Arranged with all-local Pacific Northwest blooms, I love this sweet centerpiece that I made at a design workshop with Tammy Myers of First and Bloom last summer (c) Missy Palacol Photography
A perfect patriotic floral combo! (c) Missy Palacol Photography
Maybe the palette seems a little cheezy to you, but ever since I created American Flowers Week in 2015, I have been on the lookout for fantastic ingredients that add up to beautiful (and anything but cheezy) Red-White-and-Blue floral arrangements and bouquets.
Nothing says “proud” and “homegrown” better than recreating our American flag’s true colors in a vase, right?
Another view and a snap of me with my American Flowers Week-inspired beauties (c) Missy Palacol Photography
That fun, al fresco-style event took place a month or so after American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4) but clearly the stars and stripes were top-of-mind because I didn’t hesitate about the palette when Tammy offered me an entire rainbow of botanicals from which to choose.
MORE RED-WHITE-AND-BLUE FLORALS
I’ve been playing with reds & maroons, whites & creams, blues & indigos — across the botanical spectrum — for the past three years, and now I’m really getting excited about our next American Flowers Week campaign. It’s coming up in just five weeks, so I hope these images inspire you to create your own Independence Day bouquets. Please share them at our Slow Flowers Community Page on Facebook!
All-American flowers, grown in Oregon at Charles Little & Co.
A child’s table, painted delphinium blue by a vintage dealer, is my perfect podium for this bouquet.
A July 4, 2015 Mason jar bouquet featuring ‘Checkers,’ a favorite dahlia from Jello Mold Farm.
Enjoy these glorious red-white-and-blue flowers, picked just in time for American Flowers Week.
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 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.
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.
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.
Farmers and Florists in Greenville, South Carolina, came together to celebrate local flowers for American Flowers Week 2016 (c) Angela Zion Photography
If you’re like me, planning for 2017 is top-of-mind these days. And it’s not too early to begin your American Flowers Week 2017 promotional prep!
Here’s some inspiration to get you started. I’ve been wanting to share the story of SC Upstate Flowers, a group of creative and motivated flower farmers who are staking a claim for Slow Flowers in their community. They planned a fun, festive, floral — and affordable — promotionalevent that was a huge success.
Meet Melissa Smith, Fraylick Farm (c) Angela Zion
The goal? To use the occasion of American Flowers Week to introduce themselves and their beautiful, local blooms to their hometown florists.
Flower farmer and Slowflowers.com member Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm knew that American Flowers Week 2016 (June 28-July 4) was coming up after reading about it in Slowflowers.com newsletters.
“I thought, ‘we need to do something with this — this is a good opportunity,'” she explained. The idea of a “Farmer-Florist Party”took on a life of its own when Suzie Bunn of Statice Floral offered to hold the party in her Greenville studio.
Gorgeous, natural light fills The Station, where florist Suzie Bunn and her business Statice Floral are based.
“The Station,” where Suzie’s design studio is housed, is actually an old gas station converted into a multi-artist commercial space. In addition to a printmaker, two photographers work here, including Angela Zion, who offered to capture the Farmer-Florist Party on film. She has generously shared some of those images with us here.
But rather than just posting a floral image on her Instagram feed, Parie and her team took American Flowers Week to new levels. They created a styled shoot, called “BACKYARD FARM TO TABLE DINNER PARTY,” and submitted the photos to a favorite style blog: Inspired by This.
As floral designers, this group of gals was excited to host a beautiful backyard farm to table dinner party. Not only did we find out about American Flowers Week, but also gathered such fresh and fun inspiration for parties of our own! It doesn’t get much better than farm fresh food and even fresher cut flowers. (The charcuterie board will make your mouth water!) Parie Designs put themselves in charge of planning (and styling) this soiree at a super cool venue – The Bowery Warehouse. They’re sharing their favorite parts with us here.
We were thrilled to have a small dinner party in honor of American Flowers Week just a few weeks ago! We get to spend so much time designing beautiful florals from Holland and other faraway places, which we love, but we jumped at the opportunity to cut some of our blooms from our own backyards and enjoy an evening together complete with yummy cocktails, delicious food and good company.
I recently scheduled a phone date with Parie to learn about her charming American Flowers Week-styled shoot. Here’s an excerpt:
AFW: I’m curious about your “styled shoots”? Why do you invest time and resources to create them?
PD: We do four to six a year. I’m so lucky that we now have an amazing photographer on staff — Mallory Morgan Henderson. She’s our new floral designer, but she’s also a photographer. It seems like every shoot or wedding I’ve done with Mallory has been published. She’s smart, savvy and spectacular. Now we can say: “Let’s do a shoot,” and we can come up with the plan, thanks to Mallory.
