Slow Flowers will Commission at least FIVE Floral Couture Looks for our 2019 American Flowers Week Collection.
We’re soliciting proposals from farmer-florist creative teams for this campaign. Consideration will be made for geographic diversity, and for botanical elements not previously featured.
View our past American Flowers Week Collections here:
2016: Passionflower Events Floral Fro
2017: Four Floral Couture Looks
2017: Bonus Look from Babylon Floral
2018: Five Floral Couture Looks
All Floral Couture Looks Must be Completed and Photographed No Later than April 1, 2019 to meet Florists’ Review publishing deadlines.
Each Team’s Lead Designer and Lead Flower Farmer will receive a 1-year Premium Membership in Slow Flowers and be featured in American Flowers Week 2019 Promotional and Editorial Campaigns in lieu of financial compensation.
Launched in 2015, it’s the Original American-Grown Floral Holiday
In our fourth year, American Flowers Week has a lot to celebrate and I want to make sure you join in the many activities and take advantage of the resources available to help you promote local and seasonal flowers in your market!
We’ve gained significant momentum, having generated more than 5 million impressions across social media platforms in the past 365 days!
Everyone involved in flower farming and floral design is encouraged to highlight America’s flowers with the #americanflowersweek hashtag to draw attention to the campaign.
9 Ways to Participate in American Flowers Week
Several Maryland flower farms teamed up with Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore to host a flower crown workshop during American Flowers Week 2017. She’s holding her second Flower Crown Party for 2018!
I created American Flowers Week in 2015 as a community-focused floral holiday that allows and encourages participation from everyone in the floral industry — from flower seed and bulb producers to growers; from designers to retailers; from cutting garden enthusiasts to artists.
There are as many great opportunities to get involved as there are people and flowers! Click the link below to read about 9 Ways you can Participate, including creative and community-minded ideas from Slow Flowers farmers and florists around the U.S.!
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 our amazing team member, designer Jenny Diaz, for her contribution over the past three years. We love the look and vibe of the branding you’ve created, Jenny!
As a special branding bonus for 2018, I’m thrilled to share this beautiful red-white-and-blue botanical composition that we commissioned from Connecticut-based artist Ellen Hoverkamp.
Ellen’s work, which is termed “scanner photography,” utilizes freshly-picked flowers, foliage and other gifts from nature as her raw material. When composed into a botanical still-life and then scanned, the resulting digital image can be printed on archival, museum-grade paper for framing, or printed for other products, such as note cards or Ellen’s beautiful silk scarves.
Grab your June 2018 copy of Florists’ Review to see the 12-page spread about American Flowers Week’s floral fashions. You can return to AmericanFlowersWeek.com to read more about individual looks, the flower farmers’ and floral designers’ stories, and more beautiful photos throughout June, leading up to theJune 28-July 4 #americanflowersweek Celebration.
Thank you to everyone who donated flowers, design time, photography and styling. The impressive dream team behind these looks are not only talented but passionate about promoting American-grown flowers through their creativity!
I can’t tell you how much it means to this cause — to elevate the public’s awareness and to engage the industry to CARE about domestic floral agriculture and sustainable, mindful floral design.
These are the people who created our “Collection” of five floral fashion narratives for 2018 American Flowers Week. Let’s Congratulate Them!!
Homegrown Blooms appears in the June 2018 issue of Super Floral Magazine.
I’m so excited to share the stories of grocery stores around the country who are participating in and promoting American Flowers Week, bringing their customers a new reason to purchase bouquets and bunches of local blooms!
We’ve been planning and designing the 2018 Floral Fashion Collection for months — and it will be unveiled this week in the June issue of Florists’ Review!
For the third year in a row, American Flowers Week has commissioned fashion-inspired looks featuring local, seasonal and domestic florals.
For 2018, we have five fashion looks to unveil. It is amazing what the talented flower farmers and floral designers have conjured up this year and I’m so excited to be able to announce the participants and give you a preview of their creativity here.
Grab your June 2018 copy of Florists’ Review to read more and see a full 12-page spread about American Flowers Week’s floral fashions. I’ll be sharing individual stories and more beautiful photos throughout June, leading up to the June 28-July 4 #americanflowersweek Celebration.
Thank you to everyone who donated flowers, design time, photography and styling. The impressive dream team behind these looks are not only talented but passionate about promoting American-grown flowers through their creativity!
Let’s celebrate the five floral fashion narratives created for 2018 American Flowers Week. I can’t tell you how much it means to this cause — to elevate the public’s awareness and to engage the industry to CARE about domestic floral agriculture and sustainable, mindful floral design.
