Debra Prinzing

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Farmer-Florists, Mother-Daughter: Meet the Women of Buckeye Blooms (Episode 191)

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
Kay Studer (left) and Susan Studer King (right) of Buckeye Bloms (c) Jason Bowers Photography

Kay Studer (left) and Susan Studer King (right) of Buckeye Blooms (c) Jason Bowers Photography

bb_logoI’m so pleased today to share a long-distance conversation I recorded a few weeks ago with Kay Studer and Susan Studer King, mom-and-daughter farmer-florists based in the Northwest Ohio community of Elida, where they grow and design.

The two are doing exciting things in their community, region and state and I know you’ll learn much from their experience, which they so generously share in the interview.

theflowerhouse_graphicBut first up: A bit of news. You may recall my interview a few months ago with Lisa Waud of Detroit’s pot and box, a studio, wedding and event florist who has taken it upon herself to dream up a project called “The Flower House” – a 100-percent American grown floral installation in an abandoned house in the Motor City.

Lisa has big plans and since our podcast, her first interview ever, she has garnered a lot of attention from the floral design and flower farming community, as well as the media. The Flower House will take place October 16-18, but this weekend, Lisa and her fellow floral artists will unveil their plans at a preview event to be held in a neighboring vacant house. As Lisa promises: “It will whet the whistles of interested florists, curious visitors and potential sponsors.”

I’ll be there to help the designers celebrate the launch of this incredible project. Please check out the links at The Flower House to find out how you can attend – especially if you’re in the Detroit area this coming weekend.

And if you want to get involved, please help FLOWER HOUSE BLOSSOM AND GROW. The team has just kicked off a funding campaign on my favorite crowd-funding platform Indiegogo so you’ve gotta know they’re smart cookies! Follow links to the campaign and donate at whatever level you feel you can. I’m intrigued by the fun perks, ranging from $5 to $5,000.

A few that listeners of this podcast might love:

  • an American-made tote bag straight from Michigan crafters for $40
  • a special fragrance inspired by The Flower House for $75
  • a picture frame made from wood salvaged from The Flower House and made by Lisa Waud’s Dad for $100
  • a private dinner in Detroit hosted by Lisa and her team for $5,000

Some amazing talents are participating in this fabulous project and I am excited to watch it bloom, flourish, blossom and beautify Detroit, to use as many metaphors as I can think of!

The road that leads to Buckeye Blooms in Northwest Ohio (c) Jason Bowers Photography

The road that leads to Buckeye Blooms in Northwest Ohio (c) Jason Bowers Photography

A Buckeye Blooms' grown and designed bouquet.

A Buckeye Blooms bouquet (c) Emily Wren

Okay, today’s guests will be equally inspiring. Kay and Susan are gardeners, farmers and family. They love flowers, of course.

As Buckeye Blooms, the mother-daughter team grows flowers without the use of any toxic chemicals and they express their earth-friendly values season after season by growing high-quality, super-fresh flowers.

“Just as a home-grown tomato tastes better than a store-bought one, we believe the freshest and most beautiful flowers come from the garden rather than the refrigerated section of a big-box store. By purchasing locally-grown flowers, you get fresher, longer-lasting blooms, while supporting Ohio farm families.”

The land on which Kay and Susan operate Buckeye Blooms has been in the Studer family for several generations.

Located in northern Allen County, Dolau Farm features a meadow set aside for permanent conservation, dense woods, mature windbreaks, and an established perennial garden in addition to the large flower field.

More beauty from Buckeye Blooms

More beauty from Buckeye Blooms

The historic 1880’s farmhouse is set back off of the road down a picturesque lane shaded by towering maple trees. Surrounding the house are many species of trees, woody ornamentals, grasses and greenery in addition to dozens of old-fashioned and unusual flower varieties. The Buckeye Blooms flower shop and design studio occupies what used to be the milking parlor of the “big barn.” The shop is also used for farm flower parties and other special events.

Environmental conservation is important to the Studer and King families and it is at the core of their farm operations. Hundreds of hardwood trees have been planted to prevent soil erosion, provide wildlife habitat and combat climate change. Recycling and energy conservation measures are implemented for every step of the flower production process.

“We don’t use toxic chemicals. Period. Plus, we put our money where our mouth is: we donate a portion of our profits to charitable organizations that work on behalf of food security, community gardens and solutions to climate change.”

A floral still-life.

A floral still-life.

BBssk3Here’s a bit more about Susan and Kay:

Inside the studio at Buckeye Blooms (c) Jason Bowers Photography

Inside the studio at Buckeye Blooms (c) Jason Bowers Photography

Susan Studer King’s background is in the environmental nonprofit field.