AFW: What inspired the Backyard Farm to Table Dinner Party?
PD: I’ve been back in Amarillo for more than 20 years after living in and beginning my floral career in Seattle. In that time, I’ve literally only known of three farms that grow flowers. We’re surrounded here by farms where cattle, sourghum and corn are raised, but there’s nobody here growing flowers anymore. For some time, there was an amazing woman who had the most fabulous peonies growing on an acre or two — I would try to take every peony she had.
So instead, for this shoot, we sourced produce from the one local organic food farmer and then we cut everything out of my garden and our team member’s gardens (for the decor).
AFW: I love how casual and elegant you made things look. Very luxe and comfortable at the same time!
PD: Thanks! This became our employee photo shoot. We made the beautiful dinner ourselves, we imbibed, we ate, we enjoyed the evening, we took pictures.
AFW: How did you learn about American Flowers Week and decide to get involved?
PD: I knew about it because I’m a Chapel Designer. I’m watching everything go on — I’ve really been trying to get to one of those Field to Vase DInners, too.
AFW: Do you think you’ll ever grow your own flowers just to be able to design with more seasonal, local and American grown botanicals?
PD: You know, across from The Bowery, our event space, we own this huge lot. It’s mainly used for parking but I look at it every day and I find myself thinking: “How could I get water to it?” I’m sure there’s space to grow some flowers there.
AFW: Thank you, Parie! It has been great learning from you and I can’t wait to see what you come up with for American Flowers Week 2017!
Sixteen prizes were donated for our 50 States of American Grown Flowers drawing
A sweet, fragrant and beautiful time was had by all! As the momentum grows for American Flowers Week, we’re already collecting ideas for 2017. Your suggestions and ideas are welcome! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share yours.
Before I sign off, I have to post my FAVORITE Flower Farmer Moments from American Flowers Week. They are simply beyond compare and you’ll love them:
Slow Flowers member Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Farm near Sebastopol created the cutest American Flowers Week flower bra!
Slow Flowers member Dennis Westphall, one half of Jello Mold Farm, took inspiration from the film “American Beauty,” and posed ‘au naturele’ in a bath tub filled with Cafe au Lait dahlias. Wow.
The Pabody family of Triple Wren Farm created a fantastic Instagram mosaic to celebrate #americanflowersweek
P.S. With Canada Day occurring each year on July 1st, we’d like to launch #canadianflowersweek to help our Slowflowers.com members in Canada promote domestic flowers.
Get in touch if you’re interesting in serving on a planning committee for that campaign.
Here’s a 30-day snapshot of the #americanflowersweek activity on Instagram and Twitter alone.
The excitement of American Flowers Week is starting to die down and yet we’re still collecting photographs and posts of engagement for the 2nd annual celebration of local and domestic flowers!
The numbers shown above are just part of the story because we can’t reliably track Facebook or conventional media mentions. However as a snapshot of activity, the Keyhole.co chart is significant when compared to the same period in 2015. One year ago, we had 410,000 potential impressions for #americanflowersweek. This year, the total potential is more than three times the prior year’s impressions. From 410k to 1.3 million!
Thank you to our four financial sponsors: Certified American Grown, Syndicate Sales, Longfield Gardens and Mayesh Wholesale.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to write a tweet, share a photo, add a sticker to a bouquet, create an unique display, compose blog posts, teach a workshop, send out a press release, appear on local media, author a column or new story, donate flowers and prizes, and generally get behind this wonderful campaign.
I’ll be posting more insights in the coming days, and introducing many of the active and influential #americanflowersweek participants.
And then . . . we’ll begin the planning for 2017! I’ll be surveying Slowflowers.com members for input and suggestions. There is so much potential and we’re just getting started!
That’s a Wrap! Thank you to everyone who participated in American Flowers Week 2016! (c) Amanda Dumouchelle
The 2nd annual American Flowers Week is a wrap, folks! So many of you participated this year and we’ve calculated a 250% increase in social media engagement over 2015. That’s seriously impressive!
Later this week I’ll post more on our “American Flowers Week by the Numbers,” but for today, I want to announce our winners and thank our sponsors.
We noted more than 1,080 #americanflowersweek posts on Instagram and that’s not counting shares and reposts! A total of 111 of you designed and posted American Flowers Week bouquets for our “50 States of American Flowers” gallery. Not every state was represented, but flower farmers and floral designers from 33 states did participate — that’s pretty awesome!
Here are the winners from our random drawing. You’ll be connected with the prize donor by email with more details:
The winners are:Maple Flower Farm of Vermont (Liz Kreig); Erika’s Fresh Flowers of Oregon (Kathleen Barber); Pot & Box of Michigan (Lisa Waud); Daniele Alion Strawn of California; and Flower Duet of California (Kit Wertz and Casey Schwartz) CONGRATULATIONS!!!
