florist in person. I’m eagerly awaiting both of those special experiences.

Find and follow Dancing Flower Farm on Instagram


The BIG NEWS of this week is that over at BLOOM Imprint, our publishing branch of Slow Flowers, we have just opened up the online shop for pre-orders of Where We Bloom, the first book in our 2021 catalog! This book’s subtitle says it all: Intimate, Inventive, and Artistic Floral Spaces. You’re invited to join me and step inside the places where flowers come to life as Where We Bloom showcases the beautiful plant- and flower-filled settings of 37 Slow Flowers designers, farmer-florists, and growers. Each environment reflects the personality and aesthetic style of its owner, offering great ideas to inspire the design, organization, and functionality of your creative studio. Visit their spaces and read about their floral passions. I can’t wait to share this beautifully illustrated book with you — books will ship in April!


There are only two more days to grab your free ticket to attend Fleurvana’s Regeneration and Sustainability Summit, taking place online March 5-7. You’ll hear from more than 20 fabulous presenters and presentations, including the course Robin Avni and I are co-presenting: The Journey From Blog to Book. 

We have packed so much into our 40-minute mini-course and we’re especially excited to unveil our 28-page workbook that accompanies the session. This is a valuable tool to help anyone develop their concept and evaluate whether it’s a potential book. The free workbook is only available to Fleurvana registrants, so check it out.


And coming next week, you’re invited to join me for a very special webinar hosted by American Institute of Floral Designers and Slow Flowers Society on Tuesday, March 9th 4 pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern. It’s an honor to moderate this presentation in collaboration with three of the AIFD regional presidents, including two who are Slow Flowers members. The topic is “From Farm to Florist,” and will discuss the benefits and best practices to incorporate locally-grown flowers into every day designs and event work. I’m thrilled to say that four Slow Flowers members will join the discussion to share their stories and advice for florists. This event is free and open to the public.


Thank you to our Sponsors

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.

This podcast 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.

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major Sponsors:

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 Syndicate Sales.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.

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.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 697,000 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

On a Lopez Island hike with my friends’ sweet dog, “Rocky.”

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:

The Basket; 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

Episode 481: A wedding florist grows a flower farm with Candice Howard of New Jersey-based Duchess Farms

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
Candice Howard of Duchess Farms in South Brunswick, NJ

How are you all doing, friends? It’s already the week of Thanksgiving – can you believe it?! I am still racing to plant my five peony roots from Mountain Flower Farm and plant those last 100 hyacinth bulbs from Longfield Gardens, not to mention a few woody shrubs and perennials I purchased locally on a plant-buying trip last month. It WILL all happen this week – I promise!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, despite this ridiculous year we’ve had, one with painful losses and disappointments, I do feel grateful. I’m grateful that our Slow Flowers community has remained connected through the year, thanks to technology. Our membership has just surpassed 800 — an all-time record high, thanks to our operations & membership manager Karen Thornton’s stewardship. Our listenership in this Podcast continues to grow — more than 2,000 downloads each week. And our engagement is breaking all past records, thanks in large part to our amazing social media maven, Niesha Blancas. Ambitious projects continue to drive us forward, all with the goal of inspiring the floral industry and its consumers to embrace local, seasonal and sustainable flowers.

One of the positive results of not being able to travel since March has been moving in-person Slow Flowers Member Meet-ups that took place wherever I landed for a conference, speaking engagement or magazine assignment to the virtual Zoom platform.

We met weekly from late March through late May; and then switched to monthly beginning in June. We’ve held more than a dozen meet-ups this way, drawing hundreds of Slow Flowers members to check in for an hour, hear from a speaker or two, sometimes participate in breakout rooms, gain inspiration and win giveaway prizes.

