What’s coming up during American Flowers Week

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We have live and virtual events, installations, interviews and demonstrations for you to enjoy!

For the sixth annual American Flowers Week, we have all sorts of free programming to share with you. Here’s a quick recap of what’s to come, beginning with Day One, Sunday, June 28th. Check the Calendar Tab in the menu above, and follow #americanflowersweek for more news and inspiration in real time!

DAY ONE: Sunday, June 28th

Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies

Join our Facebook LIVE interview with Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies in Fairbanks, Alaska, creator of one of our American Flowers Week botanical couture looks for 2020!

Join Debra Prinzing on the Slow Flowers Facebook Page during her LIVE interview to meet Kim, see her flowers, her peony fields, and more.

Kim will also share the incredible mechanics that she employed to design a peony frock with thousands of her stems.

Save the Date! We’ll announce the time to join us soon. We will also share the playback video of the interview.

DAY TWO: Monday, June 29th

Virtual tour and visit to Filoli Historic House & Garden, site of Slow Flowers Summit 2021

Join our Instagram LIVE tour of Filoli Historic House & Garden and enjoy a floral design demonstration from the Filoli Cutting Garden.

Emily Saeger and Niesha Blancas

Slow Flowers social media manager Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social will be LIVE at Filoli, location of our upcoming Slow Flowers Summit, rescheduled for June 28-30, 2021. Her special guest is Emily Saeger, Filoli’s lead horticulturist and manager of the cutting garden.

We can’t be at Filoli in person next week, but thanks to Niesha and Emily, you’ll get a flavor of what’s in store for next year’s Slow Flowers Summit.

Emily has promised to design an arrangement on the live-stream, showing us the amazing selection of flowers, foliages, herbs and other botanical ingredients that flourish at Filoli.

Save the Date! We’ll announce the time to join us soon. We will also share the playback video of the interview.

DAY THREE: Tuesday, June 30th (1 p.m. Pacific)

Join Debra Prinzing on a Facebook LIVE interview with Slow Flowers member Tammy Myers, of LORA Bloom, an online platform for local floral delivery with an eco-friendly mission. 

Learn how Tammy and several of the florists involved in LORA Bloom have created buzz around their studios and shops with an American Flowers Week Sale.

A portion of the sale of their beautiful summer arrangements will go directly to @solid_ground_wa in Seattle. Solid Ground works to end poverty and undo racism and other oppressions that are root causes of poverty.

Debra has invited Tammy and the Slow Flowers florists in the LORA Bloom network to join her on a Zoom conversation that will stream live to the Slow Flowers Facebook Page. See their floral arrangements and hear their stories!

Save the Date! We’ll announce the time to join us soon. We will also share the playback video of the interview.

DAY FOUR: Wednesday, July 1st

Join Debra Prinzing on an Instagram LIVE interview with Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and The Floral Source, as they “unpack” the special American Grown at Home Box that Kelly has curated for American Flowers Week.

For American Flowers Week 2020, Kelly’s special Red-White-And-Blue Floral Box features an assortment of blooms and foliage from CamFlor and also red charm peonies from Alaska Perfect Peony

Kelly and Debra will connect in IG Live to open their floral boxes and talk about the varieties of US-grown blooms. After the big reveal, they will take a break to design with the stems . . . and then return later in the day to show each other (and YOU) what they have created with these beautiful flowers.

Save the Date! We’ll announce the time to join us soon. We will also share the playback video of the interview.

DAY FIVE: Thursday, July 2nd

We’ll be following along with Detroit botanical artist, Lisa Waud, as she creates the final floral installation in her six-week series “Big Flower Friend.”

Slow Flowers is sponsoring this final, July 2nd installation for American Flowers Week, in support of Lisa’s artistic endeavor to promote Michigan flower farms and raise awareness in her community around racial justice.

Lisa has promised to give us a behind-the-scenes peek at her beautiful installation, which we will share via Instagram.

Save the Date! We’ll announce the time to join us soon. We will also share the playback video of the interview.

MORE TO COME: We’ll be posting more details soon. If you have an installation or event, please be sure to list it in our Calendar via this link:

American Flowers Week at the grocery store

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Flowers at Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island, Washington (c) Grace Hensley

Town & Country Markets, a six-location chain of neighborhood grocery stores in the greater Seattle area, has been one of our most consistent partners for celebrating American Flowers Week each year.

Led by Melanie Cherry, floral category manager, each floral department across the company put their personal spin on decorations and displays, all with the goal of driving sales and engaging shoppers who are inspired by local, Washington-grown flowers.

