American Flowers Week 2017 Recap

Yep, you read that right: 5 million and counting! That’s the social media impressions generated by YOU and YOUR Instagram & Twitter Posts in the past 30 days!! #AmericanFlowersWeek has exploded — just like fireworks!

In our third year, participation in AFW more than tripled the impressions generated last year, putting #americanflowersweek on the map in all 50 states!

[Imagine the true metrics if Facebook let us track hashtags? Just sayin’!]
Thank you to each one who joined in! The Slow Flowers Community has the momentum to effect change in the marketplace, so continue posting and sharing the #slowflowers message every week of the year! Source: Keyhole.co


The 3rd Annual American Flowers Week has come to a close and it was our best ever!With participation across the U.S. in all sectors of the floral industry, this New Floral Holiday is waving the flag and making a splash from coast to coast.

Read on to discover how the Slow Flowers Community spent this year’s campaign celebrating American-grown flowers — be inspired and start making plans for your 2018 floral parties, events and creative projects!


Floral Fashions — a Couture Approach

Showcasing the design work of four Slow Flowers members, from left: Tara Folker of Splints & Daisies; Riz Reyes of RHR Horticulture; Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co. and Amy Kunkel-Patterson of Gather Design Co.

This year, Slow Flowers, which presents American Flowers Week, commissioned five floral-inspired fashion shoots depicting iconic American grown blooms. The designers who contributed their creativity and artistic talents teamed up with generous flower farms that donated stems straight from their fields and greenhouses.

Four of the five looks are shown above. We’re saving the final look to feature in an article that will appear in the August 2017 issue of Florists’ Review — so stay tuned for the big reveal! Our All-American floral looks would never have been possible without the support of Slow Flowers’ sponsors, including Certified American GrownArctic Alaska Peony CooperativeLongfield GardensSyndicate SalesSeattle Wholesale Growers MarketJohnny’s Selected Seeds and Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.


American Flowers Week at the Grocery Store

Melanie Cherry, Town & Country Markets’ floral boss, shared this shot of an in-store sunflower display for American Flowers Week.

Diana Westcott, regional floral buyer for Whole Foods’ Mid-Atlantic Region based in Maryland, shared this beautiful display from one of her floral departments!

Slowflowers member Rita Anders of Weimar, Texas-based Cuts of Color, delivered hundreds of bouquets and bunches of American Flowers Week blooms to Central Market in Houston. She texted us these photos and added: “Labels look great! I love the labels!”

Steve Pabody, partner in Triple Wren Farms in Ferndale, Washington (with his wife Sarah Pabody) have a fabulous partnership with Cone & Steiner General, a neighborhood convenience store, with soon-to-be 3 Seattle locations.


AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK Promotion Idea

Kathleen Barber of Erika’s Fresh Flowers in Astoria, Oregon, donated all net proceeds of her locally grown bouquets sold during American Flowers Week to Northwest Battle Buddies, a nonprofit partnering combat veterans with professionally trained dogs. Love this idea and the personal, healing connections being made with Kathleen’s flowers.

Continue reading

American Flowers Week at Cone & Steiner

Tags

, , ,

Cone & Steiner’s displays feature locally-grown Triple Wren Farms bouquets for American Flowers Week.

Flower farmer Steve Pabody and grocery entrepreneur Dani Cone. It’s all about local, community, and connections.

On the first day of American Flowers Week, June 28th, I met up in Seattle with Steve Pabody, partner in Triple Wren Farms with his wife Sarah Pabody.

Their Ferndale, Wash., flower farm makes weekly deliveries to Cone & Steiner, an innovative new-old neighborhood convenience store, with soon-to-be 3 locations.

Steve delivered straight bunches of lovely anemones and mixed bouquets in Mason jars — all labeled American Flowers Week.

Triple Wren Farmrs’ anemones for American Flowers Week!

I had a chance to ask owner Dani Cone for her take on the holiday – and on buying from local flower farms. Enjoy our interview:

Here are a few more beautiful floral shots — eye candy that greets neighborhood customers stopping by Cone & Steiner, enticing them to grab a bunch to add to their coffee or sandwich purchase.

Beautiful mixed bouquets, wrapped in paper — ready to take home.

And P.S., these are just a few of the American Flowers Week bouquets that Triple Wren delivered to Pacific Northwest area retail outlets. Steve and Sarah delivered bouquets and growers’ bunches to New Seasons, Whole Foods and Metropolitan Market stores in the area, too!

