American Flowers Week is Almost Here!

Click Here to Download Coloring Sheets featuring each State Flower

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.

Download Social Media graphics of Ellen’s Red-White-and-Blue Botanicals here.
Read more about Ellen and her work here.
Visit her web site here.

2018 AFW Floral Fashions Unveiled

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 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!!


Floral Palette: Peony flowers and petals, Scenic Place Peonies(Homer, Alaska) @scenicplacepeonies

Designer: Kelly Shore, Petals by the Shore@petalsbytheshore

Design assistance: Lisa Thorne, Thorne & Thistle @thorneandthistle

Model: Ashley Johnson, @ah.schlee

Hair/Makeup: Elizabeth Morphis, Scenic Place Peonies

Apparel: Donated by Grunden’s @grundens

Photography: Joshua and Brittney Veldstra, @joshuaveldstra


Designers: Alison Grace Higgins (owner) and Nicole Cordier (manager), Grace Flowers Hawaii(Honokaa, Hawaii) @graceflowershawaii

Florals supplied by: J&D Farms (Kamuela), Pacific Floral Exchange (Hilo), Hawaiian Isle Flowers (Volcano), The Orchid People (Kamuela), ESP Nurseries (Kamuela) andHigh Country Farms (Pa’auilo Mauka).

Models: Na’iwi Young of Olowalu Entertainment and Kayla Maluhia Kawai @radshack_hawaii

Hair/Makeup: Gracia Malendres, Grace Makeup Artistry

Photography: Meghan Spelman, Bikini Birdie Photography @bikinibirdie


Floral Palette: Pacific Northwest-foraged moss, lichen and pine cones

Production support: Seattle Wholesale Growers Market(Seattle, Wash.)

Designer: Carly Jenkins, Killing Frost Farm(Missoula, Montana) @killingfrostfarm

Assistant: Katherine Sherba, Mighty Fine Farm (Missoula, Montana)

Model: Berkeley Danysh, TCM Models and Talent
Hair/Makeup: Carly Jenkins
Photography: Alex Brooks, Alex Brooks 
Location: Old Goat FarmOrting, Washington


Floral Palette: 350 dahlias, Aztec Dahlias (Petaluma, Calif.) @aztec_dahlias; Herbs and succulents, Full Bloom Farm(Sebastopol, Calif.) @fullbloomflowerfarm

Designer: Hedda Brorstrom, Full Bloom Farm

Harvesting/Production Assistance: MaryAnn Nardo, 7 Petals Floral Design @7petalsdesign; Sarah Reyes, Unfurled Design @unfurleddesign; Dan’yell Powell @danyellily

Model/Hair/Makeup: Sophia Lane (with assistance from Amanda Lane), @sophiajlane

Photography: Becca Henry, Becca Henry Photography

Location: Aztec Dahlias, Petaluma, California


Floral Palette: 1,500 ‘Hong Kong’ irises, Sun Valley Flower Farm (Arcata, Calif.) @sunvalleyfloralfarms

Designer: Faye Zierer Krause, Flora Organica Designs@fayekrause

Model: Morgan Mireles

Hair and Makeup: Angela Cheung, Onxy-Private Holistic Studio, @onyxarcata

Photography: Leon Villagomez, Leon Villagomez Photographer @leonvillagomez

Location: Flora Organica Designs, Arcata, California


American Flowers Week featured in Super Floral Magazine


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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!

The June issue of Super Floral, a sister publication to Florists’ Review, features my story about just that.

“Homegrown Blooms, Coast to Coast” highlights some of the ways that groceries and supermarkets of all sizes are bringing the message of local, seasonal and sustainable flowers to their shoppers.

We have the most creative staff and for us, it was the joy of creating something to display during American Flowers Week and share with our customers — Denise Johnson, T&C Bainbridge Island

Thanks to all the talented folks who are featured in these pages, including:
Town & Country Markets
Floral category manager Melanie Cherry
T&C Bainbridge Island floral manager Denise Johnson
Ballard Market floral manager Kristen Parris

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market farmers and staff

Cone & Steiner
Owner Dani Cone

Triple Wren Farms
Steve and Sarah Pabody

Whole Foods Markets
Regional floral buyer Diana Westcott

Download full article hereSuper Floral Article

The 2018 American Flowers Week Floral Fashion Collection


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We’ve been planning and designing the 2018 Floral Fashion Collection for months — and it will be unveiled this week in the June issue of Florists’ Review!

For the third year in a row, American Flowers Week has commissioned fashion-inspired looks featuring local, seasonal and domestic florals.