The flower & garden department at T&C’s Central Market Poulsbo

Here is how two of the floral managers created buzz and excitement in 2019. We asked Grace Hensley, a local photographer, blogger and container design expert to stop by and capture these photos at T & C’s Central Market Poulsbo and at Town & Country Bainbridge Island. Kudos to each manager, who I’ll mention below. Can’t wait to see what they create for 2020!

T&C used photography from one of Slow Flowers’ American Flowers Week botanical fashions to create in-store signage. The dahlia quilt was designed by Tammy Myers of LORA Bloom and photographed by Missy Palacol.

Josh Hessler, floral department manager at Central Market Poulsbo, shares this background:

At Poulsbo, we got excited about British Flowers last year and the floral couture gowns and dresses we saw during that time in the weeks earlier in preparation for American flowers week. Our thought was to do something similar for American flowers week while highlighting our local flowers from the Northwest. As we began to dig into our various ideas we honed our ideas down to two main thoughts:

A flag-inspired apron worn by a mannequin, with cheery sunflowers peeking from the pockets at Central Market Poulsbo

The first was summer-Americana, including the flag, and some red, white, blue themes along with bright sunflowers and other pops of color.

Floral-decor on summer garden hats, as part of the American Flowers Week displays.

The second was to create some hats with flower-craftiness creating some creative pops of floral high fashion on our display.

The result was a display that was fun to create and highlighted our regional and hyper-local flower offerings! Customers loved the end results as well.

Americana accessories to highlight locally-grown blooms.

Many offers to buy the floral hats, and the American flag apron (worn by one of the mannequins) came in even though we weren’t offering them for sale! This interest led us later in the summer to offer a free interactive clinic on flower crown crafting for customers, which was a tremendous hit and is still ask for regularly!

The T-shirt reads: “Bikes & Beer & Beaches & Bainbridge.” It pairs beautifully with a leather jacket and a charming floral skirt at T&C Market on Bainbridge Island (Washington).

Sarah Swalley, floral department manager at Town & Country Market – Bainbridge Island, and her team put the flavor of island living into their displays:

The fabulous floral fashion look (left); manager Sarah Swalley (right), at the floral design counter.

The department displays featured a vintage-inspired bicycle, decorated with local flowers, and a mannequin dressed in a popular local T-shirt.

The floral department greets shoppers who enter T&C Markets on Bainbridge Island, Washington, during American Flowers Week.

Customers selected from lush, seasonal hand-tied bouquets, wrapped in kraft paper with the American Flowers Week bouquet label.

Here are some other inspiring design ideas from these talented floral teams:

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND:

POULSBO

Order Your American Flowers Week Bouquet Labels Here. Labels are a Slow Flowers member benefit.

American-grown blooms for American Flowers Week

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Kelly Shore’s beautiful red-white-and-blue American-grown blooms in a compote arrangement (c) Beth Caldwell

You’re invited to join the Social Media experience and share images of #redwhiteblueflowers for #americanflowersweek (June 28-July 4). Of course, we hope everyone features local and seasonal flowers — from your own garden, or sourced from a flower farm in your area.

We love what Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and The Floral Source has launched as part of her AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK promotion and we want to share it here to inspire your own floral plans!

Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and The Floral Source

Kelly created the “American Grown at Home” weekly floral delivery subscription program to help flower lovers and florists familiarize themselves with botanicals from U.S. flower farms.

Every two weeks she features a curated collection of stems from one of the farms she supports (and most all are Slow Flowers members, as well). 

This direct-from-the-farm-door-to-your-door box program is a way for me to help create more awareness of what is grown seasonally and regionally, help the farms move their abundance of product, instill a sense of national pride in where our flowers come from and provide you a sense of hope & inspiration in the home with beautiful botanicals

For American Flowers Week 2020, Kelly’s special Red-White-And-Blue Floral Box will feature an assortment of blooms and foliage from CamFlor and also red charm peonies from Alaska Perfect Peony

Your box will ship Tuesday June 30th to arrive Wed July 1st.

The cost is $150 (shipping included) and features 100 stems, including: red peonies, crocosmia and dahlias; white foxglove, cottage yarrow and alstroemeria; blue nigella, tweedia and scabiosa; blue eucalyptus and mint. 

He’s your opportunity to experience a variety of Red-White-and-Blue domestic blooms and explore creative ways to celebrate local and American grown flowers – whether you’re making a bouquet, installation, centerpiece or wearable. PREORDER YOUR BOX HERE.

How to share your flowers!

Thanks for getting involved and supporting this initiative to promote and educate consumers on the source of their flowers.

Flowers at Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island, Washington (c) Grace Hensley

Please help out the campaign by doing the following:

1. Photograph Your Red-White-and-Blue Flowers: Assuming you’re making wrapped bunches or bouquets, please take at least one image of your finished design. We’d love to see your creativity!

2. Order AFW Bouquet Labels for delivery tags, bouquet wraps and other packaging. Available only to active Slow Flowers Society members, you can purchase labels here.

3. Post your photo to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (or all three!) and please tag #americanflowersweek and @myslowflowers.

4. Download more resources and free artwork at americanflowersweek.com.

Call for Proposals! Announcing American Flowers Week’s Botanical Installation Series

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Share Your Creativity With Local & Seasonal Blooms. Accepting Applications Now!

Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse created an impressive and simply gorgeous installation to celebrate #americanflowersweek.

Since 2016, Slow Flowers has commissioned more than 20 Floral Fashions for American Flowers Week. This beautiful Botanical Couture Collection resonates with flower and garden lovers everywhere, elevating flowers from a commodity to couture.

Inspired by the intentionality of the Botanical Couture Collection, Slow Flowers invites YOU to participate in a similar floral art project: a Botanical Installation Series for American Flowers Week.

Lisa Waud, our membership manager, shares her enthusiasm for Botanical Floral Art Installations and invites you to join her in celebrating American Flowers Week.

We’re soliciting proposals from farmer-florist creative teams who are eager to showcase their talents and their flowers with a public installation on display during American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4).

Everyone is welcome to participate in American Flowers Week! To be featured in our online publications and social media channels, however, you must be an active Slow Flowers member. Consideration will be made for geographic diversity, and for botanical elements not previously featured.

To participate as a Slow Flowers Member, complete our Application Form here.

Inspiration from past year’s Botanical Installations

Designed by Tonya Berge of Washington’s Berge’s Blooms for American Flowers Week. She captioned the image on Instagram with this sentiment: “freedom • the power to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”
Isabella Thorndike Church of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design designed a fantastic floral “painting” depicting a barn and fields for American Flowers Week.
Amerian Flowers Week Floral installation Seattle Wholesale Growers Market
Amerian Flowers Week Floral installation Seattle Wholesale Growers Market; this and all images (c) Missy Palacol Photography
Tara Folker of Splints & Daisies in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, took over the public piano in her town square to celebrate American Flowers Week in beautiful & local blooms.

What’s in it for YOU?

  • Email/Zoom support from a Slow Flowers team member to guide your production process
  • Support from Slow Flowers for local media outreach
  • Publishing your business and installation on SlowFlowersJournal.com, AmericanFlowersWeek.com, inclusion in our Media Kit, and related social media during 2020-2021

Interested? We want to hear from YOU!

To participate as a Slow Flowers Member, complete our Application Form here.

Unveiling the American Flowers Week 2020 “Botanical Couture Collection”

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BACK TO NATURE
Five designers showcase botanical couture in a collection celebrating the sixth annual American Flowers Week

Now, more than ever, florists have an important story to share with their community and customers. It’s all about connecting more deeply with the mindful floral consumer, ones asking how their purchases support sustainable values.

Adaptable and resilient floral entrepreneurs are returning to basics, especially during the uncertain time caused by stay-at-home and no-contact policies. They are pivoting to what’s “essential” and engaging with their customers more transparently than ever before.

It matters that we connect consumers with their flowers in new and thought-provoking ways. It matters a lot. How we communicate makes a difference between whether flowers are viewed as relevant and essential or whether they are dispensable and unnecessary.

In its sixth year, a social media campaign like American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4) is one important tool that returns the floral marketplace to its roots.

At its heart, American Flowers Week focuses on the origin of each beautiful stem, where it comes from and who is the grower behind that bloom. The campaign also shines a light on floral design, promoting domestic flowers and foliage as a desired product category, inspiring professionals and consumers alike with a new aesthetic connected to locality, seasonality and sustainability.

Orchid opulence representing the state of Hawaii, designed by Alison Grace Higgins of Grace Flowers Hawaii for American Flowers Week, as featured on the cover of Florists’ Review

Our media partner Florists’ Review published the collection in its June 2020 issue, released to subscribers on May 25th. Designed by members of the Slow Flowers Society, the 2020 botanical couture collection for American Flowers Week presents cut flowers re-imagined as a wearable art. These floral fashions combine fantasy with reality, imagination with technique, inventiveness with grit. Flowers are fleeting, yet sensory and evocative, inviting us to view the natural world as a true art form. American Flowers Week captures imaginations and sparks curiosity. It is a true celebration of the artists who grow flowers and the artists who design with them.

