Slow Flowers Journal WINTER 2023 + INDUSTRY FORECAST (FREE)

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botany lessons


EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Debra Prinzing CREATIVE DIRECTOR Robin Avni COPY EDITOR Brenda Silva IMAGE EDITOR Heather Marino ILLUSTRATOR Annette Kraus CONTRIBUTORS Emily Ellen Anderson, Janice Cox, Carolyn Kulb, Lori Poliski, Tom Precht PHOTOGRAPHERS EE Berger, Niesha Blancas, Kristen Caldon O'Neill, Sharon Cosgrove, Lynda Gamroth, Latisha Hale, Mary Kalhor, TJ McGrath, Kyle Alexander Meeks, Elizabeth Messina, Tammy Myers, Missy Palacol, Modernlalaland Creative Services, Tom Precht, Krista Rossow, Urban Row Photography, Kate Watters, Savannah Thompson ON THE COVER Carolyn Kulb’s exuberant botanical couture, designed with Washingtongrown hellebores for American Flowers Week 2021, showcases the luxury of this winter-blooming perennial. Production support provided by Pamela Youngsman, PoppyStarts | INSTAGRAM COVER PHOTOGRAPER Missy Palacol COVER MODEL Tasia Baldwin HAIR/MAKEUP DeLeana Guerrero, Luxe Artistry Seattle

©2023 by SLOW FLOWERS JOURNAL and BLOOM Imprint. All rights reserved.

take a deep breath. Are you as ready for 2023 as we are? As our Slow Flowers Community enters this new year, we feel the positive energy you bring to your floral endeavors. Honoring ethical values with a sense of purpose is as important as achieving entrepreneurial success. One writer recently said of our movement, "They have found their calling, and they are providing the flowers for life's most important rituals. They've been given a voice. I am in awe of their sincerity and passion." Cherish this beautiful affirmation as you proceed into 2023. Our features will inspire you, too. Learn how Postal Petals' Talia Boone teamed up with Abra Lee of Conquer the Soil to produce Music x Flowers, a celebration of Black florists, and the power of flowers and music to connect. Meet artists Chantal Aida Gordon and Ari Wells, whose Heavy Petal collection splashes graphic plants across T-shirts. Tour Emerald Design, Whitney Muncy's new retail space in Evansville, Indiana. Celebrate hellebores in botanical couture and floral design, and seek "inner congruence," with The Business of Flowers contributor, Emily Ellen Anderson. Our 20-page bonus section is a keeper. Check out "Botany Lessons," the 2023 Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast. Draw from

No part of this publication may be

its pages as you launch your new season in the studio and on the

reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or

farm. Wishing you the best!

transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written

Debra + Robin

permission of the publisher. SLOW FLOWERS JOURNAL



winter. EMILY ELLEN ANDERSON. A business (& bravery) coach for artists. She helps creative entrepreneurs sell art to support their life, be willing to be seen and heard, and expand their own creative impact. She developed "Make Art. Make Money," an online course for creatives, and hosts monthly group coaching with like-minded artists. JANICE COX. An expert on natural beauty, and creating body-care products at home using kitchen and garden ingredients. She has written six books, and teaches workshops across the country. She lives in Southern Oregon, and is currently the education chair for The Herb Society of America.

CAROLYN KULB. Founder and lead artist of Bloom Poet, a full-service wedding florist and event design company based in Seattle, Washington. Carolyn also offers education and coaching to fellow florists and wedding professionals. Through online classes and 1-to-1 coaching, Carolyn helps floral entrepreneurs learn proven methods for streamlining their wedding businesses, as well as mastering sustainable floristry methods with less stress. LORI POLISKI. The owner of Flori, she is a gardener and florist committed to sustainable floristry and organic growing practices on her small farm in Woodinville, Washington. She grew up on a farm in New Jersey, and comes from a long line of farmers who used organic methods before it was a certification or credential. In her former professional life, she was a journalist, a technology marketer, and a teacher. Lori won one of three writing grants from Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style by Christin Geall; Cultivating Place (Jennifer Jewell); and the London Flower School, on the topic of Sustainable Farewell Flowers in 2022.