Sunflower Gown by Amy Kunkel-Patterson, Gather Design Co.

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Amy Kunkel-Patterson of Gather Design Co. (right), works with a friend to prep the skirt of her beautiful American-grown sunflower gown

Floral Palette: Sunflower, Rudbeckia, Amaranth and ornamental grasses
Designer: Amy Kunkel-Patterson, Gather Design Co. (Seattle, WA)
www.gatherdesigncompany.com
@gatherdesigncompany
Floral ingredients supplied by Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

[Note: this is an expanded bonus interview conducted for Florists’ Review June 2017]

Amy Kunkel-Patterson of Seattle’s Gather Design Co. once tried to convince a bridal studio to let her sew flowers onto a wedding gown for a styled shoot. They didn’t go for it, so faced with designing a gown out of classic American sunflowers, she jumped at the chance.
“I’ve been wanting to build a dress out of flowers, but there wasn’t a wedding gown designer around who would let me sew flowers on a very expensive dress,” she says.

Amy is the first to admit that working with sunflowers wouldn’t have been her first choice. “Most designers, especially designers who do weddings, would probably have the response I had: ‘Oh. Sunflowers. A big yellow thing with a dark center. Who wants that for their wedding?'”

Ever the researcher, Amy began to discuss her floral options with the staff and farmers of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. “They showed me all the options. Beyond yellow, there are varieties in the brown palette, and ones where the petals start a little bit yellow in the center and then fade to mostly brown. And then, they offered me a bunch of the burgundy and plum sunflowers. I’ll admit, I didn’t know there were plum-colored sunflowers before I did this project.”

The elevated palette allowed her to incorporate other seasonal field flowers, such as wine-colored amaranth and ‘Sahara Mix’ rudbeckia, which echoes the sunflower shape but on a softer, smaller scale.

When I saw the different shades and variations of the sunflowers, it was an ‘a-ha’ moment for me. And I knew this didn’t have to be just a solid yellow sunflower gown, but one with yellow fading into other colors to create something very elegant.

Having learned to sew and build things as a kid, the idea of working with unconventional tools wasn’t daunting. It’s these skills that have served Amy well as a wedding designer working on large-scale installations.

With the idea of a dress design in her mind’s eye, and with a willing model, flower farmer Kelly Uhlig of Sonshine Flower Farm in Langley, Wash., Amy began to fit a two-piece garment that would serve as the basis for her gown. “I actually started with a dress that I bought at Goodwill and cut down to make a bodice with a plunging neckline and a really open back. The skirt is a flat king bed sheet draped over two types of chicken wire and a bit of tulle, with a belt that fastens on the inside of the skirt so you don’t see it as it cinches around her waist.”

Amy jokes that at times she felt more like a builder than a floral designer because of the amount of metal involved, including a section of 1/2-inch grid hardware cloth. “The entire gown weighed about 65 pounds,” she points out.

The skirt’s wire foundation was necessary because of the heavy flower heads, more than 500 altogether. “I didn’t want the train to collapse so I had to create a physical structure to hold it out.”

Because of the sheer quantity of flower heads, Amy’s original idea of sewing each botanical piece to the fabric base wasn’t practical. “It would have taken far too long and the flowers would have wilted by the time I finished,” she says. Tubes and tubes of cold Oasis glue did the job, however — at least one-half gallon of glue by Amy’s estimate. “I didn’t start attaching the flowers until late afternoon the day before our photo shoot. Then I attached the rest of the sunflowers, the amaranth and rudbeckia on the day of the shoot. I’m so glad that my friend Erin Shackelford of Camas Design volunteered to wrap the little grass pieces into tassels to edge the hem of the skirt.”

Other finishing details include single threads of burgundy amaranth that drape beautifully over the model’s waist and hips, speckled turkey feathers collected from a local farm and a charming hair piece that echoes the botanicals use for the dress. “I’m just thrilled with how it turned out,” Amy says.

Resources:

Model: Kelly Uhlig, Sonshine Farm, Langley, WA
Hair/Makeup: Yessie Libby, Yessie Makeup Artistry, Seattle
Photography: Anna Peters, Anna Peters Photography, Seattle
Location: Everyday Flowers, Stanwood, WA

AMERICAN-GROWN FLORAL FASHION

Tags

, , ,

In Year Three, American Flowers Week Salutes Iconic U.S.-Grown Flowers and Foliages with a Couture Approach

*Note: This essay originally published in Florists’ Review June 2017 edition.

Photography credits: Anna Peters, Mary Grace Long, Jillian and Ryan McGrath, John Kaemmerling

In 2015, while in London for the Chelsea Flower Show, I met with Helen Evans, one of the geniuses behind New Covent Garden Market’s successful British Flowers Week campaign (June 19-25, 2017).

The U.K.’s most important wholesale floral hub launched BFW in 2013 as a low-budget, social media-driven “annual celebration of seasonal, locally-grown flowers and foliage united the U.K. cut flower industry and sparking public and media interest in where our flowers come from.” It has become a popular and successful campaign to promote British flowers — and floral designers.

By the time we had finished sipping from our steaming mugs of tea in the Market’s employee break room, I was thinking to myself: “I should start American Flowers Week.

Helen and her colleagues were immensely helpful and supportive. I returned to the U.S. in late May 2015 inspired by the BFW model, equipped with Helen’s suggestions and resources, and by the end of June, I introduced American Flowers Week.

The 2015 American Flowers Week Logo, designed by Jean Zaputil of Studio Z Design & Photography

It seems entirely fitting that our week coincides with Independence Day, July 4th. Not only do these dates provide a patriotic hook on which to hang AFW, the timing is perfect because there are local flowers growing on farms in all 50 U.S. states, Alaska included, in late June and early July. And, as one wholesale floral manager suggested: “It’s otherwise a down time in floral, so we love having a new event to help promote flowers.”

The initial grass-roots endeavor enjoyed 400,000 social media impressions during the 2015 campaign.

Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events created our red-white-and-blue floral ‘fro for 2016, with graphic design from Jenny Diaz

In 2016, we added beautiful collateral material, a free USA floral coloring map that participating florists and flower farmers could download and share with customers, and even red-white-and-blue stickers used by florists, flower farmers and retailers to label their AFW bouquets. Impressions on social media hit 1.3 million last year.

This year’s campaign graphic features Floral Fashion by Amy Kunkel-Patterson of Gather Design Co., photography by Anna Peters, and graphic design by Jenny Diaz — read the entire story tomorrow!

I can’t wait to see what we’ll reach for 2017. This is Day Two of American Flowers Week and we’ve already hit 2.0 million impressions on Twitter & Instagram alone! That’s radical! Love how the Slow Flowers Tribe is helping make American Flowers Week a *trending topic!

For 2017, I’ve borrowed yet another page from British Flowers Week. BFW selects five iconic U.K.-grown flowers and pairs each with a high-profile florist or design team to produce installations and vignettes. The press and online media devour these images — and of course, the publication of them creates a buzz about British flowers and the farmers and florists who supply them.

Slow Flowers, which presents AFW, has commissioned five floral-inspired fashion shoots depicting iconic American grown blooms. The designers who contributed their creativity and artistic talents teamed up with generous flower farms that donated stems straight from their fields and greenhouses.

The goal? To showcase domestic and seasonal flowers in a new and engaging way — and to show how inventiveness and ingenuity, along with American grown flowers, produce beautiful results.

These All-American floral looks would never have been possible without the support of Slow Flowers’ sponsors, including Certified American Grown, Arctic Alaska Peony Cooperative, Longfield Gardens, Syndicate Sales, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

Upcoming: For the next 5 days — through July 4th — I’ll post the story of each Floral Fashion, with insights from its designer, as well as flower farmers who provided the botanicals incorporated in each wearable style.

Join our Floral Mind-Meld*

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Behind the Scenes at the Slow Flowers Summit

What inspired me to create the Slow Flowers Summit?
Over the years, there have been other ideas floating around about a conference focused on flower farmers and florists coming together to learn about the Slow Flowers Movement, but nothing really gained traction and I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted it to be.

That is until two things happened last year.

Debra, with Amy Stewart (c) and Scott Brown (r), photo courtesy Field to Vase Dinner Tour.

The idea first began to form while I was chatting with my friend Amy Stewart and her husband Scott Brown at the first Field to Vase Dinner of 2016.

We were enjoying the spectacle of a tulip-filled commercial greenhouse at Sun Valley Flower Farm in Arcata, Calif., not too far from where Amy and Scott live.

And as we reminisced about Amy’s New York Times bestselling book Flower Confidential, which includes a significant narrative about Sun Valley and its CEO Lane DeVries (who was our host at that dinner), I blurted out to Amy: “Wow, do you realize that next year, 2017, will be the ten-year anniversary of Flower Confidential?”

She laughed and said, no, she hadn’t really made that connection. And then she said: “I should do something to commemorate that. We should do something together.”

Amy’s presentation: “Where We’ve Come From and Where We’re Heading” shares her floral obvervations and predictions.

We both filed the idea away and then later in the year, while I was beginning plans for American Flowers Week 2017, I thought, “Why don’t I hold some kind of symposium during that week? Maybe Amy will come and speak.”

The Slow Flowers Summit, the idea more than anything else concrete, bubbled up into my consciousness and I looked at the calendar to think about my options.

I called Amy and asked if she would be my keynote speaker to talk about the decade of change that we’ve witnessed in the domestic cut flower industry.

She immediately said, “Yes, I’m in!”

Amy’s involvement lent the gravitas that we needed as the hub around which to build a full day of conversations about the progressive ideas that the Slow Flowers Movement espouses. Rather than a farming-themed symposia, the Summit speaker lineup and topics came together to include professional floral design, domestic sourcing and environmentally-conscious practices, personal development, as well as business branding, values and creativity.

And this leads to the second thing that inspired and influenced me. I attended the Seattle TEDx conference last November, curious to experience that format. I wanted to think big and be nontraditional in my approach to staging my own mini-version of such an ambitious platform. The way TEDx is packaged and produced appeals to me. The use of visuals and video that accompanies the presentations, the condensed time-frame for multiple talks, the unexpected topics — all of these ideas influenced what I wanted for the Summit.

Teresa will present “Post-Modern Posies: Botanical Messages for today.”

So the lineup came together with Amy and I knew Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co. had to be involved. Teresa is the “real” florist profiled by Amy in Flower Confidential — the Santa Cruz florist whose sidewalk kiosk filled with flowers from her own cutting garden gave Amy an alternative (and successful) model to contrast with the global floriculture industry documented elsewhere in her book.

James Baggett

I also wanted a dynamic emcee and I’m so fortunate that James Baggett, longtime friend and editor from Country Gardens magazine, said yes.

Now the garden editor for Better Homes & Gardens magazine, James’s energy, intelligence and engaging personality will strike the perfect chord for our day’s schedule of events.

And yes, he is a lover of all flora and fauna, especially puppies!

Two other innovators agreed to join the program and I am thrilled that they’ll be part of the Summit for similar reasons.

Emily (left) and Lisa (right) will push your creative thinking to new levels.

Both Emily Ellen Anderson of Lola Creative (Seattle) and Lisa Waud of pot & box (Detroit) are floral designers who think and execute flowers in a thoroughly unconventional manner.

I believe their presentations will embolden audience members to take creative risks, develop a personal value and mission statement, and stay true to those beliefs as artists. In addition to talking about reinvention — personally, professionally and sustainably, Emily will produce a foam free floral wall in “real time,” over the course of the day’s activities — engaging participants to design alongside her and learn about her methods. Lisa will lead “a creative conversation” as she shares her personal journey in artistic risk-taking — including her story of the now-famous Flower House Detroit (2015) and Detroit Flower Week (2016).

Clockwise, from top left: Leslie Bennett, Chantal Aida Gordon, Riz Reyes and Nicole Cordier Wahlquist. Their panel discussion will open new paths to a more inclusive, meaningful experience for all of us.

It was at Detroit Flower Week that something really special occurred – a conversation about diversity (or lack thereof) in the floral industry. I was so pleased that Lisa hosted an in-the-round discussion among professionals attending Detroit Flower Week, and I wanted to continue the dialogue with a panel at the Summit. In my opinion, horticulture and floriculture have similar trajectories, so I’ve invited four amazing talents from both worlds to share their personal narratives about being people of color navigating their professional paths in flowers and gardens. Continue reading

USA Map of State Flowers – Free Promotional Material for American Flowers Week

Tags

, ,

Illustrated by Jenny Diaz, our new USA State Flowers coloring map is yours to print & share

Last year’s USA floral coloring map was a big hit with everyone who joined American Flowers Week promotions. We heard from Slow Flowers members who shared free copies at their Farmers’ Market stands, who took copies to their kids’ classrooms, and who handed out the coloring pages at their retail shops.

When it came to planning a 2017 version, artist Jenny Diaz went in a new direction — to celebrate the official State Flower of all 50 states, individually and compiled in to a beautiful new map (seen above).

Download Individual State Flower Coloring Pages

Looking for a specific State, such as Your State?! Individual Maps can also be downloaded and printed for your promotions. We encourage you to add your own logo to the artwork and PLEASE post images of what you color! Tag with #americanflowersweek and #stateflowermap

Promote Your Flowers This Summer with American Flowers Week

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PDFJune2017Growing for Market is the leading publication for market farmers who grow food AND flowers to sell via retail and wholesale channels.

We’re so excited that editor/publisher Andrew Mefferd invited Slow Flowers’ Debra Prinzing to contribute a story about American Flowers Week in the current June issue.

We hope it inspires his readers to join this pro-local-flowers campaign!

The message:

Join this cost-effective social media campaign to promote your locally-grown blooms

The story begins this way:

American-grown flowers are worth celebrating, so I figured they needed their own holiday. It’s called American Flowers Week. And what better time of year than July 4th, Independence Day, to plan the festivities? For the third consecutive year, American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4) gives flower farmers and their customers endless good reasons for promoting homegrown botanicals.

I come from the world of media, and I know how important having an answer to the “why now?” question can be when persuading writers and editors that a story is timely or relevant. If the news generated by last year’s AFW campaign is any indication, there is indeed media interest in featuring American-grown flowers in newspapers, magazines and blogs, and even on television. Hey, it’s newsworthy!

Special thanks to everyone who shared their support and past experiences for the story, including:

Hillary Alger, Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Melissa Smith, Fraylick Farm and SC Upstate Flowers

Marybeth Wehrung, Stars of the Meadow and Hudson Valley Flower Growers Network

Christie Tarleton, The Farmer’s Florist

Dennis Westphall, Jello Mold Farm

Hedda Brorstrom, Full Bloom Flower Farm

Sarah Pabody, Triple Wren Farms

Click here to read a PDF of the Article/June 2017

Click here to subscribe to Growing for Market

Healing strength from flowers, a Chapel Designer installation

Tags

, , , , , ,

Parie Donaldson, floral warrior, in celebration of American Flowers Week (c) Abby Jiu Photography

Last fall, Holly Chapple was getting ready for the first Flowerstock, her festival of flowers and floral design held at Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, Virginia. We talked about the idea of her attendees coming together to design a wearable floral fashion in celebration for American Flowers Week.

Little did I realize how personal this project would become, for Holly and for the woman who served as both model and inspiration for so many of her friends and colleagues.

Holly knew I wanted to use the floral fashion project to showcase domestic flowers, the design talents of Slow Flowers members and America’s beautiful diversity in our model selection. At first, she had a particular model in mind; then she called and told me she wanted to have Parie Donaldson wear the floral creation.

Parie was diagnosed with breast cancer on July 19, 2016, and began her chemotherapy treatments about a month later. An uber-talented floral designer, owner of Amarillo, Texas-based Parie Designs, and a member of Chapel Designers, Parie had recently shared her scary news with that tight-knit community of wedding and event designers, including their founder, Holly.

Paire in her mythical pose (left); Chapel Designers adorned their friend with fresh, local, American grown flowers. (c) Abby Jiu Photography

Holly invited Parie to attend Flowerstock as her guest, and she wanted her friend to experience restorative time on the Virginia farm, surrounded by the supportive floral community. “We all knew she was coming to Flowerstock before returning to Amarillo for a double-mastectomy,” Holly told me. “And I knew you wanted to have unique models and real people, so it felt right to design with Parie as our model.”

By the time everyone arrived at Hope Flower Farm for Flowerstock (October 17-18, 2016), Holly had already imagined the theme of “rebirth,” picturing Parie emerging out of flames into flowers.

The huge stone fire pit at Hope seemed like the perfect setting for the undertaking. With several design instructors and attendees lending support, the team draped Parie in sheer, diaphanous fabric and began to “flower” her. She stood at the center of the fire pit, regal, mythical and strong, as new and old friends adorned her head, shoulders and body. She held a piece of foraged bark, which Holly says a few designers dragged back to Hope Farm from a nearby vineyard. It somehow morphed into a botanical scepter, part of the imaginary storyline of Parie as warrior-goddess.

“This was a gift to me from Holly, and it was pretty significant,” Parie recalls now. “The amount of physical support, monetary support . . . it’s the stuff that brings me to my knees. It was overwhelming.”