Today’s guest, Candice Howard, of Duchess Farms in South Brunswick, New Jersey, has been a frequent participant in those Zoom calls. That’s how I learned more about her, which led to a deeper conversation and my invitation that Candice share her story here on the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Here’s more about Candice and her flowers. I excerpted her bio from a recent newsletter:

Candice and Tom Howard (left); flowers from Duchess Farms (right)

People often ask me what I did before I became a floral designer and then a flower farmer. So I’ll go back a few years to give you a brief history. I grew up in Millburn, New Jersey and graduated from Rutgers College with a Bachelor’s degree in political science. Most of my career was in government and nonprofit administration/fundraising. I worked for the Governor’s Office, the New Jersey Legislature and the County of Middlesex.  I have also worked for a number of nonprofit organizations including Special Olympics New Jersey, Girls Incorporated and Women Helping Women.

In 2013,  I received my design certification from The FlowerSchool New York and spent the following seven years designing florals for weddings, which recently led to the decision that I really loved growing flowers. Any future designing I may do will be with my own fresh flowers.

My husband Tom says that I am the farmer…which I am since I actually sow and harvest all of the flowers and everything in between. But he helps me with all the big stuff…like building that great high tunnel and replacing our old fence, both of which gave us greatly expanded growing capacity this year. Tom also installed an irrigation system throughout the beds. So yes, I am the farmer but Tom is the Director of Public Works here at Duchess Farms. We are currently in the process of applying for farmland preservation so that the seven acres we live on will be preserved as farmland in perpetuity. We expect to have that designation sometime this year.

Find and follow Candice at these social places:

Duchess Farms on Facebook

Duchess Farms on Instagram

Duchess Farms on YouTube

As she discusses, Rutgers University’s Beginning Farming program recently interviewed Candice about flower farming. Click on the link below to enjoy all of the challenges, victories and advice in that series.

We have lots of news, which you’ll be able to read in the upcoming, December issue of the Slow Flowers Newsletter – out  next week. If you aren’t receiving it, you can find the subscribe link in today’s show notes or in the footer at slowflowerssociety.com.

And of course, it’s totally cliche, but we’re jumping on the CyberWeekend bandwagon here at Slow Flowers. From this Friday, November 27th through Monday, November 30th, you can enjoy two promotional offers:

1. Cyber20 — A 20% off promo code applied to any item on the Slow Flowers online shop. Right now, you can find all three of my books, plus American Flowers Week bouquet labels and our new etched Slow Flowers Society bookmark. And Karen promises that more items will be added to the Slow Flowers Mercantile online shop in December and beyond.

2. CyberSlow — Debra Prinzing’s online course, Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling, will return on January 6, 2021, with pre-registration opening Friday, November 27th. Anyone who registers during CyberWeekend — Slow Flowers member or not — will receive $100 off the course ($297 value), paying just $197. As a CyberWeekend Bonus, we’ll also send you a free signed copy of Slow Flowers Journal-Volume One, valued at $20.
**If you miss out on this opportunity, the course tuition will bump up to $247 for non-members and $197 for members as of Dec. 1st. 


The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 662,000 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Photographed at Everyday Flowers in Stanwood, Wash. (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.

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

Music Credits:

Turning on the Lights; Bombadore; 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; Serenity
audionautix.com

Episode 445: Mara Tyler of Pennsylvania’s The Farm at Oxford, a boutique cut flower farm and botanical shop

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020
Mara Tyler, farmer-florist, The Farm at Oxford

I’m so pleased today to introduce you to Mara Tyler of The Farm at Oxford in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania. I think we first met in 2014 at an ASCFG annual conference when it was held in Wilmington, Delaware, and it has been inspiring to witness how Mara has grown her floral enterprise to encompass growing flowers, designing flowers, teaching about flowers and connecting with flower lovers in person and through social media.

I’ve been so curious about the retail side of Mara’s business and I asked her to join me for today’s episode.

