Debra Prinzing

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Episode 383: The Joy of Seeds with Hillary Alger, Flowers Product Manager of Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Johnny’s Seeds flower trial gardens in Maine.

Johnny’s Seeds’ flowers product manager, Hillary Alger

If you’re a regular listener to the Slow Flowers Podcast, you know that Johnny’s Selected Seeds is one of our most supportive sponsors and partners.

I have been pestering today’s guest, Hillary Alger, Johnny’s Flowers Product Manager, to let me record an interview with her for quite a while.

We finally took time over the holiday break to jump on Skype and do it. I’m so pleased because the timing for discussing flower seeds and growing flowers is perfect.

Winter is when we all think about next season’s crops and new varieties to trial.

Whether you have a backyard cutting garden like me or a legitimate flower farm, you probably have visions of beautiful blooms dancing in your head.

And each image we see, whether it’s in a catalog or online, is enough to send our hearts racing as we add just one more variety to the wish list.

Behind-the-scenes at a Johnny’s Seeds’ studio photo shoot

Hillary is here today to discuss that process – how does an established seed company like Johnny’s, which was founded in 1973, select, trial, evaluate and bring to market thousands of varieties of vegetable, herb and flower seeds each year?

Even if you’re just a bit of a flower geek, this conversation will engage and inspire you. Hillary also discusses some of the more than 25 new annual seed varieties coming online in Johnny’s 2019 catalog, as well as the decision to reintroduce bulbs for cut flower growers. After more than a decade hiatus, the pages of Johnny’s catalog include more than 35 narcissus and tulip varieties. Click here to download a 4-pg PDF of all new new 2019 flowers.

Hillary often styles photo shoots for online and print, including fun floral flat-lays.

With a fine arts background, Hillary has fused her love of painting with her career in vegetable and flower seed promotion. Here is one of her paintings of an heirloom squash.

The Slow Flowers-Johnny’s Seeds partnership is a mutually rewarding one — and I’m so grateful to bring this episode to you today. Click here to read a recent post about Growing a Cutting Garden, with more resources from Johnny’s.

Here’s a bonus gift for listeners of this podcast — Thanks, Johnny’s!

Thank you from Johnny’s

An update about the Slow Flowers Summit:

First of all, we’ve been running an Early Bird ticket promotion for the Slow Flowers Summit 2019 and that opportunity has closed. Nearly 50 of you took advantage of the early bird pricing — and we will sell out the conference at 150 registrations.

So don’t have FOMO — you’ll want to make your way to to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Slow Flowers members will still enjoy discount pricing up until the day of the Summit. Sign up to receive updates at

Left: A spring bouquet designed by Hillary for a Johnny’s Seeds photo shoot; right: Hillary’s home cutting garden.

We have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause 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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 395,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

I am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (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

This week’s sponsor thank-you’s:

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

NW Green Panels.  Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durabilty. They are 100% Oregon-made using twin-wall polycarbonate manufactured in Wisconsin, making NW Green Panel structures a great value for your backyard. The 8×8 foot Modern Slant greenhouse has become the essential hub of my cutting garden — check out the link in today’s show notes to see photos or visit

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

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