Debra Prinzing

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Archive for the ‘floral design’ Category

Episode 494: How does Rooted Farmers’ marketplace work? An update from founder Amelia Ihlo and insights from farmer-florist Haley Billipp of Eddy Farm and Connecticut Flower Collective

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021
Growers’ bunches from Amelia Ihlo of Reverie Flowers and Rooted Farmers

Today, we have two great guests involved in Rooted Farmers. You first met Amelia Ihlo, founder of this innovative platform for selling flowers,  a little more than a year ago when Rooted Farmers launched. What a year to launch, right? As the resilience of flower farmers large and small was tested in 2020, it was surprisingly a good year for launching the new Rooted Farmers platform.

Here’s the “buyer view” showing varieties and availability on Rootedfarmers.com

New ways to showcase floral inventory for wholesale or retail sales – on Rootedfarmers.com

Recently, when I had a chance to see a full demo of all the new features that have been built into the inventory and sales tools that Rooted Farmers offers, I asked Amelia if she would share an update with Podcast listeners. At the same time, I suggested we invite a customer, aka a user of the platform, to share the farmer point of view. Amelia immediately recommended our second guest – Haley Billipp of Eddy Farm in Newington Connecticut. It was serendipity because ever since meeting Haley a few years ago at a gathering of Connecticut flower farmers and florists, I’ve wanted to learn more about Eddy Farm and her involvement in the new Connecticut Cut Flower Collective.

intuitive pricing features
Intuitive pricing prompts are one of the newest features on Rootedfarmers.com

Here’s a bit more about both women:

Amelia Ihlo, founder of Rooted Farmers

Amelia Ihlo is the owner of Reverie Flowers, a Slow Flowers member farm based in Etna, New Hampshire. Reverie grows specialty cut flowers, forages for abundant native species, and is wholly committed to sustainable practices in every decision that we make.

In 2019, Amelia began shaping the idea for Rooted Farmers and you can hear the story in Episode 438 from January 2020. Slow Flowers endorses the Rooted Farmers platform and we are happy to announce that for 2021, Amelia is extending the free membership credit to Slow Flowers members. Use the promo code SLOWFLOWERS2021 when you sign up. We will have these details and some screen shots of how the platform works in today’s show notes, as well.

The Billipp family at Eddy Farm (c) Jim Billipp

Owned by Andy and Haley Billipp, Eddy Farm is a 60 acre, fourth generation family owned and operated farm in central Connecticut, just minutes from Hartford.

Haley and Andy grow a mix of vegetables and cut flowers, and sell produce and cut flowers through their roadside farm stand. Eddy Farm offers event floral design and on farm floral design workshops, as well as selling crops to restaurants and floral designers.

eddy farm flowers
Left: Harvesting lisianthus at Eddy Farm (c) Tiny Human Photography; a floral installation by Eddy Farm (c) Haley Billipp

Andy and Haley have known each other since they were tiny, as their mothers and fathers were good friends. They met up in Boulder when they both moved there after college. They soon moved together to a little house on the Colorado plain and began hunting and growing all the food they ate. They learned to preserve and butcher and grow, and when Lucy offered them a place at the farm in Connecticut, they knew it was the next logical step for the kind of land based life they wanted to live, and here they are! They now farm and raise two young children at this very special place. There is a rich history behind this modern-day agricultural enterprise —Read more of their story here.

How sellers manage their customer offerings on Rootedfarmers.com

Thanks so much for joining me today as Amelia, Haley and I discussed new ways for growers to sell more flowers — both at the wholesale and retail levels. It’s an exciting time and I wanted to remind you that I published a story about Rooted Farmers as part of a six-part Slow Flowers Journal series that ran last fall  called: “New Floral Marketing Models and Platforms.” I’ll share a link to that article for you to check it out and learn even more.


More announcements before we wrap up:

First if you listened to last week’s interview with Shawn Michael Foley and Gina Thresher of Fleurvana, you may recall that we have a book giveaway for the first 10 listeners who register for a Free ticket to attend this online conference taking place March 5-7. You’ll hear from more than 20 fabulous presenters and presentations, including the course Robin Avni and I are co-presenting: The Journey From Blog to Book. 

The first 10 listeners who register for a Free Ticket to attend Fleurvana will receive a signed copy of Shawn Michael Foley’s new book, I Just Want To DesignThe Designer’s Survival Guide to Falling in Love with Your Business. We will run the promotion through this Sunday, February 28th,  and announce the winners on March 3rd, right before the next Fleurvana Virtual Summit begins.

Also in our show notes,  you can find the replay video link for the February 18th Webinar presented by Johnny’s Seeds and Slow Flowers. More than 1500 people attended the free webinar led by Johnny’s floral expert Hillary Alger and me. It was a fabulous conversation as we covered four of the 10 Slow Flowers Insights and Forecast themes. If you missed joining the webinar presentation, you can still go back and watch the replay video.


And coming right up, you’re invited to join me for a very special webinar hosted by American Institute of Floral Designers and Slow Flowers on Tuesday, March 8th 4 pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern. It’s an honor to moderate this presentation in collaboration with three of the AIFD regional presidents, including two who are Slow Flowers members. The topic is “From Farm to Florist,” and will discuss the benefits and best practices to incorporate locally-grown flowers into every day designs and event work. I’m thrilled to say that four Slow Flowers members will join the discussion to share their stories and advice for florists. This event is free and open to the public. You can find the registration link in today’s show notes. Hope to see you there!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 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.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

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 longfield-gardens.com.

Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

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 seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 694,000 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.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Game Hens; Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 493: What is Fleurvana? Join Debra Prinzing’s Conversation with co-founders Shawn Michael Foley and Gina Thresher

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

My conversation with today’s guests is helping me to turn my gaze to spring 2021, with a new version of the Fleurvana Online Summit, a multi-day online floral conference that Shawn Michael Foley and Gina Thresher debuted in August of 2020. I’ll tell you more about them before we jump to the full episode, but first, the headlines:

This is the third Fleurvana conference and the theme is “Regeneration and Sustainability,” entirely fitting for a new year and a new season of growth. Fleurvana is dedicated to producing easy-to-obtain education in floral design, business, marketing and other creative topics. Launched with a mission to help fellow florists and designers during the COVID-19 Global Pandemic in 2020, Fleurvana continues to share a virtual beacon of hope for this profession. And moving into 2021, the series continues with a goal of regeneration, rebuilding and sharing inspiration with others — connected through a mutual love of flowers.

With more than 20 presentations from leaders in the floral industry and related fields, the upcoming Fleurvana takes place online, March 5-7. Read on to learn how you can sign up for a FREE registration ticket and enter our book giveaway!

Shawn Michael Foley (left) and Gina Thresher (right)

Here’s a bit more about Shawn and Gina:
Shawn Michael Foley is a floral artist, life coach, photographer, and transformational author who helps designers and creatives navigate through their career and personal roadblocks. Shawn has been in the floral industry for over fourteen years, and his floral art is internationally recognized and published. He has worked heavily in the wedding and event industry and has designed and worked on hundreds of weddings.

Shawn is an accredited member of AIFD and PFCI. He is well known for his Human Form Project, an anthology showcasing unique and sensual floral designs enhancing the natural beauty of the human body. He was also selected as one of the 2016 Mayesh Design Stars. He has presented, showcased and taught on both national and international platforms to the design community including State Associations, The Philadelphia International Flower Show, AIFD National Symposium and his own high-level workshops.

By fusing his floral design background and his Reiki Master Teacher training, Shawn created his coaching platform the Artistic Journey, which guides creative minds to re-fall in love with their art and their business. He now lives in Fort Worth, TX, where his design and coaching practice is based.

Shawn is joined by Gina Thresher of From the Ground Up Floral. She’s a returning guest of this Podcast, and a Slow Flowers member who is accredited by AIFD and EMC, European Masters Certification. Gina co-created Fleurvana with Shawn and has collaborated on the development and curriculum of the conference series, as well as presented at each of them.

The Journey from Blog to Book: with Debra Prinzing (left) and Robin Avni (right)

I credit Gina for inviting me to join Fleurvana as an instructor and Regeneration will be my third appearance in this unique educational format. As I mentioned, I’m super excited for you to join the course Robin Avni and I are co-presenting: The Journey From Blog to Book. 

BLOOM Imprint is the floral book publishing arm of Slow Flowers!

The course is designed for every creative person we’ve met who dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book. As a tangible “artifact,” there is amazing social validation that comes with having a book about your work. A book can narrate your story, teach your concepts and document your work. We believe successful books are driven by a Passion that answers the following: What are you compelled to share? What do you have to offer that will make the world a better place? What is your unique point of view? This course will introduce you to the basic checklist to guide you through our book development idea process and cover our Visual & Verbal Storytelling philosophy at BLOOM Imprint.

The first 10 listeners who register for a Free Ticket to attend Fleurvana will receive a signed copy of Shawn Michael Foley’s new book, I Just Want To Design: The Designer’s Survival Guide to Falling in Love with Your Business.

We will run that promotion through Sunday, February 28th and announce the winners on March 3rd, right before the next Fleurvana Virtual Summit begins.

And as Shawn and Gina discussed, you can attend Fleurvana LIVE for free if you register via the course ticket link in my show notes. Those free sessions are open only for a small window each day of the conference, so if you think you want to enjoy at your leisure, you can purchase the VIP bundle for a modest amount. That gives you all-access to the 20+ presentations but an invitation to an exclusive Q&A roundtable with instructors each day, March 5-7. I hope to see you there!


Last week, we hosted Sean and Allison McManus of Spoken Garden and authors of The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers. We invited listeners to share their comments following the show notes at debraprinzing.com for episode 492 and all those who took the time to comment were entered into a drawing for a giveaway of The First Time Gardener. We had a random drawing of names and our winner is: Leigh James, who wrote this: “I wish I had known about propagation earlier. I could’ve had so many more plants by now.”

Ah, so true, Leigh! Thanks to Quarto Books for the donation and we’ll get your address to them this week!


Thank you to our Sponsors!

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 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.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major Sponsors:

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 mayesh.com.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

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 ascfg.org.

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 691,000 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.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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 soundbodymovement.com


Music Credits:

Daymaze; Highride; Vienna Beat; Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 491: The 19-year evolution of a retail florist with Kelly Marie Thompson of Chicago-based Fleur Inc.

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021
Kelly Marie Thompson of Fleur Inc., shown here on a farm in Tuscany, scouting her upcoming Italy workshop

If you want to walk through a case study of a boutique retail florist and special events florist, today’s guest is here to share! I’m so pleased to welcome Kelly Marie Thompson, owner of Fleur Inc., based in Chicago. Fleur Inc is a diversified lifestyle boutique and special event design studio.

Wedding flowers by Fleur Inc.

Kelly formed the enterprise 19 years ago when she was just 22 years old and has based Fleur Inc. on the value of delivering extraordinary experiences, and offering a curated collection of  home goods, fine jewelry, floral, and custom design. 

Fleur Inc.’s Chicago Storefront

Kelly Marie shares this message on Fleur Inc.’s web site:

Simply stated, we can’t imagine our lives without nature.  Flowers and foliage are our language; they are the way we emote, and the way we evoke the senses.  Our mission is to collaboratively work with our clients in order to craft an experience that stirs the heart, creates a mood & tells a story.  With imagination and technique, we weave every petal, frond and vine into the next chapter, committed to creating extraordinary experiences.”

An upcoming Valentine’s Day image (left); Kelly Marie Thompson of Fleur Inc. (right)

Fleur Inc. is a member of the Slow Flowers Society and has been featured in many online blogs and print magazines including Martha Stewart Weddings, Vogue, Town and Country, Better Homes & Gardens, The Knot and was named one of the top 63 floral designers by Martha Stewart.

An uncommon wedding palette featuring dark, jewel tones by Fleur Inc.