In the dahlia fields at The Farm at Oxford (c) Mariya Steckler Photography

Here’s more about Mara Tyler and her flowers:

California native turned Pennsylvania flower farmer, Mara Tyler grew flowers in small spaces for 20 years in her home state.  When she and her young family decided to move their roots to Pennsylvania, they discovered the desire for more space and land to put down roots.

Life on The Farm at Oxford

Sixty property visits and 1.5 years later, they found a beautiful 1838 farmhouse in Southern Chester County, on a 12-acre farmette that was historically used for dairy and sheep farming. Fenced pastures with meadowed flatlands seemed perfect for brightly colored flowers, and the idea of The Farm at Oxford was born. 

Beautiful mixed peony bouquets

The farm’s cut flower business specializes in locally grown peonies, dahlias, roses, spring bulbs and companion perennials. Mara is inspired by the unique and the challenging, and as long as the ground is not frozen, you can typically find her outside digging in the dirt or in the workshop playing with flowers. 

A peek inside Mara’s plant-filled shop at WorKS Artisan Collective

New in 2018, The Farm at Oxford launched a YEAR-ROUND mini-plant and flower shop inside of the WorKS artisan collective in Kennett Square, near famed Longwood Gardens outside Philadelphia. WorKS Botanical & Flower Shop is open Friday through Sunday, 11-5 and there you can find unusual pots, plants, fresh flowers; as well as lots of garden related home decor items such as watering cans, pruning shears, or Mara’s favorite garden sign. In winter, you can find homemade wreaths, lots of goodies for holiday; and also pick up flower bulbs for planting.

The Farm at Oxford also brings fresh bunches of blooms…everything from a gathering of peonies to a combination of what is blooming at the field each week. Customers can find those flowers at garden and lifestyle retailer Terrain.

Stunning dahlias, with the bonus of backlighting

Thanks so much for joining my wonderful conversation with Mara Tyler of The Farm at Oxford. I hope you gained as much inspiration and encouragement as I did from this talented floralpreneur.

Mara Tyler (c) Taken by Sarah

Find and follow The Farm at Oxford at these social places:

The Farm at Oxford on Facebook

The Farm at Oxford on Instagram

The fourth annual Slow Flowers Summit takes place in late June, but I want to make a few comments for those of you who’ve registered or who are planning on doing so. I want to address concerns regarding COVID-19 and coronavirus, concerns that are affecting all of us in our daily lives.

The Summit team is following the situation closely, monitoring the CDC health and travel information and the San Mateo County Department of Health recommendations. At this time, as reported by the CDC and U.S. Travel Association, there are no restrictions on travel anywhere within the U.S.

High Place at Filoli
FILOLI: the recently-renovated “High Place” at Filoli in Woodside, Calif., destination for the Slow Flowers Summit 2020

Rest assured we are working in partnership with the Summit venue, Filoli Historic Garden and Home, to ensure a wonderful experience for you. We are very optimistic about the prospect of a fabulous conference and hope you are as well. The Slow Flowers Summit team promises to provide you with regular updates if the status changes in the coming weeks or months, but in the current climate, we are remaining positive about seeing you in California — June 28-30 — for a celebration of the Slow Flowers people, passion and practices. You can contact us anytime with questions:

Debra Prinzing, Slow Flowers

Karen Thornton, Event Manager

You can also follow the Filoli VISIT Page and Slow Flowers Summit Page for additional updates.

(c) Mary Grace Long Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 588,000 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. 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.

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.

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.

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:

Cottonwoods; 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
audionautix.com

Episode 424: A conversation with Sarah Daken and Tom Precht of Maryland’s Grateful Gardeners, plus, our state focus: South Carolina

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Tom Precht and Sarah Daken

Grateful Gardeners: Tom Precht and Sarah Daken, photographed on my October 13th visit to Boyds, Maryland

Why and how do a full-time attorney and a PhD research scientist make the leap into flower farming as their side hustle?

