Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Fun with Flowers and J Schwanke (Episode 109)

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Fun with Flowers and J Schwanke (Episode 109)

Debra and J Schwanke

I’ve been having fun running into American-grown flower advocate and floral industry personality J Schwanke. He was one of the friendly faces I enjoyed seeing in Miami earlier this year.

The name J Schwanke is synonymous with flowers and floral design and I’m pleased to introduce you to this energetic and super-talented guy. J is the owner and CEO of, a web site devoted to everything flowers – and the platform for J’s weekly web-based flower television show, “Fun with Flowers and J.”

J Schwanke

J Schwanke, photographed on a recent fall day after he created the centerpieces for a Farm-to-Table orchard dinner.

He has been promoting American Grown flowers for so much longer than I have – and I credit J for pioneering the message that I’ve also embraced as my personal cause. It’s wonderful to have someone out there already trumpeting the message – and to join together in promoting the Slow Flowers movement.

Since I come from the gardening and DIY floral world and J is very well known in the professional floral world, I didn’t really know who he was during the years I was reporting and writing The 50 Mile Bouquet book. I first met J on my computer screen when I watched one of his California Grown Experience videos, which he produced in 2010-2011 as a series of online tours of California flower farms and related businesses such a floral wholesalers. That’s when J’s telegenetic personality, passion for flowers, and ability to draw out people and their stories impressed me. “Who is this guy, anyway?” I thought.

Florida with J and Debra

Kelly Blank snapped this photo of J and me on the day we finally met – in late April – at Disney’s EPCOT flower show.

Through our mutual friend and colleague Kasey Cronquist, I eventually met J via phone conference calls in which we both participated.

Then, earlier this year, J and his partner Kelly James Blank surprised me by attending one of my presentations at EPCOT’s International Flower & Garden Festival in Orlando.

That was pretty serendipitious – and it led to an evening of conversation, cocktails and dinner together – talking about our favorite subject: Flowers (former Garden Design magazine editor Sarah Kinbar was also with us – and that was such a treat to be together!)

Fun with Flowers and J is the weekly how-to Web series you can find at

Fun with Flowers and J is the weekly how-to Web series you can find at

The California Grown Experience is featured on, the first Web-Based TV Show about Flowers, which J created in 2006 – and which continues to air today. Every Monday, J releases a new “FUN with Flowers” episode.  You can find a collection of more than 500 how-to videos and flower farm documentaries on the site, including a new series called the “Florida Fresh Flower and Foliage Tour.” Previews of all J’s shows are included free on the site; viewers can purchase downloads for $1-$2 or subscribe to uBloom for $30 a year to receive complete access to the entire archive. 

J with mom 1966

1966: J in a greenhouse with his mother. Pretty darned cute~

J has lived his entire life surrounded by flowers, in fact, his mother gave birth to him a flower convention she and his father were running. A fourth-generation florist and foremost expert in cut flowers and foliage, J received the prestigious Tommy Bright Award, lifetime achievement recognition for flower communication. and the Crystal Rose Award, denoting him a “Living Legend” in the world of flowers.

J is a member of the American Academy of Floriculture (AAF) and the American Institute of Flower Designers (AIFD). He is a Certified Flower Designer (CFD) and a designated Professional Flower Communicator International (PFCI). His deep source of energy has sent J around the globe to give presentations, demonstrations and hands-on workshops in all 50 States, Canada, Mexico, and throughout Europe.

I invite you to listen in on our conversation and meet J, too. Then, mosey on over to to learn about all of its features, sign up for J’s free newsletter and learn more about the extensive content offered there. 

One of J’s newest ventures, which we discuss on the podcast, is the Professional Resource Guide. This is a free directory that lets professionals and DIY floral designers find WHERE TO BUY the many products and supplies featured on Here is the link to that excellent new resource.