TOM PRECHT. The co-founder and vice president of Grateful Gardeners, he has been a research scientist for the majority of his career. He obtained a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. Tom's mother, Diana Precht, has been a lifelong gardener and avid dahlia grower. Tom had no idea that he would one day follow in her footsteps to become a full-time flower-farmer with his wife, Sarah Daken. He brings a scientific, technological, and innovative aptitude to Grateful Gardeners, focusing on constantly improving their organic practices and sustainability.







33 departments

special section

6 12 17 22 28



how do you hellebore?


botany lessons. Our ninth annual Slow Flowers forecast


adopts the concept of being rooted,


of sinking our roots deeper into nature and the plant kingdom, and in the


healing qualities of both. We examine

music x flowers.

the emerging themes, topics, and categories in the floral marketplace that will influence your coming year


emerald design. BOTANICAL STYLE

heavy petal.




farewell flowers. Green "farewell" flowers represent a major new opportunity for florists




Q: how do you hellebore? Slow Flowers members give hellebores a starring role in their designs


“With so many forms, colors, and patterns, hellebores work for both modern, minimalist designs, and romantic, woodland styles. I particularly love using them in handwork, such as for flower crowns. As small as they are, when HB FIORI

clustered together, they create a strong visual form. Small


seeds and berries add texture and depth in my floral crown fit for a fairy-tale bride.”

“Super-hardy in the garden, hellebores are my favorite January bloom. They are so whimsical, and the soft, garden greens convey a fresh transition into spring— especially after all the jewel tones and dark colors of December. The fiery orange hues of the pincushion proteas deliver an intriguing and bold counterpart to the hellebores. I wanted this arrangement to be seasonal, long-lasting, and to provide something soothing amid the stress of a New Year. This

what my private client, a monthly subscriber, needed — something dazzling and modern.”




combination takes on winter with boldness. It's just


Team Flower's Kelly Perry designed a textural spring arrangement with botanicals grown by Pharsalia Events (and flower farm) in Tyro, Virginia. "Hellebore come in so many fun varieties, and as you can see — I hellebore with them all! That’s one of the benefits to having a robust garden patch. Not only do I have access to the varieties I started the garden with, but they are always dropping seeds with new variations," she says. This sweet arrangement also features arum, pieris, and eleagnus foliage, KELLY PERRY

and pussy willow and contorted filbert (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') branches.





“Hellebores bloom in winter, but embody the elegance of spring. When I use these flowers in my arrangements, they always prompt that ‘oh, look a garden flower!’ moment. With their sweet, bendy heads, and wide range of moody petal colors, hellebores are some of my favorites this season. They can be considered old-fashioned, but I used multiples, en masse and tightlypacked for lushness and impact (not to mention providing support for their sometimes downward-facing form). The unglazed vessel was the perfect container to larkspur that emerge from the hellebore base.”




use, paired with soft-pink


“Hellebores are a stunning focal flower, producing double and single varieties in subtle, muted colors. When WILD HEART FARM

picked at peak and properly hydrated and cooled, they can last out of water for several days, or can be dried in silica, or pressed for endless creative uses. These hellebores came from Happy Vine Flowers, gardener-florist Terri Schuett's garden. To LARKSPUR CHICAGO

make the demi-crown, I wove a length of ivy around a bind-wire base, and added bundles of accent flowers (Astrantia)


and sprigs of juniper with


berries. The hellebores

“One of the first flowers of year, hellebores have stunning

can be glued or wired

bloom colors — from white with freckles to the deepest

onto this base.”

mauve-purple. Their shapes and textures complement almost any other flower or foliage. I love pairing them with tulips, daffodils, and other spring varieties.” SLOW FLOWERS JOURNAL





“For those of us who derive abundant joy from flowers and nature in general, winter can often seem like a long, dark season. Just when I think winter is here to stay, hellebores arrive. They come in myriad colors — from whites to deep burgundy and black; some with freckles, some with ruffles — and they invariably make me smile. In this arrangement, I embraced the feeling of spring and what lies ahead. It showcases bi-colored hellebores grown by Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington, which remind us that winter is beautiful, too. Other ingredients, all sourced from the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, include sarcococca

isopogon and berzelia for added texture.”




