Debra Prinzing

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Episode 492: For Beginning Flower Gardeners, a conversation with authors and podcasters Allison and Sean McManus of Spoken Garden

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

GIVEAWAY Details Below — Share a Comment and Your Name Will Be Added to the Drawing for The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got spring gardening on my mind! The hellebores are already blooming; the daffodil bulbs are pushing out of the soil an inch or so. I can even see the tiniest bump of my peonies’ deep maroon tips at the crown of each plant. So, sure we’re still 39 days until spring arrives, but who’s going to let the calendar hold us back, right?

A major spring ritual for me has always been participation in local and national garden and flower festivals. Sadly, this year, the closest thing to an indoor spring garden show is going to be over Zoom. Gain inspiration from the replay video of our February 5th Slow Flowers Member Virtual Meet-up, featuring two of our members who are major hellebore experts.

Thank you to Pam Youngsman of Poppy Starts Inc. and Riz Reyes of RHR Horticulture for a fantastic presentation. They share volumes about what to grow, how to grow, how and when to harvest and how to design with hellebores.

Sean McManus and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden

Another perennial ritual of spring is the arrival of a new crop of gardening books. Here at Slow Flowers Podcast, we know we have as many gardener-florists as farmer-florists who listen and learn. And today, I’m happy to welcome first-time authors, Sean and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden. This talented husband-wife duo are busy behind the microphone and camera, teaching ornamental gardening to beginning and curious home gardeners. They have spent the past year writing The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers 

The book will be released in March and one lucky listener will win a copy for their bookshelf! Listen to the end of the episode to hear how to add your name to our random drawing and giveaway.

Sean and Allison are the gardening pros behind the popular website, YouTube channel and podcast Spoken Garden. They offer clear, fact-based information, presented in a friendly and accessible way. With step-by-step instructions and full-color illustrations, new gardeners will learn how to select, plant and tend for outdoor plants, the best techniques, how to mulch correctly, pruning do’s and don’ts, tips for effective, eco-friendly gardening, and much more.

Peek inside the pages of their new book:

Here’s a little bit more about Sean and Allison:

Sean has a Master’s in Environmental Horticulture from Washington State University and possesses several other horticulture, landscaping, or gardening-related certificates. Sean has over 8 years of experience in Industrial Garden Maintenance and 12+ years operating a private landscape and consulting company. With over two decades in the field, he dreams to fulfill his lifelong passion for educating others about horticulture and gardening.

Allison has a Master’s in Teaching and is a National Board certified middle school science educator. Through trial and error over the past 10+ years, she has successfully maintained several vegetable gardens and beds full of flowers. She loves attracting all kinds of pollinators and is proud of the fact that their yard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat. She has a passion for photography, animals, writing, traveling, creating content, and lifelong learning.

You can learn more from this talented duo by subscribing to the Spoken Garden Podcast.

and watch their Daily Garden Content on Spoken Garden’s YouTube Channel.

Sign up for Sean and Allison’s 30-day Garden Bootcamp.

Find Spoken Garden on Facebook

Follow Spoken Garden on Instagram

I know you’ll enjoy their story and be inspired to add to your ornamental garden this spring. Thanks so much for joining me today as Sean and Allison McManus shared their encouragement for beginning gardeners, and actually anyone who wants to develop a more enriching and fulfilling ornamental garden! If you want to be added to the giveaway drawing for their new book, The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers , be sure to post a comment in the show notes below — please share what did you wish you knew when you were a beginning gardener?

Coming up on Thursday, February 18th at 2 pm Eastern, Slow Flowers is teaming up with Johnny’s Selected Seeds to produce a free webinar for flower farmers, farmer-florists and floral designers interested in knowing more about our Floral Insights and Industry Forecast for 2021.

I’ll be joining Johnny’s flower team, Hillary Alger and Joy Longfellow, as we dive into current and upcoming themes in the floral marketplace. We will review four of the top Insights from the Slow Flowers 2021 Forecast and hear more from Hillary, who will share findings from Johnny’s recent survey of flower seed customers — commercial cut flower farmers. We’ll share a nice back-and-forth discussion and as a bonus, Hillary plans to share an update about seed supply and new floral variety breeding programs. You may already have registered – and if so, I’ll see you there. As of today’s air date, the event may be full, but Johnny’s will have a complete recording available on Monday, February 22nd — and I’ll share it with you in a future episode.

And registration is open for the Fleurvana Virtual Summit (March 5th-7th), focusing on Sustainability and Regeneration, which also takes place online. Robin Avni, my partner in BLOOM Imprint, have developed a new course for aspiring floral book authors with a presentation called The Journey From Blog to Book. Our course is designed for every creative person we’ve met dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book.  Registration is free and there are also options to purchase larger packages.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by, the free, online directory to more than 830 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.

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

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

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

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 688,000 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

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

Music Credits:

Horizon Liner; These Times; Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field