Debra Prinzing

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Episode 568: The 50 Mile Bouquet Series — Peterkort Roses with siblings Sandra Peterkort Laubenthal and Norman Peterkort

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022
My Q&A Interview with Norman Peterkort and Sandra Peterkort Laubenthal
Peterkort Roses Greenhouse Tour

Happy 9th Anniversary to the Slow Flowers Podcast!

This week, we are celebrating our 9th anniversary of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Yes, folks, as the first-ever flower podcast and the longest-running flower podcast series, with 469 episodes, we are committed to delivering fantastic episodes to you each week — all free for your education and enlightenment.

You can find me in the recording studio every week! (c) Mary Grace Long Photography

It’s truly amazing to look back on how this show has become the voice of the Slow Flowers movement since our first episode #100, broadcast on July 23, 2013. We’ve brought you inside the Slow Flowers Movement, up close and personal, with hundreds of inspiring and intimate conversations with individuals who are deeply immersed in growing specialty cut flowers and designing with them. These are advocates who care deeply about a sustainable, safe, and local supply of seasonal floral ingredients — and they share their stories with heart and passion.

One year ago, to mark the 8th anniversary, we added a video component to the Slow Flowers Podcast, so you have a chance to watch the conversations as well as listen to them — including seeing videos of flower farm tours and floral studio tours. We hope you value this content, created specifically for our Slow Flowers Community. It’s such a privilege to be your host as I share new episodes, week in and week out, can you believe it — for 9 entire years! As we enter our 10th year, this means we’ll be making a big splash by sharing more people and their flowers with you!

Peterkort Opening chapter spread
Opening spread of “The Last Rose Farm in Oregon,” from The 50 Mile Bouquet (St. Lynn’s Press, 2012)

Cover The 50 Mile BouquetIn another milestone of celebration, I’m devoting 2022 to a year-long series that revisits a book I wrote ten years ago — The 50 Mile Bouquet.

Today’s guests, siblings Norman Peterkort and Sandra Peterkort Laubenthal, are featured in the pages of this pioneering book, published by St. Lynn’s Press with photography by David Perry. The chapter about Peterkort Roses is titled “The Last Rose Farm in Oregon” and we’re bringing you both a reflection and a look ahead.

Peterkort Roses 2nd spread
Second spread: “The Last Rose Farm in Oregon,” from The 50 Mile Bouquet (St. Lynn’s Press, 2012)

I have visited Norman and Sandra on several occasions, but this week, I made a point of traveling to their greenhouses outside of Portland, Oregon, to film our conversation. Learn what’s been happening at this unique and resilient flower farm over the past decade, and gain new insights on diversification and innovations they have implemented.


Of Note: Last week’s episode included a visit to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative. As you heard us discuss, Peterkort Roses is not only a founding member farm of SWGMC, their family was also a founding member of the Oregon Flower Growers Association, which opened in 1942 as a farmer-owned wholesale hub. Pretty amazing history for one boutique specialty cut flower farm! Shop for Peterkort Roses at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. And if you’re in Portland, you can often catch Sandra and her roses in their stall at the Oregon Flower Growers Association.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This show is brought to you by, the free, online directory to more than 850 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

Farmgirl Flowers 2022

Thank you to our lead sponsor, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $10 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually. Discover more at

Thank you to Details Flowers Software, a platform specifically designed to help florists and designers do more and earn more. With an elegant and easy-to-use system–Details is here to improve profitability, productivity, and organization for floral businesses of all shapes and sizes. Grow your bottom line through professional proposals and confident pricing with Details’ all-in-one platform. All friends of the Slow Flowers Podcast will receive a 7-day free trial of Details Flowers Software. Learn more at

Thank you to CalFlowers, the leading floral trade association in California, providing valuable transportation and other benefits to flower growers and the entire floral supply chain in California and 48 other states. The Association is a leader in bringing fresh cut flowers to the U.S. market and in promoting the benefits of flowers to new generations of American consumers. Learn more at

Thank you to Store It Cold, creators of the revolutionary CoolBot, a popular solution for flower farmers, studio florists and farmer-florists.  Save $1000s when you build your own walk-in cooler with the CoolBot and an air conditioner.  Don’t have time to build your own?  They also have turnkey units available. Learn more at   

Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast is a member-supported endeavor, downloaded more than 870,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

If you’re new to our weekly Show and our long-running Podcast, check out all of our resources at and consider making a donation to sustain Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button at

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Show & Podcast. The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. 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. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers on the table, one stem, one vase at a time. 

Music credits:
Camp Fermin (uptempo); Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

Acoustic Shuffle; In The Field

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Make my Valentine’s Flowers American-Grown, Please! Thanks, Peterkort – an Oregon Rose Farm (Episode 128)

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

A rainbow of rose colors grown in Oregon by Peterkort Roses. Love this palette!

A rainbow of rose colors grown in Oregon by Peterkort Roses. Love this palette!   


Love this graphic messaging on the side of Peterkort's delivery truck.

Love this graphic messaging on the side of Peterkort’s delivery truck.

Hello again and thank you for listening to the newest episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing

This is part 2 of my back-to-back episodes on American grown roses, in honor of Valentine’s Day, taking place later this week. In our previous episode, I introduced you to Danielle Hahn of Rose Story Farm, based in Carpinteria, California.

Today, I hope you’ll enjoy my conversation with Sandra Peterkort Laubenthal of Peterkort Roses.

Most U.S.-grown roses hail from California, which accounts for 75 percent of the nation’s overall floral production. Yet in Oregon, Peterkort Roses has raised hybrid teas for the floral trade since the 1930s. The Peterkorts, a third-generation Oregon family, currently produces 2 million roses annually, using many sustainable growing practices.

“We have this certain niche, and we really want to support the local floral industry,” says Sandra, granddaughter of Joseph and Bertha Peterkort, who came to Oregon from Germany and started flower farming in 1923, raising sweet peas, gerberas and pansies.

This photo is from a visit I made to Peterkort Roses in May 2012 when Portland TV personality Anne Jaeger produced a segment about sustainable and local flowers for The Oregonian. Sandra Laubenthal and her brother Norman Peterkort  pose at right: I'm on the left and Anne is second from left.

This photo is from a visit I made to Peterkort Roses in May 2012 when Portland TV personality Anne Jaeger produced a segment about sustainable and local flowers for The Oregonian. Sandra Laubenthal and her brother Norman Peterkort pose at right: I’m on the left and Anne is second from left.

Historically, the state had been home to several commercial cut rose growers, but during the past two decades those operations either shifted to other crops or folded altogether. “We are an anachronism, but it seems like the ‘City of Roses’ should have its own local rose grower,” Sandra points out. 

Here’s the video segment produced by Anne Jaeger for The Oregonian/Oregon Live: “Sustainable bouquets — buying local extends to flowers, too!”

Stunning pink rose blooms - perfect for your sweetheart.

Stunning pink rose blooms – perfect for your sweetheart.

Peterkort’s elegant blooms look vastly different from those softball-sized imported ones that are offered by supermarkets, wire services and conventional flower shops every February 14th.

Instead, Peterkort’s 60-plus rose varieties are closer to what you might find gracing a mixed perennial border in the garden. Specialties include the hybrid tea rose, with upright, spiraled petals; a German-bred hybrid tea that features multi-petal characteristics of an old garden rose; and dainty spray roses with many small blooms on a single stem. Today, Peterkort’s 16 hoop houses produce thousands of rose stems, as well as gorgeous Oriental and Asiatic lilies, maiden fern, orchids and new crops like ranunculus and anemone.

More Peterkort pretties!

More Peterkort pretties!

Designers count on Peterkort as an important local source for bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, flower girl wreaths and tabletop arrangements. The versatile color palette begins with pure white roses and ends with ones covered in dark, velvety black-red petals. Unlike unscented imported roses, these have a light, pleasing fragrance. Because Peterkort harvests its flowers one day and sells them the next, their roses are super fresh and, as a result, are long-lasting in the vase.

Fresh roses on the grading table at Peterkort's greenhouses.

Fresh roses on the grading table at Peterkort’s greenhouses.

“I’ve been ordering roses from Peterkort for years,” says designer Melissa Feveyear, owner of Seattle-based Terra Bella Floral Design, who specializes in local and organic flowers. With varieties like ‘Piano Freiland’, a red, peony-shaped rose, and spray roses that last several weeks in an arrangement, Peterkort’s blooms make up in quality what they don’t have in size, she says.

“Because the stems are thinner than (those of) imported roses, they’re very easy to use in hand-tied bouquets. You can group a bunch together for really stunning impact without making the stem feel too bulky for a bride to hold.”

A detail from a Valentine's Day bouquet featuring Peterkort Roses.

A detail from a Valentine’s Day bouquet featuring Peterkort Roses.

Indeed Peterkort is the last Oregon rose grower, but in fact, customers around the country have begun to discover these boutique blooms. A message on the company’s web site helps to explain their popularity: “What can we say about a bunch of people who are still dedicated to growing cut flower roses in the U.S.? . . . We continue because we are obsessed.” 

Peterkort’s sustainable practices produce greener blooms:

  • During the winter months, Peterkort increases the amount of artificial greenhouse light, thereby producing more roses in less space for the same amount of energy. Energy curtains provide additional insulation as outside temperatures drop. The panels are made of Mylar and are suspended from cables across the greenhouse ceiling, containing heat within when closed.
  • Peterkort uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system of biological controls to curb aphids, spider mites and other predator pests.
  • Peterkort selects disease-resistant rose varieties and suppresses the spread of fungal diseases by maintaining ideal temperature, humidity and air circulation levels inside the greenhouses and keeping the ground clear of dead leaves and debris.
  • All packaging is recycled and roses are wrapped for market in newspaper purchased from a local charity. 

Here are some of my arrangements from Slow Flowers, featuring roses and lilies grown by Peterkort Roses: 

Peterkort lilies with winter greenery. The variety is Lilium 'Rio Negro', a hybrid Oriental lily.

Peterkort lilies with winter greenery. The variety is Lilium ‘Rio Negro’, a hybrid Oriental lily.


Peterkort's lovely red garden rose 'Piano Freidland', makes this autumn arrangement sparkle!

Peterkort’s lovely red garden rose ‘Piano Freidland’, makes this autumn arrangement sparkle!


"Supergreen' is a hybrid tea rose grown by Peterkort - a sublime pale green rose.

“Supergreen’ is a hybrid tea rose grown by Peterkort – a sublime pale green rose.


A springtime bouquet featuring 'Supergreen' with a  pastel combination.

A springtime bouquet featuring ‘Supergreen’ with a pastel combination. 

For many sweethearts, Valentine’s Day is filled with expectations and anticipation. Yet for followers of the Slow Flowers movement, the romantic holiday is not complete unless the flowers we give and receive come from local farmers who use sustainable practices. Peterkort is one such source. Please ask your local florist to order these domestic roses rather than the steroidal giants that must be shipped from afar, a continent or two from here.

In fact, here is my list of American rose farms. If your local florist says, “I can’t find American-grown roses,” then give him/her my recommendations and ask them to do their homework. You have to care enough to do the right thing.

It has been my pleasure to share with you today’s podcast conversation with Sandra Laubenthal. All photos are (c) Debra Prinzing.

Because of the support from you and others, listeners have downloaded episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 6,500 times! I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

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