For 2018, we have five fashion looks to unveil. It is amazing what the talented flower farmers and floral designers have conjured up this year and I’m so excited to be able to announce the participants and give you a preview of their creativity here.

Grab your June 2018 copy of Florists’ Review to read more and see a full 12-page spread about American Flowers Week’s floral fashions. I’ll be sharing individual stories and more beautiful photos throughout June, leading up to the June 28-July 4 #americanflowersweek Celebration.

Thank you to everyone who donated flowers, design time, photography and styling. The impressive dream team behind these looks are not only talented but passionate about promoting American-grown flowers through their creativity!

Let’s celebrate the five floral fashion narratives created for 2018 American Flowers Week. I can’t tell you how much it means to this cause — to elevate the public’s awareness and to engage the industry to CARE about domestic floral agriculture and sustainable, mindful floral design.

In its fourth year, American Flowers Week celebrates U.S.-grown (and foraged) botanicals with five fresh, inspiring and hand-crafted couture looks. 


Floral Palette: Peony flowers and petals, Scenic Place Peonies (Homer, Alaska) @scenicplacepeonies

Designer: Kelly Shore, Petals by the Shore @petalsbytheshore

Design assistance: Lisa Thorne, Thorne & Thistle @thorneandthistle

Model: Ashley Johnson, @ah.schlee

Hair/Makeup: Elizabeth Morphis, Scenic Place Peonies

Apparel: Donated by Grunden’s @grundens

Photography: Joshua and Brittney Veldstra, @joshuaveldstra

Location: Homer Small Boat Harbor, Homer, Alaska


Floral Palette: Tropical and temperate flowers, foliage and botanicals grown on Hawaii’s Big Island, including lantern ilima (Abutilon), Spanish moss, calathea leaves, fiddlehead ferns, ti leaves, cymbidium orchids, statice, snapdragons, dianthus, anthuriums, epidendrum orchids, hanging fuzzy heliconia, bottlebrush, fishtail palm, blue jade vine, crown flower, kalanchoe, foxtail agave, camellia, ginger, bougainvillea, bromeliad, pincushion protea and croton.

Designers: Alison Grace Higgins (owner) and Nicole Cordier (manager), Grace Flowers Hawaii (Honokaa, Hawaii) @graceflowershawaii

Florals supplied by: J&D Farms (Kamuela), Pacific Floral Exchange (Hilo), Hawaiian Isle Flowers (Volcano), The Orchid People (Kamuela), ESP Nurseries (Kamuela) and High Country Farms (Pa’auilo Mauka).

Models: Na’iwi Young of Olowalu Entertainment and Kayla Maluhia Kawai @radshack_hawaii

Hair/Makeup: Gracia Malendres, Grace Makeup Artistry

Photography: Meghan Spelman, Bikini Birdie Photography @bikinibirdie

Location: Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii


Floral Palette: Pacific Northwest-foraged moss, lichen and pine cones

Production support: Seattle Wholesale Growers Market (Seattle, Wash.)

Designer: Carly Jenkins, Killing Frost Farm (Missoula, Montana) @killingfrostfarm

Assistant: Katherine Sherba, Mighty Fine Farm (Missoula, Montana)

Model: Berkeley Danysh, TCM Models and Talent

Carly Jenkins

Alex Brooks, Alex Brooks @alex_brks

Old Goat Farm, Orting, Washington


Floral Palette: 350 dahlias, Aztec Dahlias (Petaluma, Calif.) @aztec_dahlias; Herbs and succulents, Full Bloom Farm (Sebastopol, Calif.) @fullbloomflowerfarm 

Designer: Hedda Brorstrom, Full Bloom Farm

Harvesting/Production Assistance: MaryAnn Nardo, 7 Petals Floral Design @7petalsdesign; Sarah Reyes, Unfurled Design @unfurleddesign; Dan’yell Powell @danyellily

Model/Hair/Makeup: Sophia Lane (with assistance from Amanda Lane), @sophiajlane

Photography: Becca Henry, Becca Henry Photography

Location: Aztec Dahlias, Petaluma, California


Floral Palette: 1,500 ‘Hong Kong’ irises, Sun Valley Flower Farm (Arcata, Calif.) @sunvalleyfloralfarms

Designer: Faye Zierer Krause, Flora Organica Designs @fayekrause

Model: Morgan Mireles

Hair and Makeup: Angela Cheung, Onxy-Private Holistic Studio, @onyxarcata

Photography: Leon Villagomez, Leon Villagomez Photographer @leonvillagomez

Location: Flora Organica Designs, Arcata, California

Download Social Media Graphics of all these Looks and show your support for American Flowers Week.

