Kelly Shore Hosts American Flowers Week Interactive Flower Crown Party and Farm Tour
In honor of American Flowers Week, one East Coast florist hosted her second annual Flower Crown Party, inspiring over 50 attendees to M&M Plants and Flower Farm in Dickerson, Maryland on June 27, 2018, leading up to the week-long domestic flower promotion campaign that has taken place annually from June 28 to July 4, since 2015.
Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore in the Washington, D.C., area coordinated a farm tour and flower crown-making party complete with live band, potluck-style refreshments, and professional photographer.
Partygoers co-mingle among the blooms, picking their favorites to assemble their unique, freeform crowns and arrangements. (c) Erin Tetterton Photography
For Kelly, the party was more than a mingling opportunity; it was a way for flower enthusiasts to develop a keen understanding of where flowers come from and how much work it takes for American farmers to bring their product to market.
“Even though it’s a fun event, we plant the seeds so that the next time [attendees] are at a farmers’ market and see a flower stand, they know more about how farmers grow those flowers — and it might make them more inclined to make a purchase,” she says. “Visibility is key. This is why American Flowers Week is so important.”
American Flowers Week signage adorns the Flower Crown Party flower bar at M&M Plants and Flowers. (c) Erin Tetterton Photography
For the sake of teaching the attendees about the plethora of varieties available from domestic flower farms, the designer steered away from classics such as alstroemeria and roses, focusing more on textural blooms that the attendees wouldn’t normally think of, such as raspberries, strawflower, and Veronica.
After completing their designs, the flower fanatics posed for professional shots of their creations. (c) Erin Tetterton Photography
“People immersed themselves in the challenge and tried different botanical textures. No one’s flower crown was the same,” Kelly says. “It was a hands-on workshop, and I didn’t want it to be ‘cookie cutter.’ I wanted participants to feel empowered to explore and enjoy the experience of being creative with flowers.”
Kelly and her team set up a ‘flower bar’ with buckets of blooms grouped together by color and variety, which encouraged attendees to choose at their will. Attendees ranged from florists and farmer-florists to hobbyists and even a horticulture teacher from a local high school – and each tapped into their creative side, constructing flower crowns, hair combs, and petite bouquets. The flower bar allowed the DIY florists to be cognizant of their choices and feel ownership over their designs.
“I gave a tutorial showing two different styles of flower crowns, but people didn’t have to do it my way,” Kelly explains. “There were no rules. Someone made a floral necklace and it was awesome; I embraced it. People in our society don’t often stop to be creative, but at this party, they were out in nature, having a euphoric experience.”
I am enamored by the flower farming community; by all of the tedious, hard work behind producing an incredible final product. People do this because it’s what they love to do. It’s really about supporting families, and the more I connect with people, the more important it is to me to support this community.
Along with the party, attendees also enjoyed a tour of M&M Plants & Flowers, led by farmer Madgie McGaughan. The productive floral enterprise is a fully functioning farm devoted to the sale of plants and flowers, Kelly and her hosts wanted to attendees to gain an inside look into the strenuous labor that goes into planting and harvesting fresh, local and seasonal blooms.
The Flower Crown Party has become her favorite event of the summer. “We wanted to paint a real picture of what flower farming is actually like. It is so life-affirming,” she says.
Andrea K. Grist Hosts Girls’ Night Out Design Workshop
Rosco’s Fresh Cut Flowers provided their healthiest, most beautiful blooms for the event, giving the arrangements a “straight-from-the-garden” feel.
Enjoying light hors d’oeuvres in Midtown Kansas City’s stylish, naturally-lit Market Studio, floral designer and speaker Andrea K. Gristand 20 flower enthusiasts chatted about the importance of American Flowers Week while constructing freeform-style arrangements.
On June 29th, 2018, Grist taught a popular Girls’ Night Out floral design workshop with The Bloom Academy, which asked her to host the event during American Flowers Week. Andrea shared with guests the importance of using locally-grown blooms in their floral arrangements, focusing on popular design techniques to create more freeform, natural centerpieces full of texture and whimsy.
For her Girls Night Out workshop, Grist and her students played with colorful, textural blooms in their freeform designs.
“We talked a lot about color theory and the design that seems to be popular now, which is more textural, full of color, and asymmetrical,” Andrea says. “I encouraged participants to allow the stems to follow a natural bend; everyone had fun with their designs, because they weren’t stuck in limiting parameters.”
