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

The fifth annual American Flowers Week celebration kicks off today, June 28th and runs through July 4th. You’re invited to join the party and share your beautiful flowers — local, seasonal and grown close to home.

Here is some inspiration for you: Nine Ways to Participate in American Flowers Week.

A few of our design volunteers posed with Debra Prinzing in front of their floral creation. From left: Sandy Figel, Francie Romano, Carolyn Kulb, Emily Ellen Anderson, Debra Prinzing and Suzann Carson

Speaking of closer to home, here at Slow Flowers headquarters in Seattle, we were motivated to create a large-scale floral installation to commemorate locally-grown Washington flowers.

Thanks to a fabulous group of volunteer designers and generous support from Washington State Farm Bureau, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and Camflor, the week of local flowers took a theatrical turn worthy of the Broadway stage.

SWGMC’s Alana Roper shows her reaction to the beautiful floral draperies.

A group of talented floral designers, retail florists and farmer-florists joined together to produce the installation. We transformed the 10-by-10 foot loading dock at SWGMC into a theatrical floral stage, complete with lavish botanical draperies and a marquee banner reading “American Flowers Week” (more on that below).

On Tuesday afternoon volunteer Slow Flowers member designers threaded more than 2,000 flower heads onto 15-foot-long lei-like strands. A festive — “it takes a village” — spirit of collaboration filled the workroom as these women, many of whom had not previously met, each shared stories of their floral journey, as well as personal insights into finding balance as creatives and entrepreneurs. Gathered around a table while threading long needles through freshly-cut flower heads onto bullion wire . . . it felt like a modern-day quilting bee. Great connections while making something beautiful together.

Anne Bradfield of Floressence Designs (left) with Seattle mural artist Josie Rice. Josie not only embellished the exterior of SWGMC, she designed this year’s American Flowers Week campaign branding!

We loved the palette: white, cream, pink coral, lavender and maroon blooms, generously donated by the Market and its member growers. The color choice was a nod to red-and-white stripes of the U.S. flag while also blending nicely with the Josie Rice floral mural that covers the entire surface of the Market, including around the loading dock opening. Keita Horn of Smashing Petals designed two beautiful, tapestry-like floral tiebacks using nigella, scabiosa, delphinium and sea holly, among other blue-petaled options.

Suzanne Carson’s lapels say it all!

We also utilized several sections of greenery garlands, custom-made by Camflor, a California flower farm and Slow Flowers member. The texture and density of the eucalyptus and grevillea garlands added lots of volume and interest to the floral strands.

Early Wednesday morning, we installed the floral draperies from the lip of the roll-up loading dock door. S-hooks and zip-ties were perfect mechanics to engineer the scheme. A time crunch before the market opened to buyers at 6 a.m. kept everyone focused. As soon as the garlands and floral strands were in pace, Emily Ellen Anderson of Lola Creative her assistant Alana Crawley climbed ladders to install a fabulous bunting-style banner that spanned the opening of the loading dock declaring: AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK.

The banner, designed by Emily Ellen Anderson of Lola Creative, features F L O W E R S spelled out in red buds and petals.

Our favorite part: the F L O W E R S part is spelled out in red spray roses, dianthus and other tiny flower heads.

Thank you to everyone who attended. For those of you who missed the festivities, please enjoy the party virtually, through Missy Palacol’s lens (thank YOU, Missy!).

Other thanks are as follows:

Charmaine (as dancing pansy) and Dennis aka Mister.Mold.

Dennis Westphall, Jello Mold Farm and @mister.mold, for sharing his music and his fun floral costumes!

Charmaine Butcher, SWGMC Marketing Coordinator, and Alana Ropper for performing and dancing to Dennis’s music while masquerading as a Pansy and Daffodil, respectively.

Molly Sadowsky, Katy Beene and Liz Gusarson of the SWGMC team for keeping us supplied with flowers, foliage, borrowed ladders, borrowed, tools, carts, storage space and so much more.

Floral director Melanie Cherry and her team from Town & Country Markets, including Sarah Clark (Bainbridge Island T&C), Brenda King and Robin Alex (Central Market Shoreline).
Francie Romano, Francie Flower
Karen McIntosh, Flowers by Karen
Anne Bradfield, Floressence Design
Tammy Myers, First & Bloom and Lora Bloom
Carolyn Kulb, Folk Art Flowers
Keita Horn, Smashing Petals
Suzanne Carson, Washington Farm Bureau
Laura Ridenour, Washington State Department of Agriculture
Sandy Figel, Verbena Floral Seattle
Emily Ellen Anderson, Lola Creative
Alana Crawley, Lola Creative

More Thanks:
Lainie Kertesz, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, who brought flower seed giveaways and cut flower resources
Erin Murphy, Tilth Alliance, for sharing resources on organic farming and farm tours
Suzanne Carson and Laura Ridenour who just kicked off the Washington Flowers Project in conjunction with American Flowers Week and lent major support and enthusiasm for the installation and party.
Jessica Lutovsky, Must Love Frosting, for her fantastic and delicious cookie artistry