AFW Bouquet Labels are Ready!


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!”


$20     54      6 sheets

$30     108    12 sheets

$35     207    23 sheets

$75     504    56 sheets

$125  1008   112 sheets

To order: Please send your request to indicating the quantity of labels you wish. You must be a current and active Slow Flowers member to enjoy this benefit.

Payment: You will receive an invoice via PayPal and once that is completed, the labels will be sent.

Deadline/Shipment: All label orders must be received by Friday, June 15th in order for us to mail them to you in time.


Get Ready for Red-White-and-Blue Florals!


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Arranged with all-local Pacific Northwest blooms, I love this sweet centerpiece that I made at a design workshop with Tammy Myers of First and Bloom last summer (c) Missy Palacol Photography

A perfect patriotic floral combo! (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Maybe the palette seems a little cheezy to you, but ever since I created American Flowers Week in 2015, I have been on the lookout for fantastic ingredients that add up to beautiful (and anything but cheezy) Red-White-and-Blue floral arrangements and bouquets.

Nothing says “proud” and “homegrown” better than recreating our American flag’s true colors in a vase, right?

Here a pretty bouquet from last summer at a Tammy Myers’ First and Bloom workshop, with photographs by Missy Palacol.

Another view and a snap of me with my American Flowers Week-inspired beauties (c) Missy Palacol Photography

That fun, al fresco-style event took place a month or so after American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4) but clearly the stars and stripes were top-of-mind because I didn’t hesitate about the palette when Tammy offered me an entire rainbow of botanicals from which to choose.


I’ve been playing with reds & maroons, whites & creams, blues & indigos — across the botanical spectrum — for the past three years, and now I’m really getting excited about our next American Flowers Week campaign. It’s coming up in just five weeks, so I hope these images inspire you to create your own Independence Day bouquets. Please share them at our Slow Flowers Community Page on Facebook!

All-American flowers, grown in Oregon at Charles Little & Co.

A child’s table, painted delphinium blue by a vintage dealer, is my perfect podium for this bouquet.

A July 4, 2015 Mason jar bouquet featuring ‘Checkers,’ a favorite dahlia from Jello Mold Farm.

Enjoy these glorious red-white-and-blue flowers, picked just in time for American Flowers Week.


Social Media Graphics for American Flowers Week 2018



We’re so excited to unveil the new social media graphics for you to use in branding your American Flowers Week promotions this year!

Click here to download branded graphics for your Facebook profile, Instagram post, a website/blog badge (shown above) and a 4×6 inch promotional post card.

We’ll soon be able to share our 5 Floral Fashions, so check back for details!

New Floral Business Models at the Slow Flowers Summit


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Note: This article appears in the Spring 2018 issue of Cut Flower Quarterly, the publication of Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

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 Summit and 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.

See videos of last year’s sessions and find registration details at

Announcing the 2018 Slow Flowers Summit



We’re thrilled to announce the second annual SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT. In 2018, the one-day conference that has been called a “TED Talk for Flower Lovers” is co-locating with the American Institute of Floral Designers‘ annual symposium — a symbolic step for proponents of the Slow Flowers Movement and its values and ethos.

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.

Our venue: Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, D.C.

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, 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,, 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.

American Flowers Week Rose Tutu by Teresa Sabankaya of Bonny Doon Garden Co.


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California Pajarosa roses adorn the tutu, bodice and headpiece designed by Teresa Sabankaya for American Flowers Week 2017.

Floral Palette: California-grown hybrid tea roses, garden roses and spray roses and their seasonal companions
Designer: Teresa Sabankaya, Bonny Doon Garden Co., (Santa Cruz, CA)
Floral ingredients supplied by California Pajarosa, Watsonville, CA, and Bonny Doon Garden Co., Santa Cruz, CA

Teresa Sabankaya in the Bonny Doon Garden Co. cutting garden.

Teresa Sabankaya launched her floral business Bonny Doon Garden Co. by selling single stems, bunches and bouquets from a kiosk in downtown Santa Cruz, Calif. She often stocked the tiny shop with cuttings from her vast residential garden in the nearby hamlet of Bonny Doon, called Shangri-La by locals for its remote and stunning natural beauty.

As author Amy Stewart wrote in her groundbreaking book Flower Confidential, “Teresa Sabankaya has the kind of flower shop that you would dream about opening, if you are the kind of person who dreams of opening a flower shop . . . (it) fit with my idea of how floral commerce must work — you’d grow some flowers in your garden, you’d buy some from a farmer down the road, and you’d put them in buckets and sell them to your neighbors.”