For more than eight years, Susan worked for Ohio Environmental Council where she led statewide efforts to reform Ohio’s factory farm, wetland and agricultural drainage laws and also served as the Council’s Development Director.

Prior to partnering with her mother to create Buckeye Blooms, Susan and her husband served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Ecuador where they saw firsthand the many negative environmental and social impacts of the commercial rose industry in Ecuador.

One of my favorite designs of Susan and Kay's - love the trailing ribbon.

One of my favorite designs of Susan and Kay’s – love the trailing ribbon.

Upon returning to the U.S., Susan & Jeremy moved back to the farm to start Buckeye Blooms and to live a low-carbon lifestyle.

Susan now splits her time between “the farm” and Granville where she does freelance writing; she serves on the Licking County Local Food Council and tries to steer her toddler out of trouble.

Kay Studer brings a lifetime of gardening experience to Buckeye Blooms.

Kay served as the Horticulture Program Coordinator at Ohio State University Extension Service in Allen County where she managed the Master Gardener program for more than 15 years.

Kay received national recognition and numerous awards for her leadership and programs at the Children’s Garden in downtown Lima.

An expert in diagnosing garden pest problems and an accomplished freelance landscape designer, Kay also has a great eye for floral design.

Kay’s first big floral design job: her daughter Susan’s wedding in 2000. Buckeye Blooms is headquartered on the family farm she has lived on since childhood.

The recent gathering of Ohio's Flower Farmers shows the energy, intelligence, enthusiasm and diversity of this American-grown community. Kay and Susan are pictured in the front row; far right.

The recent gathering of Ohio’s Flower Farmers shows the energy, intelligence, enthusiasm and diversity of this American-grown community. Kay and Susan are pictured in the front row; far right.

Thank you so much for joining me this week and please return again, as I continue to share insightful and educational episodes recorded exclusively for the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast nearly 46,000 times. Until next week please 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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at

Buckeye Blooms on Facebook

Buckeye Blooms on Instagram

Buckeye Blooms on Pinterest

ASCFG #2 Design Basics and Beyond with Jennie Love and Sullivan Owen (Episode 167)

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
Gorgeous, local, seasonal and simply sublime: Sullivan Owen's lovely urn arrangement.

Gorgeous, local, seasonal and simply sublime: Sullivan Owen’s lovely urn arrangement.

I’ve lots to share with you, so before introducing today’s episode, let me jump right into the Flower News of the Week:

COVER.The_Wreath_Recipe_Book._HIGH_RESFirst off, the winner of our drawing for a free copy of Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo’s beautiful new project, The Wreath Recipe Book, is Jen Beck, a professor, nonprofit consultant, and artist based in Austin, Texas.

Thanks to the people at Artisan Books for sending this info-packed prize her way- and thanks to everyone who took the time to comment about their favorite seasonal and local wreath ingredients.

Next, I am so pleased to announce that flower farmer Sid Anna Sherwood of Annie’s Flower Farm in Sequim, Washington, reached her funding goal for an interest-free loan via an innovative nonprofit program called Kiva. When I posted a bonus interview with her on October 29th, Sid Anna she still needed to raise close to three-quarters of her goal.

Thanks to listeners of the Slow Flowers Podcast and to the amazing way that news spreads on Facebook, that huge amount of money – more than $7,000 of crowd-lending, was raised in 9 days! Every penny will be paid back over the course of three years and Sid Anna’s customers will continue to benefit from her lovely local flowers, grown on a new piece of leased farmland on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

I also want to give my personal congrats to two previous guests of the Slow Flowers Podcast. First, to Erin Benzakein, owner of floret flowers, for being one of the winners of Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards, given to her in person by Martha this week in NYC. Bringing local and domestic flowers to the consciousness of Martha’s followers is super important. I hope this award inspires everyone to think about the origins of their flowers and the people who grow and design with them.

Next, a huge shout-out to Farmgirl Flowers and creator Christina Stembel for reaching their 4th anniversary this week. Stay strong and flourish, my friend!

S-L-O-W   F-L-O-W-E-R-S in pink and white dahlias

S-L-O-W F-L-O-W-E-R-S in pink and white dahlias

Earlier this week, I received a wonderful email from members Kay Studer and Susan Studer King of Buckeye Blooms in Elida, Ohio. We recently met in person at the ASCFG Conference and they thoughtfully followed up to tell me about a recent effort to reach out to potential bridal customers. After their consultation, Susan and Kay sent her a note like this one:

We hope you have had a great fall so far and that plans for your wedding are proceeding smoothly!

We just wanted to follow up with you to confirm if you would like to contract our flowers and design services for your wedding. We are planning our spring flower crop now and are actually able to custom-grow flowers exclusively for you! As both a flower farm and a floral design studio, Buckeye Blooms is able to provide the very freshest, sustainably-grown flowers possible for your special day. We offer numerous varieties of flowers not available to traditional florists, which means your bouquet will be unlike any other!

