Farmers and Florists in Greenville, South Carolina, came together to celebrate local flowers for American Flowers Week 2016 (c) Angela Zion Photography
If you’re like me, planning for 2017 is top-of-mind these days. And it’s not too early to begin your American Flowers Week 2017 promotional prep!
Here’s some inspiration to get you started. I’ve been wanting to share the story of SC Upstate Flowers, a group of creative and motivated flower farmers who are staking a claim for Slow Flowers in their community. They planned a fun, festive, floral — and affordable — promotionalevent that was a huge success.
Meet Melissa Smith, Fraylick Farm (c) Angela Zion
The goal? To use the occasion of American Flowers Week to introduce themselves and their beautiful, local blooms to their hometown florists.
Flower farmer and Slowflowers.com member Melissa Smith of Fraylick Farm knew that American Flowers Week 2016 (June 28-July 4) was coming up after reading about it in Slowflowers.com newsletters.
“I thought, ‘we need to do something with this — this is a good opportunity,'” she explained. The idea of a “Farmer-Florist Party”took on a life of its own when Suzie Bunn of Statice Floral offered to hold the party in her Greenville studio.
Gorgeous, natural light fills The Station, where florist Suzie Bunn and her business Statice Floral are based.
“The Station,” where Suzie’s design studio is housed, is actually an old gas station converted into a multi-artist commercial space. In addition to a printmaker, two photographers work here, including Angela Zion, who offered to capture the Farmer-Florist Party on film. She has generously shared some of those images with us here.
But rather than just posting a floral image on her Instagram feed, Parie and her team took American Flowers Week to new levels. They created a styled shoot, called “BACKYARD FARM TO TABLE DINNER PARTY,” and submitted the photos to a favorite style blog: Inspired by This.
As floral designers, this group of gals was excited to host a beautiful backyard farm to table dinner party. Not only did we find out about American Flowers Week, but also gathered such fresh and fun inspiration for parties of our own! It doesn’t get much better than farm fresh food and even fresher cut flowers. (The charcuterie board will make your mouth water!) Parie Designs put themselves in charge of planning (and styling) this soiree at a super cool venue – The Bowery Warehouse. They’re sharing their favorite parts with us here.
We were thrilled to have a small dinner party in honor of American Flowers Week just a few weeks ago! We get to spend so much time designing beautiful florals from Holland and other faraway places, which we love, but we jumped at the opportunity to cut some of our blooms from our own backyards and enjoy an evening together complete with yummy cocktails, delicious food and good company.
I recently scheduled a phone date with Parie to learn about her charming American Flowers Week-styled shoot. Here’s an excerpt:
AFW: I’m curious about your “styled shoots”? Why do you invest time and resources to create them?
PD: We do four to six a year. I’m so lucky that we now have an amazing photographer on staff — Mallory Morgan Henderson. She’s our new floral designer, but she’s also a photographer. It seems like every shoot or wedding I’ve done with Mallory has been published. She’s smart, savvy and spectacular. Now we can say: “Let’s do a shoot,” and we can come up with the plan, thanks to Mallory.
AFW: What inspired the Backyard Farm to Table Dinner Party?
PD: I’ve been back in Amarillo for more than 20 years after living in and beginning my floral career in Seattle. In that time, I’ve literally only known of three farms that grow flowers. We’re surrounded here by farms where cattle, sourghum and corn are raised, but there’s nobody here growing flowers anymore. For some time, there was an amazing woman who had the most fabulous peonies growing on an acre or two — I would try to take every peony she had.
So instead, for this shoot, we sourced produce from the one local organic food farmer and then we cut everything out of my garden and our team member’s gardens (for the decor).
AFW: I love how casual and elegant you made things look. Very luxe and comfortable at the same time!
PD: Thanks! This became our employee photo shoot. We made the beautiful dinner ourselves, we imbibed, we ate, we enjoyed the evening, we took pictures.