Find and follow Fleur Inc. at these social places:

Fleur Inc. on Instagram

Fleur Inc. on Twitter

Check out Kelly Marie’s online course (see intro video above), “The Art of Growing an Extraordinary Floral Business,” which debuted about one year ago. She has compiled all of her experiences and lessons learned over the past nearly 20 years in retail and event floral design into a six-part online course. Click here for more details.

Learn more about Kelly’s coaching practice through Be Sage Consulting. Maybe this is just the resource you need with the new year — and how wonderful to learn from a fellow Slow Flowers practioner!

Find more details about A Tuscan Gathering ~ Flowering with Kelly Marie Thompson, upcoming, June 5-9, 2022.


Before we wrap, I have a couple important announcements:

All about Hellebores! The topic of our February Slow Flowers (Virtual) Member Meet-Up!

You’re invited to join me this Friday, February 5th at our February Slow Flowers Member Meetup — virtually.

We typically meet on the 2nd Friday of each month, but due to the overlap with Valentine’s weekend, we’re going to gather one week early.

I’m over the moon with our topic for February, which is all about the cultivation of hellebores as cut flowers and floral design with hellebores.

Our guests are both expert plantspeople and Slow Flowers members. You’ll meet Pam Youngsman of PoppyStarts Inc., a plant broker who has spent her entire career connecting garden centers with uncommon perennials, and who now supplies flower farms with those plants; and Riz Reyes, past guest of this podcast, who owns RHR Horticulture. Riz grows hundreds of hellebores in the landscapes he designs and frequently incorporates hellebores into his floral design.

Follow this Zoom link to join us on Friday, February 5th at 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern. If you miss the session, no worries! We will record it for replay viewing.


Next up, Robin Avni, my partner in BLOOM Imprint, and I are getting ready for a new course for all you aspiring floral book authors! We are joining the Fleurvana Virtual Summit March 5-7, focusing on Sustainability and Regeneration, with The Journey from Blog to Book. The course is designed for every creative person we’ve met dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book. As a tangible “artifact,” there is amazing social validation that comes with having a book about your work. A book can narrate your story, teach your concepts and document your work. We believe successful books are driven by a Passion that answers the following: What are you compelled to share? What do you have to offer that will make the world a better place? What is your unique point of view?


Thank you to our Sponsors

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

For each Podcast episode this year, we will also thank three of our Major and Podcast Channel Sponsors. Our first sponsor thanks goes to new channel sponsor Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm specializing in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at redtwigfarms.com.

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 seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.

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 longfield-gardens.com.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 686,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. January 2021 ended up being our most popular month ever for the Slow Flowers Podcast — with nearly 12,000 individual episode downloads. WOW! 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.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Spunk Lit; Turning On the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 490: The launch of BLOOM Imprint, Slow Flowers’ new publishing venture, with co-founders Debra Prinzing and Robin Avni

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

It’s a very exciting day for Slow Flowers and this episode is devoted to some BIG NEWS. I’m thrilled to tell you all about it! I’ve invited Robin Avni, past guest of this podcast, to join me as together we tell you all about our new collaboration — the formation of a boutique book publishing project called BLOOM Imprint.

Debra Prinzing (left) and Robin Avni (right)

BLOOM Imprint emerges from our 15-year professional relationship and friendship. A decade ago, Robin and I collaborated with a talented group of women on a multi-year content and lifestyle consulting project, “Real Women, Real Life.” During that time, we also teamed up to give a presentation on The Female Gardener: Mommy to Maven for the Independent Garden Center Show and co-authored white papers and trend reports about female consumers. 

Fast-forward to 2019-2020, when Robin and I produced Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One, a compendium of the “best of” editorial stories and imagery featured in the “Slow Flowers Journal” section of Florists’ Review magazine. That’s where I previously served as contributing editor and Robin served as managing editor of books, producing 10 book titles related to the floral industry.

We’re announcing the launch of BLOOM Imprint today, with me serving as editorial director and Robin serving as creative director. This venture is committed to developing books that express visual and verbal storytelling in equal measures. By pairing my love of the written word and editorial narrative and Robin’s visually strong creative direction talent, we are pretty jazzed about what we have in store for sharing the people, places, flowers and art of our Slow Flowers Community through a new lineup of books.

Read our Press Announcement Here:


Where We Bloom: Our first title

We believe that “setting” is an important facet to making art — and nothing could be truer for floral designers and floral artists. This book profiles the people, art and creative work spaces of designers and makers.

The subtitle is: Thirty-Six Intimate, Inventive and Artistic Studio Spaces Where Floral Passions Find a Place to Blossom

Step inside the personal environments where flowers come to life. “Where We Bloom” showcases beautiful plant- and flower-filled settings of Slow Flowers designers, farmer-florists and growers. Each setting reflects the personality and aesthetic style of its owner, offering great ideas to inspire the design, decor, organization, and of course, functionality of your creative space.

Publication Date: April 2021
Pre-ordering information will be shared soon!


Between us, Robin and I have produced and published more than 20 lifestyle, design, architecture, floral and gardening titles. We formed BLOOM Imprint as a boutique publishing company with the mission of identifying creative entrepreneurial book ideas and growing them — from the seed of an initial concept to a finished product. As we publish new authors and consult with aspiring ones, we believe that producing a book is ultimately one of the most affordable marketing endeavors available to creatives.

From our “Who We Are” page on BLOOMImprint.com — learn about our backgrounds and experiences, and read what people say about working with us!

Let me tell you a little more about Robin Avni and then we’ll jump right in and get started:

A creative veteran in the media + high-tech industries, Robin’s experience includes 15+ years in the publishing industry and eight years at Microsoft in design and creative management. She has successfully managed innovative, award-winning design teams and high-profile projects as well as receiving numerous national design and photography editing awards for her own work. Robin has produced 10 books, including collaborating with Debra on the Slow Flowers Journal. 

In 2004, following Microsoft, she founded bricolage*, a consultancy specializing in creative strategy, content development, and arts advocacy. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, national advertising agencies and award-winning media properties, applying timely actionable insights to their businesses.  ​Robin received a BA in journalism from Indiana University, Bloomington and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan; she holds a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington. 

Listen to my December 2018 Slow Flowers Podcast Episode with Robin — a segment called “How creatives can be authentic in a digital age.”

Anticipation! Here are our first five books in the BLOOM Imprint catalog, with titles from Debra Prinzing, Felicia Alvarez, Holly Heider Chapple, Teresa J. Speight and Cynthia Zamaria!

Thanks so much for joining Robin Avni and me as we shared a conversation about BLOOM Imprint.

Follow BLOOM Imprint at these social places:

BLOOM Imprint on Instagram

BLOOM Imprint on Facebook

BLOOM Imprint on Pinterest

Listen to our fun Floral-Inspired Playlist, created to commemorate the launch of BLOOM Imprint.

And remember, you can join us at the Fleurvana Virtual Summit March 5-7, focusing on Sustainability and Regeneration, where Robin and I will present an original new course, From Blog to Book Proposal. The course is designed for every creative person we’ve met dreams of sharing their art, craftsmanship and aesthetic in a book. As a tangible “artifact,” there is amazing social validation that comes with having a book about your work. A book can narrate your story, teach your concepts and document your work. We believe successful books are driven by a Passion that answers the following: What are you compelled to share? What do you have to offer that will make the world a better place? What is your unique point of view?


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 830 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.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

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 mayesh.com.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

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 ascfg.org.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 683,000 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.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right here at debraprinzing.com

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Heartland Flyer; Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 489: Fawn Rueckert of Sego Lily Flower Farm, an urban micro farm in Utah

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021
Fawn Rueckert at her Farmers’ Market stall

I have a fabulous and informative conversation for you today, with Fawn Rueckert of Sego Lily Flower Farm, based in Utah’s Salt Lake Valley.

The emerging Utah flower farming community gathered at Poppin’ Blossoms on September 7th. I’m so glad I met everyone! Fawn is seen second from the right.

I first met Fawn in person in September 2019 when I was in Salt Lake City for the annual GardenComm conference. I skipped out one day and rented a car to drive about 30 minutes south of the city to join a gathering of Utah flower growers. Laura Pittard of Poppin’ Blossoms hosted the lovely luncheon and tour of her beautiful cut flower fields and you’ll want to go back and listen to Episode 418 that we recorded prior to the event. There, I met Fawn and learned about her urban micro farm and focus on retail sales of her flowers through a CSA subscription and farmers’ market outlets.

Students of last summer’s popular cutting garden series take home bountiful buckets of flowers like this one

Fawn has been on my wish list to interview. She is vice president of the burgeoning Utah Cut Flower Farm Association and you’ll hear an update about that amazing collection of inter-mountain west flower growers. As it turns out, at that same gathering in September 2019, I met Heather Griffiths of Wasatch Blooms, a colleague of Fawns through the Utah Cut Flower Farm Association. You can hear my interview with Heather in Episode 428 which aired in November 2019, along with an interview with Slow Flowers member Ali Harrison of Florage Utah.

Sego Lily Flower Farm, fenced to keep out the family dog!

There’s a lot going on in this part of the country, an area that Fawn points out is only recently embracing local flower agriculture and sustainable design.

Making the most of a suburban backyard and a “Sister Farm” at the neighbor’s

Fawn shares a lovely “about” essay on her website for Sego Lily Flower Farm, which talks about her childhood wonder of the plant world, and her gardening family roots. She picks up the narrative after moving from Southern California to Utah with her young family, writing:

“We   As we dove head first into landscaping,  my childhood dreams were coming true, I finally had my own bit of earth to tend and plant.  Only it wasn’t enough, I needed more, so in 2013 we moved to a smaller home on a larger lot.  Now with 4 sons in tow, we began designing and building my dream potager, complete with a cutting garden.  It didn’t take long to realize that it would be a lot more fun to share the bounty of our garden than keep it to ourselves, and we established Sego Lily Flower Farm in 2017.  We focus on growing cut flower varieties that are unique, that wouldn’t survive the rigors of shipping, are most beautiful when grown locally and grow them in a way that is safe for our family and yours.”

Sego Lily Flower Farm is situated in  Salt Lake valley on Fawn’s 1/3-acre suburban lot. We focus on sustainable growing practices, feeding the soil with organic material, and avoid the excessive use of herbicides and pesticides. 

I’m excited for you to hear the rest of the story, including how Fawn is branching out into education and workshops. You will find photos of this talented farmer-florist and links to her social places in our show notes at debraprinzing.com for Episode 489. Let’s get started.

Find and follow Fawn at these social places:

Sego Lily Flower Farm on Facebook

Sego Lily Flower Farm on Instagram

Each student has his or her own row at Snuck Farm, where Fawn teaches the “Backyard Cut Flower Garden Course”

Fawn’s Backyard Cut Flower Garden Course at Snuck Farm

If you live in any of the inter-mountain states, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming check out the Utah Cut Flower Farm Association. As Fawn mentioned, there are people and resources for the entire region.


I want to direct you to a few cool video resources that we posted for Slow Flowers members this past week.

First, you can find the concluding post in our eight-part weekly series about all the insights and themes from our 2021 Slow Flowers member survey — on Slow Flowers Journal.com. Karen Thornton and Niesha Blancas joined me for a lively recap Q&A discussing some of the survey’s findings that reveal much more about YOU, our members. We also share many of the comments and questions that members wrote in response to two open-ended questions: What are the key ways in which you have found value in the Slow Flowers member benefits? and Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns you’d like to share with Slow Flowers? We recorded our Zoom conversation on January 14th and you’ll want to watch. Karen and Niesha added so much to that session, but truly, Edd and Rami, Niesha’s two cats, are the stars of the show! Since Niesha pointed out that she looks for images of your flowers with pets while curating the Slow Flowers Society IG feed, this will come as no surprise!


Last week, I also invited you join our free webinar about Botanical Couture fashions for the upcoming American Flowers Week 2021 promotional campaign. It is a fabulous session and I’ve posted the link to our replay video in today’s show notes for you to hear from more than ten past botanical couture creators, each of whom shared how they conceptualized their unique, iconic look for past American Flowers Week collections.