Whether you decide to go with Buckeye Blooms or not, we do hope you will consider requesting seasonal, locally-grown or at least domestically-grown flowers for your bouquets. Incredibly, over 80% of flowers used by traditional florists are imported–primarily from Ecuador and Colombia where environmental and human health regulations are lax (I–Susan– used to live in Ecuador and can tell you stories of what I saw….).

Seasonal, locally-grown flowers arrive to you fresher and more fragrant, plus you help to support local farmers and the local economy. You can learn more about the local flower movement at and

We have found that brides love telling their guests that their flowers were grown in Ohio and came a field not far away– and that they know the farmer that grew them. This can really add a special, personal touch to your wedding day.

Educating consumers about their choices in flowers is something we are passionate about, so whatever you decide we do hope you will consider locally-grown flowers!

This is worth a hip, hip, hooray – Buckeye Blooms, I love your efforts at outreach and education. I know that it will inspire other flower farmers to convey similar messages to their existing and potential clients. Many thanks for your leadership in the Slow Flowers Movement!

Jennie Love of Love 'N Fresh Flowers

Jennie Love of Love ‘N Fresh Flowers

Today’s guests are none other than Jennie Love of Love ‘n Fresh Flowers in Philadelphia, and her friend, fellow designer and frequent flower customer Sullivan Owen of Sullivan Owen Floral & Event Design, also of Philadelphia.

The two shared the stage at ASCFG last month in a packed ballroom where they designed with gorgeous local flowers and discussed their craft in a talk called “Design Basics.”

Even though this interview is audio-only, I believe what you’ll hear will stimulate you to think about floral design and seasonal and locally-grown flowers in a new way.

Sullivan and Jennie have a lot to share and even their casual asides are packed with juicy information that will help you in your own floral business, be it growing, designing – or both!

Here’s a little more about them both:

Huge audience! ASCFG's "Floral Basics" with Jennie and Sullivan drew a crowd.

Huge audience! ASCFG’s “Floral Basics” with Jennie and Sullivan drew a crowd.

Owner and creative director at Love ‘N Fresh Flowers, Jennie Love is a trained professional horticulturist and an experienced, life-long farmer.

Jennie has led numerous workshops over the past five years, including the sold-out Seasonal Bouquet Project LIVE series and classes for Longwood Gardens’ Floral Design Certificate program.

Sullivan Owen at the ASCFG floral basics workshop.

Sullivan Owen at the ASCFG floral basics workshop.

She has also presented to many garden clubs and other groups throughout the Mid-Atlantic area.

A charismatic and passionate flower farmer, Jennie found her natural niche as a ‘farmer florist’ for wedding and event design, becoming a recognized leader of the local flower movement.

She was recently featured in the New York Times for her farm-to-centerpiece efforts. Her distinctively lush and textural floral designs have been used in hundreds of weddings as well as for numerous photo shoots, magazines, style blogs and books. Jennie is a board member for ASCFG and write a regular column for The Cut Flower Quarterly.

Sullivan Owen is the owner and creative director of Sullivan Owen Floral & Event, her eponymous floral design studio, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

She is sought after for her lush and fashion-forward style, and is a trendsetter whose work is regularly featured in wedding publications, and most recently in Martha Stewart Weddings. Her business acumen and background in marketing and branding have made her just as passionate about running an excellent business as she is about creating gorgeous designs. She loves working with the best flowers available and loves to get to know the growers behind the amazing products they cultivate.

Jennie's hand-tied bouquet features All American flowers from her farm and others'.

Jennie’s hand-tied bouquet features All American flowers from her farm and others’.

If you haven’t started following Jennie or Sullivan on their various social platforms, you can follow them at these links:

Jennie on Pinterest

Jennie on Facebook

Jennie on Instagram

Sullivan on Facebook

Sullivan on Twitter

Sullivan on Instagram


Next week’s guest is event designer Emily Ellen Anderson of Lola Creative in Seattle. Then, you’ll hear another presentation recorded at the ASCFG Conference. . . so I promise lots of good stuff in the coming weeks.

On another note, a few weeks ago I dedicated an episode to a little girl named Shylah who faced many challenging health issues. Blessedly, your prayers, thoughts, meditations and good wishes have been felt. She’s out of the hospital and back at home. And while there are months and months of treatment ahead, everyone around Shylah feels optimistic about her recovery. Among others, this floral tribe has gathered around her and I thank you for sharing in my best wishes for this little one’s swift road to good health.

Listeners like you have downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 25,000 times. If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

My personal goal is to put more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. I promise that when you tune in next week, you’ll hear another insightful and educational episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at