AFW: How did you learn about American Flowers Week and decide to get involved?
PD: I knew about it because I’m a Chapel Designer. I’m watching everything go on — I’ve really been trying to get to one of those Field to Vase DInners, too.
AFW: Do you think you’ll ever grow your own flowers just to be able to design with more seasonal, local and American grown botanicals?
PD: You know, across from The Bowery, our event space, we own this huge lot. It’s mainly used for parking but I look at it every day and I find myself thinking: “How could I get water to it?” I’m sure there’s space to grow some flowers there.
AFW: Thank you, Parie! It has been great learning from you and I can’t wait to see what you come up with for American Flowers Week 2017!
Sixteen prizes were donated for our 50 States of American Grown Flowers drawing
A sweet, fragrant and beautiful time was had by all! As the momentum grows for American Flowers Week, we’re already collecting ideas for 2017. Your suggestions and ideas are welcome! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share yours.
Before I sign off, I have to post my FAVORITE Flower Farmer Moments from American Flowers Week. They are simply beyond compare and you’ll love them:
Slow Flowers member Hedda Brorstrom of Full Bloom Farm near Sebastopol created the cutest American Flowers Week flower bra!
Slow Flowers member Dennis Westphall, one half of Jello Mold Farm, took inspiration from the film “American Beauty,” and posed ‘au naturele’ in a bath tub filled with Cafe au Lait dahlias. Wow.
The Pabody family of Triple Wren Farm created a fantastic Instagram mosaic to celebrate #americanflowersweek
P.S. With Canada Day occurring each year on July 1st, we’d like to launch #canadianflowersweek to help our Slowflowers.com members in Canada promote domestic flowers.
Get in touch if you’re interesting in serving on a planning committee for that campaign.
Hand-lettered chalk signs announce American Flowers Week at New Seasons Market in Portland
Love the message: Loud and Clear!
Just inside the entrance, this display greets customers of New Seasons’ Arbor Lodge store in Portland.
Thanks to suggestions from my flower farmer friends who sell to two of the Pacific Northwest’s most popular grocery chains, American Flowers Week took center stage in this region’s floral departments at Town & Country Markets and New Seasons Markets.
The chains adopted American Flowers Week as a vehicle to sell and promote locally-grown flowers during the Independence Day holiday week and incorporated our unique American Flowers Week label to alert their consumers about the origin of the flowers on display. In-store signage unique to each chain’s brand and staff members empowered to “own” the message with personality and creativity really paid off.
I hit the road early in the American Flowers Week campaign to see the creativity for myself and the “Buy Local Flowers” message at these stores came through strong and successful. Here are some of the highlights:
Town & Country Markets Inc. is a regional, locally-owned and operated independent grocery company founded in 1957 and based in the Seattle area and participated with American Flowers Week signage and bouquets throughout its six-store chain.
Town & Country on Bainbridge Island’s gorgeous local flowers display for American Flowers Week
Tags appear on Town & Country/Central Market bouquets large and small to alert customers about the origins of each flower.
New Seasons Market is a Portland-based West Coast neighborhood grocery with 18 stores in three states and showcased flower bunches, bouquets and mason jar arrangements from Northwest and California farms.
New Seasons’ floral manager Katie McConahay (right) with flower farmer Bethany Little (second from right) and team members Alaina and Guen (manager) at the Arbor Lodge neighborhood store in Portland.
On Wednesday, June 29th, I headed to Portland bright and early to see the floral design entries for the Oregon Flower Growers Association’s American Flowers Week celebration (more on that cool program later this week).
There, I met up with flower farmer Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co., a Slowflowers.com member and a Certified American Grown farm. I love how they took the initiative to do something special and stimulate floral consumption during the week of July 4th! The idea has inspired me to work on similar efforts across the U.S. and has laid the groundwork for even more grocery promotions in 2017.
Katie McConahay (floral buyer) and Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co.