FIELD TO FASHION In its fourth year, American Flowers Week celebrates U.S.-grown (and foraged) botanicals with five fresh, inspiring and hand-crafted couture looks.
Adorn and embellish your bouquets with American Flowers Week labels!
It’s *almost* heeeeeere!
American Flowers Week 2018 launches in just one month, friends!
It’s completely free to participate in American Flowers Week, but if you want to dazzle your customers, we have an affordable resource for you to use.
For the 3rd year in a row, you can use American Flowers Week bouquet labels to highlight your product, your brand and your mission.
Check it out — This year, I made 2 improvements to the festive label art, designed by Jenny Diaz. First, the labels come on sheets of 9 (making shipping so much easier than strips of labels that I have to manually count out). Second, the year has been eliminated from the logo. That way, if you find yourself with leftovers, you can save the extras for next year.
Last year, 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!”
There is a sweet spot in our industry when flower farmers make personal connections with floral designers and I’ve heard time and again how rewarding it is for flower farmers to see their fresh, local and seasonal botanicals elevated as floral art by talented designers.
It is these types of face-to-face connections between grower and florist that has propelled local flowers to be “the most exciting story in the floral industry today,” as one leading floral educator recently told me.
Yet reaching out to the mainstream floral industry continues to be a challenge and that is one reason I launched both American Flowers Week in 2015 and last year offered a one-day symposium for floral designers called the Slow Flowers Summit.
That the Slow Flowers Summit coincided with the annual conference of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD), held last year in Seattle, was a happy coincidence. Several AIFD members and media attended the Slow Flowers Summit, curious to see what the buzz was all about. Rather than competing with what is considered the leading professional association in floristry, I wanted to add local flowers to the conversation.
The effort has led to an invitation from AIFD to speak on “Field to Vase: Connecting Grower, Florist and Consumer” as part of the group’s first-ever “Field to Vase Florists” educational track at this year’s Symposium. The track is promoted as “acknowledging the movement toward sustainability and locally grown, AIFD welcomes industry professionals who share the farmer/floral artist lifestyle.”
AIFD’s leadership also invited Slow Flowers to produce our second annual Slow Flowers Summitand share its symposium venue by providing conference space and promoting the event. The Summit will taking place on Friday, June 29th (the day prior to AIFD’s opening session) at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C.
I’ve asked this year’s speakers (flower farmers, farmer-florists and floral industry leaders) to focus on new business models in floral design. Christina Stembel of San Francisco-based Farmgirl Flowers’keynote presentation will help attendees think about scaling their studio or farm to new levels. Casey Schwartz and Kit Wertz, partners in Los Angeles-based Flower Duet, will share their recipe for diversifying a floral design studio to include workshops, tours, weddings and events, as well as online education. Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore (Maryland) and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet (Rhode Island) will present floral designs inspired by their favorite flower farms and discuss best practices for local sourcing. Jonathan Weber of Pittsburgh-based greenSinner will be joined by ASCFG member Jessica Hall of Harmony Harvest Farm (Virginia) and Christina Stembel to pull away the curtain on flowers, technology and infrastructure. And we’ll close the session with two pioneering urban flower farmers: Mud Baron of Muir Ranch (Pasadena) and Walker Marsh of Tha Flower Farm (Baltimore).
I am excited by the diverse range of experiences and voices coming together for a day that promises to enrich professionals and thought leaders in the progressive floral community. Plus, we’ll have only local and American grown flowers on display and incorporated in the presentations, thanks to many Slow Flowers and ASCFG member farms.
That’s right: Slow Flowers Summit is coming to the East Coast!
Developed and produced by Debra Prinzing and Slow Flowers LLC, this one-day event coincides with the fourth annual AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK (June 28-July 4, 2018), bringing together creatives, thought leaders and change agents with a lecture series featuring leading voices in the progressive American-grown floral community.
The SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT will stimulate your curiosity by inquiring, informing, including, instigating and inspiring conventional assumptions as we explore conscious and ethical practices in the floral industry.
The 2018 SUMMIT turns its attention on the future, innovation and reinvention. Who’s invited? Florists, Floral Designers, Farmer-Florists, Retailers, Wholesalers, Growers, Media, Educators, Students and Progressive Thinkers.
Christina Stembel, Farmgirl Flowers
We are honored to welcome CHRISTINA STEMBEL, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based FARMGIRL FLOWERS as our Keynote speaker. Christina’s topic, “Scaling Your Floral Business to the Next Level,” will share insights and lessons from her highly successful e-commerce floral business.