Thank you to our Sponsors

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021: Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 800 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.

Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.com.

Johnny’s 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 johnnysseeds.com.

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 syndicatesales.com.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 680,000 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.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Turning On the Lights; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field; Paper Wings
audionautix.com

Episode 488: Meet my neighborhood florists, Cindi Schriock from CMS Floral Design and Gina Thresher of From the Ground up Floral

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Hello friends! It’s 2021 and I couldn’t be happier to welcome you to our fun conversation today!

Anyone who’s been part of the Slow Flowers Community knows how deeply we value professional contacts that develop into friendships. And today, you will meet two women who are Slow Flowers members, and now, both my neighbors and friends.

I live in a little suburb of Seattle called Des Moines, Washington, which is just south of the metropolis! Our first guest is Cindi Schriock, owner of CMS Floral Design, here in Des Moines. And our second guest is Gina Thresher of From the Ground up Floral, located in Kent, Washington, the much larger community just east of us.

Cindy Schriock of CMS Floral Design (left) and with one of her signature urn designs (right)

Both women have home-based studios, and as it turns out, I learned that both started their floral journeys about 12 years ago. Cindi will explain how she organically built CMS Floral Design while working full-time in a corporate job. And Gina will share a somewhat similar path, beginning when she designed the flowers for her own wedding and growing her studio while raising her two young children.

A CMS Floral Design bridal bouquet

I feel so much affection for both of these women. Earlier this year, after the death of my father, I was so pleased to see that friends who wanted to send their sympathies ordered floral arrangements for me by look at slowflowers.com to find my local florists. Both Cindi and Gina delivered heartfelt, stunning arrangements that my family, especially including my mother, and I really enjoyed.

One of Seattle Elegant Sofreh designs for a ceremony at the Edmonds (WA) Yacht Club, designed by Cindy Schriock

In addition to CMS Floral Design’s focus on flowers for corporate clients and everyday orders, Cindi owns Seattle Elegant Sofreh, a specialty design service for Persian wedding ceremonies. The Sofreh is a cultural tradition that is created in addition to the wedding flowers, incorporating several features and ingredients that are symbolic and meaningful.

Gina Thresher, AIFD, EMC, of From the Ground Up Floral (left) and one of her exuberant bouquets, which was selected as one of the Top Ten TROPICAL NOUVEAU designs, sponsored by Neotropical Hawaii

Gina started From the Ground Up, transitioning to a full-service floral design practice after studying invertebrate biology. As you’ll hear in our conversation, her business formation began with her own wedding flowers, which she designed.  She explains, “I was that DIY crazy bride, the one that doesn’t really notice she’s spending a fortune to ruin her nails and causing her family to panic when she doesn’t have the boutonnieres done at 3 a.m. the morning of the wedding.”

Gina’s use of color, texture, composition is expressed in these two bouquets

Hooked, Gina took classes and pursued floral certifications at the national and international level, including AIFD (American Institute of Floral Designers) and EMC (European Master Certification). She teaches in person and virtual design courses, lectures and is active on social media, primarily as the PNW chapter president for AIFD.

More Resources and Links:
Follow Cindy Schriock at these social places: CMS Floral Design on Facebook and Instagram

Follow Gina at these social places: From the Ground Up Floral on Facebook and Instagram

Follow this link for more details about Gina’s upcoming online course:

Florist’s Business Bunch

  • Step by step tutorials. Play, pause, and implement. Or watch at your own pace anytime.
  • Templates galore. Trello boards for you to copy to get you started.
  • Lifetime access to the bundle (even when it’s no longer for sale)
  • Mix of content. From pdfs to video. Many styles of learning are supported.
  • Get the power of a Client manager, Graphic designer, and Project manager in one bundle!

Click here for more details on the Spring Fleurvana Virtual Summit: Sustainability & Regeneration, March 5-7, 2021


Connecting with more of you – either in person or virtually thanks to technology — is one of my ongoing goals.

I encourage you to take advantage of our monthly Slow Flowers’ member virtual meet-ups. The January session took place last week. Here is the replay video, in case you missed it! Our theme was “Floral Wellness,” and I want to thank Rachel Johnson of Simply Grounded, who introduced us to Sogetsu Ikebana and demonstrated three incredible designs for us to learn from.


This Friday, January 15th at 9 am Pacific/Noon eastern, you are invited to join our free webinar focusing on how to create Botanical Couture fashions for the upcoming American Flowers Week 2021 campaign. If you have ever been interested in participating as a creator of a floral fashion, this session is for you! As of the date of this recording, ten past botanical couture creators are confirmed to present, and we will hear how each conceptualized their unique, iconic look for past American Flowers Week collections.


February Member “Virtual” Meet-Up

A Floral Welcome
This wonderful pocket vase adorns my front door, containing curly willow, garden hellebores and pretty white summer snowflakes.

And save the date for the February Slow Flowers member virtual meet-up — we’re moving it a little earlier next month because of Valentine’s Day, so we will gather online February 5th to learn more about growing and designing with hellebores! More to come on that in our February newsletter; if you’re not currently receiving the newsletter, subscribe here!


Thank you to our Sponsors!


This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 800 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.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

The 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 ascfg.org.

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 longfield-gardens.com.

The 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 seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.


Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 677,000 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.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow Flowers 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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Turning On the Lights; Pinky; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 487: Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast for 2021

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

The Pursuit of Nature

This Forecast began seven years ago in 2014 when I began documenting shifts and changes in the Slow Flowers Movement. I recently described the origins of this important exercise in my new online course, Taking Stock and Looking Ahead [P.S. follow this link to learn how you can take this free course as my gift to you.]

Here’s how I remember it:
In 2014, when I launched slowflowers.com as an online directory of American flowers and the growers and florists who supplied them, I worked with two talented public relations friends to get the word out to the media. While planning a visit to meet with lifestyle and garden magazine editors in New York, one of the PR experts urged me to create a Power Point slide deck that included an overview of floral trends I associated with the emerging Slow Flowers movement.

In creating that deck, which became my first forecast for 2015 (see above), I learned a few important lessons. I share this in the context of the social media term “impostor syndrome,” because it’s no surprise — we all feel that sometimes. When Lola and Marla encouraged me to write a trend forecast, at first I thought: Who am I to forecast trends? Isn’t that a role only for the experts?

Their response: You have a point of view and it’s based on hundreds of interviews that you conduct for articles and for your Podcast over the course of each year. See what bubbles up from those topics and themes that excites you about the year to come.

I realized that since I was the one who conducted those interviews and wrote those articles, I was viewing trends through my own lens and filter — the Slow Flowers perspective.

When I shared that Power Point deck with editors and had positive responses (as in, they took it seriously during our meetings), I later decided to post the 10 insights on my blog and record a Slow Flowers Podcast episode about it. You can go back and listen to episode 174 from December 31, 2014

The Power Point deck I shared with editors became a blog post and, as I mentioned, the Podcast show notes. Then I shared it with Slow Flowers members in my monthly newsletter. And then a few floral trade publications picked it up.

As a result, I became an “Accidental Forecaster”, and that has elevated Slow Flowers’ unique and relevant viewpoint in the floral marketplace. I’ve learned some valuable lessons. We’re no longer waiting for Martha Stewart or Oprah or Chip and Joanna to tell us what’s on trend. Each of us can speak with an authentic voice about our observations, key cultural shifts and new creative directions in the floral space. In the end, the forecast is a tool; a roadmap that helps me and others consider what is around the bend or across the horizon. It sparks conversation and sometimes, to be honest, it sparks controversy.

The Pursuit of Nature


So let’s get started! I have 10 insights to share with you for the year to come. I’m calling our 2021 Report: “In Pursuit of Nature,” and you can understand why, right?

As we enter 2021, at least in the short term, not much will feel different from the past nine months. And if there is anything we’ve learned since mid-March 2020, it’s the essential and irreplaceable role of flowers and plants for our survival. And that’s why my outlook is deeply connected to humankind’s pursuit of nature — and how floral entrepreneurs like you can and should tap into and enhance that pursuit through your efforts.

I learned about the term “Biophilia” in October 2019 when I interviewed Tom Precht and Sarah Daken of Grateful Gardeners. Tom is a big advocate of Biophilia and he opened my eyes to its relevance as we make personal and business decisions that impact our planet’s survival. He discussed the definition when I interviewed him, but here it is again, according to Merriam Webster:
Biophilia: “a hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature

All you have to do is read the headlines of 2020 to see a collective shift toward nature, plants, the environment – and yes, flowers.

A recent article in the Washington Post caught my attention. The headline reads: The isolation of the pandemic caused her to form a new and intense relationship to nature. She was hardly alone. The benefits of being outdoors for your physical and mental well-being are well documented, but in this coronavirus era, they may be immeasurable.”

A Forbes headline reads: “Nature Is Good For Your Mental Health, Sometimes”

The University of Washington shared this research: “Dose of nature at home could help mental health, well-being during COVID-19” The report stated:

“Studies have proven that even the smallest bit of nature — a single tree, a small patch of flowers, a house plant — can generate health benefits,” said Kathleen Wolf, a UW research social scientist in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “Look closely in your neighborhood, and the bit of nature you may have taken for granted up until now may become the focus of your attention and help you feel better.”


What are we watching for in 2021? The Slow Flowers Community’s experiences of 2020 definitely inform what is top of mind for 2021. Over the past several years, as we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to educate consumers and professionals alike; and thankfully, we are coming off a year when the attention of many turned to the Slow Flowers Movement.

Locally-grown, seasonal and sustainable flowers answer questions about a safe and reliable supply of flowers. Awareness our Movement continues to increased as floral consumers and florists alike shifted their focus to what’s closer to home. Panic over the international floral supply chains has quickly turned to a subtle but significant and newfound understanding that if we don’t nurture and support our local flower supply, there may come a day when farmland has been converted to real estate developments; where commitment to a safer, more sustainable earth has been displaced by convenience.

The anecdotal feedback I’m hearing is heartening. I received an email recently from a leader in, shall I say, “mainstream” floristry, who wrote:

“After two decades of thinking traditional wholesaler connections were the only way to run a floral studio or shop, I’m slowly starting to learn about local flower-farmers and am constantly in awe of their entrepreneurial spirit, and can’t imagine how much hard work goes into what they do. For that, I want to give them as much business as I can! I know that you had a big hand in getting this trend in motion and I thank you for that!”

As we seek new and diverse voices in the Slow Flowers Movement, I believe we will continue to witness a positive shift to a more progressive, inclusive, conscious marketplace for the flowers you grow and design with. And we will continue to document the shift with stories, interviews and resources to encourage you.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey, more than 200 of you, who I mentioned during last week’s “Year in Review” report, is triple past year’s participation.

In addition to the Survey, which asked members to share about their floral businesses, including emerging themes and topics important to them, this Forecast is informed by my 2020 storytelling — first-person interviews for print and digital Slow Flowers Journal stories, interviews with more than one-hundred Slow Flowers Podcast guests, and conversations with thought-leaders in floral design, flower farming and related creative professions.

I hope you find these insights and the 2021 forecast valuable to you. You may hear some themes that resonate with you and I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions about what you agree with and what topics you wish we included.

You can Download a PDF of the 2021 Forecast here:


#1 Floral Wellness

Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers in Brooklyn created the “Seasonal Flower Project” in 2020 — a popular local-flower subscription program that supported her favorite farms and put those flowers in the hands of people eager to connect with nature. Listen to our interview with Molly in Episode 451

The yearning for a connection to nature is truly unprecedented in our society, something many of you witnessed first-hand when Mother’s Day 2020 shattered prior years’ records for floral sales. Demand added up to three words: People. Need. Flowers.

In past Forecasts, I’ve touched on similar themes, including the popularity of Aromatherapy Bars (2018) and the Year of the Houseplant (2019). Floral Wellness is more sweeping in its meaning. More than ever, consumers and their senses are drawn to your blooms. They are drawn for fragrance and scent, for medicinal qualities, for skin and body care benefits, for nutritional meals, palette-satisfying beverages, and for — above all — their mental health.

