Debra Prinzing

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Episode 440: On the elements of floral style, with floral artist, teacher and author Christin Geall of Cultivated

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020
The author shows off her new book (left) and a Baroque-styled arrangement from Cultivated

On Vancouver Island, along the western edge of Canada, gardener, designer, writer and teacher Christin Geall grows flowers and shares her designs through Cultivated by Christin, a creative studio launched in 2015.

Christin’s eclectic background includes pursuits that are equal parts physical and intellectual. She apprenticed on a Martha’s Vineyard herb farm, interned at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and homesteaded on a remote island in British Columbia. Academic studies in ethnobotany, environmental science and a creative writing MFA led to editorships, university-level teaching and a regular gardening column for local newspapers.

Today, Christin’s artistic focus centers around her urban flower farm-design studio in USDA Zone 8, the tiny hub of a multifaceted floral business.

A few years ago, I interviewed Christin for an August 2018 Florists’ Review profile, which we titled “Creative Fulfillment — Growing a floral-centric life on your own terms.” I loved that chance to speak with Christin about her art, writing, floristry and teaching.

Click here to read the article “Creative Fulfillment.”

An arrangement to illustrate the concept of “torque.”

Many of you may already be following @CultivatedbyChristin on Instagram, where she posts luscious, seasonal arrangements that originate in her Vancouver Island garden, located just 10 minutes from downtown Victoria, the provincial capital. There, Christin maintains six 32-foot-long beds where she rotates flowers using West coast-style succession planting. As well, there are perennial borders, and a wild meadow in the front, which means pretty much all of the grass is gone, she says. Meals and workshops take place beneath a 32-foot-long arbor and there is a very useful greenhouse. “It leads to a wild style, but I’m truly trying to maximize production on a small piece of land,” Christin told me.

Gesture, line, mass – all expressed in Christin’s arrangement (left).

Teaching writing concides with Christin’s writing of essays and garden columns. Growing unique and uncommon flowers supports floral design and the photography of those arrangements. And naturally, teaching floral workshops brings it all together for this gifted creative. And it only makes sense that all of these passions found their way into a book called Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style, to be published this spring by Princeton Architectural Press.

A peek inside Cultivated . . . this from the study of tints, tones and shades.

Cultivated elevates floral design to fine art in this richly informative work on the principles of floral style. Christin emboldens designers, gardeners, and floral entrepreneurs to think differently and deeply about their work with flowers as she draws upon the fine arts and historical sources – whether exploring Baroque music, the paintings of the Impressionists, or the work of floral innovators like Gertrude Jekyll and Constance Spry.

Seeing color

Thanks so much for joining me today. What an inspiring conversation. If you’re interested in meeting and hearing Christin speak in person, you can find her upcoming book tour schedule here.

Coming right up, as we discussed, Christin will appear February 26th & 27th at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle. She will be designing on the 26th on the DIY stage. On the 27th, she’ll be joining Jennifer Jewell, Lorene Edwards Forkner and me for a discussion entitled “Women at Work: Making a Living While Following Your Plant Passion,” and she will also speak on color later that day. Maybe we’ll see you there!

Registration continues for Slow Flowers Summit and if you’re listening on our release date of this episode, February 12th, you can find details about our Galentine’s/Palentine’s/Valentine’s flash-sale.  I can’t wait to see you at the Slow Flowers Summit June 28-30, 2020, at Filoli in San Francisco!

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 575,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

Thank you to our Sponsors

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

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

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

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

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:

Silk & Silver; Gaena; Glass Beads
by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field
Music from: