Debra Prinzing

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Episode 423: Taylor Patterson of New York-based Fox Fodder Farm, plus, our state focus: Rhode Island

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
Taylor Patterson of New York’s Fox Fodder Farm, shopping for local flowers at the West 28th Street Flower Market (c) Ingalls Photo

I met up with New York City-based floral entrepreneur Taylor Patterson while spending a few days in New York and Brooklyn while en route to join the festivities at Holly Chapple’s Flowerstock in Virginia. And I’m so incredibly glad for the time I spent with Taylor, today’s featured guest.

I adore Taylor and am enthralled with what she has accomplished through Fox Fodder Farm, her urban floral design business with multiple services and an elegant, high-style, yet farm- and seasonally-inspired aesthetic.

Flowers, farming, design and beauty — it’s all reflected Taylor Patterson’s floral enterprise, Fox Fodder Farm (c) Ingalls Photo

To learn about the origin of her business name Fox Fodder Farm, you’ll have to listen in to hear from Taylor herself. She has developed the business over the past eight years, evolving it into a studio that serves weekly business accounts, local floral deliveries, weddings and special events and a small retail kiosk at Canal Street Market.

I met Taylor this past March at the beautiful and inspiring Gathering Rose Workshop, hosted by Danielle Hahn of Rose Story Farm and Felicia Alvarez of Menagerie Farm and Flower, and held at Rose Story Farm in Carpinteria, outside Santa Barbara. It was a one-of-a-kind creative event focused entirely on the rose, growing, cultivation, selection and design. As I mention during my conversation with Taylor, my story about the workshop appears in a recent issue of Florists’ Review, which you can find here.

Seasonal dogwood branches, a monobotanical arrangement by Taylor Patterson of Fox Fodder Farm (c) Ingalls Photo

And I was touched and very much encouraged that after we met, oh so briefly, there, Fox Fodder Farm joined Slow Flowers as a member. Her support only served to increase my interest in learning more about her and her floral enterprise. So you’re the lucky recipient of my curiosity.

Taylor Patterson of Fox Fodder Farm (c) Ingalls Photo

As with most of my interview subjects, I’m not always sure what direction the topics and themes we’ll take. The wonderful dialogue with Taylor left me thinking about the power of female leadership in our floral marketplace. The power to use beauty to influence sustainable choices, ethical flower farming, and a bold independence in such a crowded and cluttered marketplace. I hope you draw at least one idea from my interview with Taylor to employ or consider for your flower farm or studio. It’s a privilege to continue bringing fresh voices and new perspectives to this forum.

Find and follow Taylor and Fox Fodder Farm on Instagram and on Facebook

Marty Wingate, on location, at a favorite garden spot in the U.K.

And a program note. You may remember this past May when I featured my mystery-writer friend Marty Wingate in the Slow Flowers Podcast, Episode 402.

In it we discussed her forthcoming new series – and the first book in her First Editions series was released this past week: You can order The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate from all online booksellers, or find a copy in your local independent book store or library.

Marty has two other British garden and nature-themed mystery series, which you’ll also want to check out. So proud of my friend and you met her first, here at the Slow Flowers Podcast.

Now, let’s visit Rhode Island and meet Julie Christina of Christina Flower Co. as we continue the Fifty States of Slow Flowers Series.

Julie is a floral designer with an emphasis on local and seasonal plant materials. The end result is a unique, earthy, and refined aesthetic. Hailing from Ohio, Julie first fell in love with nature, plants, and all things garden-related when exploring her family’s 10-acre property as a child. This love of the outdoors stuck with her as she went on to pursue a Bachelor of Science in landscape horticulture from Ohio State University, where she was able to study horticulture and garden design, as well as explore some of the finest English style gardens abroad at Myerscough College in England.  

Julie has an impressive career in horticulture and public gardens, including, since 2008, serving as Education Program Manager at Blithewold Mansions, Garden & Arboretum, where she is continually inspired by the history, the people who lived here, and of course, the abundant gardens.

Julie has expanded Blithewold’s educational offerings, which is how I first met her five years ago as a speaker and workshop leader there. Blithewold has played a huge role in her own family, and she is now able to experience the full circle of sharing her and her husband Dan’s love of nature with their adorable, clever, curious, and fun-loving sons, Jack and Owen.

Find and follow Christina Flower Co. on Instagram and Facebook.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

Thank you so much for joining me today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 528,000 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.


Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community

Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August – and even September. Arctic Alaska Peonies operates three pack houses supplying peonies throughout the United States and Canada. Visit them today 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

FarmersWeb. FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more 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:
Cymbal Patter; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

by Tryad

In The Field

A lovely conversation with NYC floral artist Emily Thompson (Episode 173)

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Emily Thompson (c) Photo by Maria Robledo

Emily Thompson (c) Photo by Maria Robledo

Emily Thompson is an iconoclast, an anything-but-predictable designer and artist – and owner of the NYC studio and shop that bears her name, Emily Thompson Flowers.

Three years ago at this time, the flower world was celebrating the fact that Emily and her team helped Michelle Obama achieve her dream of bringing the outdoors inside the White House at Christmas.

This year, Emily is settled into her charming new emporium in lower Manhattan, a huge space compared to her former flower-closet in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood.

I arrived to meet her early one October morning, a totally spontaneous visit prompted by the designer’s invitation when I took her class the evening before at Flower School New York.

As I wrote on my blog at the time, it was so gratifying to be introduced to Emily at her workshop and realize she’d been wanting to meet me, too.

An Emily Thompson botanical creation, displayed in a one-of-a-kind vase by artist Mark Gagnon (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

An Emily Thompson botanical creation, displayed in a one-of-a-kind urn by artist Mark Gagnon (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

That two-hour workshop was thoroughly inspiring. Every single word that Emily uttered was like listening to a Master instructor in a MFA program. I jotted down these lovely Emilyisms:

“I want to make things that are impractical. That are surprising to me.”

“The proportions I design with are more akin to the natural garden or landscape. I’m looking for powerful contrast, for things that resist one another. That draw the eye in and push it away.”

“I love to work with seasonal flowers, with things of our landscape. And then I’ll add bits of the exotic.”

“So much of design is done in selection of materials. I want a flower arrangement to feel like you’ve dug through the wilderness to find a treasure.”

Emily, designing with wild  and cultivated materials (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

Emily, designing with wild and cultivated materials (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

I love how the annual vines are climbing up the facade of this historic storefront (c) Debra Prinzing photo

I love how the annual vines are climbing up the facade of this historic storefront (c) Debra Prinzing photo

As I mentioned, Emily invited me to visit her brand new shop on Beekman Street, so the following morning we squeezed in a shared cup of tea/coffee and a tour of the new digs. I asked permission to turn on the recorder (natch) and Emily agreed.

Here’s a bit more about Emily:

Raised in Vermont, in a place she calls “the Northeast Kingdom – a place of uncompromising beauty,” Emily was deeply influenced by that sense of place, of the natural wildness of her childhood.

She was educated at the Pennsylvania Academy for the Arts, the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA, where she earned her Masters of Fine Arts in sculpture.

A floral arrangement in a beautiful Frances Palmer ceramic vase (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

A seasonal spring arrangement in a beautiful Frances Palmer ceramic vase (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

Emily is fascinated with the decorative arts and their history as she continues to collaborate with the rough hand of nature. Her flowers and banquet decor balance the uncultivated organic world with the delicacy of classical ornamental design. These pieces burst with unconventional materials like wild smilax, peaches and real butterflies, and always maintain sculptural grace. And most importantly, they are built in harmony with the space where they are displayed – as if they grew there.

One of Emily Thompson's nature-inspired assemblages (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

One of Emily Thompson’s nature-inspired assemblages, paired with a Frances Palmer vessel (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

Emily likes to cite William Gilpin, 18th century theorist of the picturesque, who directed builders of follies and artificial ruins, “to do so as if these ruins were not designed but naturally chosen.” What’s more, writes Gilpin, “they must be in magnificent style.” Emily’s work, like her ideal faux ruin, evokes nature in magnificent style.

Simply sublime (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

Simply sublime (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

Emily Thompson Flowers provides custom designs for special events and for all occasions. Using the freshest seasonal flowers, fruit, and foliage as well as unconventional and wild materials, each project or arrangement is individually conceived to suit the architecture and palette of its setting or to transform a room entirely.

At Emily Thompson Flowers in the Historic Seaport district of Manhattan, you can find flower arrangements and bouquets, artist-designed decorative objects, and all kinds of wildly beautiful things. The new shop is on a sunny corner in a building erected in 1865 by George B. Post (architect of the Stock Exchange), which is adorned with cast iron starfish and terra cotta sea monsters.

Old World-meets-Emily Thompson (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

Old World-meets-Emily Thompson (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

If you’re lucky enough to live in the New York area, you can order arrangements for delivery, but if you’re not a resident, visit Emily Thompson’s web shop to peruse the art, objects, tools and gifts that can be ordered online.

Emily Thompson designs powerful and poetic florals. She loves the peculiar, the quirky and the wondrous. To me, she gives us permission to redefine beauty in our own personal way, to ignore dictates that the vast floral industrial complex tries to force on us. On her blog, when Emily wrote in early 2014 about moving from a tiny Brooklyn studio to a full-fledged Manhattan flower shop, she wrote “We promise to do everything in our power to bring alchemy to all who need it on this island.”

(c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

More of Emily’s botanical alchemy (c) Sophia Moreno-Bunge

There is one more episode left for 2014 – and that’s my very special episode that will air on December 31st. I plan on sharing my insights for the New Floral Year, so plan to join me!

My personal goal is to put more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time.  Listeners like you have downloaded the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 28,000 times. If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

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