I define Floral Wellness as
An embrace of the therapeutic importance of flowers, both in our own environments and as a meaningful way to share with others. Floral Wellness nurtures a positive and habitual desire to have flowers in our lives and as an expression of our desire for others to also experience flowers’ emotional, physical, mental and psychic value.

This idea can be manifested in ways both simple and accessible to your clients, as well as more ambitious endeavors. From the rise of flower workshops (in person at a safe distance or in many virtual forms) to the explosion of CSA subscriptions as more consumers desired more flowers, Floral Wellness took root in 2020 and is yours to nurture and enhance with new offerings to your community in 2021.

A few comments bubbled up from our 2021 Member Survey that underscore this idea and I’ll share them here:

“People want more flowers!”
“More local and more of it!”
“I believe local will become more desired.”
“People want to bring more flowers into their homes and are getting into floral design as a hobby.”
“Flowers bring smiles and happiness in times when we need it most.”
“I think people will be more oriented towards decorating their living spaces. Also, gifting flowers to loved ones.”

“Customers may start treating themselves with fresh flowers.”
“As work-from-home becomes normalized, the interest in gardening/flowers/natural world grows.”
“I’m seeing a desire for more beauty and more positivity.”

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Use a megaphone to share your story, your flowers, and your belief that flowers are essential to our wellness and health.


#2 The Virtual Florist

All images from “Designer’s Choice,” a July 2020 Slow Flowers Journal Report in Florists’ Review — featuring (clockwise, from top left): greenSinner, Maple + Mum, Floral Alchemy, Sellwood Flower Co. and Studio Artiflora

What do I mean by the Virtual Florist? We’re living in a world of “virtual” everything, so the term is truly relevant and timely. In the Slow Flowers Community, we spent 2020 covering the ascent of virtual floristry, through our podcast interviews, in Slow Flowers Journal stories, and during our weekly and monthly Slow Flowers member virtual meet-ups. For the Virtual Florist, innovation and creativity meet a marketplaces of Covid-imposed limitations and constraints.

The Virtual Florist
is adaptable, flexible and inventive in finding ways to successfully deliver flowers to his or her community.
The Virtual Florist utilizes technology and serves customers’ needs where they are. The Virtual Florist disrupts “definitions” of what type of florist you may have been in the past.

This means you might own a retail flower store, but you’ve added an online shop; or, you’re studio-based, but you now offer everyday flowers through contact-free curbside delivery; or, you’ve never grown flowers before, but this year you’ve planted thousands of tulip bulbs to sell from your front porch using only your neighborhood’s Facebook page to get out the word (that’s a real story about one of our members!)

The Virtual Florist consults, teaches and inspires in new ways, too. Virtual floristry is more egalitarian and transparent. Anyone can turn on a camera and film a demonstration or tutorial for IGTV, Facebook Live, YouTube and on other platforms — the field is more level than before. It’s not just the “big names” who are attracting audiences, especially because the return to expensive, in-person workshops will be slow and gradual.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Dial up your imagination. What may have began as a coping mechanism to stay busy or stimulate creativity is now a new business opportunity. Develop and invest time and resources into at least one virtual component of your floral enterprise. Be ready to connect with your community whose shopping habits have dramatically changed, perhaps forever.


#3 Flowers in a Box

Mail-order Floral Offerings from Slow Flowers members, clockwise from top left: Petals by the Shore, Postal Petals, Harmony Harvest Farm and Flora Fun Box

Shipping flowers is nothing new, but until this moment, only a few successful companies were getting it right.

In our 2018 forecast, I identified the early adopters behind this shift with the insight “Flower Farmers Launch Direct-Ship Wholesale Programs,” so what’s new about “Flowers in a Box?”

Now, based on necessity, we are witnessing more models, most consumer-direct, designed to move local and seasonal flowers from point A to point B, with more Slow Flowers members experimenting in the world of boxed and shipped blooms.

Slow Flowers members who had never before shipped flowers began to do so in 2020. The first report we shared about this shift can be heard in early April when I interviewed Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm about the decision to ship early spring flowers when local farmers’ markets and on-farm sales were impossible. It was a survival strategy that foreshadowed a strategic business shift. You can find a link to that conversation in Episode 448.

Flowers in a Box covers a diversity of methods and formats, from overnight shipping of bulk flowers, arrangements, floral packages for weddings and more.

Members are also experimenting with the shipping of dried flowers and live plants. And others are mixing design tutorials into the mix (a nod to Insight #2 and The Virtual Florist).

This past fall, we published a six-part Slow Flowers Journal series, called New Floral Marketing Models and Platforms. I’ll share the link for you to go back and read the series in case you missed it. One of the series’ most interesting themes – to me – explores how designers and flower farmers are partnering to create boxed floral collections for home-based floral enthusiasts. Check out my stories about Petals by the Shore, Postal Petals and Flora Fun Box as examples.

We will be tracking more of this “Flowers in a Box” phenomenon moving into 2021, relying on our membership in CalFlowers, the only national trade group that offers flower farmers and floral designers access to deep discounts on overnight shipping rates. CalFlowers has joined the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit 2021 as a Supporting Sponsor, and we will be sharing more about this organization in future programs.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Ask yourself: What can you put in a box — perishable or non-perishable — and offer to customers who are not in your physical market, but who want to share and experience your brand?


#4 Botanical Activism

Scenes from Slow Flowers initiatives around the U.S., clockwise from top left: Portland, Maine, installation; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, installation; Slow Flowers’ social media badge; Detroit, Michigan, installation; and Say Their Names Memorial in Kirkland, Washington

2020 was a year in which I stepped back to evaluate whether my beliefs and values were in alignment with our brand. And I know this was the case for many of you, as well.

We highlighted “Cause-Related Flowers” in our 2018 Forecast, citing the news that more flower farmers and florists were investing their talents to help nonprofits and others in their communities through floral philanthropy efforts.

The contributions of so many of our members – growers and designers alike – continue to impact our communities. It began with the simple question: Did you donate your flowers to any causes or charities this past year? So many of you can answer in the affirmative.

But something is different now. We’ve all been touched by the awareness that the social and environmental landscape is dramatically changing. And if we do not step up to walk the talk in our own floral enterprises, I believe we are only deceiving ourselves.

I define Botanical Activism as one expression of social enterprise.
For Slow Flowers members, this takes shape in many ways:

Writing a statement of purpose for
your brand
Committing resources to racial equity, inclusion and representation in your business practice

Using your flowers to speak volumes about the issues you care about, from climate change to human rights.

And yes, you may occasionally feel the sting of criticism. I’ve seen it in social media posts, along the lines of this comment: “I just want to see beautiful flowers and I come here for a respite away from the conflict and disagreements I watch or hear on the news. Why do you have to be so political here on a floral feed?”

I believe we can no longer stay comfortable in our safe flower worlds when others are suffering discrimination or injustice. I’m not saying we need to become full-time activists. We have businesses to run, bills to pay, households to support, of course. But even in small and subtle ways, we can be Botanical Activists to signal our values and beliefs.

Your answers in the 2021 Slow Flowers Member Survey revealed your beliefs and passion for causes important to your brands:

  • 61% of our Members say they are taking steps to create Inclusion, Representation and Equity policies for their businesses
  • 53% of our Members are aligning their brands with human rights and social justice messaging/activities
  • 46% of our Members’ businesses have participated in cause-related activities to support Black Lives Matter and antiracism campaigns

In 2020, I witnessed the manifestation of these values across the Slow Flowers membership, inspired by so many of you, your efforts to take a stand for social justice, and to show positive support through your flowers.

Moving forward, this isn’t optional. It’s essential. For Slow Flowers, we are adding a sixth statement to the Slow Flowers Manifesto, originally written in 2017 and published on Slow Flowers Journal. Every one of the five original statements in our Manifesto could be considered by some to be radical and norm-busting in the conventional sense. They include:

Slow Flowers commits to the following practices:

  • To recognize and respect the seasons by celebrating and designing with flowers when they naturally bloom
  • To reduce the transportation footprint of the flowers and foliage consumed in the marketplace by sourcing as locally as possible
  • To support flower farmers small and large by crediting them when possible through proper labeling at the wholesale and consumer level
  • To encourage sustainable and organic farming practices that respect people and the environment
  • To eliminate waste and the use of chemical products in the floral industry

Today I am adding a sixth statement, long in coming and inspired by the actions of many of our members and colleagues in the green profession:

To proactively pursue equity, inclusion and representation in the floral marketplace, intentionally valuing
Black floral professionals
(farmers, floral designers and vendors) in our business practice with as much support as we give to environmental sustainability.

I recently came across a wonderful affirmation from SF-based diversity and inclusion expert Arthur Chan of Arthur Chan Consulting and it resonates with this new addition to our Manifesto.

This insight’s key takeaway for you: Belonging implies community and my pledge to each of you is to model this value in all of Slow Flowers’ actions, programs, content and investments, not just for 2021 but beyond. As I said last week in our year-in-review, until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in, more needs to be done. So, in the coming year, we will be highlighting your Botanical Activism — what causes are your flowers supporting? How are you enhancing your community and sharing your values? Please keep me posted as I seek stories of equity and inclusion, and continue the conversation.


# 5 Theatre of the Tabletop

Designs from left: Tobey Nelson, Tobey Nelson Weddings & Events; Susan Chambers, BloominCouture; Dawn Clark and Mary Coombs, A Garden Party LLC; Beth Syphers, Crowley House Flower Farm; and Kelli Galloway, Hops Petunia Floral

The inspiration for this insight arrived in my in-box in October, when a college friend of mine sent a link from The Guardian, a UK daily newspaper. The headline read: “‘Napkins are the new fashion’: the improbable rise of tablescaping”

Written by lifestyle reporter Hannah Marriott, the article captured my imagination, as she likens tabletops to our own personal stage for artistic expression.

She wrote: ” . . . it was in lockdown, perhaps inevitably, that tablescaping became a phenomenon. With so many of us working from home, our social lives disappearing and desperate for some comfort, our focus on our homes was never sharper.

The article continues: “Tablescaping, a small joy that can take a few minutes or a few hours, and makes dinnertime instantly prettier, is part of this national self soothing.”

Gate Cottage Garden botanical tabletop collection @scottwittmanartsculpture

The person who shared this article with me, my friend Scott Wittman, is a creative director who has spent his own COVID year exiled in the Kent countryside away from his London office. He has invested all of his free time photographing the blooms in his garden to document the passing of time, season by season. It helps that his pre-Georgian cottage is surrounded by an acre of a traditional English garden planted about 40 years ago — that’s priceless inspiration!

Scott’s garden and his photography project led him to produce an entire product line for the table, including dishes and linen tablecloths and napkins adorned with his graphic and polychromatic botanical photography. He plans on debuting the “Gate Cottage Garden” collection at the 2021 Chelsea Flower Show and I’ve been urging Scott to figure out distribution in the U.S. For now, check out images of his garden-inspired table accessories in our show notes and follow him on IG at @scottwittmanartsculpture

As I pulled together insights for 2021, I couldn’t forget this old-new idea of tablescaping and it came up again in several conversations, including, most recently with Susan Chambers, Slow Flowers florist based in San Francisco. She described to me how her business BloominCouture has changed in 2020, with more residential floristry accounts than ever.

“It goes beyond flowers,,” Susan says. “So much of what I’m hearing my clients say (is) that they want to understand, not just the floristry, but creating that moment at the table. They want me to create the vision, the pomegranates down the table, the privet berries dripping out of the arrangement. They’re wanting that me to come in and create that moment for them before the dinner party.”

Tablescaping can be the ultimate Slow Flowers expression, as your florals enhance human interactions, mark occasions both special and ordinary, and celebrate the art of dining. Many of you design tablescapes for styled shoots — some of the most adventurous and theatrical meals imaginable. Let’s celebrate the objects we cherish, and create palettes that honor both how food is grown and the origin of the floral decor. I view the theatre of the tabletop as a way to honor the gift of time.

Tablescape designed by Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse and Laura W. Tibbitts of Midcoast Blooms

This insight’s key takeaway for you: How can you combine your flowers and floral designs into a full package? Hannah Marriott’s article in The Guardian triggers so many ideas that you’ll want to explore in 2021. She writes: “Thanks to social distancing and unbridled screen time, the ‘tablescapes’ hashtag now has 455,000 Instagram posts and counting, and it is lifting sales during the crisis. In lockdown, with the hospitality industry on pause, tablescaping took a different direction. For one thing, it provided an income stream – or at least a trickle – to companies whose businesses might have capsized in the crisis.”


#6 Reversing Climate Change

Slow Flowers’ member farms, from left Seattle Wholesale Growers Market dahlia farm shown against the September 2020 wildfire smoke; Stacey Denton of Flora Farm in Ashland, Oregon, using high tunnels to grow sweet peas; at Red Twig Farms in Johnstown, Ohio, low-tunnels for crop protection

Last year, in the 2020 Floral Insights & Industry Forecast, I featured Climate Change for the first time with an insight titled “Responding to Climate Change.” The urgency felt by the Slow Flowers Community is heightened as we move into 2021. Your responses to Climate Change questions in the Slow Flowers Survey reveal that urgency. It can seem overwhelming, but our individual actions and the policies we collectively support are powerful tools to employ as a community.

Last year, Forty-four percent of our survey respondents said they were adjusting growing practices to adapt to climate change. In this year’s Survey, 54% of Members say they are aligning their brands with climate change messaging/activities.

We also asked you to share about How Has Climate Change Affected You and Your Business? Here is a recap:

  • Nearly 60% of you cite weather irregularities (too much or too little rain)
  • 30% say abnormally warm OR abnormally cold spring seasons
  • 25% cite early frost arrival
  • Nearly 20% blame disaster-related damage (wildfire, flooding, hurricane, hailstorms, tornados and other weather tragedies)
  • Another reason cited includes extended hot periods with no precipitation. 

One respondent put it this way: “Weather seems more extreme and unpredictable.”

Another wrote: “It’s not at disaster level yet, but the damaging winds and rains devastated my cosmos and the smoke from the fires sullied my white roses and strawflowers.”

What can we do? What active steps are you taking to address Climate Change in your farm, shop or studio? We know about and have covered the importance of No-Till Farming Methods, Cover Crops, Crop Rotation, Raised Beds, Water efficient irrigation. We know florists are more actively than ever rejecting single-use plastics and other chemical-based products in their designs.

What else? In the coming year, Slow Flowers commits to more reporting on your efforts to reverse climate change, efforts that will inspire others and will empower our members to take positive action in small and large ways.

For now, this insight’s Key takeaway for you: Educate yourself. Join me in seeking meaningful change as we strive to protect our climate, environment, communities and planet.


#7 Beyond the Hobbyist

Deeper Learning, clockwise from top left: Farmer-Florist workshop taught by Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm; a similar workshop taught by Liz Kreig of Maple Flower Farm; Cutting Garden Design with Longfield Gardens & Slow Flowers; wreath design workshops taught by Sarah Nixon of My Luscious Backyard; and Debra Prinzing floral design to fellow Garden Writers

The DIY trend has been with us for a decade, and according to my friend and publishing partner Robin Avni, after that length of time a trend that was once new, such as do-it-yourself, folds into the broader culture and becomes mainstream. Originally, I wanted to call this insight “Beyond DIY: Figure it Out” and I turned to Robin to help me flesh it out. My idea was that since more consumers than ever are seeking new knowledge, floral enterprises need to be attuned to this reality in order to offer them what they’re seeking.

But a conversation with Robin gave me a new term: Beyond the Hobbyist. Robin is my go-to expert when I want to understand what’s happening in the consumer marketplace; she spent many years working in consumer research managing a portfolio of Fortune 500 clients as a Senior Director and Lead Consumer Strategist at Iconoculture, and as a Senior Ethnographer at The Hartman Group, where she engaged in primary consumer qualitative research. And those of you who have a copy of my new book Slow Flowers Journal-volume one will know of Robin’s influence as a visual designer — she is the creative director for that publication and my partner in the BLOOM Imprint, the new book-publishing arm of Slow Flowers.

According to Robin, DIY is everywhere, and thus, no longer new. “People feel they can access information on YouTube and figure things out themselves, from painting their walls to building a deck to designing an outdoor space,” she explains.

As an insight, though, Beyond the Hobbyist embodies so much more than DIY, more than saving money or exploring a hobby, Robin explains. “It’s about embracing a skill that gives you a sense of pride and feeds your soul. It’s about having a deeper, long-lasting connection to a skill, such as flower gardening and floral design.”

She continues: “People want to learn new skills, but then, they want to fold it into their lifestyle. They want to go beyond something superficial. They want to know that when they gather flowers from the farm-stand they can replicate at home what they learned in your design class; thanks to your class, they understand why it’s important to support the stems and change the water regularly.”

Easy, mechanics from the professional to Beyond the Hobbyist

I suspect this sentiment is a driving force behind the popularity of product lines like Holly x Syndicate’s egg and pillow mechanics, available not just to the trade, but to the enlightened floral enthusiast who wants to use the same tools and supplies that the pros use. Similarly, having the ability to order single units of the Floral Genius pin-frogs means these professional tools are getting into the hands of anyone who wants to elevate their floral design practice.

Beyond the Hobbyist is all about intentionality rather than a random DIY experience.

We will continue to witness this urge to both know a skill AND understand the why and how behind it, Robin explains. “For example, once a customer experiences a flower farm, they want more. They don’t necessarily want to be a flower farmer, but they want to understand how to grow their own cut flowers, and nurture that practice through the seasons for their own enjoyment and to share with friends and family.”

A polychromatic series: Seeing Color in the Garden @gardenercook

We talked about this further and what came to mind is the desire among many consumers to have a “Daily Practice.” And that led to my friend Lorene Edwards Forkner, Seattle Times gardening columnist, author and artist. Lorene’s Instagram feed @gardenercook features her daily practice called #seeingcolorinthegarden. Lorene is a past guest of this podcast and she will share her story and talents at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, leading participants in her mindful practice of painting small watercolor studies of plants and other items she collects from nature. You can see more in our Slow Flowers Mercantile, where we have a digital download gallery of Lorene’s work.

While learning a new skill and adopting a practice is useful for all floral professionals, the key takeaway from this insight is actually a challenge question to you: How do you help your customers and clients embrace a more meaningful connection to flowers? How can you create and nurture opportunities that go beyond DIY hobbies and convert your customers into floral practitioners?

When you draw back the curtain and share insider knowledge that your clients and customers can incorporate into their lifestyles, you build deeper engagements. People want to know the professional skills of growing and design; they don’t necessarily want to adopt a new profession, but you can interpret and empower them with skills, knowledge and confidence.

Learning and gathering knowledge is more important than ever. What services, products and experiences can you offer to your marketplace in 2021? What are you teaching and sharing? A final thought, one that I learned while developing online courses for the Slow Flowers Creative Workshop. Teach what you know. Nothing is more authentic.


#8 Marketplace Inclusion & Farmland Equity

Top Row: Slow Flowers Members who recently presented at the Young Farmers & Cooks Conference: Julius Tillery, Black Cotton U.S.; Taij & VC Cotten, Perry-winkle Farm; Aishah Lurry, Patagonia Flower Farm; and Julio Freitas, The Flower Hat
Bottom Row: #BlackFloristFriday social media campaign, created by Talia Boone of Postal Petals and Quote from Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm

This insight is closely connected to Insight #4 – Botanical Activism, while also addressing two themes essential to the future survival of the floral economy.

The first topic – Marketplace Inclusion — speaks to the importance of proactively changing our business practices to support floral enterprises owned by the BIPOC community, (that’s Black, indigenous and people of color). For so long, I focused my energies on the belief that our floral profession would survive if only consumers learned to ask “where were these flowers grown” and “what growing practices were used to grow them?”

If there is one important lesson from the racial awareness and awakening of 2020, it’s that my values demand that I ask a different set of questions, such as: “how can I support and shine a light on florists, flower farmers, vendors and customers who look different than me, a middle-aged white woman?” “How can I invest in the success of underrepresented and overlooked talent, and in doing so, ensure their success and my success are equally valued?”

At Slow Flowers, we enter 2021 with an embrace of inclusivity, representation and equity in our profession. As I discussed last week, our Professional Development Fund devotes resources to invite Black farmers and florists to join the Slow Flowers Society. YOU are encouraged to participate in this endeavor by nominating Black farmers and florists in your community to be part of our efforts — please reach out with your suggestions!

Until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in, we will not be sustainable.

I have learned much from garden designer and Slow Flowers advocate Leslie Bennett, who earlier this year joined me as a return podcast guest. Leslie owns Pine House Edible Gardens, an Oakland-based design-build landscaping studio. She is the creator of Black Sanctuary Gardens, which believes that gardens are places that provide respite and restoration; healing and inspiration. The Black Sanctuary Gardens project creates and documents garden sites where Black women’s creativity, spirituality, and human experience can be cultivated and nurtured. 

Slow Flowers donated to the Black Sanctuary Gardens project in 2020 and we feel grateful to learn from the example Leslie is modeling — using her talents and resources to design and build gardens where transformative change can take place, and where we can work to grow the world we want for ourselves and for our communities. 

Leslie and the team behind the Black Sanctuary Gardens project are curating their time and talent to create safe and beautiful garden spaces that celebrate Black women’s humanity and the communities they hold dear within the Oakland, California area. Financial contributions allow them to provide their gifts at low to no-cost to these valued community members. This is a model I’d love to see replicated across the community in other regions.

Soul Fire Farm – a life-giving hub for education, advocacy and activism

The second theme included in Insight # 7 is Land Equity. Joining progressive voices in domestic agriculture to advocate for land equity is a cause I believe will benefit the Slow Flowers community as we see much-needed diversity and representation in flower farming.

In 2020, we financially supported Soul Fire Farm. Based in Grafton, New York, Soul Fire Farm was co-founded by past Podcast guest Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black. She is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer, author, and food justice activist whose mission is to end racism in the food system and reclaim an ancestral connection to land. As co-Executive Director of Soul Fire Farm, Leah is part of a team that facilitates food sovereignty programs – including farmer trainings for Black and Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and domestic and international organizing toward equity in the food system.

Soul Fire Farm recently provided us with a list of well-established Black-led farming organizations and I’ll share it in today’s show notes for you to check out. Please consider following and supporting the farming organizations in your community as we move into 2021, while seeking a more diverse Slow Flowers community that benefits all.


#9 Opposite Palettes

Contrasting and Complementary Palettes from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

Last year, 24% of our Slow Flowers Survey respondents cited YELLOW as their top color prediction for 2020. Yellow edged out all other colors by single-digit percentages, but there was still no clear standout, leading me to predict a Polychromatic Palette for 2020.

Here we are in January 2021, and Pantone already has declared “Illuminating,” a glowing shade of yellow, as one of two colors for 2021.

For the 2021 survey, both Yellow and Orange topped your list. Specific percentages break out as follows:

Shades of Yellow (23%) “Yellow for optimism.” Mustards and mauves.” “From rich masala yellow in curries to lavish buttercream yellow on cupcakes, the comfort of food will translate to floral expressions.”

Shades of Orange (19.5%) “I think we are seeing hints of orange, and yellow with pinks and blush.” “Everything across the range of citrus tones to fruity apricot.”

Shades of Green (14%) “The clean feeling of green, with foliage in an array of green tones and various shapes.”

Shades of Purple & Violet (13%) “I think we will see a trend towards subdued jewel tones that play off of each other.” “I find the possibilities with purple are both complimentary and contrasting and love finding those matches. People also seem to really gravitate to the purple tones, or at least, that’s what I think, maybe because I like purple flowers so much!”

