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.
Illustrated by Jenny Diaz, our new USA State Flowers coloring map is yours to print & share
Last year’s USA floral coloring map was a big hit with everyone who joined American Flowers Week promotions. We heard from Slow Flowers members who shared free copies at their Farmers’ Market stands, who took copies to their kids’ classrooms, and who handed out the coloring pages at their retail shops.
When it came to planning a 2017 version, artist Jenny Diaz went in a new direction — to celebrate the official State Flower of all 50 states, individually and compiled in to a beautiful new map (seen above).
Looking for a specific State, such as Your State?! Individual Maps can also be downloaded and printed for your promotions. We encourage you to add your own logo to the artwork and PLEASE post images of what you color! Tag with #americanflowersweek and #stateflowermap
We’re so excited that editor/publisher Andrew Mefferd invited Slow Flowers’ Debra Prinzing to contribute a story about American Flowers Week in the current June issue.
We hope it inspires his readers to join this pro-local-flowers campaign!
Join this cost-effective social media campaign to promote your locally-grown blooms
The story begins this way:
American-grown flowers are worth celebrating, so I figured they needed their own holiday. It’s called American Flowers Week. And what better time of year than July 4th, Independence Day, to plan the festivities? For the third consecutive year, American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4) gives flower farmers and their customers endless good reasons for promoting homegrown botanicals.
I come from the world of media, and I know how important having an answer to the “why now?” question can be when persuading writers and editors that a story is timely or relevant. If the news generated by last year’s AFW campaign is any indication, there is indeed media interest in featuring American-grown flowers in newspapers, magazines and blogs, and even on television. Hey, it’s newsworthy!
Special thanks to everyone who shared their support and past experiences for the story, including:
SLOWFLOWERS.COM ANNOUNCES 2017 AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK
A new Floral Holiday, now in its third year
Set for June 28-July 4, 2017
SEATTLE, WA (May 1, 2017) – Slowflowers.com, the comprehensive online resource that connects consumers with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers, today announced details about the third annual “American Flowers Week.”
Since 2015, Slowflowers.com creator Debra Prinzing has staged a week-long celebration of domestic flowers to raise consumer awareness and unite America’s flower farmers with the U.S. floral industry. Last year, that effort generated more than 1.3 million social media impressions on Twitter and Instagram in a single month, demonstrating the power of images, ideas and values that promote American Grown Flowers.
Clearly, we’re experiencing a new normal marketplace in which consumers are highly conscious of the origins of the goods they purchase, and this is more evident in the floral industry than ever before,” Prinzing said. “The Slow Flowers community of growers and designers believe it’s important to raise awareness and celebrate local and domestic flowers with a new American floral holiday.
Many of the floral fashions will be published in the June 2017 issue of Florists’ Review magazine and the full gallery of images will be revealed and shared during American Flowers Week, Prinzing said.
In addition, American Flowers Week will be celebrated during a one-day Slow Flowers Summit, a symposium for progressive thought and action in the floral industry. Called a “Ted Talk for Flower Lovers,” the Summit takes place on Sunday, July 2, 2017 at the Surf Incubator Event Space in Downtown Seattle.
“Certified American Grown is excited to be part of promoting a week focused on America’s flower farming families and the flowers they grow,” said Kasey Cronquist, administrator of Certified American Grown. “Origin matters, and we believe a week like this helps drive public awareness about the quality, beauty and economic benefits of supporting and buying homegrown blooms. Buying American Grown Flowers makes a difference.”
“Johnny’s Selected Seeds is thrilled to be an American Flowers Week partner,” said Gretchen Kruysman, Johnny’s marketing director. “We encourage our customers, employees and the flower farming and gardening community to plant more flowers and help local flowers thrive.”
“Syndicate Sales is an American manufacturer of vases and supplies for the professional florist, so it’s entirely fitting to promote the vibrant American-grown floral palette from local flower farms and floral designers who fill our vases,” says Kelvin Frye, Syndicate Sales’ director of sales and marketing. “We salute American Flowers Week.”
“At Longfield Gardens, we supply gardeners with the best quality plants and bulbs for their landscapes, cutting gardens and containers,” says Jen Pfau, marketing director for Longfield Gardens. “American Flowers Week helps us shine the light on the amazing selection of flowers to plant, cut and arrange. It’s a great campaign that involves everyone from home gardeners to flower farmers and florists.”
American Flowers Week is designed to engage the public, policymakers and the media in a conversation about the origins of their flowers. As an advocacy effort, the campaign coincides with America’s Independence Day on July 4th, providing florists, retailers, wholesalers and flower farmers a patriotic opportunity to promote American grown flowers.