It was Bethany who called me about six weeks ago and suggested that I develop a bouquet label that flower farmers could use on their grocery and market bouquets. She and her husband Charles Little (past guest of the Slow Flowers Podcast) sparked the idea and also pitched it to Katie McConahay, New Seasons Market floral buyer.
Certified American Grown Red-white-and-blue mason jars on sale for $12.99 at New Seasons. The bouquet featured red and white dahlias and gerberas with blue delhiniums.
We headed over to a nearby New Seasons Market in Portland’s Arbor Lodge neighborhood where buyer Katie and store floral manager Guen Armstrong showed off the signage, product selection and product labeling for American Flowers Week. Katie has a reputation for consistenly supporting Northwest and California flower farms throughout the year. She discussed this philosophy on a past episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast, which you can find here.
A huge variety of Northwest-grown mixed bouquets labeled with “American Flowers Week” at New Seasons Market.
From the hand-lettered chalkboard signage to the adorable mason-jars filled with red-white-and-blue California flowers, to the abundant and lush mixed bouquets from farms like Charles Little & Co., Rain Drop Farms and other NW flower farms, the message was clear: We Love Local. New Seasons also promoted American Flowers Week it is weekly circular and online. Check out these photos of my visit — I was blown away by the way New Seasons highlighted American Flowers Week!
Syndicate Sales is one of four national sponsors for American Flowers Week and I’m so pleased that this venerable floral industry hardgoods company sees the value in promoting USA-made products.
Based in Kokomo, Indiana, Syndicate serves the professional florist and wholesale customers through its online store, beautiful catalogs and through other distributors across the country.
I’ve loved collaborating with Syndicate’s design and marketing team on numerous projects, including the Field to Vase Dinner Tours where featured floral designers pair Syndicate’s USA-made vases with local and seasonal American-grown flowers.
Syndicate’s “gather” vases held all local flowers designed by Melissa Feveyear of Terra Bella Flowers at the Field to Vase Dinner last September held on Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington
California-grown flowers paired beautifully with Syndicate’s USA-made vases at the 2015 Garden Writers Association Symposium
Art in Bloom at St. Louis Art Museum. During my presentation, I used American-grown flowers and local Missouri-grown curly willow — all in a Syndicate Sales USA-made vase.
It’s nice to say, “I care about the origins of the products I use,” especially when those products contain local and domestic flowers. And I’ve made it a practice to always check for the USA flag icon when I choose a vase from Syndicate Sales.
For American Flowers Week we’ve invited flower farmers and florists around the country to submit their arrangements and red-white-and-blue flowers to our “50 States of American Grown Flowers”gallery. Look to the left column of this site and you’ll see the inspiring lineup of beautiful American-grown blooms.
On Monday, July 4th, we’re drawing winners from the submissions — and three lucky members of the Slow Flowers Community will receive $100-shopping-sprees from Syndicate Sales.
Made in the USA vases and floral supplies from Syndicate Sales
Longfield Gardens highlights American Flowers Week on its Facebook page this week
Longfield Gardens has joined American Flowers Week and Slow Flowers’ other channels (Slowflowers.com and the Slow Flowers Podcast) as a 2016 sponsor because this producer of high quality flower bulbs and perennials for the home gardener sees the value of backyard blooms.
We’re so honored to have a chance to partner with Longfield and promote the timeless practice of growing a cutting garden. Yes, raising bulbs, perennials, annuals, herbs and ornamental shrubs in the garden — and clipping those stems for arranging into vases to decorate one’s interior spaces — is something passionate gardeners have done for generations.
During the first half of the 20th century, many florists actually grew their own special flowers or greenhouse crops, a practice that is having a renaissance today among savvy floral designers! They may not have space for rows of flower crops, but they can plant a cutting garden for unique varieties that lead to one-of-a-kind designs.