Click here to read the online article. Let’s congratulate the five creatives — florists, farmer-florists and growers — for their beautiful and engaging take on America’s iconic blooms.

ALASKA Peony Princess

Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies, based in Fairbanks, Alaska, returns to share her second couture look expressing the unique character and beauty of the peonies she grows. “Creating the dress was like ‘play day’ for adults,” she says. “The kind of enthusiasm we all felt generated so much energy and laughter, second only to seeing my fields in bloom.” There is a fairy-tale quality to the styling and the setting that evokes an imaginary storyline of old.

FLORAL SOURCE: Northern Lights Peonies, @northernlightspeonies

CREATIVE CREDITS
Design: Kim Herning, Northern Lights Peonies
Models: Kendra Underwood and Andrea Reisdorf
Hair and Make-Up: Kendra Underwood and Andrea Reisdorf
Photography: Claire Granger and Kristina Mulready

HAWAII Orchid Opulence

In 2018, Alison Grace Higgins of Grace Flowers Hawaii in Honokaa, Hawaii, and her team created stunning male and female garments for American Flowers Week to highlight the vibrant diversity of Hawaii-grown flowers and foliages. For 2020, the designer chose a quieter botanical palette of all white petals. Her look is highly feminine, reflecting the deep attachment between Hawaii’s landscapes and orchid breeding and production. “We often use dendrobium orchids for lei-making but also for petal scatters instead of roses, because they are local,” Alison says. “I don’t know what I did wrong with the math, but this dress happened because I over-ordered for an event by tens of thousands of stems of dendrobium blossom heads”.

FLORAL SOURCE: ACK Flowers LLC, Papaikou, Hawaii

CREATIVE CREDITS
Design: Alison Higgins, Grace Flowers Hawaii, graceflowershawaii.com, @graceflowershawaii
Dress styling: Kamaehu Duldulao, Grace Flowers Hawaii
Dress construction: Alison Higgins and Jade Woolford, Grace Flowers Hawaii
Bouquet: Nicole Cordier Wahlquist, Grace Flowers Hawaii
Model: Jasmine Kume Amari
Makeup: Kali Rose
Venue: G.B. Hajim’s Farm, Birdsong
Photography: Sarah Anderson

MAINE Petal Patterns

The prolific trial gardens and flower fields of Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion, Maine, a location for an American Flowers Week look in 2019 have inspired a new guest designer for 2020. “Having the opportunity to host a floral fashion designer has been a true highlight for the JSS team,” says Hillary Alger, product manager for herbs and flowers. “To pause from the busy work of trials and catalog production to participate in something so out of the ordinary stretches our brains in really fun ways.”
Designer Michelle Rech of Electric Flora, based in Portland, is a studio florist known for her avant garde style and custom art pieces. She eagerly partnered with Johnny’s Seeds, where she felt like a “kid in a candy store,” thanks to the abundance of late-summer blooms being evaluated for future seasons’ seed catalogs. “I was literally in a daze of happiness for months after creating this dress,” she says.
“Michelle gets full credit for designing and constructing the dress,” Hillary continues. “Our team, including Joy Longfellow and photographer Kristen Earley, get to play as art directors, dreaming backdrops and props. We wanted to compliment Michelle’s vision of playful, bright and modern, while using the research farm as the setting.”

FLORAL SOURCE: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Flower trials

CREATIVE CREDITS
Design: Michelle Rech, Electric Flora, electricflora.net, @electricflora
Model: Kristina Alofaituli Hair: Kristina Alofaituli
Makeup: Michelle Rech
Photography: Kristen Earley, Johnny’s Selected Seeds

SOUTH DAKOTA A Prairie Gathering

A first for the American Flowers Week botanical couture series, with a new state and a new look: A prairie-inspired creation from Moníca Pugh of Floras & Bouquets LLC, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A farmer-florist, Moníca also teaches floral design through the local school district and she is a regular floral guest appearing on local television. “Flower farming is new to South Dakota,” Monica says. “I’m really hoping that (my participation in) American Flowers week will help get the word out about what’s happening with local flowers.”

FLORAL SOURCE: Floras & Bouquets LLC

CREATIVE CREDITS
Design: Moníca Pugh, Floras & Bouquets LLC, florasandbouquets.com, @florasandbouquets
Model: Echo Bettelyoun
Hair and Makeup: Echo Bettelyoun
Photography: Patty Solis Rivero

WASHINGTON Designer Dahlias

Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms lives and breathes dahlias at the farm she operates with her husband Steve Pabody in the Northwest corner of Washington State. As a farmer-florist, she also runs Triple Wren Weddings, a wedding and event design studio. After seeing how popular the farm’s dahlia fields were with local photographers and their portrait clients, Sarah fantasized about what it would look like if the people having their photos taken wore dahlias rather than only standing among the flowers. Her idea took hold and now Sarah teaches Dahlia Dress Master Classes for designers and floral enthusiasts who want to create, wear and be photographed in dahlia couture (details at triplewrenfarms.com). Beyond fantasy, the garments are thoroughly alluring, but also accessible, prompting others to imagine themselves wearing a dahlia dress of her own.

FLORAL SOURCE: Triple Wren Farms, triplewrenfarms.com, @triplewrenfarms

CREATIVE CREDITS
Floral design: Sarah Pabody, Triple Wren Weddings
APRICOT FROCK
Model: Taylour Aarons
Hair and Makeup: Beauty by Elizabeth Marie
Photography: Katherine Buttrey
TRIO OF DAHLIA GOWNS
Models: Simcha Heiser, Aspen DeGolier and
Taylor Moncrieff
Hair and Makeup: Beauty by Elizabeth Marie, Crowns
of Gold Styling, Kenna Balvanz, Brooklyn Matthysse
and Kennedy Lee
Photography: Ashley Hayes and Sarah Joy Fields
GIRL’S DRESS
Model: Chloe Wren Pabody
Photography: Abigail Larsen

AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK 2020
Here’s how you can participate!

American Flowers Week takes place June 28-July 4 and you’re invited to join in the campaign! Here are some resources for you:

Download our American Flowers Week Logo and Branding Artwork for 2020 by artist Tamara Hough

Download and post one or more Social Media Badges featuring the botanical couture you see here

Down load and print our free coloring sheets, including the USA Map and all 50 official state flowers

Photograph and share your flowers — red, white & blue is recommended. Use the tag: #americanflowersweek when you post on IG, Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to see your American-grown flowers, fields, vases and tabletops.

Grower’s Discount Labels Joins American Flowers Week as a Sponsor

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For the past several years, we’ve ordered our popular American Flowers Week bouquet labels from Grower’s Discount Labels. And we’ve loved working with this family-owned business with deep ties to farming and publishing!

For 2020, we’re thrilled that Grower’s Discount Labels is joining American Flowers Week as a sponsor, supporting this important domestic flower promotion campaign.

AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK
June 28-July 4
, 2020

We’re about to reprint the American Flowers Week labels (actual size: 2-x-3 inch oval) and it’s time to place your order!
It’s completely free to participate in American Flowers Week, but if you really want to dazzle your customers, we have an affordable resource for you to use. For the fifth year in a row, use American Flowers Week bouquet labels to highlight your product, your brand and your mission. 
The labels are available exclusively to all active Slow Flowers members. To offset the cost of design and production, we ask for a nominal contribution from you.
Pricing:
$20     50
$35     100
$50     200
$100   500
To order: Please send your request to: debraprinzing@gmail.com and indicate the quantity of labels you want. 
Payment: You’ll receive an invoice payable via PayPal and once payment is complete, the labels will be shipped. We will add $10 Priority Shipping & Handling to each order, due to a Postal Service rate increase to $7.75 for a flat-rate envelope.
Deadline/Shipment: All label orders must be received by Friday, June 19th in order for us to mail them to you in time. 

Since 1989, Grower’s Discount Labels has been providing graphic design solutions and high quality labels at a discounted price, with personal service at every step. Their goal is to make the process as simple and successful as possible. Check out the Label Gallery and for ideas, check out the Label Designs for Purchase link. When you order floral labels for your own enterprise or brand, take advantage of the special offer above.

NOTE: Grower’s Discount Labels is temporarily unable to accept new customers, but they hope to turn on their Quote Request Form very soon. To make sure you’re notified when that option is available to new customers, fill out this form!

Remembering the Sunflower Gown with floral artist Amy Ly

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Note: Amy Ly (formerly Amy Kunkel-Patterson) of Gather Design Co. in Seattle created the unforgettable SUNFLOWER GOWN for American Flowers Week in 2017. She recently posted about how she produced this exquisite floral garment, along with her recipe and techniques. Here is an excerpt and link to her full post and the full gallery of Anna Peters’ beautiful images.