Using blooms provided by Rosco’s Fresh Cut Flowersin Kansas City, Missouri, Andrea and her students enjoyed designing with farm-grown flowers, incorporating the leaves and foliage and creating arrangements cohesive with the “natural, American-grown” look that reflects the beauty of using straight-from-the-garden flowers. According to Andrea, many of the attendees were already familiar with American Flowers Week, which showed her that the phenomenon “seems to be the New Thing.”
Andrea worked with the farmers at Rosco’s to select the best of the best for her Girls’ Night Out workshop: just-picked peonies, Asiatic lilies, zinnias, dahlias, cosmos, and other vivid blooms.
Instead of focusing on one palette, the instructor explained to her attendees that when buying from local farms, florists must adapt and trust that farmers will supply the best blooms of the moment. In this way, Andrea taught that beautiful arrangements can based on personal taste, artistic creativity, and flexibility.
“I stuck to basic design principles, used American-grown flowers, and used chicken wire instead of foam to continue with the sustainability theme,” she adds.
Slow Flowers contributor, Mackenzie Nichols is a freelance writer and experienced floral designer. She writes regularly for the Society of American Florists’ Floral Management magazine, and her work also appears in The Boston Globe, The American Gardener, Canadian Florist, and Tastemakers music magazine. She interned with MSNBC, Donna Morgan, and The American Horticultural Society and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a minor in Music Industry from Northeastern University. Mackenzie worked as a floral designer for Fern Flowers in Boston’s Back Bay Area, and Tiger Lily Florist, the top flower shop in Charleston, South Carolina. She lives in Manhattan’s East Village.
American Flowers Week labels decorate bouquets from Le Mera Gardens ~ photographed at the Fry Family Farm Store in Southern Oregon (c) Photo by Erica @ofthewonder
Designed by Tonya Berge of Washington’s Berge’s Blooms for American Flowers Week. She captioned the image on Instagram with this sentiment: “freedom • the power to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”
This year’s American Flowers Weekreached garden and flower lovers from all across the country and inspired dozens of events and celebrations to commemorate and honor local farmers, flower growers, and florists who garner a passion for USA-grown blooms.
Steve (left) and Suzy (right) Fry with the Fry Family Farm “family” in Oregon’s Rogue Valley — celebrating American Flowers Week with hyper-local flowers grown by farming partner Joan Thorndike of Le Mera Gardens (c) Photo by Erica @ofthewonder
On social media platforms, #americanflowersweekreceived over three million impressions, incited over 900 original posts, and according to Real Time Tracker of Instagram and Twitter platforms, inspired a whopping 80.1% positive sentiments. As the Slow Flowers message continues to spread, here are some of the highlights from American Flowers Week 2018.
Slow Flowers member, farmer-florist Jim Martin of Compost in My Shoe, emceed the American Flowers Week design competition, called “Bloom Battle.”
On June 30th, Marion Square in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, bustled with activity in honor of American Flowers Week. Three local designers competed in a “Bloom Battle” floral design competition at the Charleston Farmers Marketto showcase their talents working with locally sourced and sustainable blooms. Laura Mewborn of Feast and Flora Farm helped organize the event, which showcased not only the designers, but also the Southern flower farms who provided the flowers.
It’s important for us to educate the public about the importance of using locally grown flowers. They are all relatively young farms [providing the flowers], and when we all combine like this to host a big event, we are much more visible. People can see the impact that they have on the individual farmers, and they think of their purchasing power.
Judges and contestants participated in the Low Country Flower Growers’ fun event to promote American Flowers Week 2018. The two Bloom Battle judges, Nikki Seibert of Wit Meets Grit and Kelli Shaw of Kelli Shaw Designs, on the left, posed with the three competing designers, pictured on the right.
The goal for the farmers, Laura explains, was to feature flowers that consumers may not be familiar with in terms of seasonal flowers that bloom during summertime.
“People generally think of zinnias, cosmos, and sunflowers in terms of growing summer flowers,” she says. “We wanted to showcase crops that people don’t necessarily already grow, like lisianthus, lilies, celosia, and amaranthus.”
This diversity of American-grown flowers enticed locals and tourists alike to come to Mewborn and other farmers with gardening questions, wanting to know more about the benefits of locally-sourced blooms and how they might be able to grow them in their own gardens. According to Laura, Marion Square’s Charleston Farmers Market was a successful venue to host the event as many tourists pass through the area who can ultimately spread the message of American Flowers Week and the Lowcountry Flower Growers coalition throughout the country.
The winning designer, Tony Reale of Roadside Blooms, arranged a farm-to-table bouquet design that stole the show with its amaranthus, lisianthus, and natural-wood accent.
