American Flowers Week 2016 — By the Numbers

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Here's a 30-day snapshot of the #americanflowersweek activity on Instagram and Twitter alone.

Here’s a 30-day snapshot of the #americanflowersweek activity on Instagram and Twitter alone.

The excitement of American Flowers Week is starting to die down and yet we’re still collecting photographs and posts of engagement for the 2nd annual celebration of local and domestic flowers!

The numbers shown above are just part of the story because we can’t reliably track Facebook or conventional media mentions. However as a snapshot of activity, the Keyhole.co chart is significant when compared to the same period in 2015. One year ago, we had 410,000 potential impressions for #americanflowersweek. This year, the total potential is more than three times the prior year’s impressions. From 410k to 1.3 million!

Thank you to our four financial sponsors: Certified American Grown, Syndicate Sales, Longfield Gardens and Mayesh Wholesale.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to write a tweet, share a photo, add a sticker to a bouquet, create an unique display, compose blog posts, teach a workshop, send out a press release, appear on local media, author a column or new story, donate flowers and prizes, and generally get behind this wonderful campaign.

I’ll be posting more insights in the coming days, and introducing many of the active and influential #americanflowersweek participants.

And then . . . we’ll begin the planning for 2017! I’ll be surveying Slowflowers.com members for input and suggestions. There is so much potential and we’re just getting started!

American Flowers Week prizewinners

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That's a Wrap! Thank you to everyone who participated in American Flowers Week 2016!

That’s a Wrap! Thank you to everyone who participated in American Flowers Week 2016! (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

The 2nd annual American Flowers Week is a wrap, folks! So many of you participated this year and we’ve calculated a 250% increase in social media engagement over 2015. That’s seriously impressive!

Later this week I’ll post more on our “American Flowers Week by the Numbers,” but for today, I want to announce our winners and thank our sponsors.

We noted more than 1,080 #americanflowersweek posts on Instagram and that’s not counting shares and reposts! A total of 111 of you designed and posted American Flowers Week bouquets for our “50 States of American Flowers” gallery. Not every state was represented, but flower farmers and floral designers from 33 states did participate — that’s pretty awesome!

Here are the winners from our random drawing. You’ll be connected with the prize donor by email with more details:

From Mayesh Wholesale: Five $100 gift certificates for buying beautiful, local and American-grown Flowers!

The winners are: Maple Flower Farm of Vermont (Liz Kreig); Erika’s Fresh Flowers of Oregon (Kathleen Barber); Pot & Box of Michigan (Lisa Waud); Daniele Alion Strawn of California; and Flower Duet of California (Kit Wertz and Casey Schwartz) CONGRATULATIONS!!!

From Syndicate Sales: Three $100 shopping sprees for American Made glass vases and other accessories!

The winners are: Crowley House of Oregon (Beth Syphers), Wildcraft Flowers of Georgia (Carroll Candler) and The Flower Peddler of New Jersey (Bethany Bernard-Vohringer) CONGRATULATIONS!!!

From Longfield Gardens: Two $50 gift certificates for bulbs and plants!

The winners are: Bonny Doon Garden Co. of California (Dawn Mayer) and Ballard Market of Washington (Kristen Parris and staff) CONGRATULATIONS!!!

From Certified American Grown & Slowflowers.com: Five “Swag Bags” from the 2016 Field to Vase Dinner tour, which each American-made tote bag including a signed set of Debra Prinzing’s books, “The 50 Mile Bouquet” and “Slow Flowers.”

The winners are: Mountain Road Flower Farm of Massachusetts; Morningsong Farmer of Washington (Janelle McCrackin); Lollie Fleur of Washington (Kim Richards); Five Forks Farm of Massachusetts; and Emerald Petals of Oregon (Hilary Holmes) CONGRATULATIONS!!!

From Slow Flowers member Scenic Place Peonies: One box of 20 beautiful and fresh Alaska-grown peonies shipped to you! More details here.

The winner is: Full Bloom Farm of California (Hedda Brorstrom) CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Check out the entire gallery of bouquets and blooms here!

American Flowers Week teams with Grocery Store Floral Departments

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Hand-lettered chalk signs announce American Flowers Week at New Seasons Market in Portland

Hand-lettered chalk signs announce American Flowers Week at New Seasons Market in Portland

Love the message: Loud and Clear!

Love the message: Loud and Clear!

Just inside the entrance, this display greets customers of New Seasons' Arbor Lodge store in Portland.

Just inside the entrance, this display greets customers of New Seasons’ Arbor Lodge store in Portland.

00536_AFW_Bouquet_Label_Colors-page-001Thanks 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

Town & Country on Bainbridge Island’s gorgeous local flowers display for American Flowers Week

Tags appear on bouquets large and small to alert customers about the origins of each flower.

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 farmre Bethany Little (second from right) and team members Alaina and Guen (manager) at the Arbor Lodge neighborhood store in Portland.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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Mayesh Loves American Flowers

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We couldn’t be more pleased that a major wholesale flower supplier is waving the flag for American Flowers Week!