Alicia met the folks at Longfield Gardens and agreed to trial some of their bulbs in her own cutting garden in Arlington, Washington. The results are nothing short of gorgeous and thoroughly inspired, as Alicia created the “Flirty Fleurs Red and White Tulip Collection” for Longfield Gardens.
Each variety represents a different style of tulip, to provide variations in texture as well as color. This contemporary mix will look as beautiful in your garden as it does in a vase. The collection is currently on sale for $47.82 and includes 75 bulbs!
10 Tulip White Parrot
10 Tulip Carnaval De Nice
10 Tulip Red Wing
10 Tulip Midnight Magic
10 Tulip Estella Rijnveld
25 Tulip Cartouche
I hope these resources inspire you to go deep into bulbs for summer and spring floral arranging! It’s coming up on Dahlia Season and right after that, we’ll turn our attention to planting those spring tulip bulbs! When you do so you’ll be adding to your own American-Grown cutting garden!
Love this gallery of our American Flowers Week FLORAL MAP posted by our friends at Syndicate Sales
If there is one thing that young and old seem to love doing, it’s coloring! Case in point: the American Flowers Week maps above are the work of grown-ups, the creatives at Syndicate Sales, a sponsor of AFW 2016.
These AFW floral maps reveal the talents of first-grade artists, including Kaden Cronquist.
But then, there is the younger set! The first-graders of Mrs. Donald’s class at Sunrise Elementaryin Rancho Cordova, California, sure had fun grabbing their favorite markers and pens to embellish these American Flowers Week maps.
Thanks to our friend Kasey Cronquist, CEO of the California Cut Flower Commissionand administrator of the Certified American Grown program, a sponsor of AFW 2016, for taking maps to his son Kaden’s first-grade class. Teacher Mrs. Donald used the floral maps as a fun class activity for the last day of school.
Of course, the kids wanted to know what the coloring PRIZE would be, so Kasey has offered to sponsor three prizes. And that means I have the privilege of “judging” among the entries. Yikes – that’s a lot of pressure! Stay tuned for news about the winning artwork.
The original drawing of the USA map surrounded by flowers, foliage and beneficial insects for American Flowers Week 2016
MORE MAP LOVE
In other news, we’ve heard from at least two other Slowflowers.com members who are running Coloring Contests for their customers! Love this idea — what a simple way to engage your community with positive results!
LauraLee Symes of Sellwood Flower Co. in Portland is awarding one bouquet of local flowers each month for six months to one lucky winner!
Tammy Myers of First & Bloom in Issaquah, Washington, is encouraging her customers to post their finished map designs on social media to enter a drawing for a free American-grown bouquet.
Keep the good news coming! If you’ve cooked up a coloring project, let us know about it so we can share — or post to The Slow Flowers Community page on Facebook!
Sixty Days of Amazing Activity leading up to American Flowers Week
Do you see what I see? Yes, that’s 234,434 impressions on Twitter and Instagram alone, in just two month since we announced the 2016 American Flowers Week kickoff! Thank you to everyone who is posting and sharing!
Here are some of the fun activities we’ve spotted in the past few days:
Farmer-florist and Slowflowers.com member Kathleen Barber added red-white-and-blue AFW2016 stickers to her kraft paper-wrapped bouquets, which she regularly delivers to the local natural grocery in her community.
Kathleen’s 1.25-acre flower farm is based in nearby Warrenton, Oregon, where she grows hundreds of bulbs, annuals, perennials, ornamental shrubs, grasses, succulents and herbs for her custom bouquets.
Her business, Erika’s Fresh Flowers (named after Kathleen’s daughter), grows and designs flowers for regular CSA customers, corporate clients, weddings and events and the Astoria Co-op, a popular hometown grocery store that values local sourcing.
Kathleen delivers buckets of bouquets to Astoria Co-op Grocery once or twice each week.
Thanks Kathleen! Your example will inspire others to promote American Flowers Week in their community, too.