Debra Prinzing

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Episode 416: North Carolina-grown, with Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary Floral and Flourish Flower Farm

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019
Just-picked North Carolina flowers, so beautiful! Photographed at Flourish Flower Farm.

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today with the entire episode dedicated to North Carolina, celebrated for naming the flowering dogwood as its state flower.

There is so much great news coming from North Carolina! We have featured several Slow Flowers members as previous podcast guests, so to give you a richer snapshot of the state, I’ve collected all of their appearances for you to find below. They include a great introduction to the dynamic floral scene — in both growing and design:

Jonathan and Megan Leiss of Spring Forth Farm, Episode 266

Stephanie Hall of Sassafras Fork Farm and Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers, Episode 273

Kelly Morrison of Color Fields and Piedmont Wholesale Flowers, Episode 296

Diane Joyal and Lily Joyal of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary (c) Kim Branagan

Our first guests are mother-daughter duo, Diane Joyal and Lily Joyal of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary, based in Chapel Hill. In our conversation, Diane and Lily share their “local floral” point of view as retail florists in the eastern part of North Carolina’s triangle of Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham. They have grown rapidly and have some cool news to share with you.

Niki and William Irving (left) and Niki teaching at an event on Flourish Flower Farm (right)

Part Two features Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm in Asheville, the heart of western North Carolina. Niki is a farmer-florist who serves a diverse range of customers– from grocery to weddings and events — to on-farm customers.

I hope you enjoy our tour of North Carolina! Before we jump into the recordings, here is a bit more about each guest:

Beautiful blooms, North Carolina-grown, from Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

Diane Joyal is the founder/Ceo of Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary. She loves anything that keeps her smiling. This includes small puppies, big local blooms, and a good conversation. Her days at Bowerbird are filled with client interactions, vendor relations, and tracking down the best of the best in product. Diane’s Secret talent is being up with the floral trends and knowing just where to find a specific flower. Her favorite flowers are off-beat tulips, bearded iris, and not your average roses.

Two appealing floral palettes express the range of styles by Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

As the Founder of Bowerbird, Diane started the business with the idea that arrangements should be created to showcase what each individual bloom can do. Diane trained with Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua and she has taken classes with well known designers such as Pondarosa & Thyme and Bows & Arrows Flowers.

A wedding by Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary

Lily Joyal is operations manager and designer at Bowerbird. She loves anything that keeps her moving, including but not limited to coffee, a nice sunny day, and a good work-out class. Her daily duties at Bowerbird include making lists, gathering blooms, and accomplishing the impossible. Her secret talent is car tetris she can load any car with flowers without a single snapped head. Her favorite flowers are Hellebore and whatever is in season. In her free time she enjoys going for a nice long run and getting good food with friends. She is also a painter and graduated from UNC Asheville with her BA in 2017.

Find and follow Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary at these social places:

Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary on Instagram

Bowerbird Flowers & Apothecary on Pinterest

Niki (right) and a floral display at Flourish Flower Farm (left)

Niki Irving and her husband William Irving own Flourish Flower Farm. After years of working in education and outdoor education, Niki finally turned the dream of becoming a Farmer-Florist into reality. As the daughter of a landscaper and tree farmer, you could say that Niki’s love of plants was inevitable. Niki loves growing, nurturing and creating beauty. William spent his childhood helping his grandfather tend a giant vegetable garden and he is the master of the farm maintenance tasks. William still has a full-time job off the farm, but he helps Niki make sure the farm is run like a sustainable business and fixes the things that she breaks.

Wedding personals and ceremony flowers by Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm.

Together, they balance a love of nature, hard work, creating beauty and spreading joy at the farm.  They believe that flowers make the world a more beautiful, enjoyable place and are inspired by the way a fresh bouquet of flowers lights up someone’s entire face. Niki loves creating lush, seasonally-inspired arrangements for weddings and special events with their gorgeous farm fresh flowers, and William is always behind the scenes helping to make it all run smoothly.

Students are immersed in hands-on design at one of the popular Flourish Flower Farm workshops.

Find and follow Flourish Flower Farm at these social places:

Flourish Flower Farm on Facebook

Flourish Flower Farm on Instagram

Flourish Flower Farm on Pinterest

I think you’ll enjoy this cross-state North Carolina tour featuring two Slow Flowers business models that are design-driven and dedicated on local sourcing. I love our visit, giving you two unique ventures from which to draw inspiration and lessons for your own enterprise.

Here is another cool resource about North Carolina-grown blooms: Click below to download a PDF of my 2017 Florists’ Review article about Southern Flower Hubs — with sections on Piedmont Wholesale Florists of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area (which Diane and I discussed in her segment); and the Western NC Flower Farmers group, which Niki and I discussed.


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.

NW Green Panels. Based in Madras, Oregon, NW Green Panels designs and constructs a wide array of wood-framed greenhouses offering versatility, style and durability. Their greenhouses 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 photos of my greenhouse in today’s show notes or visit to see more.

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. Visit them at

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  

I want to give a special shout-out and welcome this week to Terri Carstens of Dream Dirt Florals in Reardan, Washington in the Eastern part of the state. Terri is the lucky winner of a one-year Premium membership in Slow Flowers — which we donated to the Washington Flowers Project for their summer promotion. The WA Flowers Project aims to increase awareness of locally-grown flowers, build relationships within the flower industry, & increase local sales – and is a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant funded initiative. Welcome Terri!

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.

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 510,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

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:
Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions http://www.sessions.blue

by Tryad

In The Field; Acoustic Shuffle; Mountain Sun