“The Charleston Farmers Market in Marion Square is a very busy market in general,” Laura says. “There are so many tourists there, which means that the message is going out far beyond and past just the local people. Now, it is going to people all across the country.”
In comparison to last year’s Lowcountry Flower Growers booth, where farmers simply handed out zinnias, Laura notes that this design competition allowed the farmers to do something that was more involved, and the response was largely positive.
Tony Reale from Roadside Blooms ultimately won, but designers Ann Cinniffee from Purple Magnolia and Noah Sanderson from The Bearded Florist also received prizes to commemorate the event and celebrate in locally-grown, naturally sourced floral designs. In the future, Mewborn wants to incorporate more of a fundraising feel for upcoming American Flowers Week events, and she will also be hosting another event for Lowcountry Flower Growers in August.
Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora Farm and Peachey Trudell of One Wild Acre smiled among their locally-grown blooms in honor of American Flowers Week.
“It’s been great to have conversations with people, and they seem surprised by how much we can grow here in Charleston,” Laura adds. “These events are incredible to let people know that we’re here.”
Isabella Thorndike Church of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design designed a fantastic floral “painting” depicting a barn and fields for American Flowers Week. All photos: (c) Juliet Ashley Photography
Mother-daughter team Joan Thorndike and Isabella Thorndike Church work side-by-side at Le Mera Gardens, Joan’s established flower farm in Talent, Oregon, providing fresh cut flowers directly to local florists, grocery stores, and for weddings and events.
In the past, Isabella and her mother have plastered American Flowers Week stickers on each bouquet, and this year Isabella decided to take the celebration a couple steps forward by installing a 4-by-6-foot floral display including more than 5,000 stems of locally-grown Oregon flowers.
Jeremiah Thorndike Church delivers a bounty of Oregon-grown blooms for use in the vivid botanical installation (c) Juliet Ashley Photography
The botanical installation took around six hours to complete with a small crew by her side, and drew substantial foot traffic into Fry Family Farm where she set up the display, Isabella says.
“The installation drew people into the store and we were able to talk to them about locally grown flowers,” she adds. “When I was making the installation, I posted about it on Instagram, and several people came in to watch the process. People were in awe of the size and the amount of flowers I used.”
Originally, Isabella did not intend to have her stems show through the back of the installation, but once she started going, she realized that the exposed stems effectively showed viewers just how many local blooms were used in the arrangement (c) Juliet Ashley Photography
Isabella repurposed a ready-made metal frame from Fry Family Farm and hung it vertically, covering it in a chicken-wire base to arrange the flowers.
She harvested flowers such as delphinium, feverfew, Russian statice, and larkspur to create a life-size floral depiction of the Fry Family Farm logo, and kept the stems exposed from the back so that onlookers could get a feel for how many flowers were used in the display. The spectacle intrigued and inspired viewers to have a go at their own installations, and increased dialogue about the importance of locally sourced flowers.
“People were psyched to see how it worked,” Isabella continues, noting that the exposed stems on the reverse side of the botanical installation was equally beautiful. “Several women were like ‘I’m going to get chicken wire and make it myself.’ Others returned to see the drying process. They had to touch the flowers to see if they were real. They asked about the different kinds of flowers. People don’t normally engage, but they were engaging more with this installation piece.”
Isabella Thorndike Church carefully adds her locally-grown blooms into the chicken-wire base of her installation for Fry Family Farm (c) Juliet Ashley Photography
Along with the display, Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design, Le Mera Gardens, and Fry Family Farm used American Flowers Week stickers on the bouquets they sent out to recipients, and they handed out a free sunflower to every customer who walked in the shop. One Fry Family Store employee, Daria Lisandrelli, said that she was surprised by how many people were already aware of American Flowers Week.
We’ve been promoting American Flowers Week across all sectors. We’ve had the AFW stickers on our bouquets, and when people come into the farm store, we give them a free sunflower in honor of the week. This year, we had the Fry Family Farm venue to have the installation piece and were able to bring it all together.
The staff of Scenic Place Peonies wore locally-grown flower hats to commemorate American Flowers Week during the Fourth of July parade in Homer, Alaska.
Scenic Place Peonies Celebrates AFW at the Homer, Alaska, Fourth of July Parade
Independence Day in Homer, Alaska, was blooming this year thanks to the farmers, employees, and designers from Scenic Place Peonies farm. As a long-time member of the Chamber of Commerce in Homer, which sponsors the parade, Beth Van Sandt and her crew were invited to drive their wrapped reefer truck in this year’s 4th of July extravaganza, handing out their farm-grown blooms to attendees and wearing locally-sourced flower hats to commemorate American Flowers Week.
