Debra Prinzing

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Episode 435: Heather Henson of Boreal Blooms and Clara Qualizza of Meadow & Thicket Farm Flowers, co-hosts of The Sustainable Flowers Podcast

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

Welcome to 2020 as we dust off the New Year’s hangover and pivot to a new season for growing and designing with flowers.

Clara Qualizza of Meadow & Thicket Farm Flowers (left) and Heather Henson of Boreal Blooms (right), flower farmers and co-hosts of The Sustainable Flowers Podcast

Today’s conversation is the first of several episodes I want to feature about sustainability, the environment and climate change and challenges facing our Slow Flowers Community in this new decade. While researching and writing the 2020 Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast, which you heard last week, my instincts were confirmed — that the ever-more-important topic of sustainability in the floral marketplace will be front and center this year. So I’ve committed to inviting at least one guest per month to discuss who, what and how we can each make adjustments in our practices to be more sustainable.

Today’s guests will kick things off. Please meet Heather Henson of Boreal Blooms, based in Cold Lake, Alberta, and Clara Qualizza of Meadow and Thicket Farm Flowers in Wildwood, Alberta.

Together, they women host the Sustainable Flowers Podcast, which they describe as “a conversation about sustainable cut flower growing and designing as two passionate Canadian  growers trying to figure it out.” I take comfort in that, because we are all trying to “figure it out,” aren’t we?

Just to give you a sense of the distance between us all — and we came together through the aid of technology!

Heather and Clara each grow cut flowers for market on the northern edge of the Canadian Prairies. In 2018, these floralpreneurs launched the Sustainable Flowers Podcast as a project in which they discuss the issues they face and alternatives to conventional approaches that they are putting into practice or are trialing to ensure that their small-scale flower farming operations are sustainable. Whether that means looking to the past or forward to new technologies to learn the whys and hows, they discuss everything from peat to floral foam, Antirrhinum to Zinnias as well as their weekly adventures on their Zones 2 and 3 flower farms.

Clara Qualizza of Meadow and Thicket Farm Flowers

I’m so delighted that both are members of Slow Flowers, as well. Their leadership as flower farmers and influencers who view their practices through a sustainable lens is creating change for floral professionals and consumers in the province of Alberta, across Canada and North American, and beyond – their listenership is international.

Heather Henson of Boreal Blooms

Have a listen to our unique three-way conversation, brought to you by the magic of technology (thanks Clara!), which we recorded several weeks ago. I’m so glad that it kicks off the New Year for the Slow Flowers Podcast and sets the tone for the conversations to follow.

Clara at her farm in Wildwood, Alberta, Canada

Follow Clara Qualizza of Meadow and Thicket Farm Flowers on Social Media:

Meadow and Thicket on Facebook

Meadow and Thicket on Instagram

Boreal Blooms on Facebook

Boreal Blooms on Instagram

Boreal Blooms in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada

Registrations continue for the Slow Flowers Summit, and I’m so excited for you to join me and connect with our fabulous speakers, enjoy the incredibly beautiful venue at Filoli Historic House & Garden, and experience the many features that will immerse you in the people, principles and practices of Slow Flowers.

The Garden House at Filoli
Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers

If you’ve not yet checked out details, you can find links to all the details about our partnership with Filoli Historic House and Garden, our venue for days 1 and 2 of the Summit (that’s June 28 &29) and see our speaker lineup and programming.

By the way, Day 3 is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour led by our friend Christina Stembel, CEO of Farmgirl Flowers. This is rare access, folks, available only to Summit attendees. We hope you join us!!

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 564,000 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 partnerships 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

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

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

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:

Betty Dear; Daymaze; Gaena; Glass Beads
by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field; Solo Acoustic #5
Music from: