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!
“In Process” — Kelly Shore (left), preps her Alaska Peony model Ashley Johnson; Hedda Brorstrom (right) attends to a few details for the dahlia dress worn by model Sophia Lane
American Flowers Week began in 2015, and it has grown significantly in three short years to involve participation across all channels of domestic flowers — from seeds to bouquets to beautiful floral fashions.
Your involvement helped us generate more than 5 million impressions on social media (Instagram and Twitter) during this year’s campaign, a major leap from the 400,000 measured in 2015 and 1.2 million measured in 2016.
We’re making a difference in the relationship people have with their flowers — and that’s inspiring!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update here, but not because I have forgotten about American Flowers Week! The fact is, we’ve been hard at work developing next year’s amazing promotions, partnerships and platforms to elevate and expand this one-week celebration of domestic botanicals and you can be sure that plans are well underway for an incredible American Flowers Week 2018.
I’m excited to share some of the latest news with you!
Susan McLeary of Passionflower Events created our red-white-and-blue floral ‘fro for 2016, with graphic design from Jenny Diaz
As you know, for 2016, we commissioned Susan McLeary of Passionflower Eventsto design a beautiful red-white-and-blue floral ‘fro using all American-grown blooms.
A quartet of four other amazing floral fashions followed, and I’ve been remiss about posting those — so look for the back-story of our rose tutu, floral cape, woodland menswear vest and peony Geisha in the coming weeks. Those were created by Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co., Tara Folker of Splints & Daisies, Riz Reyes of RHR Horticulture and Arthur Williams of Babylon Floral Design.
From left: Ashley & Kelly during our prep time; Kelly’s tapestry of Scenic Place peony blooms; and floating peonies, on location at the Homer Marina
But for now, let’s jump ahead to 2018 . . . and our PEONY Look!
Slow Flowers‘ designers and flower farmers have already stepped up to help us capture two of next year’s five floral looks on film and while we can’t reveal the completed designs yet, we can credit the talented teams and give you a little behind-the-scenes taste of what to expect when promotions launch for American Flowers Week 2018.
Kelly and Beth partnered on numerous creative endeavors during a single week at the end of July 2017 . . . including the Field to Vase Dinner and a romantic styled shoot that Kelly designed, which was photographed in Scenic Place’s peony fields and published in the October issue of Florists’ Review (in the Slow Flowers Journal section).
But . . . thanks to Beth’s brainstorm and Kelly’s willingness to jump in and say “yes,” we also produced a thoroughly unique peony experience on the docks and shoreline of the fishing marina in Homer, Alaska. Beth wanted our American Flowers Week “look” to blend Homer’s two economic engines — commercial fishing and peony farming.
We were lucky for so many reasons, including:
The folks at Grunden’s donated a pair of white bib overalls and “Deck Boss” boots, the feminine version of the attire you’ll see worn by commercial fishing pro’s.
Our beautiful model jumped right in and said “yes” to everything we asked of her. Ashley Johnson, flower-farmer-in-training, spent this past summer as a WOOFER(that’s World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) at Scenic Place. We were super lucky that she agreed to be our model!
There were other helpers who made this shoot such a success: Lisa Thorne of Thorne & Thistle, a Slow Flowers member who traveled to Homer to volunteer for all of the Field to Vase activities; and Elizabeth Morphis, a Scenic Place Peonies team member who assisted with hair, makeup and design!
Enjoy a sneak peek of our visual story above — you’ve never before seen Alaska-grown peonies expressed in such a creative way that underscores the importance of season, place and beauty! The entire reveal will occur during American Flowers Week, June 28th through July 4th! I thank everyone who made this happen — they are my heroes!
From left: designer Heddah Brorstrom attaches more than 350 local dahlias to the “skirt”; a lovely detail of the floral artistry expressed in this project; and real-time photography.
Next up: Dreaming of DAHLIAS!
I’ve been wishing for a dahlia “look” for American Flowers Week for many reasons, the most obvious of which is that the renaissance of field-grown dahlias has been a game-changer for Slow Flowers members — farmers and designers alike. No other flower is so precious and coveted in summer and early autumn. No other flower is dependent on local sourcing, a boon for those who grow and design with them.
I asked Slow Flowers member Kate Rowe, co-owner with Omar Duran of Aztec Dahlias in Petaluma, California, if she would sponsor a photo shoot depicting dahlias in a floral fashion — and she said YES!
We agreed together that Hedda Brorstrom, a farmer-florist who owns Full Bloom Farm in nearby Sebastopol, California, would be THE person to design the look.
Yet the larger backdrop for our October 16th photo shoot, captured by Becca Henry at Aztec Dahlias’ farm, was less than ideal.
Everyone in Sonoma County has been coping with the onslaught of horrendous wildfires — in fact, every person involved in this photo shoot has a connection with a loved one who has lost everything to the fires. Working conditions for flower farmers in Sonoma County have been highly risky due to the poor air quality and intense heat. We weren’t really sure that the schedule would work out due to all these external (negative) conditions.
But . . . the dahlia dream team pulled it off — and I’m so impressed with their talents! The entire look, worn so elegantly by model Sophia Lane, was achieved due to the “village” of talents. THANK YOU to everyone involved!
Our anticipation for American Flowers Week 2018 continues and I’m eager to involve more Slow Flowers members in the campaign! The Peony and Dahlia fashions will be published in the Slow Flowers Journal section of Florists’ Reviewmagazine in our June 2018 issue — that’s the big “reveal” of all this gorgeous American-grown creativity! And stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes news to come . . .
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 Communityhas 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.
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.
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 Farmswith 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!
[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.