1960s-inspired Mod Flowers

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“Our brave, boundary-pushing young woman is wearing 1960s Vogue attire created from gerbera daisies,” says artist and photographer Jenny M. Diaz. “The ’60s were such a pivotal decade for women. Women were demanding more inclusion in the workforce, equal pay and control of their personal rights.

Jenny’s Mood Board, which she created prior to the production of her Mod Gerbera Dress

“I chose the city of Fresno as my backdrop because many of the structures date back to the ’60s. The gerbera daisies are strong, not only in their appearance, but also how they create a pattern on the dress. Our gray background contrasting with a beautiful model in my bright gerbera dress made for a perfect combination.  

California Dreaming, 1960s-inspired, for American Flowers Week (c) Jenny M. Diaz

“We wanted to show how strong women can be — on the rooftop, looking out into the world, hanging over the edge, riding a skateboard — all while looking stunning. My hope is that when someone sees this look, they are inspired to push themselves further. I am a graphic designer who wanted to push myself to create this look from start to finish. Yes, I was absolutely terrified, but I stepped out of my comfort zones and jumped in head first!”

Kara Trukki collaborated with Jenny M. Diaz as model and muse

Creative Credits:
Designer: Jenny M. Diaz, jennymdiaz.com, @jennymdiaz
Flowers: Dramm + Echter, Encinitas, Calif., drammechter.com, @dramm_and_echter
Venue: Fresno, Calif.
Model: Kara Trukki @luckytrukki
Hair and Makeup: Sixx Valenzuela, @sixxvalenzuela
Photography: Jenny M. Diaz

Washington-grown Dahlias as a Lavish Quilt

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A designer’s hands at work; this and all photos (c) Missy Palacol Photography

We’re so excited that Tammy Myers of First and Bloom, who’s based in the Seattle area, centered her American Flowers Week botanical couture look around quilts and dahlias.

“I’ve always been inspired by the American West,” she explains. “My mother is a quilter. My father loves American history. My grandfather was a descendant of the Karuk Tribe in Northern California. To me, a quilt is a beautiful symbol of true American history.

Tammy’s original sketch that inspired her American Flowers Week dahlia quilt

Tammy continues: “Upon more research, I discovered these iconic patchwork designs actually originate from women during the Colonial period of the 1700s. Later, Native women, known for making beautiful blankets, also started using these same quilting techniques. Quilts are truly a labor of love that brings warmth and comfort to whomever they surround. I find flowers have a similar nature. They too, bring joy and comfort to whomever they are near.”

On location at Laughing Goat Farm, on a blustery October day, at the very close of dahlia season. Tammy makes some final adjustments on the garment modeled by Anne Davidson.
The moody weather and gorgeous setting at Laughing Goat Farm enhanced the vibrancy of Tammy’s designs.

“Authenticity was very important to me for this project. Our model, Anne Davidson, is of Native Athabaskan descent and the area where this scene was photographed at Laughing Goat Farm in Enumclaw, Wash., is an area rich in Native American history.”

Tammy posed with her quilt as the photo shoot wrapped up.

“My hope is that others will be inspired to take lessons from their past, apply those lessons to their present challenges and work to create a better future. Working in the floral industry is a lot like making a quilt. Quilt-making takes proper planning, specialized skills, a lot of time, and a fair amount of trial and error before one gets it right. A quilt can be a valued piece of art or seen as just a blanket. Nevertheless, both flowers and quilts have a valuable purpose in life. We must never forget that and discover ways to preserve our craft for future generations.” — Tammy Myers, First and Bloom

Flower farmer Amy Brown of Laughing Goat Farm, collaborator and host for the photo shoot (c) Debra Prinzing
Amy took her turn, too! Is she dreaming of dahlias? (c) Debra Prinzing

Creative Credits
Designer:
Tammy Myers, First & Bloom, firstandbloom.com, @firstandbloom
Design Assistance: Amy Brown and Leila Jorden @leilajjorden
Flowers: Laughing Goat Flower Farm, Enumclaw, Wash., laughinggoatfarm.com, @laughinggoatflowerfarm
Additional Flowers: Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, seattlewholesalegrowersmarket, @seattlewholesalegrowersmarket
Venue: Laughing Goat Farm
Model: Anne Davidson, @amd98065
Hair and Makeup: Elizabeth White Artistry @elizabethwhiteartistry Photography: Missy Palacol Photography @missy.palacol

Magical Florida Fern Couture

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Slow Flowers Botanical Couture comes to Florida; All images (c) Danielle Werner

The beauty and inspiration of our American Flowers Week wearable fashions continues with a stop in Seville, Florida, on the grounds of FernTrust, one of the country’s largest sources for U.S.-grown ferns, fronds and foliage. Founded in 1986 as a cooperative of family fern farms sharing a rich history in agribusiness, FernTrust grow the highest quality foliage available.

Eileen Tongson is an urban farmer-florist in Orlando and owner of FarmGal Flowers. She partnered with FernTrust to create this lush, contemporary, all-Florida look for American Flowers Week.

Ferns elevated to high fashion

“My starting point for the design was a visit to FernTrust, where I was able to see up close all the foliage they grow,” Eileen says. “All of the shades of green, not to mention the textures and shapes of foliage, were so inspiring! Many people still do not know that Central Florida is the cut foliage capital of the world. I wanted to create a design that highlights this amazing botanical product and encourage other designers to use it as more than just foliage in their floral arrangement

Isabel Tongson models a glamorous fern gown in the historic orange grove.

Eileen’s botanical gown and the fern-farm location are thoroughly integrated. “We want you to look at our story and immediately know its setting — the real, natural Florida,” she says. “We were so fortunate that the most perfect oranges were still on the trees at FernTrust. Spanish moss was moving in the breeze. There were also majestic oak trees overhead and countless varieties of ferns below. What a dreamy, magical place!”

We asked Eileen to share more about how she constructed the gown, modeled so perfectly by Isabel Tongson, her daugher.

“The base material is ‘poultry netting,’ aka Oasis floral netting. The floral netting was cut and shaped into two pieces — the ‘skirt’ of the gown and the ‘top’ of the gown. Ends were attached with zip ties. The top of each piece was left loose and then tightened with zip ties after our model stepped into it. The floral netting was covered with plastic wrap; then, I attached the foliage with cold glue.”

The textures and patterns are gorgeous!

Eileen allowed the shapes, textures and forms of each type of foliage to inspire the surface pattern. For instance, she says, “the long Calathea and large Monstera leaves looke best applied verticall on the skirt — elongating the design.”

Fern headpiece to complete the look

Foliage selection includes: Monstera, Calathea Louie, Calathea Blue, Feather Fern, Plumosus, Fatsia, Ming, Leatherleaf Fern and Victoria’s Lace Fern. See all of these varieties in FernTrust’s gallery.

“Many thanks to Jana Register and the team at FernTrust for providing me with foliage to practice and create samples prior to the actual gown production,” Eileen says. “That allowed me to determine how the leaves would look best and which would hold up longest for the photo shoot.”

Design team! From left, photographer Danielle Werner, Jana Register of FernTrust, model Isabel Tongson, farmer-florist Eileen Tongson and hair artist Katrina Elbo.

Creative Credits:

Designer: Eileen Tongson, FarmGal Flowers, Orlando, Florida, farmgalflowers.com, @farmgalflowers
Foliage: Jana Register, FernTrust, Seville, Florida, ferntrust.com, @ferntrustinc
Venue: FernTrust
Model: Isabel Tongson, @isabel.tongson
Hair: Katrina Elbo, J. Bauman Salon, shearkatrina.com, @shearkatrina
Makeup: Miki Walker, Make Me Up Miki, makemeupmiki.com, @mikilanii
Photography: Danielle Werner, Live Wonderful Photography, livewonderful.com, @livewonderful_

Local Flowers meet Local History in Charleston

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American Flowers Week botanical couture from South Carolina. All photography
(c) Philip Casey

Co-designers Toni Reale of Roadside Blooms and Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora Farm viewed their American Flowers Week botanical couture collaboration as an opportunity to highlight the unique heritage and culture of coastal South Carolina’s Gullah Geechee, a community descended from West African and Central African enslaved people. The women explain, “we were also inspired by the work of noted Southern painter Jonathan Green and spent a lot of time pouring over photos of his work, as well as photos of women in traditional Gullah dress.

Behind the scenes with Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora (left) and Toni Reale of Roadside Blooms (right), with model Giovanni Richardson

“We wanted to focus on primary colors for the flowers — the reds, blues, yellows that so frequently appear in Mr. Green’s paintings — and we selected a location that reflects the culture and story of the Gullah Geechee people,” Laura says. “This palette pops brilliantly against the greenery of the marsh location, as well as the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767, a fraternal common house built in 1915 by black farmers for their community.”

Production day at the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767; Toni Reale (left) attaches a vibrant palette of Lowcountry S.C.-grown blooms, including those from Feast & Flora Farm (right).

Flowers grown in local soil at Feast & Flora Farm and foraged on location compose a brillant floral garment for their model, Giovanni Richardson, “Queen Gigi Ma’at Ogechi,” Sea Island Gullah Chieftess and founding member of A Taste of Gullah. “As we created Queen Gigi’s dress, we listened to her stories, bearing witness to a beautiful, strong woman, living her life and honoring her heritage as a descendant of slaves. Through listening, understanding and facing the dark reality that is our history, and our present, we believe we can create a different future,” Toni says.

This project was personal and meaningful to the creators, and they credit their model for her guidance and collaboration. “We saw this as an opportunity to highlight the Gullah Geechee community with the hope of challenging people to think of Charleston not just as a place of iconic landmarks frequented by tourists, but as a place whose farms, homes, and plantations were born on the backs of enslaved people, people whose descendants live here and to whom we owe a debt we will never be able to repay.”

Attaching blooms, one at a time (left) and the dream team (right)

For more about this gorgeous floral project, read Laura’s recent article, “Botanical Couture and the importance of American-grown.”

Toni recently wrote about the experience on her blog, as well: “American Flowers Week 2019.”

Creative Credits:
Floral Designer: Toni Reale, Roadside Blooms, North Charleston, S.C., roadsideblooms.com, @roadsideblooms_shop
Farmer/Florist: Laura Mewbourn, Feast & Flora Farm, Meggett, S.C., feastandflorafarm.com, @feastandflora
Venue: Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767, James Island, S.C., National Registry of Historic Place
Model: Giovanni Richardson, “Queen Gigi Ma’at Ogechi,” Sea Island Gullah Chieftess and founding member of A Taste of Gullah, tasteofgullah.com
Design Assistants: Kelsey Bacon, Joy Colby, Scott Woytowick
Photography: Philip Casey, philipcaseyphoto.com, @philipcaseyphoto

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Prettiest Peony Couture

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Peony Dress by Kim Herning, Northern Lights Peonies, Fairbanks, Alaska (c) Roxy Marcy, Alaska Alchemy

The inspiring Botanical Couture Collection is central to the American Flowers Week celebration. This beautiful series of wearable floral fashions was created with locally-harvested flowers and foliages by design teams around the U.S. For 2019, we have the largest collection to date — NINE Looks!

In the days leading up to the American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4), we want to highlight stories of the people, flowers, studios and farms behind these beautiful looks.

Let’s visit Alaska’s Prolific Peony Fields

The fanciful and feminine peony gown designed by Kim Dunshie Herning of Northern Lights Peonies incorporates hundreds, if not thousands of peony stems!

Kim is also on the board of Arctic Alaska Peonies, a sponsor of Slow Flowers, so we’re thrilled that she listened to her inner fashionista and came up with this fabulous gown!

We asked Kim to share how she created this wonderful look.

Materials list:
-Two layers of heavy-gauge chicken wire to form the base of the skirt
-Wire to fasten and attach sections of chicken wire
-Landscape plastic mesh to cover the chick wire skirt
-Spruce branches

Peony Varieties:
Festiva maxima, Sarah Bernhardt, Felix Supreme, Walter Faxon and My Love

Method: “I rolled out the heavy-gauge chicken wire to create the basic shape of my skirt. I realized that I would need two layers of the wire to make the base strong enough to stand up on its own in order to support the hundreds of peonies I planned to use!

“After I finalized the shape, I wired a layer of plastic landscape mesh over the chicken wire base (the openings in the mesh are comparable to the diameter of a peony stem). I also cut a ‘bendable’ door on the back/hem of the skirt that was large enough for my model to slide into.

“From the underside, I also wired on spruce branches to provide more support for the peony stems once inserted. Then, my team and I filled all of the holes with short-stem peonies that I had been saving during the season in our cooler.”

P.S., Kim says that because the Fairbanks weather was so mild last summer, “the dress lasted a good week!”

What’s next for you, Kim? “My head is spinning with plans for Summer 2019 with a bigger and better peony dress — or maybe two, this time! Who knows?”

We’re so thrilled that Kim’s peony dress caught the attention of The Daily News-Miner, Fairbanks, Alaska’s daily newspaper. Check out the feature story they just published about it!

Thanks, Kim! Download social media badges here and see all of our 2019 Botanical Couture collection here!

Creative Credits:

Design team: Kim Herning, Roxy Marcy and Tirzah Friesen
Venue and Flowers: Northern Lights Peonies, Fairbanks, Alaska, @northernlightspeonies
Lead Designer: Kim Herning, Northern Lights Peonies, Arctic Alaska Peonies @arcticalaskapeonies
Model and H/MU: Tirzah Friesen
Photography: Roxy Marcy with Alaska Alchemy @alaskaalchemy


Field-Grown Fashion

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Bountiful blooms in an unforgettably magical location.

We’re quickly approaching American Flowers Week, the fifth annual celebration originally launched in 2015 by Slow Flowers.

This year, we continue the inspiring Botanical Couture Collection, a series of wearable floral fashions, created with locally-harvested flowers and foliages by design teams around the U.S. For 2019, we have the largest collection to date — NINE Looks!

In the days leading up to the American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4), we want to highlight stories of the people, flowers, studios and farms behind these beautiful looks.

First up: Maine

Design Elements: An endless array of iconic, field-grown flowers at the Johnny’s Selected Seeds Research Farm, a 40-acre farm is located in Albion, Maine. At first glance, Johnny’s Farm looks like a typical market farm, with three greenhouses, a hoophouse, and orderly fields of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. But a closer inspection reveals its true nature as a place of study and evaluation. Labels mark the variety trials; staff members with clipboards make notes; and groups of employees from the nonfarming parts of the company participate in guided “crop walks” and “field forums” across the seasons to learn about varieties and methods being trialed.

Inspiration: Rayne Grace Hoke, Slow Flowers member and owner of Flora’s Muse in Biddeford, Maine, says she was inspired by the incredible variety of annuals, herbs, grasses and foliages. She incorporated many of these choices into a beautiful tapestry-like bodice and a flowing skirt of grasses and greens.

We asked Johnny’s flower and herb expert Hillary Alger a few questions about the project. Here’s our conversation:

Q: What was the starting point for the design?
A: Rayne was so wonderful and open to anything. In one of the planning phone calls, there was some mention of the warmth and glow of high-season annuals. That stuck in my mind and was the guiding concept in gathering materials for Rayne to work with. The final harvest list included a lot of apricot, gold, cream and coral blooms. It was so exciting to participate and imagine what the final piece would look like. I definitely went overboard harvesting a little too much!

Q: Can you describe the place where photography occurred?
A: The shoot took place in our flower trial fields, located on a high point of Johnny’s trials and research farm. The farm is very rural, bordered by woods and farm fields. It was an old dairy farm before becoming the primary location for Johnny’s Selected Seeds in the 1970s. It’s a quiet place at the end of the day when everyone has gone home. For the photography, we got an early start in order to catch some dreamy light.

Q: Can you describe the mood or sentiment of the location?
A: The concept and story we had in mind when setting up and styling the shoot was something of ‘Alice in Wonderland-meets-flower farmer.’ The story was that Mary, our model, was in her own flower field; she’s taken by and a bit intoxicated by the beauty of the moment. Responding to the experience, she has gathered all that her arms can carry. Maybe she made the dress . . . or maybe she just imagined it!

Q: What do you hope is the message for those who see these incredible images, the flowers and Rayne’s magical dress?
A: I hope this inspires others to explore the story of local and domestic farms, seasonal flowers and the farmers and designers who are working hard to make our world so beautiful.

Q: Anything else you want to mention about this project?
A: It was really fun to think about floral design, beyond the bouquet. We should all do that more often!

Thanks, Hillary! Download social media badges here and see all of our 2019 Botanical Couture collection here!

Creative Credits:

Designer: Rayne Grace Hoke, Flora’s Muse, Biddeford, Maine, florasmuse.com, @florasmuse
Design Assistant: Hillary Alger, Product Manager for Herbs and Flowers, Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Flowers and Foliage: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Winslow, Maine, johnnyseeds.com, @johnnys_seeds
Venue: Johnny’s Trial Gardens, Albion, Maine
Model: Mary Yarumian, @marybebythesea
Hair and Makeup: Mary Yarumian
Photography: Kristen Earley, Johnny’s Selected Seeds; Chris Pinchbeck, pinchbeckphoto.com

The Big Reveal: American Flowers Week’s Botanical Couture Collection

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Red, White and Bloom
Introducing the fifth annual American Flowers Week botanical couture collection

Photos by Tiffany Marie Buckley, Philip Casey, Jenny M. Diaz, Kristen Earley, Roxy Marcy, Joelle Martin, Missy Palacol, Chris Pinchbeck, Haley Swinth and Danielle Werner

Field-fresh and runway-ready, the American Flowers Week botanical couture collection features nine fashionable floral looks produced by Slow Flowers teams across the U.S. Together, these wearable floral garments represent a diverse story of originality and inventiveness. Each melds talents of growers and florists, elevating local and seasonal flowers in unexpected and beautiful ways.

In its fifth year, American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4) promotes domestic flowers and foliage in the marketplace, inspiring professionals and consumers alike. When flowers are seen as fashion, they ignite the imagination and stimulate new awareness of domestic floral agriculture and the art of floral design.

This year’s participants have transformed familiar and uncommon annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, grasses and herbs into everything from mod minis to luxurious gowns, continuing the American Flowers Week series that began with Susan McLeary’s iconic red-white-and-blue floral ‘fro in 2016. The collection has grown to 20 pieces, each of which portrays floral design as art rather than a commodity.

The Slow Flowers application process invited designer-farmer teams around the country to submit their best ideas for showcasing regional traditions, seasonal crops and distinct cultural and historic influences through the floral medium. The alluring results are found in the pages of Florists’ Review’s Slow Flowers Journal. When a model dons a garment fashioned from petals, fronds, buds and blades . . . we as viewers experience wonder and curiosity. These designs shine a light on the passionate individuals who have turned ideas into reality. From gardens to gowns. From cut flowers to couture. From seedlings to style.

Appreciate these artisans and learn from their creative process as they transform fields of blooms into a collection of American floral fashion ingenuity.

ALASKA
“The inspiration for our garment came from the floral looks of past seasons,” says Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies, based in Fairbanks, Alaska. “And since we are peony farmers, we knew we would be working with peony blooms in all colors and sizes. The style of the peony dress harkens back to women’s fashion in the 1700s and is also reminiscent of the ‘Barbie cakes’ my mother would make in the 1960s. We hope by combining our beautiful peonies with a lovely model in a fantasy setting we would create magic.”

Creative Credits
Design team: Kim Herning, Roxy Marcy and Tirzah Friesen
Venue and Flowers: Northern Lights Peonies, Fairbanks, Alaska, @northernlightspeonies
Lead Designer: Kim Herning, Northern Lights Peonies, Arctic Alaska Peonies @arcticalaskapeonies
Model and H/MU: Tirzah Friesen
Photography: Roxy Marcy with Alaska Alchemy @alaskaalchemy

WASHINGTON

“I’ve always been inspired by the American West,” explains floral designer Tammy Myers of First and Bloom, based in the Seattle area. “My mother is a quilter. My father loves American history. My grandfather was a descendant of the Karuk Tribe in Northern California. To me, a quilt is a beautiful symbol of true American history. Upon more research, I discovered these iconic patchwork designs actually originate from women during the Colonial period of the 1700s. Later, Native women, known for making beautiful blankets, also started using these same quilting techniques. Quilts are truly a labor of love that brings warmth and comfort to whomever they surround. I find flowers have a similar nature. They too, bring joy and comfort to whomever they are near.

“Authenticity was very important to me for this project. Our model, Anne Davidson, is of Native Athabaskan descent and the area where this scene was photographed at Laughing Goat Farm in Enumclaw, Wash., is an area rich in Native American history.”

Creative Credits
Designer:
Tammy Myers, First & Bloom, firstandbloom.com, @firstandbloom
Design Assistance: Amy Brown and Leila Jorden @leilajjorden
Flowers: Laughing Goat Flower Farm, Enumclaw, Wash., laughinggoatfarm.com, @laughinggoatflowerfarm
Additional Flowers: Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, seattlewholesalegrowersmarket, @seattlewholesalegrowersmarket
Venue: Laughing Goat Farm
Model: Anne Davidson, @amd98065
Hair and Makeup: Elizabeth White Artistry @elizabethwhiteartistry
Photography:
Missy Palacol Photography @missy.palacol

CALIFORNIA

“Our brave, boundary-pushing young woman is wearing 1960s Vogue attire created from gerbera daisies,” says artist and photographer Jenny M. Diaz. “The ’60s were such a pivotal decade for women. Women were demanding more inclusion in the workforce, equal pay and control of their personal rights.

“I chose the city of Fresno as my backdrop because many of the structures date back to the ’60s. The gerbera daisies are strong, not only in their appearance, but also how they create a pattern on the dress. Our gray background contrasting with a beautiful model in my bright gerbera dress made for a perfect combination.  We wanted to show how strong women can be — on the rooftop, looking out into the world, hanging over the edge, riding a skateboard — all while looking stunning. My hope is that when someone sees this look, they are inspired to push themselves further. I am a graphic designer who wanted to push myself to create this look from start to finish. Yes, I was absolutely terrified, but I stepped out of my comfort zones and jumped in head first!”

Creative Credits:
Designer: Jenny M. Diaz, jennymdiaz.com, @jennymdiaz
Flowers: Dramm + Echter, Encinitas, Calif., drammechter.com, @dramm_and_echter
Venue: Fresno, Calif.
Model: Kara Trukki @luckytrukki
Hair and Makeup: Sixx Valenzuela, @sixxvalenzuela
Photography: Jenny M. Diaz

MISSOURI

Andrea K. Grist conjures a playful mini-dress infused with the personality of woodland, meadow and prairie, featuring botanicals sourced from Little Green Garden. “I was inspired by the native plants and grasses that grow in and around the flower farms of Missouri and Kansas,” she says. “I wanted a very organic look that’s youthful for our model’s age and size. I call the look ‘Cowgirl meets Yule Sprite’ for its sense of both innocence and powerful confidence. Beth and Joel Fortin of Little Green Garden harvested all the ingredients from their farm, including flowers, grasses, pods and evergreens. The extensive grounds of our location include tall grass prairies and tree-lined horse trails, reflecting the flora of this region. On location, our photographer Tiffany Marie Buckley played with lighting to create a moody, mystical background, merging the initial concept with more fairytale qualities.”

Creative Credits:
Designer: Andrea K. Grist, Andrea K. Grist Floral Art, andreakgristfloralart.com, @andreakgristfloralart
Flowers: Little Green Garden LLC, Richmond, Missouri, littlegreengardenllc.com, @littlegreengardenkc
Venue: Sunset Trails Stables, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, sunsettrailsstables.com, @sunsettrailsstables
Model: Samantha Grist
Hair and Makeup: Andrea K. Grist
Photography: Tiffany Marie Buckley, Tiffany Marie Photography, tiffanybuckley.com, @tiffanymariephoto

MICHIGAN

Heather Grit of Caledonia, Mich.-based Glamour and Grit Floral highlights the winter beauty of Michigan, saying “as a designer, I have to be creative in the colder months and think outside the box to create a dress that doesn’t scream ‘Christmas.'”

She harvested trimmings from 17 types of evergreens growing at a Michigan tree farm, including spruces and firs. “I wanted to give our dress dimension and texture — and show how pretty Michigan can be when there is snow on the ground and the flowers are dormant.”

Creative Credits:
Designer: Heather Grit, Glamour and Grit Floral, glamourandgritfloral.com, @glamourandgrit
Plants and Greenery: Speyer Greenhouse, Byron Center, Mich., @speyergreenhouse; and Hart Tree Farm, Rockford, Mich., harttreefarm.net
Venue: Private location, Caledonia, Mich.
Model: Kailee Naber, @kaileenaber
Hair and Makeup: Tawwney Sayre, Makeup by Tawwney, @tawwney.jua
Photography: Joelle Martin, Lavender and Lace Photography LLC, lavenderandlacephotos.com, @lavenderandlacephotos

MAINE

Rayne Grace Hoke’s inspiration for the late-summer dress was two-fold. She envisioned a floral version of her family’s collection of heirloom crazy quilts and drew from the extensive flowers, greenery and herbs at Johnny’s Selected Seeds’ research farm in Albion, Maine.

When Rayne arrived at the 40-acre certified organic farm, she was mesmerized by the varieties available at the peak of the season.

“I let the palette of organic botanicals ‘speak’ to me, as their twists and swirls, colors and shapes influenced this dress design,” she says. “The setting and flowers lent themselves to the natural progression that allowed me to turn our model into a flower harvest goddess. I created a pattern with flowers to mimic fabric for the dress’s bodice. Grasses of all types created the garment’s skirt. The key to constructing this look was to make sure the undergarment we used was fitted and could support the weight of the flowers. This is when my skills in fashion design and sewing come in handy!”
She continues: “I hope my love for the stunning beauty of Maine comes through, as well as love for what I do as an artist.”

Creative Credits:
Designer: Rayne Grace Hoke, Flora’s Muse, Biddeford, Maine, florasmuse.com, @florasmuse
Design Assistant: Hillary Alger, Product Manager for Herbs and Flowers, Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Flowers and Foliage: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Winslow, Maine, johnnyseeds.com, @johnnys_seeds
Venue: Johnny’s Trial Gardens, Albion, Maine
Model: Mary Yarumian, @marybebythesea
Hair and Makeup: Mary Yarumian
Photography: Kristen Earley, Johnny’s Selected Seeds; Chris Pinchbeck, pinchbeckphoto.com

SOUTH CAROLINA

Co-designers Toni Reale of Roadside Blooms and Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora Farm viewed their botanical couture collaboration as an opportunity to highlight the unique heritage and culture of coastal South Carolina’s Gullah Geechee, a community descended from West African and Central African enslaved people. The women explain, “we were also inspired by the work of noted Southern painter Jonathan Green and spent a lot of time pouring over photos of his work, as well as photos of women in traditional Gullah dress.

“We wanted to focus on primary colors for the flowers — the reds, blues, yellows that so frequently appear in Mr. Green’s paintings — and we selected a location that reflects the culture and story of the Gullah Geechee people. This palette pops brilliantly against the greenery of the marsh location, as well as the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767, a fraternal common house built in 1915 by black farmers for their community.”

Flowers grown in local soil at Feast & Flora Farm and foraged on location compose a brillant floral garment for their model, Giovanni Richardson, “Queen Gigi Ma’at Ogechi,” Sea Island Gullah Chieftess and founding member of A Taste of Gullah. “As we created Queen Gigi’s dress, we listened to her stories, bearing witness to a beautiful, strong woman, living her life and honoring her heritage as a descendant of slaves. Through listening, understanding and facing the dark reality that is our history, and our present, we believe we can create a different future,” Reale and Mewbourn say.

This project was personal and meaningful to the creators, and they credit their model for her guidance and collaboration. “We saw this as an opportunity to highlight the Gullah Geechee community with the hope of challenging people to think of Charleston not just as a place of iconic landmarks frequented by tourists, but as a place whose farms, homes, and plantations were born on the backs of enslaved people, people whose descendants live here and to whom we owe a debt we will never be able to repay.”

Creative Credits:
Floral Designer: Toni Reale, Roadside Blooms, North Charleston, S.C., roadsideblooms.com, @roadsideblooms_shop
Farmer/Florist: Laura Mewbourn, Feast & Flora Farm, Meggett, S.C., feastandflorafarm.com, @feastandflora
Venue: Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767, James Island, S.C., National Registry of Historic Places
Model: Giovanni Richardson, “Queen Gigi Ma’at Ogechi,” Sea Island Gullah Chieftess and founding member of A Taste of Gullah, tasteofgullah.com
Design Assistants: Kelsey Bacon, Joy Colby, Scott Woytowick
Photography: Philip Casey, philipcaseyphoto.com, @philipcaseyphoto

OREGON

Beth Syphers wanted to tell a story of a sassy, confident, modern-day young woman, and she framed her narrative around the late 1950s and early 1960s. “I also wanted this design to embrace women in all shapes and sizes and reflect their power,” she says. “Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co., a farm known for fabulous dried flowers, assisted me with this project. We decided to highlight the 1960s dried flower vibe. We loved showcasing a combination of dried and fresh flowers as a way to extend the ‘local’ season in our floral designs. To me, flowers in all stages of their lifecycle have beauty. I would love folks to look at this design and be confident about stepping away from following the crowd; to not be afraid of what people think of their art, but to be bold and unique.”

Creative Credits:
Designer: Beth Syphers, Crowley House Flower Farm, Rickreall, Oregon, chflowers.com, @crowleyhouse
Fresh and Dried Floral: Crowley House Flower Farm and Beth and Charles Little, Charles Little & Co., Eugene, Oregon, charleslittleandcompany.com, @charleslittleandco
Venue: McMinnville, Oregon
Models: Rilley Syphers and Remington Kuenzi
Hair and Makeup: Rilley Syphers, @rilley.h.s
Photography: Haley Swinth, haleyswinthphoto.com, @haleyswinth

FLORIDA

Eileen Tongson is a farmer-florist in the Orlando area who partnered with FernTrust, one of the nation’s largest sources of Florida-grown ferns and foliage. “My starting point for the design was a visit to FernTrust, where I was able to see up close all the foliage they grow,” she says. “All of the shades of green, not to mention the textures and shapes of foliage, were so inspiring! Many people still do not know that Central Florida is the cut foliage capital of the world. I wanted to create a design that highlights this amazing botanical product and encourage other designers to use it as more than just foliage in their floral arrangements.”

Eileen’s botanical gown and the fern-farm location are thoroughly integrated. “We want you to look at our story and immediately know its setting — the real, natural Florida. We were so fortunate that the most perfect oranges were still on the trees at FernTrust. Spanish moss was moving in the breeze. There were also majestic oak trees overhead and countless varieties of ferns below. What a dreamy, magical place!”

Creative Credits:
Designer: Eileen Tongson, FarmGal Flowers, Orlando, Florida, farmgalflowers.com, @farmgalflowers
Foliage: Jana Register, FernTrust, Seville, Florida, ferntrust.com, @ferntrustinc
Venue: FernTrust
Model: Isabel Tongson, @isabel.tongson
Hair: Katrina Elbo, J. Bauman Salon, shearkatrina.com, @shearkatrina
Makeup: Miki Walker, Make Me Up Miki, makemeupmiki.com, @mikilanii
Photography: Danielle Werner, Live Wonderful Photography, livewonderful.com, @livewonderful_

Download a free PDF with Bonus Content: Red, White & Bloom

American Flowers Week 2019 Bouquet Labels

American Flowers Week Bouquet Labels

Badges & Graphics

We’ve just received our fabulous 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 4th year in a row, you can 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 $7.65 for a flat-rate envelope.
Deadline/Shipment: All label orders must be received by Friday, June 21st in order for us to mail them to you in time. 

Use American Flowers Week’s badges and graphics in your marketing. Click here for a link to download.
The logos and social media-formatted badges are free for you to download and include in your own camapigns and promotions. 

A special thanks to designer Jenny Diaz, for her contribution over the past four years. We love the look and vibe of the branding you’ve created, Jenny!

As a special branding bonus for 2019, We are so thrilled to share this beautiful red-white-and-blue illustrated floral print that we commissioned from Seattle-based artist Josephine Rice.

Josie’s graphic, playful, polychromatic, floral-patterned  illustrations often use stylized flowers, buds, vines, leaves, pods and petals add up to something visually mesmerizing and pleasing to the eye.
Download Social Media graphics of Josie’s Red-White-and-Blue illustration here.

Calling all Events!

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Parie Design’s all-American and local backyard farm-to-table dinner (c) Mallory Morgan Creative

We’re so excited to announce that American Flowers Week now has a comprehensive Events Calendar – AND – an easy way for you to add your event to it. Click here to add your event or select the form from the Event>dropdown>Add Your Event in the menu above.

The goal: To share as many American Flowers Week floral events on the calendar, coast-to-coast. Emphasis is placed on all June and July Events!

The Hudson Valley Flower Growers threw a fabulous party for American Flowers Week!

Why is this important? We’ll be sharing the events calendar with the media, with our subscribers and on social media. We want flower lovers all across the U.S. to learn about you and your blooms. They want new opportunities to attend workshops, pop-ups, meet-ups, parties and public floral events.

Gorgeous, natural light fills The Station, where florist Suzie Bunn and her business Statice Floral hosted a Farmer-Florist Party during American Flowers Week.

Adding your event is FREE. We reserve the right to edit for length or decline if the event isn’t relevant to American Flowers Week.

We’ve included lots of categories to help you organize (and help users find) specific types of events. They include:

Farm-to-Table Dinner

Floral Conference

Floral Design Workshop

Flower Farming Event

Lecture/Demonstration

Meet-Up/Gathering

Pop-Up Sale

Andrea Grist partnered with local flower farmers to teach a design workshop in Kansas City.

Get those dates listed and we’ll help you promote them!

Color Your World: American Flowers Week Flat-Lay Studies

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Nan Matteson of Queen City Flower Farm created these gorgeous and graphic flatlay color studies during American Flowers Week.

Nan Matteson

Check out these charming images, created by Slow Flowers member Nan Matteson of Cinncinnati-based Queen City Flower Farm. When we saw them, we asked her for permission to post here — and to share the “back story” of her inspiration.

She explains: “I absolutely remember the inspiration with the crayons. I had read that Crayola was discontinuing the color Dandelion Yellow.

“As you are probably aware yellow flowers don’t sell well, which is unfortunate because there are so many gorgeous yellow flowers that never get used for this reason. This thought was the jumping off point for an Instagram post — and crayons had to be in the picture. At the time is was one of my most ‘liked’ posts.”

Yellow was Nan’s original color study — and it inspired her to create red, white and blue color studies with crayons and flowers.

Poor yellow.

It gets no respect. With flowers or crayons. Crayola has announced it is discontinuing Dandelion Yellow, that very first flower a child gives its mother. There are so many gorgeous yellow flowers that are never sold because . . . .  well who know why . . . . but don’t count them out. Look for them this summer. They can be spectacular and won’t disappoint.

Then . . . on to Red, White & Blue . . .

Nan continues, “since I had all these boxes of brand new crayons, it only made sense to do some more. You know, trying to find ways to post that don’t look like everyone else’s pictures.”

We love what she’s done with these eye-catching flat-lays, presenting domestic, local and seasonal blooms with an American Flowers Week message!

And no Independence Day post is complete without FIREWORKS!