Amy Ly's Sunflower Gown
From the 2017 American Flowers Week Botanical Couture collection, our first wearable floral fashion series. Designed by Amy Ly (c) Anna Peters

The Sunflower Gown

I am the kind of person who always says yes to an outlandish idea, even before I know how I might make it happen. This dress came from one of those conversations, that went something like this:

Debra: I am starting to think about images to promote American Flowers Week 2017.

Amy: Oh, that’s exciting! What do you have in mind?

Debra: Well, I am wanting something really bold. I’d love to take what Susan McCleary did last year with botanical fashion and commission a designer to create something even bigger, like a whole dress made out of sunflowers. I want it to feel like classic Americana, but with a high end design.

Amy: Great, I’ll do it.

Debra: Wait, are you serious? Do you know how to create a dress out of flowers?

Amy: Not yet, but I will soon!

Amy Ly's sunflower gown
Kelly Uhlig of Sonshine Farm, herself a young flower farmer, modeled the dress. It was photographed by Anna Peters at Everyday Flowers, Vivan Larson’s flower farm in Stanwood, Washington

From this initial conversation in mid-August, we compared calendars and talked to the Seattle Wholesale Grower’s Market about when sunflowers would be at their peak, settling on a day in early September. Debra graciously let me choose the photographer for the project, and Anna Peters was the first person I called. I could tell she was skeptical when I explained the idea of a dress made out of sunflowers (I fear she was picturing something like this), but we’d worked together before and she trusted my idea and agreed.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF AMY’S STORY . . .

Amy (right) as she attended to finishing details of the magnificent sunflower gown (c) Anna Peters
Kelly looks divine in the botanical couture ensemble featuring sunflowers and other late-summer blooms from the farms of Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. Makeup by Yessie Libby (c) Anna Peters

Amy’s post concludes with this:

Special thanks to the talented artists that lent their creativity to this one of a kind project!

Model: Kelly Uhlig of Sonshine Farm | Hair & Makeup: Yessie Makeup Artistry | Photography:  Anna Peters | Shoot Location: Everyday Flowers, Stanwood, WA

This shoot was featured as part of American Flowers Week – you can read more of the story behind the gown in an interview with Amy, here.

American Flowers Week 2017, celebrating floral art, American-grown flowers and foliage, and the importance of domestic floral agriculture (c) Anna Peters

Meet our Designers for American Flowers Week 2020

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For the fifth consecutive year, our Slow Flowers Botanical Couture Collection will feature creativity and fashion with American-grown flowers and foliages — all to celebrate American Flowers Week!

You’ll soon be the first to see our AFW 2020 Botanical Fashion Collection, created over the past year by a talented lineup of Slow Flowers Members around the U.S.

The series will first appear in the June 2020 issue of Florists’ Review, followed by many other platforms and channels. In fact, we’ll soon share American Flowers Week badges for you to download free and use in your own promotion and branding.

Until then, help us thank, congratulate and celebrate our Featured Designers:

ALASKA

Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies

Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies returns to share her second couture look for American Flowers Week, expressing the unique character and beauty of the peonies she grows. Read more about Kim’s 2019 peony gown here.

Creating the dress was like ‘play day’ for adults. The kind of enthusiasm we all felt generated so much energy and laughter, second only to seeing my fields in bloom.

HAWAII

Alison Higgins of Grace Flowers Hawaii (c) Sarah Anderson & Anna Pacheco

In 2018, Alison Grace Higgins of Grace Flowers Hawaii in Honokaa, Hawaii, and her team created stunning male and female garments for American Flowers Week to highlight the vibrant diversity of Hawaii-grown flowers and foliages. Read more about Alison’s 2018 tropical couture look here.

For 2020, the designer was inspired by a new floral palette – Hawaii-grown orchids – and a feminine, romantic aesthetic.

I’m so glad we could also show the greenhouses where these flowers come from.

MAINE

Michelle Rech of Electric Flora

Designer Michelle Rech of Electric Flora, based in Portland, partnered with our Slow Flowers sponsor Johnny’s Selected Seeds to create a playful dress adorned with flowers harvested from Johnny’s famous trial gardens in Winslow, Maine.

“Having the opportunity to host a floral fashion designer has been a true highlight for the JSS team,” says Hillary Alger, product manager for herbs and flowers.

“To pause from the busy work of trials and catalog production to participate in something so out of the ordinary stretches our brains in really fun ways.”