Shades of Red (4.5%) “Reds, burgundy, pinks monochromatic.”

Shades of Blue (3%) “Mellow, soft blues — the world needs calming tones in these crazy times.”

So what notable color palette do we predict will influence flower farming and floral design in the coming year?

I flipped to the color section of my book Slow Flowers to see what I wrote back in 2013. I quoted Harold Piercy, former principal of the Constance Spry Flower School in England, who wrote this in 1983: ” . . . in flower arranging, I have always found it advisable to discard any prconceptions about colours.” He went on to write: “Keep an open mind and do not be ruled by the colour wheel. You may hit upon unexpected satisfactory results during your experiments.”

Yellow Roses from the Slow Flowers Cutting Garden

I dove deep into the comments that you shared in response to the survey’s Question#23 — Describe in more Detail Your Floral Palette Prediction.

I have to give a huge congratulations to the many Slow Flowers Survey responses that were spot on about YELLOW. In 2017, Slow Flowers’ Floral Forecast predicted soft yellows in an insight titled: “Beyond Blush.” It has taken four years since then for Pantone to agree! Let me include a few of your comments here so you can congratulate yourself on nailing Pantone’s color declaration for 2021 — an important emerging floral palette we forecasted here years ago!

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

“I’m only wishing. I have lemon chiffon peonies that I would love to see a bump in desire for.”
“Into yellow lately.”
“Cream-mustard; pale yellow. Happy shades.”
“More sunny, happy color.”
“Bright, positive, with an endless summer-like feeling.”
“Pale yellows to golden tones.”
“Yellow is inherently cheery and I think people will want more good cheer. Also, floral designers have been trying to sell clients on yellow and mustard forever — maybe this is our year that clients will finally go for it!”
“Orange or yellow. We need some brightness in 2021!”
“Soft, buttery yellows.”
“Yellow is building momentum! And there are so many shades that blend well with the popular muddy/neutral palettes.”
“Soft, light, buttery yellow.”
“Seeing more demand for yellow flowers.”
“2020 has been a dark year and I think we could all use a little sunshine in our future.”
“Warm yellows — amber, mustard, butter – seen alone or with accents in deeper shades.”
“After the Pandemic, we want LIFE! We will want color and variety. Yellow was a very big color in fashion just before the Pandemic and I think it will be picked up again after.”
“I think the soft yellows and warm golden colors are what we need for 2021! We need a soft glowing hug after 2020!”

Orange & Blue(ish) dial up the palette contrast! (c) Debra Prinzing design and photograph

Clearly, we all love yellow. But of course, we do not want to follow Pantone. Let’s move beyond a single hue and explore what’s coming next:

I predict the most exciting floral palettes will feature Complementary or Contrasting Colors. With color pairs that reside opposite each other on the color wheel — combinations and variations of of course Yellow + Purple, but also interpretations of Red + Green; Orange + Blue.

What do you think of “Opposite Palettes”? A few survey comments jumped out to me in agreement:

“Oranges reaching out in different directions — yellow, reds, or complementary purple.”
“Purples combined with pale yellows, oranges and whites.”
“I find the possibilities with purple are both complimentary and contrasting and love finding those matches.”
“Pink, peach, coral, orange, yellow and then contrasting with blue.”

Red & Green Complements (c) Debra Prinzing design and photograph

What is the key insight here?
Simply, that we live in a colorful floral world and we need to experiment more! And find ways to excite customers and clients with new, shall we say, contrasts and complements, on the horizon!

At the core of it, this insight reinforces the importance of selling color as a much-desired product. Remember, you and your flowers are ready to meet consumers’ hunger for more color in their lives.


#10 Star Quality

From Left: Fleurs de Villes designs by Tobey Nelson and Thomasi Boselawa; Kristen Griffith VanderYacht of Big Flower Fight; Ace Berry, AIFD, PFCI – a finalist on Full Bloom; the Full Bloom judging panel

All of a sudden, miraculously in 2020, celebrity florists are taking center stage alongside chefs and fashion designers!

Whatever you think about floral competition television, seeing flowers and plants in the hands of professional designers on programs like Netflix’s “Big Flower Fight” and HBO’s “Full Bloom” definitely felt validating. We are witnessing flowers – elevated — in mainstream TV programming! That’s news worth celebrating!

I lived vicariously through both programs and was honored to host Big Flower Fight’s head judge Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht as a guest on the Slow Flowers Podcast and profile him for a Florists’ Review cover story earlier this year.

I also enthusiatically rooted for Ace Berry, AIFD, PFCI, another past guest of this podcast, who competed in HBO’s “Full Bloom.” I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t watched to the finale, but you can learn much more about Ace in Episode 421, originally aired in October 2019.

Nine Slow Flowers members designed floral fashions for the 2020 Fleurs de Villes Exhibit at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival
DESIGN CREDITS (c) samanthasmith.photo for Fleurs de Villes
Top row, from left: Casablanca Floral, Flirty Fleurs and Garden Party Design
Center row, from left: Hazel Landscapes & Design, LORA Bloom, Smashing Petals
Bottom row, from left: Terra Bella Flowers & Mercantile, Tiare Floral Design, Tobey Nelson Weddings & Events

I felt quite the same sense of pride earlier this year when the popular Fleurs de Villes exhibition came to Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. With flowers transformed into wearable fashions displayed on a parade of mannequins — it clearly was the most popular feature of the flower and garden festival. The success of Fleurs de Villes is similar to the buzz created by the two floral competition shows I just mentioned.

I was delighted to interview Karen Marshall and Tina Barkley, the creatives behind Fleurs de Villes – which I called a Bespoke Floral Phenomenon, on the Slow Flowers Podcast this past February.  Much like the response people have when they see the photo shoots of real models wearing botanical couture for our American Flowers Week campaigns that Slow Flowers began commissioning in 2016, the botanical couture on Fleurs de Villes’ three-dimensional mannequins takes floral fashion to a new level. 

What is the magic? I believe that seeing flowers used as an artistic expression ignites the imagination of those who view them. Beyond the sheer scale and beauty of floral installations, massive topiary and botanically-dressed mannequins, flowers are the starting point that connect many consumers with the natural world. And who can argue with that?

For Fleurs de Villes, show-goers were invited to vote for their favorite design. For Big Flower Fight and Full Bloom, viewers rooted for their favorite contestants. There’s buy-in when the audience has a stake in the outcome, and ultimately, more people know more about flowers, which takes us full circle to our Insight #1 — Floral Wellness.

I hope to see all of these floral celebrity projects return to our lives in 2021, but I will offer a vocal plea for one change: Please, No FLORAL FOAM. As we’ve urged the mainstream floral profession for years: please wean yourself from a dependence on foam. Be truly creative and find alternative mechanics to express your art!

It can be done; believe me, we’ve consistently documented no-foam mechanic strategies on this podcast and in our other Slow Flowers channels. For goodness sake’s, even the famed Chelsea Flower Show has declared future exhibitions to be foam-free.


If you’re interested in showing off your own Star Quality, I invite you to join the 2021 American Flowers Week botanical couture creative team. Our creators are Slow Flowers member florists and flower farmers who and produce wearable botanical couture photographed on live models for publication.

On Friday, January 15th, you’re invited to join me for a free webinar and Learn how YOU can participate in American Flowers Week 2021

Hear advice and tips from Slow Flowers member designers and growers! We will discuss how each created an iconic botanical couture look for American Flowers Week, including flower sourcing, model selection and photography. You can join the Webinar to learn whether this opportunity is right for you! The Webinar takes place 9am Pacific/Noon Eastern on Friday, January 15, 2021.


Okay, what an inspiring list of 10 insights! Thank you for reviewing this list with me today. I  want to pause here to marvel at what has happened since I began writing down what I viewed on the horizon for the Slow Flowers movement and its followers and members.

The simple act of speaking, writing and sharing one’s perspective is a personal superpower, one you can also claim, because each of us has an utterly unique world view. While it seems trite to seek out COVID’s “silver linings,” you may find meaningful truths to interpret from the past year’s chaos. Use them as a foundation for your 2021 planning. Yes, you want to make resolutions and set goals. You can also set your Intention. And intention can be our rudder to guide us through choppy waters and uncertain times. That’s clearly what we need in this moment.


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to more than 800 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.

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at farmgirlflowers.com.

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 johnnysseeds.com.

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 mayesh.com.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 675,000 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.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Heliotrope; Vittoro; Open Flames; Shift of Currents; Surly Bonds; Gaenaby Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 486: Slow Flowers’ 2020 Year in Review

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

Welcome to the final episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast for 2020. As I have done since the beginning of 2014, I’m turning the spotlight on our year of Slow Flowers. Next week, on January 6th, I’ll bring you the annual report for our 2021 Slow Flowers’ Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

Last year at this time, we celebrated a successful 2019 with more members, more participation and more Slow Flowers blooming in the marketplace. Speaking for myself, there was a definite feeling of anticipation in the air, as we turned the calendar to a new year and a new decade. We felt optimism and creative inspiration.

We wanted to celebrate and embrace a progressive climate for local, seasonal and sustainable flowers in agriculture and design . . . and could see on the horizon a floral climate where Slow Flowers increasingly took center stage.

The year kicked off with some exciting opportunities to connect with members, including speaking twice in Oregon — first, for the PNW Cut Flower Growers Meet-Up in Corvallis, and next at the Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show in Eugene.

In late February, I returned to the fabulous Northwest Flower & Garden Festival to produce the floral stage for the third year in a row. I welcomed six Slow Flowers Members to teach sold-out, hands-on floral design workshops called “Blooms & Bubbles.” We welcome the beautiful Fleurs de Villes floral couture installation with eight of the fashions created by Slow Flowers members who showcased their talents. Slow Flowers sponsored Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers, for an all-domestic floral gown — Here’s my interview with Melissa in which we discuss her studio, art practice and floral fashion!

Also at the flower festival, I joined a panel presentation moderated by fellow podcaster Jennifer Jewell, author of the new book: The Earth in Her Hands, profiles of 75 extraordinary women working in the world of plants, as one of those profiled (PS you can hear that full conversation moderated by Jennifer on Episode 443).

2020 Trend Summit speakers, from left: Susan McLeary, Hitomi Gilliam, Francoise Weeks, Holly Chapple, Debra Prinzing, Leatrice Eiseman and Gregor Lersch (c) Collin Gilliam

A few weeks later in mid-March, the reality of the Covid-19 Pandemic began to sink in. I was in Vancouver, B.C., at Hitomi Gilliam’s Trend Summit, and at the time, I had no idea it would be my last in-person opportunity to speak to a floral audience. Here we are, nine months into it and we’ve all accepted the new norms required to fight the pandemic, keep ourselves and others safe from infection, and use our energy and resources to hang onto our livelihoods.

In response, we found ways to stay connected this year. I sought and invited you to share your personal “Stories of Reslience” for our Slow Flowers Podcast and Virtual Member Meet-Ups. Learning how you personally tackled and creatively addressed such huge challenges has been a major source of inspiration to me and other. And similarly, our definition of thriving has greatly changed.

Month by month, we forged ahead. We forged ahead through the Pandemic, through a racial justice awakening, through the increasing threat of Climate Change. We looked in the mirror and asked ourselves: “Are we doing enough to walk the talk?” “Are we communicating our values through our actions?” We also found and nurtured community in new ways. We spent more time at home than ever before. We re-evaluated what’s truly important.

And in doing so, I believe we have gotten stronger. In late October, I gathered with Karen Thornton, our operations/membership and events manager at either end of a huge conference table and we were joined via Zoom by Niesha Blancas, our social media manager and Becky Feasby, our new Slow Flowers Canada associate, for our 2021 planning retreat. We started the day discussing the Year in Review. You know, that exercise was so affirming. It was so valuable to not only itemize the accomplishments I felt were important, but to hear from my colleagues about the highlights that excited them.