A decade after being profiled by Stewart, Teresa is still designing and selling her signature garden-style florals throughout the greater Santa Cruz area, although today Bonny Doon Garden Co. is housed inside the coastal city’s New Leaf Community Market. As a Veriflora Certified Retail Florist, the shop assures customers the product they buy is grown in a sustainable manner, including from domestic flower farms.

“We source mainly from local organic and sustainable flower farms, thus assuring you a very fresh product,” Teresa explains on her web site’s home page. “We love to incorporate materials from our own cutting garden in Bonny Doon, too, while using the surrounding woods, meadows and vineyards as our inspiration.”

The 11-acre Sabankaya grounds are often home to styled shoots, attracting private design students and photographers alike. It serves as the ideal setting for Teresa’s American Flowers Week creation, a wearable rose tutu and headpiece to accompany her model’s pink satin corset.

With her model (and daughter) Antalia Sabankaya as her muse, Teresa selected an intense, fiesta-hued palette with roses dominating her design. The pristine hybrids, sprays and garden roses are more local than most, having been raised in sheltering greenhouses just miles away in Watsonville, where friend and flower farmer Paul Furman runs California Pajarosa Roses.

“I absolutely love his product,” Teresa raves. Her enthusiasm and commitment to green practices in her business are in alignment with the second-generation rose farmer’s decision to pursue Veriflora Certification for California Pajarosa.
“I am so impressed that Paul went through the process of switching from conventional growing to a sustainable method that allowed the farm to also become Veriflora Certified,” she says. “It can be an expensive process for growers and it’s not easy.”

While planning the rose-infused wearable floral fashion shoot for American Flowers Week, Teresa zeroed in on one of her favorites grown at Pajarosa: the ‘Alhambra’ rose. “That was my star rose,” she says. “It almost looks like a garden rose with its high petal count and the petals range from pinky peach to orange to fuchsia on the outer petals.”

Teresa wanted to design a flattering floral tutu that accentuated Antalia’s fitted pink satin corset. She researched magazines and Pinterest boards for inspiration and found a tutu made from silk flowers that got her thinking about constructing a tutu that wouldn’t collapse under the weight of real roses.

“While tulle fabric wouldn’t have worked, I found a gold mesh product from Oasis and began playing around with it,” Teresa says. She used 24-inch lengths of the mesh to shape “petals,” layering them to form a “flower” skirt. Matching gold Oasis flat wire woven through the mesh grid serves as a “belt” that fastens to Antalia’s waist.
The design begins with a tight pavé rose pattern to accentuate the tutu’s waistline. Teresa attached botanical elements with a combination of glue and gold wire, the tails of which are like little tendrils dangling from the skirt.

“The metal mesh itself isn’t that strong, but the wire edges of each petal hold their shape,” the designer explains. “As I folded the pieces, they formed a pouf here and a tip there to create the petal look I wanted.”

Teresa realized she didn’t want to complete cover the mesh with flowers, but instead allow the material to be the tulle-like element of her design. “I put something lacy toward the tips of each petal, pieris and jasmine from my garden that supplements Paul’s roses for a lacy, frilly look.”

The corresponding headpiece relates to the skirt with one distinct difference. “We had been cutting tree peonies from my garden to sell at the shop and the intense color was a perfect complement to Paul’s roses,” Teresa says. “I knew I had to add one to the headpiece.”

With the backdrop of her property’s Mediterranean-style architecture and its lush, secret garden to showcase her all-local floral couture, Teresa’s imagination plays out in the third dimension, made more special because she collaborated with family and longtime floral industry colleagues to celebrate American Flowers Week. “I want people to look at this picture, to look at those flowers, and feel the way I feel when I get to design with them,” she says.


Model: Antalia Sabankaya
Makeup: Zachary Winer
Hair: Carly Vollers
Photography: John Kaemmerling Photography
Location: Sabankaya family garden, Bonny Doon, CA

Originally published in FLORISTS’ REVIEW | JUNE 2017 |

American Flowers Week’s Floral Cape by Tara Folker of Splints & Daises


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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 BarnArcata, California
Designer: Tara Folker, Splints & Daisies, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; @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.”

Model: Ashley Garner
Makeup: Stefani BurketBonafide Ginger, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Photography: Jillian and Ryan McGrath, With Love & Embers, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
Location: Hingework, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Originally published in FLORISTS’ REVIEW | JUNE 2017 |