Click here to see our 2019 botanical couture look from Johnny’s Seeds, in collaboration with florist Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Moníca Pugh of Floras & Bouquets LLC

American Flowers Week welcomes a new state and a new look by Moníca Pugh of Floras & Bouquets LLC, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Flower farming is new to South Dakota,” Moníca says. “I’m really hoping that (my participation in) American Flowers week will help get the word out about what’s happening with local flowers.

WASHINGTON

The Pabody Family, pictured in a 2016 American Flowers Week IG mosaic

Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms lives and breathes dahlias at the farm she operates with her husband Steve Pabody in the Northwest corner of Washington State (see their family photo above).

As a farmer-florist, she also runs Triple Wren Weddings, a wedding and event design studio. After seeing how popular the farm’s dahlia fields were with local photographers and their portrait clients, Sarah fantasized about what it would look like if the people having their photos taken wore dahlias rather than only standing among the flowers.

GET READY!!!

We’ll share the BIG REVEAL of our 2020 American Flowers Week Botanical Couture collection on June 1st. Stay tuned! In the meantime, EVERYONE is invited to conjure their own American Flowers Week botanical couture wearable, because we hope to flood social media with #americanflowersweek goodness come June 28-July 4! Let your imagination go wild!

How Tobey Nelson turned a cancelled production into a spontaneous opportunity

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What happens when COVID-19 cancels your American Flowers Week Botanical Couture photo shoot?

Floral couture by Tobey Nelson (c) Aly Willis Photography

For Tobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events & Design, the month of March brought the dawning reality that COVID-19 was indeed disrupting “business as usual.”

Based on Whidbey Island, Washington, Tobey planned to design a botanical couture look for American Flowers Week 2020 and she scheduled the photography for early March. Her vision involved creating a garment using foraged materials such as driftwood and branches, as well as cut flowers and foliages from the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and more botanical ingredients donated by CamFlor (Watsonville, California).

Tobey made two attempts to pull off the styled shoot last month and both were derailed, first due to illnesses and later, due to concerns about social distancing with a larger group of artists. “Yet, I couldn’t stand the thought that those flowers we procured were just going to waste,” she says.

A NEW PLAN

Floral Couture by Tobey Nelson, with makeup by Marqui Artistry (c) Aly Willis Photography

“I thought I would make at least one piece to showcase the blooms that were otherwise not going to be photographed,” she says.

The floral artist sent out an invitation, asking who might be available the following day.

She wrote: “I need to do something creative. I’ve got all these flowers and I hate it that people have gone to the expense to provide them for a project that won’t happen now.”

The response from her contacts was immediate and enthusiastic: “Everyone said, ‘Yes, we need this!’ So we pulled things together really quickly and photographed the following day.”

Tobey drew from a tight circle of other creatives based near her on Whidbey Island. Aly Willis of Aly Willis Photography hosted the shoot at Island Light Studio. Marqui of Marquis Artistry joined in and recruited her daughter Niah to serve as the model.  That was great because makeup-artist-mom and model-daughter were already sheltering in place together, eliminating social distancing concerns.

The photographer didn’t need to be too close and everyone took extra care in sanitizing and hand-washing. “Even though this happened before (Washington State’s) shelter-in-place order was issued, I made sure that everyone was being super careful,” Tobey points out.

LOVELY LEFTOVERS

Floral Couture by Tobey Nelson, with makeup by Marqui Artistry (c) Aly Willis Photography

Tobey created a versatile floral piece measuring about 15 inches long and six inches wide using coiled chenille pipe cleaners as the base, a mechanic technique she learned from Hitomi Gilliam. The method is also featured in friend Susan McLeary’s new book, The Art of Wearable Flowers.

“I love how Sue designs a piece and makes it so versatile so you can use it as a headpiece, a shoulder piece, a belt,” Tobey observes. The technique uses S-shaped coils from chenille stems, interlocked together to form the base onto which floral elements are glued using Oasis floral adhesive. Ribbon ties on either end facilitate attaching the piece to the waist, shoulder or neckline.

The spring-themed palette included a few peach and white carnations leftover from the floral garment Tobey designed for the Fleurs de Villes exhibit that took place in late February at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, as well as pink-flowering pieris purchased from Crowley House Flower Farm in Oregon, and hellebores from the designer’s Whidbey Island residential garden. She also incorporated Camflor’s ranunculus, hyacinth and Dusty miller foliage, previously donated for the planned  American Flowers Week photo session.

“I love the pipe cleaners, which give me plenty of surface area to glue the flowers, and allowed the piece to be really flexible so I could use it in many ways,” Tobey explains. “If I had used fabric instead of the pipe cleaners, the piece would have buckled or wrinkled, but the pipe cleaners are so flexible.”