Thank You, Mayesh Wholesale for promoting local and domestic flowers across the many branches of your organization. Mayesh kicked off American Flowers Week with this video on “Mayesh Minute.” Check it out here:

Mayesh Wholesale’s David Dahlson gives an overview of American Flowers Week and presents some great options of American grown flowers that you may see in your Mayesh cooler – foxglove, cornflowers, ranunculus, tulips, grapevine, and ninebark.

From blooming Acacia to Zinnias!

From blooming Acacia to Zinnias!

Mayesh also created its American Grown Product List, which will be used by all of its 17 branches to help connect floral customers with local and domestic flowers. This 7-page PDF features widely requested flowers and foliage by Year-Round and Seasonal availability.

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American Made Vases for American Flowers Week

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12347583_10154362628909068_5088924758260848178_nSyndicate 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

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

Syndicate has also supplied USA-made vases for a workshop I taught at the Garden Writers Association’s annual symposium in Pasadena last September and for my lecture and demonstration at St. Louis Art Museum’s Art in Bloom earlier this year.

California-grown flowers paired beautifully with Syndicate's USA-made vases at the 2015 Garden Writers Association Symposium

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, with American-grown flowers and local curly willow -- all in a Syndicate Sales USA-made vase.

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.

Syndicate_USAFlag

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

Made in the USA vases and floral supplies from Syndicate Sales

I know you’re crossing fingers to win, so enjoy and check out this special ‘look book’ of Syndicate’s USA-made product line. (Click above)

And thanks to Syndicate for supporting American Flowers Week and the entire floral community!

Longfield Gardens Celebrates American Flowers Week with Locally-Grown Cut Flowers

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Longfield Gardens highlights American Flowers Week on its Facebook page this week

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.

LongfieldDahliasFor American Flowers Week, Longfield Gardens is promoting the science and art of growing dahlias, offering customers all sorts of tips on selection, growing, staking, caring for and enjoying dahlias. Read the entire lineup of ideas here and follow links to more dahlia news.

Top-10-Cut-Flower-Bulbs-1Longfield Gardens also has produced a great info-guide featuring the Top 10 Flower Bulbs for Cutting Gardens. You’re welcome to download and use it with your own customers!

FLIRTY FLEURS TULIP COLLECTION

The red and white tulip bouquet, designed by Alicia Schwede from her own cutting garden flowers.

The red and white tulip bouquet, designed by Alicia Schwede from her own cutting garden flowers.

One of those NEW-OLD FLORISTS to rely on a cutting garden is Alicia Schwede of Bella Fiore and the Flirty Fleurs blog.

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.

FlirtyFleursTulipCollectionThis stunning collection of late-blooming tulips was developed by Seattle-area florist Alicia Schwede. Alicia grew the tulips in her home garden, then arranged and photographed them and featured the bouquet on her blog.

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!

Thanks Longfield Gardens! You can join their mailing list for special notices, news and sales by clicking here (signup form is at the bottom of the home page).

Meet the Flower Farmers

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Check out the faces behind the flowers of American Flowers Week! (c) Mary Grace Long Photograph

A lot of great people have shared their talents to help kick off American Flowers Week for 2016 and I was able to spend time with a number of them yesterday during the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market’s flower farm tour for customers.

Above, please meet Kelly Uhlig and Pam Uhlig of Sonshine Farm of Whidbey Island, Washington. And standing/smiling next to me is Jan Roozen of Choice Bulb Farms, of Mt. Vernon, Washington.

Kelly and Pam donated their luscious white tulips and Jan donated the lovely blue grape hyaciths all seen in the poster of our red-white-and-blue Flower Fro that Susan McLeary of Passionflower designed.

To read about Susan’s design approach and to see a list of all the American flower farms that contributed stems to this project, please click here.

Color My World (of Flowers)

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Love this gallery of our American Flowers Week FLORAL MAP posted by our friends at Syndicate Sales

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.

FIRST-GRADE ARTISTS

These AFW floral maps reveal the talents of first-grade artists, including Kaden Cronquist.

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 Elementary in Rancho Cordova, California, sure had fun grabbing their favorite markers and pens to embellish these American Flowers Week maps.

Mrs_Donald_3 Mrs_Donald_2 Mrs_Donald_1Thanks to our friend Kasey Cronquist, CEO of the California Cut Flower Commission and 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

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!

Want a box of fresh Alaska peonies?!

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Slow Flowers member Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska

Slow Flowers member Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska

Beth has donated a box of 20 stems of her gorgeous Alaska peonies to the July 4th American Flowers Week drawing!

Beth has donated a box of 20 stems of her gorgeous Alaska peonies to the July 4th American Flowers Week drawing!

So far, we’ve received 35 entries from 21 states . . . so here’s your reminder! There’s still time to submit a photo of your Red-White-And-Blue bouquet, centerpiece or armload of blooms to the 50 States of American Grown Flowers invitational! Lots of great prizes will go to winners in our July 4th drawing.

Here’s how to enter and submit a flower photo from your state

Here’s a list of previously announced prizes, donated by our sponsors.

Thanks so much, Beth! We can’t wait to share your Alaska-grown, American-grown blooms with one lucky winner!