Debra Prinzing

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Episode 316: Nature-Inspired Floral Design with Cindy Hanson of The Herb and Garden in Helena, Montana

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Cinday Hanson trims bunches of tulips moments after they arrived from their overnight trip from Mount Vernon, Wash. Thursday afternoon in her downtown shop The Herb and Garden. Hanson says she only sources her flowers from within the United States only and adds that ninety-percent of them are Calif., Ore., and Wash. grown. (c) Thom Bridge, Helena Independent Record

A local bouquet by The Herb and Garden (courtesy Cindy Hanson)

Before I get started, I want to encourage you to listen carefully at the end today’s interview to learn about upcoming Slow Flowers events that you can participate in — especially to take advantage of a generous Slow Flowers discount code that Holly Chapple has shared for anyone who wishes to attend the upcoming FLOWERSTOCK at Hope Farm in Waterford, Virginia, October 9-10. I’ll be there teaching floral memoir writing . . . and would love to see you there!

Cindy often sources tulips from Washington Bulb (c) Thom Bridge, Helena Independent Record

This week’s guest is Cindy Hanson, owner of The Herb and Garden in Helena, Montana. She is a longtime member of and I recently profiled Cindy’s retail flower shop in the Slow Flowers Journal print edition – inside Florists’ Review. Click here to read “Keeping it Local in Montana.”

I wanted to feature Cindy and her business in the first ever “How I Do It” entry for Slow Flowers Journal because she is a role model for sourcing local botanicals whenever possible and augmenting with American Grown and flowers from other states when Helena, Montana, is covered in snow.

My thinking is this: by featuring role models like Cindy and fellow retail florists in other frost-prone markets across North America, we’re helping to debunk the assumption that the Slow Flowers approach is difficult to uphold.

If she can do it in Zone 4 or Zone 5, of all places, you can do it, too.

You’ll enjoy our conversation, as Cindy discusses the journey she has taken from a career in horticulture and landscaping to selling and designing flowers.

(c) Thom Bridge, Helena Independent Record

Here’s how to find and follow The Herb and Garden:

The Herb and Garden on Facebook

The Herb and Garden on Instagram

I hope you can take inspiration from Cindy Hanson’s business model — one that gives The Herb And Garden a brand distinction in her marketplace for specializing in Montana-designed wedding flowers and providing her customers with American-grown flowers all 12-months of the year!

And here’s our special news: Last year, Holly Heider Chapple of HOPE Flower Farm welcomed dozens of designers and flower lovers from near and far for the first annual Flowerstock.

This year, she will again open her farm on October 9th and 10th for Flowerstock. Hope Farm is located just outside of the nation’s capitol and there, professionals and members of the community will gather for two days of demonstrations and talks by renowned floral designers like Ariella Chezar, Robbie Honey, Pat Roberts and Sherry Spencer and Holly herself.

I’m excited and honored to join Holly for this second annual Flowerstock Experience where I’ll be leading creative writing exercises for attendees, guiding as everyone begins to record a personal floral narrative.

NOW, to sweeten the deal, Holly is offering a special $200 discount for the Slow Flowers community. Use this promocode for a discount off of the one-day or two-day registration: FSSLOWFLOWER. Click here to register.

This discount can also be used for Flowerstock’s “#treattheteam” offer to buy 2 tickets get the 3rd for free. Get in touch with me or write to request the promo code for the free ticket if you bring a third member of your staff or team.

If you’re in the New England area, you can also meet me at two upcoming events — A Slow Flowers Meet-Up in Guilford, Connecticut at Trout Lily Farm on Saturday, October 7th and at the New England Farmer Florist Collective event hosted at Salted Root Farm near Plymouth, Massachusetts on Sunday, November 5th.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 237,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.

If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on our home page in the right column. Your contributions will help make it possible to transcribe future episodes of the Podcast.

Thank you to family of sponsors:

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2017: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers.  To learn more visit

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Find them at

Longfield Gardens 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. Visit them 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. Check them out 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

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

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