Connecting with beauty of nature is always one of the best medicines for about anything that’s hurting.

Floral Couture by Tobey Nelson, with makeup by Marqui Artistry (c) Aly Willis Photography

Tobey says the entire project was cathartic for both her and the others involved. “I’m sure that piece took me five or six hours to make, pleasant hours for sure,” she says. “It was self-indulgent and soothing. I loved being in the moment as I made it. The decisions I made about which flower to glue next weren’t difficult, so it took me away (from worries) for a little while. Connecting with beauty of nature is always one of the best medicines for about anything that’s hurting, I think.”

A passionate knitter, Tobey recalls reading about a brainwave study of what happens when knitters work on a fairly repetitive pattern. “Brainwaves of the knitters were found to be in the same state as monks when they meditate. So I’m sure that’s true of painters or any sort of craft people.” Similarly, for Tobey, making the floral piece was a meditation of sorts.

AND ONE MORE THING

Barnyard couture flowers by Tobey Nelson (c) Russell Sparkman

There is a postscript to this beautiful lesson in resourceful floral design. The following day, Tobey found a pot-bellied pig to pose with the floral wearable. Tobey had been joking with Russell Sparkman of Fusion Spark Media, her marketing coach, about putting flowers on a pig. “I thought, ‘oh, this has to happen.’ So I put it out on Facebook, and asked ‘who has a pig that I can photograph?'”

A friend on Whidbey Island saw Tobey’s post and connected her with the owner of a pot-bellied pig. “Russell is a great photographer, so I called and recruited him,” Tobey says. “Then, we found out that the pig, Lucy, required string cheese as a bribe to pose for us.”

The leftover American Flowers Week ingredients first became a fashionable floral accessory created for the prior day’s studio photography. The feminine floral collar also fit perfectly around Lucy’s neck, tied with ribbon. “I think Lucy got four pieces of string cheese,” Tobey laughs. “At first she was a little grouchy about the whole thing. But then, she really caught on, I think after the first piece of cheese. She probably thought, ‘wait a minute, this might not be so bad.’ I don’t know how many pictures Russell shot to get one good one. It was hilarious.”

Truly, Tobey and her friends found the perfect antidote to the daily anxiety about the current COVID-19 climate. When she posted the photo of Lucy with the flowers, “people loved it and commented, ‘it’s exactly what I need right now.’ And I thought, ‘yes, we need humor; we need levity; and we need beauty.'”

Later that week, Tobey and Russell couldn’t help themselves. They went on to find an elegant alpaca and a perky chicken to photograph wearing the floral collar. “We are calling this our ‘Barnyard Couture Series,'” Tobey says. Expect more animals to appear in this series!

WHAT ELSE?

Tobey Nelson teaches foam free centerpieces at Whidbey Flower Workshop
(c) Suzanne Rothmeyer Photography

Tobey Nelson is determined to find silver linings during the COVID-19 stay-at-home, no-contact ban. She has launched an Instagram Live series of interviews with other experts that can be viewed on her account @sustainablefloraldesign. Future segments take place each Monday at 10 a.m./Pacific.

“I feel like it’s the perfect time to make use of the tools at hand to spread information about sustainable floral design, and also to test whether this type of content is something people want,” she says.

Creative Credits
Floral Design: Tobey Nelson, Tobey Nelson Events
Flowers: CamFlor, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market
Model: Niah @niahdyan
Hair & Makeup: Marqui Artistry @marquiartistry
Model Photography: Aly Willis Photography
Barnyard Couture Photography: Russell Sparkman, Fusion Spark Media

Unveiling our 2020 American Flowers Week Branding by Tamara Hough

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Dae, Makena, & Chloe, by Tamara Hough for American Flowers Week

We’ve commissioned flower farmer, botanical artist and new Slow Flowers member Tamara Hough of Morning Glory Flowers to design our American Flowers Week branding for 2020!

The playful and charming floral ladies, faces and fashions that Tamara posts on her Instagram feed captured our imagination as a perfect way to represent the spirit of American Flowers Week!

We asked Tamara to create an original illustration with three botanically-styled women to represent the best of Slow Flowers and American Flowers Week. She designed a trio of gals in beautiful floral headpieces, with bits and pieces from the garden used to create all the facial features — and their fashionable looks! Tamara has even named them: Dae, Makena, & Chloe.

Click here to download our free graphics for your 2020 American Flowers Week promotional use.