Debra Prinzing

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Episode 437: What makes a Trend? Join me in a creative conversation with Hitomi Gilliam, Francoise Weeks, Rebecca Raymond and Colin Gilliam as we plan the upcoming Trend Summit 2020

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020
A late December 2019 planning session for Trend Summit — held at Hitomi Gilliam’s home. Clockwise from top left: Hitomi Gilliam, Francoise Weeks, Rebecca Raymond and Debra Prinzing. (c) Colin Gilliam

Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, is a Vancouver, B.C.-based floral design educator and innovator, as well as a fellow contributor to Florists’ Review. In 2011, she launched a collaborative, inclusive conference called Trend Summit, designed as an immersive trend discussion led by a team of influencers, covering a variety of topics including wedding flower trends. 

Trend Summit has taken place every two or three years since, mostly in Vancouver (with one year being held in Dallas). The Summit has grown and evolved to the point where it’s almost a full week with numerous floral design workshops and demonstrations — all sorts of ways to draw you in, engage you and connect you. This year it takes place March 12-17, 2020, at United Floral, where the famed Vancouver Flower Auction is based outside Vancouver.

Listen to Hitomi Gilliam as she discusses Trend Summit and how trends take shape.

Hitomi is one of those rare individuals who shares the spotlight and platform with her peers, her students, and her contemporaries. In 2018, she invited me to present the Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast for 2019 during the Trend Summit Symposium a one-day session open to the larger floral community in B.C. and beyond. It was such a great experience and truly an honor to be given a place at the podium in what some might consider the mainstream floral community. I was so touched that Hitomi shined a light on my work with Slow Flowers, adding sustainability, floral sourcing and eco practices to the conversation!

For 2020, there are so many events and activities planned. To kick it off on March 12th and 13th, the Trend Roundtables focus on a variety of themes important to the future of floristry. This is an opportunity to be introduced to some of the newest product from participating vendors and growers, who will also be in the discussion. In addition to Hitomi, I will join Gregor Lersch, Holly Chapple, Susan McLeary, Françoise Weeks, Rebecca Raymond and Colin Gilliam for this riveting event.

We took in the inspiring natural beauty on a Bowen Island hike one afternoon, too!!

With Hitomi, Colin, Rebecca and Francois in early December, we spent two full days brainstorming the roundtable format. We sat in the cozy living room of Hitomi’s delightful home on Bowen Island, which is located a short ferry ride across Horseshoe Bay north of Vancouver. With a view of water, mountains, trees and nature, it was a working session that doubled as an unforgettable retreat.

We cooked up some of the key topics that will seed the conversations at the Conference: botanicals, hardgoods and accessories, lifestyle shifts, wedding styles, as well as emerging floral design styles.

I think you’ll love hearing our dialogue and perhaps you will be tempted to join us in March.

You might want to attend Thursday Night, March 12th, when Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute will present her insights on color, or on Sunday when all these fabulous design innovators will present during the Symposium.

Quickly, here’s a bit more about the guests you’ll hear in my conversation today:

Teacher, mentor, floral industry leader Hitomi Gilliam (c) Colin Gilliam

Hitomi Gilliam AIFD is a Japanese-Canadian floral artist, keynote lecturer, demonstrator, educator and a consultant in all aspects of the Art and Business of Floral Design. She is the Creative Director for DESIGN358. She has guest-designed extensively throughout North America, England, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, Bermuda, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Belgium, Korea and India.

She owned and operated Satsuki’s Florist in Mission, British Columbia for 28 years. She currently works with her son, Colin Gilliam in an Event & Education business, DESIGN358 which was established 10 years ago.

Hitomi has lectured at major art museums and floral shows around North America and beyond, and she is the founding organizer of the Annual ‘Survival of the Creative Minds’ Conference in Taos, New Mexico.

Inspiring florist and floral educator Francoise Weeks (c) Jamie Bosworth photograph

Françoise Weeks, born in Belgium, has infused her work with a quintessential European reverence for flowers and nature. Combined with creativity and mechanical ingenuity, she has crystalized her singular style of Textural Woodlands and Botanical Haute Couture pieces, garnering a global following.

Francoise Weeks discusses ‘Plants are Trending’ in the run-up to Trend Summit 2020

Françoise’s studio is located in Portland, Oregon. Her innovation and love of teaching have brought her to the Flower School Cohim in China, the Academy of Floral Art in Exeter, England, studios in Australia and Mexico, workshops at Mayesh and Florabundance and to the La Jolla and Memphis garden clubs. Her dynamic work has been published in Nacre, Fusion Flowers, Modern Wedding Flowers, Huffington Post, Flutter and Millieu.

Her generosity of knowledge and perspective in use of floral materials, structure and mechanics, in addition to the business of being a florist, unite to create rigorous and exciting learning opportunities for her students to explore all that nature has to offer.

Rebecca Raymond, EMC, floral artist and educator

Rebecca Raymond, EMC, is owner of Rebecca Raymond Floral. She is one of the most respected and sought-after floral designers in the Pacific Northwest.

Rebecca collaborates closely with each of her clients, gets to know their hopes and dreams, and then works with color, texture, and architecture to bring their vision to life. Whether it’s a bridal bouquet or a floral installation, she sources both seasonal and curated fresh flowers to design beautiful, eclectic arrangements that reflect the moment and create memories to last a lifetime. As a member of organizations at the cutting edge of floral design, including Chapel Designers, she has access to a network of leading designers and ongoing professional development – and Rebecca is always looking for the latest and best techniques and design ideas for my clients.

Colin Gilliam

Colin Gilliam, partner with Hitomi Gilliam in Design358 and owner of Colin Gilliam Photo + Design, has been photographing flowers for more than a decade. His work has been published in numerous books, as well as in Florists’ Review and Fleur Creatif Magazine.

I had a chance to discuss my thoughts about Trends during a recent conversation with Hitomi

Clarity in 2020 is knowing where we are at and where we want to go.

Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, founder of Trend Summit 2020

Hitomi, Francoise and Rebecca have all been guests on the Slow Flowers Podcast. Here are links to those episodes:

Episode 339 (March 7, 2019): Hitomi Gilliam

Episode 217 (October 28, 2015): Francoise Weeks

Episode 184 (March 11, 2015): Rebecca Raymond joined my interview with Margaret Lloyd of Margaret Joan Florals

Registration continues for Slow Flowers Summit and we’re nearly 50% sold out, which is amazing to me! Please join me on June 28-30th and connect with our fabulous speakers, enjoy the incredibly beautiful venue at Filoli Historic House & Garden, and experience the many features that will immerse you in the people, principles and practices of Slow Flowers.

Emily Saeger, Kellee Matsushita-Tseng and Molly Culver — Slow Flowers Summit panelists

You can also find a link to a fabulous new Q&A with Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers, Emily Saeger from Filoli’s horticulture team, and Kellee Matsushita-Tseng from UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems — all three will be part of a panel at the Summit that we’re calling Sustainable Farming x Floral Design.
Writer Lyz Perry, who has joined the Summit as a freelance contributor to our blog, conducted an extensive interview with these inspiring women. Check it out — this will be part of an ongoing series with interviews featuring all of our speakers.

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 568,000 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.

Thank you to our Sponsors

Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Our partnership with Florists’ Review is such a valuable one, providing a forum for beautiful and inspiring editorial content in the #slowflowersjournal section – month after month. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Find the full catalog of flower seeds and bulbs at

Longfield Gardens, which provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens 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:

Heartland Flyer; Gaena; Glass Beads
by Blue Dot Sessions

by Tryad

In The Field

Slow Food meets Slow Flowers at the first Field to Vase Dinner with designer Margaret Lloyd of Margaret Joan Florals (Episode 184)

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015


A great spread about the Field to Vase Dinner appeared recently in the local Santa Barbara News-Press.

A great spread about the Field to Vase Dinner appeared recently in the local Santa Barbara News-Press.

I spent a few days last week in Carpinteria, California, working with the team that’s producing the 2015 Field to Vase Dinner Tour, a program that’s designed to put local flowers at the center of the table when local food and wine are also served.

You could call it Slow Food meets Slow Flowers.

For the past several years, my involvement with the California Cut Flower Commission has been as an informal, pro-bono advisor.

This year, I’ve assumed the role as a part-time paid communications consultant, editor and writer, lending my energy to the Field to Vase Tour and other important projects on the regional and national stage.

This opportunity allows Slow Flowers to cross-promote with many other programs, and, I hope, ensures that a wider audience hears the message of America’s flowers.

The Field to Vase Dinner Tour fits perfectly with the Slow Flowers agenda – drawing attention to the farmers who grow our flowers and the designers who create beauty with them.

Margaret Lloyd, owner of Margaret Joan Florals - the guest designer for the first Field to Vase Dinner.

Margaret Lloyd, owner of Margaret Joan Florals – the guest designer for the first Field to Vase Dinner.

The 10-city national Field to Vase Dinner Tour was developed to highlight flower farms and floral designers who source local and domestic flowers. It’s intended to make a stronger connection between the sources of both flowers and food, reminding people that flowers are an equally important facet of our agricultural landscape.

I also am thrilled that Slow Flowers’ partnership with the Field to Vase Dinner Tour means members of Slow Flowers are being asked to showcase their design work, alongside the chefs who are cooking up a delicious, locally-sourced menu.

Today’s guest is Slow Flowers member Margaret Lloyd, owner and creative director of Margaret Joan Florals – the designer for the first Field to Vase Dinner, held on March 5th at Westland Orchids in Carpinteria.

She started Margaret Joan Florals from her home-based studio in Montecito, to provide unique, nature-inspired floral arrangements, for weddings and events. Margaret is a Certified California Florist with 15 years retail experience in floral and event design.

Here’s a clip from Margaret’s television appearance last week – as she used Carpinteria-grown flowers (including greenery from her own backyard) to teach two newscasters how to arrange:

In addition to her involvement with, Margaret is a Chapel Designer, a member of Las Floralias, which is a Santa Barbara-based Western Style Flower Club, as well as being a student of Ikebana and an avid gardener.

She explained to me that her aha moment in floral design came from an article in Victoria magazine some twenty-plus years ago. She said:

The article showcased an English country estate garden in winter, and on the next page was a floral arrangement all harvested from their bleak winter cutting garden. It was dramatic and stunning with moody colors, bold shapes,lines and interesting textures.

This led me to be captivated by each season’s bounty, and a love of  locally-sourced, seasonal botanicals. This old-world design is presently having a resurgence in appeal, so I stepped away from my wire service formula design job, and stepped out on my own in January of 2014. My approach is to utilize locally-sourced flowers however I can.

I witnessed this philosophy first hand at the Field to Vase Dinner last week. Because the event took place inside an orchid greenhouse, you can only imagine what Margaret had to work with!

The table was set for a flower- and food-centric evening with an emphasis on local agriculture. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

The table was set for a flower- and food-centric evening with an emphasis on local agriculture. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

She took inspiration from the forest of cymbidium orchids grown by Jerry Van Wingerden and his son David Van Wingerden. Here are some tempting images that illustrate Margaret’s creative use of Westland’s beautiful orchids.

The Flower Power Design Team, from left: Laura Cogan, JIll Redman, CCFC Event Planner and Florist Kathleen Williford, Margaret Lloyd and Rebecca Raymond. All that talent in one place!

The Flower Power Design Team, from left: Laura Cogan, JIll Redman, CCFC Event Planner and Florist Kathleen Williford, Margaret Lloyd and Rebecca Raymond. All that talent in one place!

The signature design using cymbidiums grown byWestland Orchids and roses grown by Myriad Farms, two local flower farms.

The signature design using cymbidiums grown byWestland Orchids and roses grown by Myriad Farms, two local flower farms. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

Designing more than 100 vases for the centerpieces and takeaway gifts wasn’t easy, given the short production timeline. Margaret had some help, thanks to friends and fellow designers.

Rebecca Raymond of Sunnybrooks Florals of Vashon Island, Washington, along with Jill Redman of Forage Florals in Solvang, California, and Laura Cogan of Passion Flowers Design in Buellton, California, joined the design team — all as volunteers.

Together, they wanted to make a dramatic statement for arriving guests.

The top of the entry arbor towered above the doorway to the orchid greenhouse. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

The top of the entry arbor towered above the doorway to the orchid greenhouse. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

The four constructed a 10-foot-tall-by-12-foot wide birch-tree arbor to grace the doorway to the orchid greenhouse.  Acacia foliage, green cymbidium orchids, yellow gerberas and white snapdragons draped from the branches and created a magical moment for everyone who entered.

This photo gives you a sense of scale that the floral arch achieved. With Laura Cogan, Margaret Lloyd and Rebecca Raymond.

This photo gives you a sense of scale that the floral arch achieved. With (from left): floral designers Laura Cogan, Margaret Lloyd and Rebecca Raymond.

I applaud these talented women for what they achieved. The floral environment they created will set a high standard for future Field to Vase Dinners.

It was "work" - I promise you! I enjoyed working with the event time, including Adrienne Young, CCFC's social media and branding expert. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

It was “work” – I promise you! I enjoyed working with the event time, including Adrienne Young, CCFC’s social media and branding expert. (Linda Blue/CCFC)

You might have missed the first Field to Vase Dinner but there are nine more venues on the calendar for 2015. Please check out the full schedule here – and secure your seat at one or more of these very special settings on America’s flower farms, coast to coast.


I also want to alert you to an opportunity for flower farmers and floral designers in the New York area:


On Wednesday, March 25th, the department of Urban Horticulture & Design at Farmingdale State College in Farmingdale, New York (on Long Island) is hosting its 5th Annual Sustainable Garden Conference. This year’s theme is Flower Power: Growing and Designing With Flowers for All Seasons.

Speakers and workshops will focus on commercial cut flower farming and floral design, with a special presentation by member Lynn Mehl, owner of Good Old Days Ecoflorist in New Windsor, New York, who will speak on “Working with Local Cut Flowers – a Designer’s Perspective.”

There is even a presentation scheduled about the Slow Flowers Movement, although I won’t be able to give it in person. For anyone in the tri-state area, or even from farther away, this will be an exciting opportunity to meet with area cut flower farmers, educators, advocates and florists who care about sourcing their flowers locally. The cost for students is $35 and $65 for the general public and you’ll find links to registration here.


Thanks 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.

Thanks to listeners, this podcast has been downloaded nearly 38,000 times. 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 Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at