The response was overwhelmingly positive with exclamations of surprise and pure joy at receiving flowers from the crew,” she says. “I believe it brought awareness to many that we have beautiful wildflowers in our backyard and all it takes is cutting some to bring that beauty into our homes.
The Scenic Place Peonies crew handed out “wild-sourced” chocolate lilies, geranium, and Alaska’s state flower, the forget-me-not, to parade-goers. Images of Scenic Place Peonies’ employees filled the farm’s Instagram and Facebook feeds, as they smiled and wore flower hats adorned with local greenery, tulips, daisies, and a variety of wildflowers. The flowers, sourced from their property of meadows in Alaska, brought awareness and happiness to the Homer, AK, parade.
“American Flowers Week is a time to celebrate the hard work that flower farmers perform each day,” Van Sandt said. “It’s very rewarding when your labor of love is expressed through the eyes of an eager recipients face.”
Grace Flowers Hawaii engaged Instagram followers in the week-long giveaway of blooms grown on The Big Island, making a lot of people very happy and educating them about local flowers.
Grace Flowers Hawaii’s Free Bouquet of the DayGiveaway
For this year’s American Flowers Week, manager Nicole Cordier and her team at Grace Flowers Hawaii decided to up the ante in terms of interactive customer service by hiding a “Free Bouquet a Day” each day somewhere on The Big Island.
Each morning, a staff member would take a photo of the free floral arrangement and tease it on Instagram and Facebook with cryptic hints as to where customers might be able to discover it later in the day. Then, Nicole or a team member took the free bouquet, lei, or orchid to its hiding place, and snapped a photo for their social platforms, urging followers to move fast if they wanted to win the challenge. Along with the prize, she attached a note to the free merchandise describing the concept of the giveaway and why they decided to host the challenge during American Flowers Week.
These free Bouquet of the Day arrangements featured locally-grown tropical flowers and evoked a cheery, summertime feel.
“The response was enigmatic,” she recalls. “I remember someone commenting on the photo that they drove from their home as soon as they saw the post and by the time they got to the hiding place, it was gone. She thanked us for adding excitement to her day.”
Each day, Grace Flowers Hawaii staff members hid their Free Bouquet of the Day giveaways in various scenic locations on the Big Island.
According to Nicole, the concept behind the Free Bouquet of the Day Giveaway was to highlight flowers, foliage, and plants grown on the tropical Hawaiian Islands, and “the Big Island in particular.”
By showcasing the diversity of plants grown by local farmers in Hawaii, Cordier brought attention to the Slow Flowers Movement through tropicals and warmer-temperate plants. From orchid leis to large-anthurium arrangements to Hawaiian-grown orchid plants in attractive containers, the spectrum for the Free Bouquet a Day Giveaway was broad and indicative of the biodiversity on the Big Island of Hawaii.
American Flowers Week, to us, is a time when specific attention is placed on supporting American flower farmers, which is important because it brings a concerted shift and push in consumer awareness about where flowers are grown and how far some flowers must travel from origin to market. It’s important to support our domestic floral/agriculture industry which will in turn make this a viable livelihood for our workforce, and better for this planet.
Impact, Influence and Impressions for American Flowers Week 2018
MORE American Flowers Week Ideas
Along with the events outlined above, many other celebrations occurred across the nation to honor American Flowers Week. Here are a few more of the highlights.
Laureen Kelly’s award-winning snapdragons
Longfield Gardens Photo Contest
Longfield Gardens, based in Lakewood, New Jersey, hosted its second American Flowers Week photo contest from June 30th through July 4th, asking their social media followers to post a photo of their favorite American-grown arrangements in order to win a $100 gift certificate. The winner, Laureen Kelly, posted a photo of her healthy snapdragon arrangement to the Longfield Gardens Facebook page (above).
Syndicate Sales Made in America Easel Stand at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Syndicate Sales’ Director of Education Tom Bowling created a special arrangement to be placed in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C. with Syndicate’s new Made in America Easel Stand, which is manufactured in the United States (above).
Syndicate Sales gave an attribution to American Flowers Week through the hashtag on Instagram.
Maple and Mum Mobile Flower Shop Announcement
In honor of American Flowers Week, Connecticut-based Slow Flowers members, Maple and Mum Floral Designsannounced that they will be “bringing locally grown flowers to the Connecticut shoreline and beyond,” through an Instagram post on July 4th. Maple and Mum’s mobile flower shop is up and running, and followers are urged to check their page for upcoming locations along the East coast (above).