American Flowers Week supporters can find more information and resources at americanflowersweek.com. Downloadable fact sheets, infographics and the 2017 American Flowers Week logo and social media badges are available for growers and florists to use for marketing and promotion efforts.
The “50 States of American Grown Flowers” contest will highlight local flowers from across the country, Prinzing said. “Slowflowers.com member farms and florists are invited to submit their designs to a gallery to be shared with media during American Flowers Week. Our goal is to showcase the botanical and seasonal beauty from flower farms and designers in all 50 states.”
Participants are encouraged to use the social media tag #Americanflowersweek to help spread the word about this campaign across all platforms.
January 2017 welcomed the arrival of a new, expanded and redesigned FLORISTS’ REVIEW Magazine and Slow Flowers is featured inside its covers in a big way.
Thanks to our relationships with many lifestyle publications like FLORISTS’ REVIEW, we are providing more creative content about American-grown flowers and the farms and florists who supply those blooms with audiences hungry for authenticity and inspiration!
We’re expecially excited about Debra Prinzing’s article entitled “Four Seasons of Floral Design,” which features the artistry of Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore, and the flowers, foliages and plants grown by Leon and Carol Carrier of Plant Masters flower farm.
From left: Carol Carrier, Kelly Shore and Leon Carrier. The perfect collaboration between florist and flower farmers. (c) Kirsten Smith Photography
It was after learning more about the Slow Flowers movement that Kelly asked herself, “What would happen if I made a bouquet in every season on someone’s farm?”
Kelly and her team have generously shared a few photos with us here to inspire you as you plan for American Flowers Week 2017! Whether you’re a flower farmer or a floral designer, we encourage you to think about how you can team up to create some magic that conveys the best of American-grown flowers!
As attendees from around the world walked into the Miami Airport & Convention Center, they were greeted by an 8-by-12 foot “Stars and Stripes” flag fabricated out of approximately 10,000 stems of foliage and flowers.
Christy Hulsey, of Colonia House of Flowers, with her creation, including red pine-cone ginger lilies from her grandmother’s garden in Georgia.
Designed by Slowflowers.com member Christy Hulsey of Colonial House of Flowers, the amazing, three-dimensional installation was impossible to ignore. “It stood proudly in the lobby of the conference registration area for all to see and it was a beautiful piece, enjoyed by many people who took their picture with it throughout the week,” says Kasey Cronquist, administrator of Certified American Grown Flowers, who envisioned the giant floral flag, invited Christy to produce it and recruited numerous flower farms to contribute thousands of flowers and foliage stems for its construction.
Details, Details, all 10,000 of them!
While this story has nothing specific to do with American Flowers Week, I want to share Christy’s story of passion, commitment to her family and community, and love of American flowers. This is a story of total sacrifice and it shouldn’t go unrecognized.
PLUS, I think you’ll draw inspiration as you plan your own over-the-top way to celebrate American Flowers Week 2017! You just might want to build your own FLORAL FLAG!
ALL AMERICAN INSPIRATION
There’s nothing more near and dear to me than American flowers,” Christy says. “It was such an honor to create this piece.
The larger-than-life botanical endeavor came together with ingenuity and sheer determination, the type of superhuman skills required of a designer like Christy who is used to executing large-scale weddings and events for her south Georgia-based floral business. “This project came together in less than four weeks. We had to build it on-site in a very short period of time.”
Keeping everything fresh and fantastic!
Christy credits fellow Chapel DesignerLisa Thorne of Thorne & Thistlesin Auburn, Alabama, for helping her with the conceptual design. “Lisa created the original outline for the wall. She drew this! Out of the goodness of her heart. No compensation. No credit. She just did it! And she also created the flower recipe,” Christy says. “Without being asked, Lisa just took the ball and ran. She spent so many hours working on this project . . . and thank goodness.”
[Note:This help was so essential to Christy because at the time, her home town had been hit by a fall hurricane and she was without electricity and certainly didn’t have access to the Internet.]
Christy’s husband Brian Hulsey, who has extensive carpentry and electrical training, lent hours of his construction talents, as well as financial support for supplies. “It’s amazing that we were able to make this happen,” she says.
This side view gives a sense of the flag-wall’s depth and dimension
The structure’s plywood base was constructed to look like a flag billowing in the wind. It was so large that once Brian finished, Christy had to rent a cargo van to transport it more than 500 miles to Miami. Erected on site, the base was stabilized with a pulley system attached to the back of the wall. Four buckets filled with 100-pound sandbags were hooked to the pulleys as counterweights.