Filled with flame-hued dahlias and other blooms, the fire pit symbolized a rebirth for Parie. (c) Abby Jiu Photography

Dahlias, amaranth, roses and other flowers — from Hope Farm and farms across the U.S. — embellished Parie and her scepter. More were used to symbolize flames in the fire pit.

For her part, Parie remembers the emotions more than the actual experience. “I was really raw. My psyche was raw at that point; my hair was gone. I was about to lose my boobs. I was physically weak, mentally weak, mentally raw — it was very unlike how I usually am as a confident, take-charge leader.”

Going to Flowerstock and being surrounded by a supportive community was a positive act, Parie says. “It was oddly comforting that I could absolutely let go while I was there. It was very loving and comforting that these women and men were completely taking care of me. It was certainly physical; it felt like an age-old ritual of laying hands on me. Pretty powerful.”

Strength in community, with flowers as her muse, Parie Donaldson (c) Abby Jiu Photography

Holly had imagined Parie emerging, phoenix-like, from a fire. For her part, Parie held onto a similarly potent image during her cancer treatment. “My visual for working through this was a Joan of Arc type figure. I imagined I had a suit of armor and on each of the scales on that armor appeared the name of all the other women who had gone before me, especially those I knew through my past support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation in my community. I told Holly about it, and the visual of a warrior became real when everyone started grabbing flowers to place on my head and body.”

After finishing and photographing Parie, the group placed leftover flowers in the pit and built a campfire that burned for two days, through daytime and night. “We are a very close-knit group and for all of us to be part of that and to work on the installation was very healing,” Holly says

Nature comes full circle, with the charred Amaranth seeds re-sprouting in the same place where Parie once stood (c) Holly Chapple via Instagram

Fast-forward to June 2017 and the seeds of once-burned amaranth stalks have begun to re-sprout in that very fire pit, appropriately bringing new life to Hope Farm. Parie has gone through five surgeries and radiation treatment and is getting ready for her final breast reconstruction surgery later this month.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been happier doing what I’m doing in my life,” Parie says. “Cancer will change your life. It puts things into perspective, especially how you choose to spend your time and energy. Being in flowers has changed my life. It has always been a comfort zone for me, but it is more so now.”

Details:

Check out our story of how Parie Design celebrated American Flowers Week in 2016.

Check out all the details about the October 9-10, 2017 Flowerstock here. Slow Flowers will be participating with Debra Prinzing as a speaker.

Holly thanks the following flower farms and growers for their donations to this project: Hope Flower Farm, Harmony Harvest Farm, Green Stone Fields, Don’s Dahlias, Peterkort Roses, Delaware Valley Floral Group.

American Flowers Week featured in Florists’ Review’s June issue

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

In Year Three, American Flowers Week Salutes Iconic U.S.-Grown Flowers and Foliages with a Couture Approach

We’re so excited to share the story of American Flowers Week 2017 in the new issue of Florists’ Review! Here’s a sneak peek of the spreads in Debra Prinzing’s story, titled “Homegrown Event presents Floral Fashions.”

The opening paragraphs tell how American Flowers Week came to be:

In 2015, while in London for the Chelsea Flower Show, I met with Helen Evans, one of the geniuses behind New Covent Garden Market’s successful British Flowers Week campaign (June 19-25, 2017). The U.K.’s most important wholesale floral hub launched BFW in 2013 as a low-budget, social media-driven “annual celebration of seasonal, locally-grown flowers and foliage united the U.K. cut flower industry and sparking public and media interest in where our flowers come from.” It has become a popular and successful campaign to promote British flowers — and floral designers.

By the time we had finished sipping from our steaming mugs of tea in the Market’s employee break room, I was thinking to myself: “I should start American Flowers Week.”

Helen and her colleagues were immensely helpful and supportive. I returned to the U.S. in late May 2015 inspired by the BFW model, equipped with Helen’s suggestions and resources, and by the end of June, I introduced American Flowers Week.

It seemed entirely fitting that our week coincides with Independence Day, July 4th. Not only do these dates provide a patriotic hook on which to hang AFW, the timing is perfect because there are local flowers growing on farms in all 50 U.S. states, Alaska included, in late June and early July. And, as one wholesale floral manager suggested: “It’s otherwise a down time in floral, so we love having a new event to help promote flowers.”

The initial grass-roots endeavor enjoyed 400,000 social media impressions during the 2015 campaign. In 2016, we added beautiful collateral material, a free USA floral coloring map that participating florists and flower farmers could download and share with customers, and even red-white-and-blue stickers used by florists, flower farmers and retailers to label their AFW bouquets. Impressions on social media hit 1.3 million last year.