The winners are:Mountain Road Flower Farm of Massachusetts; Morningsong Farmer of Washington (Janelle McCrackin); Lollie Fleur of Washington (Kim Richards); Five Forks Farm of Massachusetts; and Emerald Petals of Oregon (Hilary Holmes) CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Hand-lettered chalk signs announce American Flowers Week at New Seasons Market in Portland
Love the message: Loud and Clear!
Just inside the entrance, this display greets customers of New Seasons’ Arbor Lodge store in Portland.
Thanks to suggestions from my flower farmer friends who sell to two of the Pacific Northwest’s most popular grocery chains, American Flowers Week took center stage in this region’s floral departments at Town & Country Markets and New Seasons Markets.
The chains adopted American Flowers Week as a vehicle to sell and promote locally-grown flowers during the Independence Day holiday week and incorporated our unique American Flowers Week label to alert their consumers about the origin of the flowers on display. In-store signage unique to each chain’s brand and staff members empowered to “own” the message with personality and creativity really paid off.
I hit the road early in the American Flowers Week campaign to see the creativity for myself and the “Buy Local Flowers” message at these stores came through strong and successful. Here are some of the highlights:
Town & Country Markets Inc. is a regional, locally-owned and operated independent grocery company founded in 1957 and based in the Seattle area and participated with American Flowers Week signage and bouquets throughout its six-store chain.
Town & Country on Bainbridge Island’s gorgeous local flowers display for American Flowers Week
Tags appear on Town & Country/Central Market bouquets large and small to alert customers about the origins of each flower.
New Seasons Market is a Portland-based West Coast neighborhood grocery with 18 stores in three states and showcased flower bunches, bouquets and mason jar arrangements from Northwest and California farms.
New Seasons’ floral manager Katie McConahay (right) with flower farmer Bethany Little (second from right) and team members Alaina and Guen (manager) at the Arbor Lodge neighborhood store in Portland.
On Wednesday, June 29th, I headed to Portland bright and early to see the floral design entries for the Oregon Flower Growers Association’s American Flowers Week celebration (more on that cool program later this week).
There, I met up with flower farmer Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co., a Slowflowers.com member and a Certified American Grown farm. I love how they took the initiative to do something special and stimulate floral consumption during the week of July 4th! The idea has inspired me to work on similar efforts across the U.S. and has laid the groundwork for even more grocery promotions in 2017.
Katie McConahay (floral buyer) and Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co.
It was Bethany who called me about six weeks ago and suggested that I develop a bouquet label that flower farmers could use on their grocery and market bouquets. She and her husband Charles Little (past guest of the Slow Flowers Podcast) sparked the idea and also pitched it to Katie McConahay, New Seasons Market floral buyer.
Certified American Grown Red-white-and-blue mason jars on sale for $12.99 at New Seasons. The bouquet featured red and white dahlias and gerberas with blue delhiniums.
We headed over to a nearby New Seasons Market in Portland’s Arbor Lodge neighborhood where buyer Katie and store floral manager Guen Armstrong showed off the signage, product selection and product labeling for American Flowers Week. Katie has a reputation for consistenly supporting Northwest and California flower farms throughout the year. She discussed this philosophy on a past episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast, which you can find here.
A huge variety of Northwest-grown mixed bouquets labeled with “American Flowers Week” at New Seasons Market.
From the hand-lettered chalkboard signage to the adorable mason-jars filled with red-white-and-blue California flowers, to the abundant and lush mixed bouquets from farms like Charles Little & Co., Rain Drop Farms and other NW flower farms, the message was clear: We Love Local. New Seasons also promoted American Flowers Week it is weekly circular and online. Check out these photos of my visit — I was blown away by the way New Seasons highlighted American Flowers Week!
We couldn’t be more pleased that a major wholesale flower supplier is waving the flag for American Flowers Week!
Thank You, Mayesh Wholesale for promoting local and domestic flowers across the many branches of your organization. Mayesh kicked off American Flowers Week with this video on “Mayesh Minute.” Check it out here:
Mayesh Wholesale’s David Dahlson gives an overview of American Flowers Week and presents some great options of American grown flowers that you may see in your Mayesh cooler – foxglove, cornflowers, ranunculus, tulips, grapevine, and ninebark.
From blooming Acacia to Zinnias!
Mayesh also created its American Grown Product List, which will be used by all of its 17 branches to help connect floral customers with local and domestic flowers. This 7-page PDF features widely requested flowers and foliage by Year-Round and Seasonal availability.