Farmers and Florists in Greenville, South Carolina, came together to celebrate local flowers for American Flowers Week 2016 (c) Angela Zion Photography
If you’re like me, planning for 2017 is top-of-mind these days. And it’s not too early to begin your American Flowers Week 2017 promotional prep!
Here’s some inspiration to get you started. I’ve been wanting to share the story of SC Upstate Flowers, a group of creative and motivated flower farmers who are staking a claim for Slow Flowers in their community. They planned a fun, festive, floral — and affordable — promotionalevent that was a huge success.
Meet Melissa Smith, Fraylick Farm (c) Angela Zion
The goal? To use the occasion of American Flowers Week to introduce themselves and their beautiful, local blooms to their hometown florists.
Flower farmer and Slowflowers.com member Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm knew that American Flowers Week 2016 (June 28-July 4) was coming up after reading about it in Slowflowers.com newsletters.
“I thought, ‘we need to do something with this — this is a good opportunity,'” she explained. The idea of a “Farmer-Florist Party”took on a life of its own when Suzie Bunn of Statice Floral offered to hold the party in her Greenville studio.
Gorgeous, natural light fills The Station, where florist Suzie Bunn and her business Statice Floral are based.
“The Station,” where Suzie’s design studio is housed, is actually an old gas station converted into a multi-artist commercial space. In addition to a printmaker, two photographers work here, including Angela Zion, who offered to capture the Farmer-Florist Party on film. She has generously shared some of those images with us here.
But rather than just posting a floral image on her Instagram feed, Parie and her team took American Flowers Week to new levels. They created a styled shoot, called “BACKYARD FARM TO TABLE DINNER PARTY,” and submitted the photos to a favorite style blog: Inspired by This.
As floral designers, this group of gals was excited to host a beautiful backyard farm to table dinner party. Not only did we find out about American Flowers Week, but also gathered such fresh and fun inspiration for parties of our own! It doesn’t get much better than farm fresh food and even fresher cut flowers. (The charcuterie board will make your mouth water!) Parie Designs put themselves in charge of planning (and styling) this soiree at a super cool venue – The Bowery Warehouse. They’re sharing their favorite parts with us here.
We were thrilled to have a small dinner party in honor of American Flowers Week just a few weeks ago! We get to spend so much time designing beautiful florals from Holland and other faraway places, which we love, but we jumped at the opportunity to cut some of our blooms from our own backyards and enjoy an evening together complete with yummy cocktails, delicious food and good company.
I recently scheduled a phone date with Parie to learn about her charming American Flowers Week-styled shoot. Here’s an excerpt:
AFW: I’m curious about your “styled shoots”? Why do you invest time and resources to create them?
PD: We do four to six a year. I’m so lucky that we now have an amazing photographer on staff — Mallory Morgan Henderson. She’s our new floral designer, but she’s also a photographer. It seems like every shoot or wedding I’ve done with Mallory has been published. She’s smart, savvy and spectacular. Now we can say: “Let’s do a shoot,” and we can come up with the plan, thanks to Mallory.
AFW: What inspired the Backyard Farm to Table Dinner Party?
PD: I’ve been back in Amarillo for more than 20 years after living in and beginning my floral career in Seattle. In that time, I’ve literally only known of three farms that grow flowers. We’re surrounded here by farms where cattle, sourghum and corn are raised, but there’s nobody here growing flowers anymore. For some time, there was an amazing woman who had the most fabulous peonies growing on an acre or two — I would try to take every peony she had.
So instead, for this shoot, we sourced produce from the one local organic food farmer and then we cut everything out of my garden and our team member’s gardens (for the decor).
AFW: I love how casual and elegant you made things look. Very luxe and comfortable at the same time!
PD: Thanks! This became our employee photo shoot. We made the beautiful dinner ourselves, we imbibed, we ate, we enjoyed the evening, we took pictures.
AFW: How did you learn about American Flowers Week and decide to get involved?
PD: I knew about it because I’m a Chapel Designer. I’m watching everything go on — I’ve really been trying to get to one of those Field to Vase DInners, too.
AFW: Do you think you’ll ever grow your own flowers just to be able to design with more seasonal, local and American grown botanicals?
PD: You know, across from The Bowery, our event space, we own this huge lot. It’s mainly used for parking but I look at it every day and I find myself thinking: “How could I get water to it?” I’m sure there’s space to grow some flowers there.
AFW: Thank you, Parie! It has been great learning from you and I can’t wait to see what you come up with for American Flowers Week 2017!