For 2017, I’ve borrowed yet another page from British Flowers Week. BFW selects five iconic U.K.-grown flowers and pairs each with a high-profile florist or design team to produce installations and vignettes. The press and online media devour these images — and of course, the publication of them creates a buzz about British flowers and the farmers and florists who supply them.

Slow Flowers, which presents AFW, has commissioned several floral-inspired fashion shoots depicting iconic American grown blooms. The designers who contributed their creativity and artistic talents teamed up with generous flower farms that donated stems straight from their fields and greenhouses.

The goal? To showcase domestic and seasonal flowers in a new and engaging way — and to show how inventiveness and ingenuity, along with American grown flowers, produce beautiful results.

These All-American floral looks would never have been possible without the support of Slow Flowers’ sponsors, including Certified American Grown, Arctic Alaska Peony Cooperative, Longfield Gardens, Syndicate Sales, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

Congrats to all of our talented designers, photographers, models, hair/makeup artists — AND ESPECIALLY, the Flower Farmers who provided the blooms. See credits below.

To subscribe to Florists’ Review, click here.

Floral Palette: Sunflower, Rudbeckia, Amaranth and ornamental grasses
Designer: Amy Kunkel-Patterson, Gather Design Co. (Seattle, WA)
Floral ingredients supplied by Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

Model: Kelly Uhlig, Sonshine Farm, Langley, WA
Hair/Makeup: Yessie Libby, Yessie Makeup Artistry, Seattle
Photography: Anna Peters, Anna Peters Photography, Seattle
Location: Everyday Flowers, Stanwood, WA

Floral Palette: A medley of flowers and foliage from the landscape, hothouse and nature
Designer: Riz Reyes, RHR Horticulture (Seattle, WA)

Model: Alexander Brooks
Makeup: Yessie Libby, Yessie Makeup Artistry, Seattle
Photography: Mary Grace Long, Mary Grace Long Photography, Seattle
Location: Mary Grace Long Studio and Discovery Park, Seattle

Floral Palette: Bulb flowers, including iris, tulip, calla lily; Foliages, including ornamental cabbage, sword fern and wild huck
Designer: Tara Folker, Splints & Daisies, (Lancaster, PA)
Floral ingredients supplied by Stargazer Barn, Arcata, CA.

Model: Ashley Garner
Makeup: Stefani Burket, The Bonafide Ginger
Photography: Jillian and Ryan McGrath, With Love and Embers
Location: Hingework

Floral Palette: California-grown hybrid tea roses, garden roses and spray roses and their seasonal companions
Designer: Teresa Sabankaya, Bonny Doon Garden Co., (Santa Cruz, CA)
Floral ingredients supplied by California Pajarosa, Watsonville, CA, and Bonny Doon Garden Co., Santa Cruz, CA

Model: Antalia Sabankaya
Makeup: Zachary Winer
Hair: Carly Vollers
Photography: John Kaemmerling Photography
Location: Sabankaya family garden, Bonny Doon, CA

AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK PRESENTS . . . SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT

Read more about the Slow Flowers Summit here.

Sign up to attend! Tickets still available for the July 2nd event in Seattle.

 

2017 American Flowers Week Graphics

Sunflower Gown, Stunning Model, Sublime Setting . . . what else could you ask for?

We’ve just uploaded 2017 American Flowers Week Graphics and collateral images that you can use on social media and for your own marketing projects. Click here to find them all.

Thanks to our amazing designer, Jenny Diaz, for her ongoing creativity! You can learn more about Jenny’s work here. Follow Jenny on Instagram.

Thanks to Amy Kunkel-Patterson of Gather Design Co. (Seattle) for taking on the design challenge of creating a high-fashion sunflower gown!

Thanks to our beautiful model, Kelly Uhlig of Sonshine Flower Farm, a flower farmer who knows how to go glam when she has to!

Thanks to our venue, Everyday Flowers, contributed by flower farmer Vivian Larsen.

Thanks to the farmers of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market for donating hundreds and hundreds of beautiful, fresh and local sunflowers, rudbeckias, amaranthus and more!

Photography by the very talented Anna Peters and hair/makeup by the artistic Yessie Libby.

More graphics for your many social places:

Instagram Badge

Badge for your blog or web site

Post Card