And we came up with a pretty amazing list. It is essential to stop and take stock in the year that’s coming to a close. This year it’s especially important! I’d like to walk you through our list and invite you to join me in celebrating what the entire Slow Flowers Community has accomplished together:

SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT

Our original panel of speakers includes, (clockwise from top, left): Susan Mcleary, Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Molly Culver, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Jennifer Jewell, Pilar Zuniga and Emily Saeger

Last week, I sent out an email to our registrants, members and followers with a Slow Flowers Summit update — you can find it here. Top items of note:

The Slow Flowers Summit 2021 is moving forward with confidence!

We know for certain that the management at Filoli Historic House & Garden are taking the utmost precaution in making it safe for guests to visit their grounds, despite ever-changing policies for public gatherings in their county and state. For the Summit specifically, we are shifting plans to have an all-outside conference, made possible by Filoli’s incredible gardens, and infrastructure such as an outdoor meeting space where seating is socially-distanced, an outdoor stage and boosted Wi-Fi, among other logistics being attended to, as well as all accommodations for outdoor catering and service.

Two new speakers are joining the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit! Abra Lee of Conquer the Soil (left) and Max Gill of Max Gill Design (right)

The other big news is that we’ve invited two additional speakers to join our expanded educational program, rounding out an already amazing lineup. That means author and speaker Abra Lee of Conquer the Soil and floral designer Max Gill will be part of the program when we all gather June 28-30, 2021. I truly cannot wait!

Member and Social Media COMMUNICATIONS

Thanks to the talents of our social media manager Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social, our engagement hit 98 million impressions, with a 13 million reach in 2020. One of the most meaningful things Niesha has done – and this requires a serious investment of time – is to find ways to highlight as many members as possible, by showcasing your flowers and designs in our social media posts and stories. I am in awe of the attention to detail that Niesha brings to this effort. For example, each month, we highlight new and renewing members, usually 40 to 50 of you, and that means Niesha digs deep into your social media feeds or websites to find just the right photograph to represent you and your brand. We just surpassed 30k IG followers — all organic growth thanks to the time and attention that Niesha takes to showcase and engage with you!

VIRTUAL MEET-UPS

At the end of March, I upgraded our Zoom account to accommodate longer meetings and a larger group of participants. It felt like a desperate act at the time – we just had to DO SOMETHING, right? Like you, I was in a bit of a fog, trying to figure out how to navigate the new COVID landscape while running a floral enterprise. That Zoom tool allowed us to host the first “Virtual” Member Meet-Up on Friday, March 27th, with more than 60 of you in attendance. We attempted to give everyone a chance to say hello and check in with our community.

As Karen, Niesha and Lisa Waud, who helped us with membership for the first half of 2020, and I learned more about virtual meetings, and as we heard from you about the state of your floral enterprise, we continued to improve and refine those meetings. We met weekly as a community, each Friday, through the end of May.

We hosted a series of guests, from members who shared their strategies for contact-free deliveries and product sourcing to outside experts on wellness and mindfulness. And we dabbled with break-out rooms, which is a more manageable for smaller groups to converse and connect. After eight weekly meet-ups, by the beginning of June, we shifted to monthly sessions —  to date, there have been seven monthly Meet-Ups attracting more than 350 members.

You seem to love our floral design demos and crop-specific topics, as well as our speakers, our giveaways and the important lifeline to connect with kindred spirits. Most of the Meet-Ups were recorded and you can find the playback videos on YouTube where there have been hundreds of views, reaching  those who couldn’t attend in real time. The Virtual Meet-Ups will continue into 2020 — our first of the year is scheduled for Friday, January 8th – so stay tuned for more details in the January newsletter and on social media. Hope to see you there!

AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK

American Flowers Week, June 28-July 4, took place against the COVID backdrop but you were not deterred in participating! We showcased five beautiful botanical couture fashion looks for 2020 featuring orchids from Hawaii, peonies from Alaska, local flora from South Dakota, dahlias from Washington State and annuals from Maine.

The opening pages of Slow Flowers Journal coverage of American Flowers Week botanical couture features one of Sarah Pabody’s dahlia dresses, photographed in the fields at Triple Wren Farms (c) Katherine Buttrey

Florists’ Review published the photography of these incredibly creative floral stylings in the June issue and we picked up some local press, interested in telling the story of locally-grown flowers in their markets.

Several of you joined the momentum led by Lisa Waud to use local flowers for public installations in their community– from Milwaukee and Detroit to Portland, Maine, with the goal of raising awareness, supporting flower farmers and celebrating beauty at a time when everyone so needed it.

Plans are already underway for 2021 and we have just unveiled our new branding by illustrator Jeanetta Gonzales, so please save the dates. During June 28-July 4 we will be celebrating our seventh annual American Flowers Week campaign. You can order bouquet labels anytime in our Slow Flowers Mercantile Shop — find the link here.

MEMBERSHIP

We had excellent growth in Slow Flowers Society membership for 2020 — truly inspiring and an indication that more flower farmers and floral designers want to align with our mission and values as a way to communicate their brand identity to customers.

We began 2020 with just over 600 members and we are wrapping up the year with 811 members — that’s 30% growth at an uncertain time.

I’m grateful to both Lisa Waud and Karen Thornton who have invested quite a bit of time in building our member database and outreach programs. It sounds like a minor “win,” but I find it so incredibly valuable to use one dashboard to find out about each one of you, where you’re located, how long you’ve been a member, and more!

CAUSES AND COMMUNITY

In June after the nation witnessed the senseless murder of George Floyd and after feeling so many other waves of sorrow, grief and shock about unaddressed racial injustice, I was moved to take personal action. On behalf of Slow Flowers Society, I donated $5,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit that fights for law enforcement reform and improvements to the legal system on behalf of underrepresented persons.

I called on our members to take their own steps to fight racism while also fighting for inclusivity, representation and equity in our profession. And so many of you shared your actions and steps. We launched the Professional Development Fund for Black Farmers and Florists to join the Slow Flowers Society and in doing so, we’ve used those funds to sponsor six new members to join. It’s a start – and one we hope to continue in the future, until the Slow Flowers Society looks more like the communities we live and work in. Thank you to those who joined this effort.

ANNUAL MEMBER SURVEY

It was a year of ambition, to be sure. If you took our 2021 member survey, you will know to what I refer.

More than 216 of you took the survey during the month of October; that was triple the previous year’s engagement. We learned so much about you and I’ve been posting the insights by category – as a series, which you can find a Slowflowersjournal.com.

Of note: 74% of you rate the value of your Slow Flowers membership as high or very high! I’m so grateful for your support.

There is definitely an opportunity to grow that percentage and demonstrate to you the value of your membership investment. I believe that the more you engage, the more value you enjoy, so please put in the time and effort to participate in the many opportunities and programs we offer!

OPERATIONS

Check out the Slowflowerssociety.com site!

Slow Flowers Society is growing up as an organization and that is reflected in the programs and systems we have in place to run things more smoothly — and improve our responsiveness to you! With a COVID scale back of Karen Thornton’s consulting for her corporate event clients, we took advantage of her talents and time to bring her onboard as our Operations and Membership manager, on top of the Event management she’s handled since 2018. Thank you, Karen! You have improved and streamlined so many processes, moved us to Google for Business, taken the lead on finance and budget management, and run so many behind-the-scenes details that the list is too large to share here. Our team also includes Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social, whose responsibilities have expanded to include managing our FB Community and the addition of Becky Feasby of Prairie Girl Flowers in Calgary, Alberta, to manage our growing Slow Flowers Canada membership program. Wow! All so cool, right?!

One of the cool things Karen has built is our online Slow Flowers Mercantile store. It began as a place where you could purchase signed copies of my three most recent books, and it has expanded to include American Flowers Week bouquet labels, Slow Flowers Society items including plant tags, our book mark and blank journals, and some special artwork from friends of Slow Flowers. We hope to grow the shop to feature our favorite makers and vendors as we move into 2021!

PUBLICATIONS

Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One; image courtesy My Garden Over Floweth
(c) Urbren Branding Co.

The year 2020 witnessed the expansion of my teaching and publishing, all designed to encourage, support and showcase the amazing people involved as Slow Flowers members. In June, we celebrated the publication of Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One, which is a compilation of the best Slow Flowers Journal articles, features and profiles that appeared in Florists’ Review from 2017 to 2019. One hundred twenty eight pages are filled with the talents of more than 80 Slow Flowers growers, farmer-florists and floral designers. And we can’t wait for you to see and read what’s inside. Thank you to Florists’ Review and Wildflower Media for publishing this lovely book and thank you to the amazing team, including creative director Robin Avni and book designer Jenny Diaz.


This project was so rewarding and demonstrates a tangible opportunity to share stories of our Slow Flowers Community, so I am here to announce that Robin and I have formed a joint venture to develop more books to continue the mission of Slow Flowers. Our project is called BLOOM Imprint and it serves as the publishing arm of Slow Flowers Society. We have five books in development and we hope to announce those titles and authors in early 2021. Some of you already may have seen our call for submissions for our first book: Where we Bloom, which I will be writing, which will showcase more than 30 Slow Flowers members and their studios, workshops, greenhouses and flower stands. That book will be published in March 2020 and you’ll be able to pre-order it soon.

EDUCATION

And to support everyone from aspiring writers to floral professionals who desire to improve their own content through the written word, I launched the first Slow Flowers Creative Workshop: Floral Storytelling as an online course in early November. Sixty of your registered for the online course and spent the month of November working through the modules, lessons and worksheets at your own pace. A highlight for me were the weekly “Office Hours” sessions – of course via Zoom – when students and I met to discuss writing challenges and achievements. Thank you to all who participated.

The next session of Slow Flowers Creative Workshop begins January 6th and I’ve created a coupon code for Slow Flowers members to enjoy $100 off the $297 registration. If you’re not a member, I have a $50 off coupon code for you — so take advantage of those benefits and join in!

Slow Flowers Society Members: Save $100 off regular tuition of $297 with this Coupon Code: SFMEMBER100

Non-members save $50 off regular tuition of $297 with this Coupon Code. SAVE50


And speaking of online courses, I want to share details about a new free course — my year-end gift to you: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead. How to Write a Year in Review and Future Forecast for Your Brand

For the past seven years, I have turned the calendar page to the New Year by first revisiting the one coming to a close. This ritual has becomes my regular “Year-in-Review” practice as I take stock of what has happened in the prior 12 months, how my efforts supported my mission and the relationships I developed along the way.

This exercise becomes the springboard for my second ritual of the season: Writing the Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast Report.

Now, I’ve created a FREE online course sharing my process and methods for both of these valuable tools. After you take this mini-course, you’ll have the building blocks to write your own YEAR-in-REVIEW and FLORAL FORECAST. 

Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll have two new narratives that you can use for blog posts, newsletter articles and other content to support your brand. By reflecting on highlights of the past year, you can learn so much about your true priorities, passion, purpose and (one hopes) what’s most profitable in terms of trading your time for income.

Whether it’s for personal or professional reasons, as this year comes to a close, I encourage you to take time to write a creative Year-In-Review. When you do this, a narrative emerges, one that can guide your insights for next year’s Floral Forecast.

You’re hearing my year in review right now — and I encourage you to sign up for the FREE course so you can write your own year in review.

And next week, we’ll talk about what’s in store in 2021. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have a process and method for assessing the cultural shifts that help me forecast floral themes and topics we’ll experience in the year to come.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

This is the weekly podcast about Slow Flowers and the people who grow and design with them. It’s all about making a conscious choice and I invite you to join the conversation and the creative community as we discuss the vital topics of saving our domestic flower farms and supporting a floral industry that relies on a safe, seasonal and local supply of flowers and foliage.

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to 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.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 673,000 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. The year 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us.

We have continued to deliver fresh, original content to you through the Slow Flowers Podcast, week in and week out — since 2013!