Profiled in every major media outlet imaginable, Christina has experienced so many highs and lows, wins and challenges, and she is generously sharing her story with our community. You will draw lessons for your own business, no matter the size!
Our Keynote will be followed by four inspiring presentations:
Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore (left) and Mary Kate Kinnane of The Local Bouquet (right)
KELLY SHORE of Petals by the Shore (Maryland) and MARY KATE KINNANE of The Local Bouquet (Rhode Island) on “A YEAR OF LOCAL FLOWERS.” These Slow Flowers members are designers who specialize in weddings and events. Both Kelly and Mary Kate have developed deep relationships with flower farmers in their areas. The women will co-present their personal design and sourcing philosophies and demonstrate floral techniques featuring botanicals from their favorite local flower farms.
Kit Wertz (left) and Casey Schwartz (right), partners in Los Angeles-based Flower Duet
KIT WERTZ and CASEY SCHWARTZ of FLOWER DUET, are a sister-sister dynamic duo who have grown their Los Angeles-based floral business in to a multifaceted studio with services ranging from workshops, tours and online teaching to weddings and events and corporate commissions. Casey and Kit will outline how to think strategically and diversify a non-retail floral studio to attract customers throughout the year. These Slow Flowers members will also demonstrate their take on floral design.
Panelist Jessica Hall, Jonathan Weber and Christina Stembel
Along with our Keynote Speaker, FARMGIRL FLOWERS’ CHRISTINA STEMBEL, we’re excited to welcome JONATHAN WEBER of greenSINNER (Pittsburgh) and JESSICA HALL of HARMONY HARVEST FARM & FLORAL GENIUS (Virginia) in a forward-thinking panel discussing “Tech & Flowers: Amazon, Uber and the Floral Industry.” Increasingly, the intersection of transportation and infrastructure are pressuring everyone along the floral continuum to consider new ways of doing business. This panel will address how floral businesses large and small can think innovatively about delivery their product to the end consumer.
Mud Baron (left) and Walker Marsh (right)
The SUMMIT concludes with an inspiring presentation featuring two “change agents” in Urban Flower Farming. These men are rethinking the way flowers are grown and who gets to produce them in cities facing change, social pressures and economic disparity for many communities. Please welcome WALKER MARSH of THA FLOWER FACTORY(Baltimore) and MUD BARON of MUIR RANCH(Pasadena/Los Angeles) for “Planting Seeds on Urban Flower Farms.”
Tickets to the SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT include All Sessions, Continental Breakfast, Awesome Swag Bag and Cocktail Reception with Speakers. Registration: $250 per person. Slow Flowers Members and registered AIFD attendees will enjoy preferred pricing: $195 per person. Reserve your seat here.
Debra Prinzing developed the Slow Flowers Summit. She is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for American Grown Flowers. Through her many Slow Flowers-branded projects, Debra has convened a national conversation that stimulates consumers and professionals alike to make conscious choices about their floral purchases.
(c) Mary Grace Long
Debra is the producer of slowflowers.com, the online directory to American grown farms, florists, shops and studios who supply domestic and local flowers. Each Wednesday, approximately 2,500 listeners tune into Debra’s “Slow Flowers Podcast,” available for free downloads at her web site, debraprinzing.com, or on iTunes and via other podcast services.
In 2016, the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farm-to-florist cooperative, honored Debra with the first Growers Choice Award for her “outstanding contributions to revitalizing the local floral community.” In 2016, GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators inducted her into its Hall of Fame. She is the author of 10 books, including Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet.
Floral Palette: A medley of flowers and foliage from the landscape, hothouse and nature Designer: Rizaniño “Riz” Reyes, RHR Horticulture, Seattle, WA @rhrhorticulture
Rizaniño “Riz” Reyes, guest designer for American Flowers Week 2017
Riz Reyes is a garden and floral designer whose creations have won gold medal and people’s choice awards at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, all achieved while he also worked as a horticulture manager at public and private landscapes in Seattle.
Riz considers Portland, Ore., floral designer Françoise Weeks one of his mentors, and he is influenced by the work of Belgian floral artist Daniel Ost and British designer Zite Elze, the artistic inspiration for this piece.
Asked to create a woodland-inspired menswear look for American Flowers Week 2017, Riz’s response was highly personal.
