Debra Prinzing

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Episode 657: Meet Michelle Kenny, executive director the new Pacific Northwest Florists Association

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

We believe in community here at the Slow Flowers Society and today’s guest does too, as she has a mission to support florists and the floral Industry within the Pacific Northwest Region. Meet Slow Flowers member Michelle Kenny, founder of the new Pacific Northwest Florist Association based in Portland, Oregon.

Many state florist associations are thriving, but as changes occur in the floral marketplace, others have ceased operations. Today, you’ll learn from Michelle Kenny, co-founder and executive director of the new Pacific Northwest Florist Association, a community to support and promote florists in Oregon and Washington.

Michelle Kenny, executive director of the PNW Florist Association
Michelle Kenny, executive director of the PNW Florist Association

Membership in the Pacific Northwest Florist Association is open to any individual in the florist industry in the region. The association provides networking, support, education and an opportunity to showcase and promote the talented florists in Oregon and Washington. People working in the horticultural and allied industries are also invited to join and I know we have many Slow Flowers, including our society, that are part of this effort to support the growth of the floral marketplace here in the PNW.

Michelle and I first met in 2017 at the Bouquets of the Heart auction in Portland, which was held to raise funds for The Bloom Project. Michelle was one of several guest florists who took inspiration from a featured artwork to create an arrangement. It was a fabulous event and I was there to act as emcee to introduce the florists and the pieces they created.

Michelle is the owner of Goose Hollow Flowers, a Portland-based full-service florist, and we were so happy she joined Slow Flowers as a member. It made sense because of her close relationships with many of the growers at the Oregon Flower Growers Association, where local flowers are available at the Portland Flower Market.

Fast-forward and a few years ago, and having survived/endured the COVID challenges, Michelle decided to act on a long-held dream of starting an association for florists. With seed funding from the Portland Flower Market, Michelle formed a board, passed articles and bylaws, and launched PNW Florist Association last fall. They recently received approval for their 501 c 3 nonprofit status as an association.

Here’s a bit more about Michelle:

After spending a decade working for Marriott hotels in 1996, and with a lifelong passion for floral design, gardening, and events, Michelle took the plunge and bought Goose Hollow Gardens in 2007 all while on maternity leave.

The first year as an owner, Michelle trained extensively with her mentor, Jeanie Gray, a florist and artist. Michelle brought her past experience in hospitality as an event planner, wedding coordinator and convention sales manager to her new venture and in 2013, re-brand her shop to Goose Hollow Flowers, named after one of downtown Portland’s neighborhoods.

As a small floral shop owner, Michelle saw the need to bring back a new and improved floral association to help support, benefit and showcase the local floral talent in the area. Most importantly, she is excited to connect like-minded professionals to be part of a rich and vibrant community and founded the Pacific Northwest Florist Association.

Upcoming PNW Florist Association Events

Wonder of the Woodlands book by Francoise Weeks
Wonder of the Woodlands book by Francoise Weeks

As we discussed, PNW Florist Association has a sustainability initiative that will be the focus of a weekend of Earth Day programming on April 20-21. On Saturday, April 20th they are hosting an all-day workshop with Francoise Weeks, at the incredible price of $265 including lunch (PNW members receive a discounted registration rate). The morning will include woodland centerpieces and the afternoon includes wearables, and the class rate includes lunch and a copy of Francoise’s new book “Wonder of Woodlands.” Find the registration link here.

The following date, on Sunday, April 21st, is an all day Sustainability Workshop, which includes demonstrations, hands-on design activities and other speakers, including me. Lunch is included and the session is $75 for nonmembers, $45 for members of the PNW Florist Association. Both events will be held at The Creative Space at the Portland Flower Market, a studio and gathering space in North Portland. I hope to see you there! Find the registration link here.

News of the Week

From Bloom to Boom webinar

If you missed it in our newsletter, I want to remind you about tomorrow’s free webinar that Slow Flowers is co-presenting with Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Thursday, April 11th at 1 pm PT/4 pm ET featuring two of our farmer-florist members as experts on the topic of profitability. You’ll hear from Lennie Larkin of B-Side Farm and Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm, both past guests of this podcast, who will discuss their operations and share their approaches to increasing profitability, including tracking labor costs, inputs, markups, and sales channels. Johnny’s Flower Product Manager Hillary Alger will moderate the Q&A session that follows my roundtable discussion with Lennie and Niki. Find the pre-registration here. The session will be recorded for replay!