You’re in for a real treat today as you’re invited to sit in on my lively and engaging conversation with Tom Precht and Sarah Daken of Grateful Gardeners, based in Boyds, Maryland. As a couple, Tom and Sarah exude passion and enthusiasm for their relatively new flower farming journey, one on which they embarked in 2018. In large part, their inspiration began with Tom’s mother, Diana Precht, owner of Rocky Mountain Blooms in Loveland, Colorado, who is an expert dahlia grower and new Slow Flowers member.

Flowers and Family at Grateful Gardeners.

As Sarah shared with me in an email, “Diana is one of the most beautiful souls I know. I am so lucky to have her in my life. She was our inspiration for this entire flower journey and I know she takes great pride in seeing Tom embrace her love of dahlias. Dahlias are her legacy to us and she gets to observe us fall in love with them in her lifetime, which is so meaningful. We now all share this flower farming journey and regularly troubleshoot together, share tubers, discuss pest control, etc. We’re so grateful for the way flowers have further connected us.”

You will hear how Sarah and Tom balance their full-time, demanding and stressful professions with co-parenting three children in a blended family —  all while starting down the path of flower farming. It is an inspiring story and I really appreciate this couple’s honesty and transparency in sharing the origins of Grateful Gardeners. We will have to circle back in a few years for an update, for sure.

Serendipitously, I met them both at the very beginning when I was Kelly Shore’s guest at the second annual American Flowers Week flower-crown party held at M&M Plants and Flower Farm on June 27, 2018. Two days later, Tom and Sarah attend the 2nd Slow Flowers Summit in Washington, D.C., where we heard a little more of their new floral venture.

This fall, when I knew I would be traveling through the DC Metro area in mid-October, en route to Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock festival, I reached out to Grateful Gardeners to see if they were up for a visit.

Tom and Sarah fetched me from the train station in Baltimore and took me to see their young Maryland flower-growing operation. After touring the beautiful fields where annual flowers, foliages and lots of dahlias were still flourishing, pre-frost, we sat down in Tom and Sarah’s living room to record our conversation.

An acre of blooms at Grateful Gardeners

The couple planted their first flowers here last summer, setting up raised beds, planting rows of annuals and erecting a seed-starting structure, as they began to take over portions of Sarah’s mother’s one-acre property.

It soon made sense for Tom and Sarah to buy grandma’s house and move there with their children, just a few months ago. So now, instead of a 40-minute round trip commute to tend to their flowers, they are living where their flowers grow. Fortunately, transition hasn’t disrupted the younger children’s schooling and Tom and Sarah say the change has immediately made things more efficient and effective. When we pulled into the driveway of the charming brick ranch house, the first thing we did was visit the brand new walk-in cooler that Tom and his dad recently finished building. Seriously, a game changer!

Sarah also shared this with me: “Buying the house where we farm means we are “all in” and on-site, which has been life altering. No more commuting every day to the fields!”

Tom and Sarah are in love with growing dahlias, among other beauties. Right: Their local Whole Foods displays Mason jar bouquets from Grateful Gardeners

Please enjoy this conversation and take a moment to follow Sarah and Tom at Grateful Gardeners’ Instagram feed — and reach out with your words of encouragement and advice! Interviews like these reinforce my belief that the Slow Flowers Podcast is an ideal vehicle to share inspiring voices and personalities with the broader floral community. I’m humbled that you have taken time to listen today and I invite you to share your feedback in the comment section below!

Find and follow Grateful Gardeners on Instagram

Farmer-Florist Kendra Schirmer of Laurel Creek Florals in Sunset, South Carolina

Now, let’s take a virtual visit to South Carolina and meet Kendra Schirmer of Laurel Creek Flowers as I continue uur theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers. Based in Sunset, South Carolina, Kendra is an event florist and flower farmer who describes her aesthetic as “naturalist floristry that is consciously sourced and infused with whimsy.”