The whole concept of men and flowers is intriguing to me because it touches on my background and the journey I took to get into horticulture, floriculture, plants and flowers. For me, there was always that stigma of little boys and flowers not being a favored thing.
“I especially like working with things that are textural. A lot of the materials and natural elements that I use and the range of colors that I like are inspired by the Pacific Northwest and its ferns, moss and lichen,” he says.
Riz began with the Market’s availability list to choose an array of small succulents such as Aeonium, Sempervivum and Echeveria; Phalaenopsis orchids; spray roses; hellebores; globe thistles (Echinops); Pieris japonica; the metallic blue fruit and buds of Viburnum tinus; sprays of Grevillea blossoms and G. ‘Ivanhoe’ foliage; Leucadendron foliage; the mosslike textures of the crested Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Cristata’) and Dianthus ‘Green Trick’; the fascinating marble vine (Diplocyclos palmatus); buds of larkspur (Delphinium hybrid); and the immature fruits of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera). He also foraged for lichen, small pods and ferns from nature.
Behind-the-scenes at our photo shoot with model Alexander Brooks, photographer Mary Grace Long, designer Riz Reyes and make-up artist Yessie Libby. Photographed, January 2017.
“I had never done anything of this magnitude,” he admits. Working with a mannequin torso was essential to give shape to the vest and a corresponding jacket as he added botanical elements. Riz first applied two coats of adhesive spray to the vest to get a sticky surface for attaching the textural “embroidery” of flowers, plants, foliages, pods and lichen.
At the same time, he used liquid floral adhesive to attach individual pieces, balancing shapes, colors and varieties, to create an overall pattern. The textilelike design is reminiscent of a Persian rug or antique tapestry in its depth and detail.
To Riz, it was important to collaborate with the model and photographer and to develop a level of trust with both.“Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think I would be able to work in this dynamic. There is this profile of a guy being the giver of flowers. So for me, the grand takeaway from this experience – and hopefully, it will come true – is to dispel the assumption that men and flowers don’t exist together.”
RESOURCES Model:Alexander Brooks Makeup:Yessie Libby, Yessie Makeup Artistry, Seattle, Wash. Photography:Mary Grace Long, Mary Grace Long Photography, Seattle, Wash. Location: Mary Grace Long Studio and Discovery Park, Seattle, Wash.
Recently, I spent the day with Ellen. She served as my local chauffeur and host when I traveled East for the Connecticut Slow Flowers Meet-Up. That event took place in early October at Trout Lily Farm, which is owned by Michael Russo and Raymond Lennox. Learn more about Trout Lily Farm in my recent interview with Michael for the Slow Flowers Podcast.
As it turns out, Ellen and Michael go way back as friends and fellow art students in both high school and college. Ellen’s work, which is termed “scanner photography,” utilizes freshly-picked flowers, foliage and other gifts from nature as her raw material. When composed into a botanical still-life and then scanned, the resulting digital image can be printed on archival, museum-grade paper for framing, or printed for other products, such as note cards or Ellen’s beautiful silk scarves.
After reuniting with Ellen and seeing her beautiful work again up close, it occurred to me that I wanted to commission a piece in which she created a red-white-and-blue floral portrait for American Flowers Week 2018.
Given the season in New England, it was possibly the last moment when I could have requested that Ellen create a piece for us! Fortunately, Michael and Raymond still had a few dahlias and other goodies on their flower farm for her to clip and incorporate into her floral portrait. Plus, Ellen told me that she also had several cuttings being stored in her refrigerator for (it seems) just this purpose.
I hope you love this gift from the garden — as interpreted by such a talented artist — as much as I do! The graphic branding, which Jenny Diaz created by adding our American Flowers Week typography, will be used in a number of ways to promote next year’s week-long campaign.
HOW SHE DOES IT
Here’s more about Ellen and how she developed this method and style for her work. The text from our Q&A comes from a 2015 article I wrote about her for Garden Design magazine.
Ellen Hoverkamp first started composing images from nature using an early model flatbed photo scanner in 1997, she didn’t even own a camera. Nor did she know the names of most of the plants she used. “It was all about form and color for me.”
Fast-forward to 2005 and Hoverkamp’s evocative and artful assemblages of botanicals and edibles have been profiled in The New York Times. They’ve since been exhibited in museums and graced covers of books (Natural Companions) and periodicals (Organic Gardening and Sweet Paul). She arranges flowers, pods, branches, vines, gourds and roots as vivid still-lifes against striking black backdrops. If Hoverkamp had been born three or four centuries ago, she would have been a Dutch master painter. “I love the hyper-real details of my images,” she says.
