Debra Prinzing

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SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: East Coast-West Coast, meet Jennie Love and Erin Benzakein, creators of The Seasonal Bouquet Project (Episode 114)

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
bouquet poster

Jennie Love and Erin Benzakein are the dynamic east-west floral duo behind The Seasonal Bouquet Project. This lovely poster was hand-illustrated by Shannon Collins 



Courtesy of The Seasonal Bouquet Project, a photo from one of Jennie and Erin’s workshops in October. Erin Benzakein is seen 3rd from left, back row; Jennie Love is seen 6th from left, back row. 

For the past few years, I’ve been interviewing and writing about a category of designer who I dub the “farmer-florist.”

These include a rare group of individuals in the flower world who are equally talented in the science of growing flowers and the art of designing them. 


Jennie Love, farmer-florist, and owner of Love ‘N Fresh Flowers, of Philadelphia

You’ll meet two of those talented people on today’s podcast, Jennie Love of Love ‘N Fresh Flowers in the Philadelphia area and Erin Benzakein of floret flowers in Washington’s Skagit Valley. 

Both Erin and Jennie have been in the business of creating stunning floral art with locally grown materials for several years now. Their west coast/east coast friendship prompted these flower friends to create THE SEASONAL BOUQUET PROJECT in early 2013. Their first post featured yummy, early spring flowers, posted on March 5th.

The Seasonal Bouquet Project emerged from a winter brainstorming session about “how to feed our souls’ fires during the hectic months of the growing season and how to further demonstrate the beauty of locally grown flowers to a wider audience.  And, to be completely candid, it’s a bit of a competitive double dog dare between two people who like to have some fun,” according to their website. 

Benzakein family

Erin Benzakein, with her husband Chris and children Elora and Jasper. I took this photo last summer at floret flowers, their farm in Washington’s Skagit Valley.

All the materials used in the bouquets were grown within a 25 mile radius of the respective designer, the vast majority coming straight from their own flower fields.  

As they wrote on their website: “Since  we’re on opposite coasts growing in very different climates, this project is a showcase for what’s available through the seasons across the country.” People all across the country and around the globe, for that matter, followed along on the gorgeous journey. Erin and Jennie also invited readers to post photos of their own bouquets, as long as the ingredients were within that 25-mile radius. 

As you will hear in this interview with Jennie and Erin, which took place on October 25th via Skype, the friends cooked up a 2-day workshop to celebrate the “end” of their season. They planned “The Seasonal Bouquet Project LIVE” and scheduled the event to take place on Jennie’s flower farm in Philadelphia. Listen along to hear what happened next – and gain inspiration and insights into the life of a farmer-florist.

Photos to enjoy from Jennie Love and her farm:


Jennie farms on agricultural land that dates back to William Penn. Photo by Maria Mack Photography ©2012


A beautiful summer bouquet, grown & designed by Jennie Love Maria Mack Photography ©2012

A beautiful summer bouquet, grown & designed by Jennie Love Maria Mack Photography ©2012


zinnias in July

Zinnias in July, designed by Jennie Love.

Photos to enjoy from Erin Benzakein and her farm:

floret roses

Garden roses at floret flowers, August 2012. I took this shot during our photo shoot for Country Gardens magazine. 


Floret Bouquet

Erin’s bouquet, designed for Country Gardens magazine.

Thanks for joining me in this episode of SLOW FLOWERS. Because of your support as a listener, we’ve had more than 2,200 downloads since July – and I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

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