Grown, designed and styled by Kendra Schirmer

Originally hailing from the Appalachian mountains of north-western New Jersey, Kendra spent most of her childhood making snow angels or romping barefoot in the woods looking for fairies in the wild columbine blooms. Her parents always had some shady gardens along the edges of these woods, yet her own desire to tend to plants didn’t come until much later. 

After attending Bard College and studying Photography/Environmental Studies, she lived in Nashville for almost 9 years before meeting her farmer man. Craving the cleaner air and star-gazing opportunities of country life, Kendra and Sam moved to a lovely farmhouse back in Appalachia in 2013 to break ground on farming dreams. Tomatoes and cows and just a small patch of zinnias blossomed into an expanded flower garden.

Kendra’s kitty, “Mullein” poses with her season’s first ranunculus crop (left); Kendra with her bouquet and her own custom, hand-dyed ribbon

As Kendra fell completely head over heels for all things floral & design she expanded her offerings to wedding design in 2015 and has never looked back! She seeks inspiration from designers all over the world and saves new ideas to bring a unique take on design to her clients. She is always adding new seed packets (too many really) to the wishlist and popping in interesting perennials on any scrap of property she can dig into.

More local flowers from Kendra Schirmer, including her Columbine tattoo!

Find and follow Laurel Creek Florals:

Laurel Creek Florals on Instagram

Laurel Creek Florals on Facebook

Laurel Creek Florals on Pinterest

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 532,000 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. 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.

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.

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. I’m so excited to get my recent order into the garden very soon — in addition to tulips and narcissus, I’m planting anemones for the first time, so stay tuned! I’ll be sure to share an update of my anemone crop next spring in the #slowflowerscuttinggarden.

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.

Photographed at Everyday Flowers in Stanwood, Wash. (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.

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

Music Credits:
 

Episode 410: Meet the women behind My Garden Overfloweth, Teresa Engbretson and Katie Elliott, plus our State Focus: Nebraska

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019
Katie Elliot (left) and Teresa Engbretson (right) of My Garden Overfloweth
(c) Urbren + Shoot

My often-used hashtag #slowflowersontheroad was put to use last week when I traveled from Seattle across the state to Pullman, Washington, to collaborate with the wonderfully talented photographer Laurie Black on a story for Country Gardens magazine. It was basically a workation because the garden owners Suzanne St. Pierre and Scotty Thompson are friends I adore, owners until 2015 of a nursery called Living in the Garden.

Our mutual friend Maryann Newcomer of Gardens of the Wild Wild West (based in Boise), who will be writing the story, was along for the fun and not only did Suzanne and Scotty play the roles of generous hosts, they treated us to a terrific Palouse experience. More on that to come, but suffice it to say that the rolling hills of the Palouse Range are exquisitely beautiful in July and it fed my spirit and soul.

The return trip last Wednesday could have been a straight shot across the state, but I took a side excursion to the little town of Paterson, Washington, population 213. Paterson is due south of Pasco and the Tri-Cities region and it overlooks the Columbia River and Oregon in the distance. It is one of Washington’s hot wine country regions; thus, a very popular destination wedding hub for couples in the West.

Autumn FLING at My Garden Overfloweth
(c) Courtney Corriell Photography

And there in the center of it all lives Teresa Engbretson of My Garden Overfloweth. She and her daughter Katie Elliott, who lives about 30 minutes away in Pasco, are a farmer-florist team who have developed a vibrant and beautiful business centered around growing cut flowers in the same climate in which local grapevines thrive, and operating a full-service design studio that doubles as an event and workshop space, as well as a retail farm and flower shop.

Sharing local flowers with local customers! (c) Courtney Corriell Photography

I first met Teresa and Katie in Corvallis, Oregon, at a PNW Cut Flower Growers Meet-up several years ago. Since then, I’ve found a few opportunities to refer friends and florists who need wedding flowers in wine country to Katie and Teresa — and every time I hear back rave reviews.

Katie Elliot of My Garden Overfloweth (c) Urbren + Shoot

I highlighted My Garden Overfloweth in my 2019 Floral Insights and Industry Forecast, under the heading “Experiences, not Conveniences,” praising the women for throwing two seasonal “Flower Fling” festivals each year. Their events attracts a wide range of vendors creates a sense of community for their customers. The upcoming Fall Fling takes place on Sunday, October 6th.

Katie (left) and Teresa (right), surrounded by their beautiful lisianthus, Cafe au Lait dahlias and more (c) Urbren + Shoot

Here’s more about My Garden Overfloweth:

My Garden Over Floweth was established in 2012 by Teresa Engbretson. She likes to say that the farm has very happy flowers with the gorgeous view of the Columbia River. Teresa and Katie share a love for flowers and farming, growing and cultivating seasonal flowers, foliage and ornamental botanicals on more than 2-1/2 acres.

The Engbretsons also raise farm-fresh vegetables, fruit and grass-fed, grain-finished beef. The farm is located approximately 40 minutes from the Tri Cities and participates weekly at several farmers markets in the area.

A peek inside the farm shop at My Garden Overfloweth (c)
Courtney Corriell Photography

The new Farm Shop is a mercantile space where customers can purchase all things grown on the farm, including flowers, fresh produce, beef, and locally-made gifts. Services include wedding and event floral design, seasonal bouquets, holiday florals and workshops.

It was so fun to spend a few hours with Teresa and Katie and their family, including Katie’s grandmother Susan and daughter Hannah, making four generations of flower-lovers under one studio roof. We shared a meal, walked the fields overlooking the Columbia River, and grabbed a quiet moment to record this interview to share with you.

Bridal bouquets, grown and designed by My Garden Overfloweth. (c)
Alex Lasota Photography (left); Karen Merrifield (right)

Find and follow My Garden Overfloweth at these social places:

My Garden Overfloweth on Facebook

My Garden Overfloweth on Instagram

My Garden Overfloweth on Pinterest

Farm to Table Dinner at My Garden Overfloweth, Saturday, July 27th

The flower ladies! Katie and Teresa at the Fling (c)
Courtney Corriell Photography (left) and Teresa displaying how her garden “overfloweth” with an abundance of lisianthus (c) Urbren + Shoot (right)

THANK YOU for joining today’s lovely conversation. It’s one thing to visit a floral enterprise virtually and another thing altogether to visit it in person. I’m so glad I made the side trip to tour My Garden Overfloweth and I can’t wait to return during one of the flings. I hope you can do the same or do the next best thing and borrow inspiration from Teresa and Katie to nurture community and connections through flowers in your own marketplace.

Sheila Fitzgerald, A New Leaf, our Nebraska Spotlight guest
Nevada-grown blooms (left) and Clover, the “trusty sidekick” (right)

Now, let’s visit Nebraska as the next stop in our #fiftystatesofslowflowers series. I’m so delighted to introduce you to Sheila Fitzgerald, the founder of A New Leaf, based in Omaha. A New Leaf focuses on capturing the organic beauty of florals and nature through floral design
and workshop offerings.

Beautiful florals, designed by Sheila Fitzgerald (left); workshop students, with Sheila (right)

Sheila has 15 years of experience in floristry. From previously owning Blooms Flower Shop, she has turned her focus to workshops, events, and private orders under the brand A New Leaf. Sheila can often be found in the shade of Rainwood Vineyard with her trusty sidekick, Clover the dog, planning her next big design.

Follow Sheila and A New Leaf at these social places:

A New Leaf on Instagram

A New Leaf on Facebook

Thank you for taking the time to join the Slow Flowers Podcast today. 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.

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. 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.

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.  

NW Green Panels, based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit nwgreenpanels.com to see more.

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

Join me! Slow Flowers Podcast (c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 495,000 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:
Homegrown; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://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