Not counting all of the time invested in developing the topics, guests and content, we spend more than $10k annually to bring you this award-winning internet radio program. Your financial support can ensure we continue into 2021. If every listener contributes just $2, those funds would add up quickly to cover our out-of-pocket costs to record, edit, host and promote the Slow Flowers Podcast. Would you consider making a year-end donation? I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

(c) Mary Grace Long

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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Castor Wheel Pivot; Glass Beads; Heartland Flyer; Rabbit Hole; Silk and Silver; Taoudella; Turning on the Lights; Gaenaby 
Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 485: Slow Flowers’ Holiday Music Special with floral designer-musician Remy Brault of Labellum Flowers and Nest of Seven

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

It’s that time again, Welcome to our annual Slow Flowers Holiday Music Special!

Remy Brault, vocalist, songwriter and owner of Labellum in Bozeman, Montana

I’m so happy today to bring you an audio gift of music. Please enjoy my conversation with Bozeman, Montana-based Remy Brault, who with her husband and partner Fred Brault own the contemporary floral boutique Labellum Flowers. The couple originally met through music and formed a singer-songwriting duo called Nest of Seven when they lived and worked in Los Angeles.

Nest of Seven’s album cover

I’ll chat with Remy about how music has influenced her path, how she has taken a long hiaitus away from music, and how she’s finding her way back to music.

We’ll hear three songs from Remy and Fred’s album, “In the Valley of the Red Sparrow,” and more!

Enjoy meeting and hearing from this multi-talented creative! And if you missed my conversation with Remy earlier this year, have a listen here (Episode 459).

Labellum’s home page — reflecting the shop’s many flowers, boutique products and designs

Thank you, Remy, for sharing your musical influences and your floral journey — I wish you a creatively fulfilling 2021! By the way, I continue to be on the lookout for musical guests to feature each December, so if you’re a Slow Flowers member with a song to share (or even an album!), please reach out and let me know!

Here is a list of our past Holiday Music Episodes!

2019: Carolyn Kulb of Folk Art Flowers

2018: Nathan Leach and Eva Leach of Nathan and Eva

2017: Scott and Kristen Prinzing of EarthShine

2016: Ellen Zachos of Backyard Forager

2015: Dennis Westphall of Jello Mold Farm


Next week, on Wednesday, December 30th, the final episode of 2020, I’ll share our 2020 Year in Review with you. On the horizon, the first episode of the New Year, Wednesday, January 6th, will feature our 2021 Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast. I’m so excited to share both of these reports with you as we say goodbye to 2020 and eagerly anticipate 2021.


The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 670,000 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. 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and we have continued to deliver fresh, original content to you through the Slow Flowers Podcast, week in and week out — since 2013!

If every listener contributes just $2, the funds will add up quickly to cover our out-of-pocket costs to record, edit, host and promote the Slow Flowers Podcast. Would you consider making a year-end donation?

Not counting all of the time invested in developing the topics, guests and content, we spend more than $10k annually to bring you this award-winning internet radio program. Your financial support can ensure we continue into 2021. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column in the right column!


Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, online directory to 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.

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 longfield-gardens.com.

Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. Learn more at RootedFarmers.com.

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 shop.syndicatesales.com.

(c) Missy Palacol Photography

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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Victory Day; Red Sparrow; and Release
From “In the Valley of the Red Sparrow,” by Nest of Seven

Dance Of Felt; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com

Episode 484: Recap from the 2020 Young Farmers & Cooks Conference – The Regional Flower Economy: Flower Farming as a Viable and Profitable Facet of Agriculture

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020
The Regional Flower Economy panelists, clockwise from top left: Julius Tillery of Black Cotton US, Taij Cotten & VC (Victoria) Edwards-Cotten of Perry-winkle Farm, Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat and Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm

Two weeks ago, you heard from Shannon Algiere and Jessica Galen as we discussed the 2020 Young Farmers & Cooks Conference, held last week as a virtual event attracting more than one thousand attendees. Shannon and Jessica shared the story of Stone Barn Center for Food & Agriculture and gave us a preview of the conference. I want to thank Shannon, a Slow Flowers member, Stone Barns Center’s resident flower growing expert, farm liaison manager and co-director of the Arts & Ecology Lab for inviting me to gather together and moderate a flower-focused panel — and I’d like to share the audio of that presentation with you today episode.

You’ll hear from four Slow Flowers members each of whom discussed her or his unique approach to agricultural entrepreneurship. They include Aishah Lurry, Patagonia Flower Farm, Julio Freitas, The Flower Hat, Taij Cotten and VC (Victoria) Edwards-Cotten, Perry-winkle Farm, and Julius Tillery, Black Cotton U.S.
As I said at the beginning of our panel, clearly, I am not a YOUNG FARMER, but through my passion for the Slow Flowers Movement I hope to shine a light on several of our members: flower farming pioneers you’ll meet today.

VC and Taij with flowers and little Titus in a baby pack

Taij & Victoria (VC) Cotten, of Perry-winkle Farm in Pittsboro, North Carolina

After responding to a Craigslist ad for Valentine’s Day in 2017 at Preston Flower Shop, Taij and Victoria were hooked on flowers. They quit their jobs and traveled North Carolina’s Piedmont farming region, talking with any farmer that had time for them. They quickly realized they wanted to farm. 

Above left: Michael Perry and Cathy Jones with Taij & VC Cotten; the Cotten children above right

Now farming alongside their mentors and “farm-ily,” Michael Perry and Cathy Jones of Perry-winkle Farm, the young couple helps sustainably farm 4 acres in Northern Chatham County, North Carolina, specializing in seasonal vegetables, specialty cut flowers and pasture laying hens. Perry-winkle farm attends 3 regional farmers’ markets: Fearrington Village (a seasonal market) and 2 Carrboro Farmers markets (one seasonal and one year round). Taij and Victoria reside in Chatham County, NC with their two adorable, flower-loving children: Carleigh (6) and Titus (1)

I first met Taij and Victoria at the 2018 Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers annual conference in Raleigh, when destiny made sure we were seated together at the same banquet table. I’ve been following their adventures on social media ever since and am delighted to welcome them today.

Find and follow Perry-winkle Farm and Taij & Victoria

Perry-winkle Farm on Facebook

Perry-winkle Farm on Instagram

Taij & Victoria on Instagram


Julius Tillery of Black Cotton U.S.

Julius Tillery, founder and CEO of Black Cotton U.S. Julius is the NC State Coordinator for the Black Family Land Trust. He is a 5th Generation life-long row crop commodities producer (cotton, soybeans, peanuts) from Northeastern, North Carolina. He has worked as an advocate and resource provider in the North Carolina agriculture and environmental sectors since 2009. Julius has also worked at Rural Advancement Foundation international and The Conservation Fund. He currently serves on the Southern Administrative Council for SARE (that’s the Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education Council) and the North Carolina Forestry Advisory Council.

Black Cotton U.S. branding and product selection

Julius is a rural economic development advocate and is also known for his entrepreneurial business role as Founder of BlackCotton U.S. You can find Julius anywhere between his farm working on producing crops, on another farmer’s farm helping consult with new enterprise development, or any meeting that is focused on improving the lives of farmers and farming communities across the USA. Julius is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Economics and minor in Entrepreneurship in 2008.

Find and follow Black Cotton U.S.

Follow Black Cotton U.S. on Facebook

Follow Black Cotton U.S. on Instagram


Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm

Aishah Lurry, founder and CEO of Patagonia Flower Farms based in Patagonia, Arizona. She is an artistic florist who combines her love for water-wise and organic farming techniques to produce affordable, healthy, and fresh-cut flowers.

Aishah Lurry designing with flowers she grows in the high desert area of Arizona

As a gardener who began her flower farming career in 2017, Aishah started her micro-farm on her home’s property after getting tired of driving 20miles out of town to buy overpriced and imported flowers that she didn’t like. By merging her expertise and knowledge of crop planning, propagation, harvesting, drying, and arranging, Aishah was able to turn her beloved hobby into a thriving business that celebrates eco-consciousness and the local economy. 

A selection of Patagonia Flower Farm varieties

Aishah has taught several classes about sprouts, micro-greens, and propagation and today serves with Borderlands Restoration Network to further its native species and public education programs.

She considers her flowers a local, affordable, and well-deserved luxury. Each flower in Aishah’s hand-picked bouquets are lovingly grown to ensure health, vibrancy, and longevity of the ingredients.

Find and follow Patagonia Flower Farm

Patagonia Flower Farm on Facebook

Patagonia Flower Farm on Instagram

Listen to our past Slow Flowers Podcast episode with Aishah Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm


Julio’s armfuls of flowers is a joyous and infectious expression of local flowers.

And finally Julio Freitas, owner of The Flower Hat. The Flower Hat is a floral design studio and flower farm nestled in the beautiful mountains of Gallatin Valley in Bozeman, Montana. The Studio is headed by internationally published designer Julio Freitas, whose design style embraces the seasons to create a loose, natural aesthetic that has graced hundreds of events, including many high profile and celebrity weddings.

Julio with his popular dahlia crop

In an attempt to provide his clients with the best blooms, Julio decided to incorporate a Flower Farming component to the business operation. He started his growing operations on 1,800 sq ft and quickly leased ¼ acre plot for a few years, where he was able to grow and harvest thousands of flowers by using high intensity techniques. These locally grown flowers are truly the treasures that make his designs so spectacular.

Today, The Flower Hat is a thriving company that stays busy during the summer with weddings, selling flowers to florists and wholesalers. The company is also known for its coveted dahlia tubers that sell out in a matter of minutes that go on sale on February 1, 2020. Julio regularly hosts on-farm summer workshop intensive that go deep into the business model that makes The Flower Hat such a successful little company. The classes combine hand-on floral design experience, the business behind weddings and events and small scale flower farming.

Julio also finds room in his schedule to share everything he knows with others through floral design demonstrations as well as presentations about his high-intensity flower farming techniques on his Facebook Group The Flower Hat Exchange.

Find and follow The Flower Hat

The Flower Hat on Facebook

The Flower Hat on Instagram

Listen to our past Slow Flowers Podcast episode with Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat

Flowers grown and designed by Julio Freitas of The Flower Hat

I posed three questions for discussion:
1. First, I asked each panelist to share an overview of their floral enterprise. Who they are, what do they produce/grow? where are they located and how long have they been farming.

2. Next, we talked about how flowers are part of their farm’s business model, how they sell and what market do they serve?

3. Finally, why flowers? Why grow flowers instead of food OR why integrate flowers in into a food-growing operation


Thanks so much for joining us today. What a great session. We did have some audio and technical challenges, so I promise to bring Julius Tillery from Black Cotton U.S. for a full episode in the near future, and I hope to also host a longer podcast conversation with Taij and Victoria.

Coming up, we have just two more episodes for 2020. Next week, on December 23rd, is our annual Slow Flowers Holiday Music Special Episode, featuring the talents of a Slow Flowers member whose life is influenced by both music and flowers. And on Wednesday, December 30th, the final episode of 2020, I’ll share our Year in Review with you. On the horizon, the first episode of 2021 will feature our 2021 Slow Flowers Floral Insights and Industry Forecast.

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 669,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

Asking for your Support

Tulips in the #slowflowerscuttinggarden from Longfield Gardens (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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. 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and we have continued to deliver fresh, original content to you through the Slow Flowers Podcast, week in and week out — since 2013!

Not counting all of the time invested in developing the topics, guests and content, we spend more than $10k annually to bring you this award-winning internet radio program. Your financial support can ensure we continue into 2021. If every listener contributes just $2, those funds would add up quickly to cover our out-of-pocket costs to record, edit, host and promote the Slow Flowers Podcast. Would you consider making a year-end donation? I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at debraprinzing.com

Thank you to our Sponsors!

This podcast is brought to you by Slowflowers.com, the free, nationwide online directory to 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.

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 seattlewholesalegrowersmarket.com.

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 ascfg.org.

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at thegardenersworkshop.com.

I am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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 soundbodymovement.com

Music Credits:

Open Flames; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
http://www.sessions.blue

Lovely by Tryad 
http://tryad.bandcamp.com/album/instrumentals
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

In The Field
audionautix.com