Hoverkamp relies on cuttings from public gardens, nurseries and private landscapes to create her pieces. “I scan what other people grow,” she jokes. “I’m forever grateful to the people and places that supply me with plants. The mission of my work is to bring attention to the efforts of gardeners and to the beauty of nature.”
WHAT TO READ
“I created 144 botanical images for Natural Companions: The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2012), with author / photographer, Ken Druse. He provided plants for 66 of my scanner photographs. Sometimes I worked at his place in New Jersey; occasionally, cuttings were shipped to my studio. Once, Ken delivered plants to me at a parking lot. He would provide lists of Latin plant names for sampling at particular private gardens. That year, the growing season seemed to be about 3 weeks off schedule in CT. I would see all sorts of beautiful floral material that wasn’t on Ken’s list prompting him to say, “Pick whatever turns you on and we’ll figure it out.” I will forever be proud of our collaboration.
SUMMER FLOWER COMBINATIONS TO PHOTOGRAPH
“My most favorite (and also the most challenging) flowers for scanning are peonies from private gardens. I love this composition of Sandi Blaze’s peonies with beauty bush and ninebark, picked from her cottage style gardens, dubbed, “Pixie Perennials” (pixieperennials.com) in Wilton, Conn. An image I composed at Jennifer Brown’s garden, in Greenwich, CT, shows the beautiful diversity of peony forms and petal colors.”
SUMMER VEGETABLE COMBINATIONS TO PHOTOGRAPH
“I used edibles for my art long before the popularity of the farm-to-table initiative. I’ve always liked combining organic vegetables with ornamental floral material. I collect the vast majority of edibles at Trout Lily Farm (trout-lily-farm.com) in North Guilford, Conn. They are grown by my longstanding dear friend Michael Russo, vegetable and flower farmer and floral designer. Michael has collaborated with me and sustained my work since the early days. He has expanded his gardens at Trout Lily Farm offering me more variety – and his farm stand customers reap the benefits, as well. The cool thing is that I can set up my scanner in his barn and work directly from the garden.”
FAVORITE PUBLIC GARDENS
“I love the Northeast’s many public gardens. I have had two solo exhibitions in the Alice Milton Gallery at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Mass. (towerhillbg.org) and I was their first Artist in Residence. On August 22nd, I’ll be teaching ‘APPetizing Edibles,” an introduction to imaging food using a flatbed scanner and to editing scans using mobile-device photo apps. On September 10th, Trout Lily Farm and I will be vendors in the marketplace as part of “Gardener’s Day 2015: A Celebration of Plants” at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island (blithewold.org). The personable team of gardening enthusiasts and horticultural professionals guide and welcome visitors to the lovely grounds of this historical estate.”
“I consider Broken Arrow Nursery (brokenarrownursery.com), growers of rare and unusual plants in Hamden, Conn., a favorite destination. The Jaynes family and their knowledgeable staff are longstanding contributors of cuttings, and have provided great information and general support for my work.”
FAVORITE GARDEN ACCESSORIES
“I love using Florian pruners (florianpruners.com). They are handy, dependable and made in the U.S.A. I wear Foxgloves (foxglovesinc.com), which made of soft Lycra fabric and are perfect for flower picking. They were created by my friend Harriet Zbikowski, a landscape architect and professional horticulturist.
NOTE: Ellen’s American Flowers Week 2018 piece will be available to order as a print early next year — and we’ll share the link to her online order page soon. For now, you can peruse her catalog of botanical images, prints, cards and scarves — HERE.
One thing Amy really wanted to impress upon us during her talk was that her takeaways on the international flower industry are actually more nuanced than they may seem at first glance. Namely, as we navigate the ins and outs of the domestic vs. imported flower industries, it can be easy to forget the jobs and the people behind all this commerce and the full dialogue around it. Things become a lot less black and white and yes, more nuanced, when we’re able to remember this.
Panelists, from left, including moderator Chantal Aida Gordon, Leslie Bennett, Riz Reyes and Nichole Cordier Wahlquist.
According to Lennie, the panel led by Chantal “felt like a discussion that was long time coming for our industry.” She felt motivated to respond to many of the points covered by the panel, and offered this encouragement:
I think it’s important for us to take a look at ourselves and remember that we’re not just passive actors out in the world, that we all in fact play huge roles in setting industry norms and standards. Who else can we get to that table?
Thanks for your support, Lennie — and for endorsing the Summit! We’d love you to attend our 2018 Summit, details of which will be announced soon!