Althea Wiles of Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio

And don’t forget this Friday’s April Slow Flowers (virtual) Member Meet-Up, scheduled for April 12th at 9 am PT/Noon ET on Zoom. The topic: Spring Tune-Up for Florists, Studios, and Shops, and our special guest is longtime member Althea Wiles owner of Rose of Sharon Floral Design Studio and J Althea Creative, based in Springdale, Arkansas. Bring your questions and get ready for a jolt of inspiration for tuning up your floral enterprise.  The meet-up is free, but preregistration is required. You can find the link in today’s show notes or in the menu at @slowflowerssocity on IG.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by, 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.

Thank you 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

Our next sponsor thank you goes 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

Our next sponsor thank you goes to The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at

Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

I’m so glad you joined us 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

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; Gaena; Turning on the Lights; Over the Fence
by Blue Dot Sessions

by Tryad

In The Field

Valentine’s Day Messages from Slow Flowers Members

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

We’ve been collecting video clips to share this Valentine’s Day Season!

First up, a video featuring Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral in Seattle, who invited me into her beautiful studio to record this pre-Valentine’s Day clip.

We filmed the segment last October (with digital genius Andrew Brenlan, whose name is familiar to Slow Flowers Podcast listeners). Our idea: To promote local and American-grown flowers that viewers around the country can order and send for V-Day.

A publicist with whom I often work shopped around the video — our target was The Today Show — but alas, producer there turned us down for an in-studio segment. Others picked it up, including Garden Design magazine, so I’m delighted and grateful that Maura donated her time and studio to help with the project.

Special thanks to our floral partners for providing beautiful product, including:

Stargazer Barn


Fabulous Florals

Urban Succulents

Farmgirl Flowers

and a custom arrangement by Maura Whalen of Casablanca Floral!

MORE Slow V-Day Goodness!

On Monday, February 12th, I was contacted by a producer for ABC World News Tonight who wanted to do a Feb. 14th segment on local flowers for Valentine’s Day.

Surprisingly, he asked me to round up “selfie videos” from several Slow Flowers members around the country in which they would speak directly to anchor David Muir and tell him what types of local flowers customers could find at their shops, stores and studios this Valentine’s Day.

Within 24 hours, six Slow Flowers members agreed to record clips and send them into ABC News.

The segment was slated for tonight, along with an in-person visit to Emily Thompson Flowers, a Slow Flowers member in Manhattan (and I learned that interview with Emily was actually filmed at her shop yesterday).

So we were all ready to go and then the horrifying news about the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, happened this afternoon. The producer contacted all of us and said the story had to be “held.”

Of course, this is what happens when “feel-good” news stories are bumped by sad and tragic news stories. My heart and prayers go out to the victims, students, teachers, parents and families whose lives will be forever changed by this insane act. As a response to the shooting, Slow Flowers is making a donation to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, an organization that is challenging the National Rifle Association’s huge financial influence over our political landscape. I encourage you to join me or find a similar organization in your community to support.

We received permission from ABC World News Tonight to share the “unaired” video clips. I am doing this because I’m so impressed and grateful for the contributions of members who are committed to the Slow Flowers Mission and want to share their stories with the larger community.

See the great message from Jimmy Lohr of greenSinner in Pittsburgh above.

Here are more wonderful clips to enjoy. It would have been awesome to view these along with millions on tonight’s National News. That didn’t happen, but I’m confident we’ll have another opportunity in the future.

Thanks, Lisa Waud of pot and box — you shared a great message about your local community of makers, artists and growers!

Love the voluptuous floral scene in front of Michelle O’Brien’s Goose Hollow Flowers in Portland — and she sends an important message to viewers about her commitment to Oregon-grown and American-grown flowers.

Nichole Skalski, partner in California Sister Floral Design in Sebastopol, CA, values local flower farmers and also sources from farms across the state. She has a Valentine’s Day message for you!

Los Angeles-based Whit McClure of Whit Hazen shared her vision for sustainable and local floral design on Valentine’s Day and all year long. Love her message!

Our good friends at Field & FloristHeidi Joynt and Molly Kobelt — are flower farmers and floral designers. Here’s how they’re keeping it local at Valentine’s Day in Chicago!

Okay, that’s it for now! Thanks to all for being spontaneous. There’s a lot of value in being a Slow Flowers member — and one of those benefits is that I might just call YOU for a press opportunity next time!