Town and Country Markets Grocery Display
At Town and Country Markets in Seattle, Washington, floral category director Melanie Cherry and her team set up an American Flowers Week display featuring Hawaii-grown tropicals.
Other displays garnered attention with bunches of sweet peas from Willow and Mabel Garden Company and “Farmers Favorites.”
Stars of the Meadow Baker’s Dozen Supper
On July 3rd, Stars of the Meadow of Accord, New York, hosted a “Baker’s Dozen Supper” where attendees gathered for “homemade strawberry ice cream topped with black caps,” according to their Instagram post. Locally grown boutonnieres and arrangements made an appearance at the event, where guests celebrated American-grown flowers.
About Mackenzie Nichols:
With this feature story, we’re introducing a new Slow Flowers contributor, Mackenzie Nichols.
Mackenzie is a freelance writer and experienced floral designer. She writes regularly for the Society of American Florists’ Floral Management magazine, and her work also appears in The Boston Globe, The American Gardener, Canadian Florist, and Tastemakers music magazine. She interned with MSNBC, Donna Morgan, and The American Horticultural Society and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a minor in Music Industry from Northeastern University. Mackenzie worked as a floral designer for Fern Flowers in Boston’s Back Bay Area, and Tiger Lily Florist, the top flower shop in Charleston, South Carolina. She lives in Manhattan’s East Village.
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!
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!”
Romantic and mysterious, the floral cape designed by Tara Folker of Splints & Daisies features all-American grown botanicals from Stargazer Barn in Arcata, California. (c) With Love and Embers
Floral Palette: Bulb flowers, including Irises, tulips and callas; Foliages, including ornamental cabbage, sword fern and wild huckleberry.
Floral ingredients supplied by Stargazer Barn, Arcata, California Designer: Tara Folker, Splints & Daisies, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; splintsanddaisies.com @splintsanddaisies
Floral designer and artist Tara Folker
Tara Folker has been designing flowers for nearly two decades, having opened her own dried florals and woven basketry business when she was 19. Coming from a family of artists on her mother and grandmother’s side and of plant lovers on her father’s side, Tara concludes, “Things mixed for me, and I ended up in artistic florals.”
While she doesn’t describe herself as a fashion designer, Tara has produced a number of wearable floral garments for styled shoots. “I call it my playtime because it’s when I can actually do what I want to do. As anyone in the wedding industry knows, you don’t always get that. With styled shoots, I’m going to do what I love.”
When Bill Prescott, Stargazer Barn, offered to provide the flowers and foliage for Tara’s American Flowers Week concept, the timing was perfect. Tara and her team photographed in early January when not much local product was available on the East Coast.
She treasured the chance to select from Stargazer’s greenhouses and fields in Northern California: Fancy and standard tulips, ‘White Versailles’ Freesias, ‘Telsar’ Irises, ‘Cantor’ callas and all sorts of greenery, such as white and purple ornamental cabbage, sword ferns and lacy sweet huckleberry. The color palette: purples, peaches, white and green – quiet and moody for the season.
I had never seen the huck before, but it looked fun. Plus, I loved that the sword ferns were harvested from the Redwoods just a few days before the shoot.
Tara is comfortable with designing in real time, on location, rather than committing to a sketch or recipe in advance. She took as her muse Ashley Garner, the beautiful, edgy model, and the raw warehouse space at Hingework, a Lancaster event studio with large windows, white brick walls and a contemporary/industrial vibe.
The designer imagined a semitransparent floral cape that would showcase all of the fresh flowering bulbs, draping fluidly from the model’s form. “I didn’t want to do a dress or a skirt again, but I wanted to create something wearable that was new to me, too, so that I could feel satisfied with the design.”
Ashley’s style – juxtaposed against the soft, romantic, feminine florals – emoted an almost fantasylike narrative. A black leotard and leggings allowed Ashley’s body form to be another organic element while the makeup accentuated her eyes and lips. Of course, the model’s bare head also became part of Tara’s overall vision.
Tara envisioned a short shrug or capelet with sleeves, but while building the underpinnings with chicken wire, she realized sleeves would restrict Ashley’s movement and feel stiff. For a tall, lanky model, that just didn’t make sense.
“In the end, the chicken wire is almost like a scarf that lays across her shoulders. With not much of a base, the flowers themselves became the garment,” Tara says. “The flowers were tied onto the wire that I did use, and it really hugged her shoulders.”
RESOURCES Model: Ashley Garner Makeup: Stefani Burket, Bonafide Ginger, Lancaster, Pennsylvania Photography: Jillian and Ryan McGrath, With Love & Embers, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania Location: Hingework, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
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.
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.