and dusty Miller foliage, stock, roses, rice flower, and


“As a flower-farmer and studio floral designer, I adore the array of colors and forms hellebores bring to the winter garden and to my design work. In this design, I chose 'Ivory Prince’ for its red stems and the pink flush of an unopened blossom. They compliment the pink edges on the specimen of the succulent echeveria. This centerpiece was created on a base of foraged driftwood, with rabbit foot fern as greenery.”







resolutions. Dive into the new year with a fresh vision and cultivate congruence New Year’s is one of those times to blow open all the nooks and crannies of our life and business, take a peek inside, and ask: Do I choose to have this anymore? What is just accumulated stuff? What are accumulated thoughts that I don’t even know if I believe anymore? And, Is there anything that I want that isn’t here yet? There’s a perception that when you choose to be a Flower Business Owner, you choose a path, you do the thing, you make some tweaks, and your business will just grow into this beautiful thing you love forever. I certainly thought that was the case and felt frustrated with myself each time I was compelled to make bigger and bigger changes in my business and lifestyle. After all, it seemed like people who could just stick with their decision long term…were more successful. So I worked hard to stick with things and convinced myself that those internal compulsions were flights of fancy. But when I pushed down those feelings toward change, the frustration grew into something more gnarly: Resentment. Now I know that the reason I couldn't keep ignoring the instinctual nudges is because with each pivot, I was making adjustments that got me closer and closer to inner CONGRUENCE. I wanted my

WISHES + DESIRES Let 2023 be the year that you open up to all the ways your brain, body, and spirit are urging changes to be made in your business. The desire to deepen your sustainability practice and claim it publicly. Imagine saying "no" to work that will not align with those beliefs. The mixed resentment and desire to be seen on social media as you are — with all your courageous weirdness, authority, humanity, and empathy. The desire to lead a more artful practice mixed with the fear of judgment in calling yourself an artist. The desire to contribute financially in a big, big way and the anxiety of what that mean in terms of your life balance and integrity. The desire to hire regular help mixed with the terror of managing people and making a consistent income big enough to support them and you. If any of this resonates, you have a call toward inner congruence.

business and life to be a reflection of what I wanted to see in the world — and who I wanted to be. There’s only so long we can be out of congruence with how our body and brains and spirits need to be in the world and how we are doing things. When we ignore the desire to change our businesses, the negative effects are burnout, resentment, or maybe just feelings of — meh. I’ve been known to be a master pivoter. Something I used to be ashamed about. After being too scared to be a sculptor, I chose

TRY THESE STEPS Ask yourself, “What am I all about?” Is there a way to express that in a way that addresses these calls for inner congruence? Are the things I’m doing express what I’m all about? Are they opening the path to more congruence or forcing it closed?



THE BUSINESS OF FLOWERS the safer route of a landscape architect. That didn’t feel as right as shifting to being a floral designer. Then I leaned into artful floral design. Then grew into full event design. After finding the courage to move into sustainable event design, I then became an online business educator for floral designers, ultimately evolving into business (and bravery) coaching for artists. The changes toward your own congruence may not need a business overhaul. If you love a New Year’s resolution, here are some that will cultivate congruence: I resolve to never make myself feel wrong for wanting

We Deliver Freshness | 800-676-1212

what I want. I resolve to take time to listen to my desires as though they are filled with sacred clues that will lead me and my business to our next evolution. Toward congruence.


I resolve to trust my own authority first in all things


to stand by and enforce any decision made honoring

involving me, my body, and my business. I resolve that trust, even if other people don’t understand. I resolve to claim what needs claiming in my life and in my business. I resolve to take the steps, however wobbly, toward operating my business and living in a way that is in congruence with what’s inside of me that needs to be seen. If a compulsion to fulfill a creative vision, desire for a way of being, or any business idea that feels like a full body YES arises, I resolve to put a pause on my tendency to pile on the reasons why it won’t work. Instead, I resolve to give my brain the job of finding all the ways I could make it happen, as if everything


in my life is flexible, and I have the power to influence the change I want. (Psst, it is, and you do.)






Music x Flowers. Celebrating stories of African American voices in floriculture through botanical displays, music, fashion, and wellness workshops On September 10, 2022, Music x Flowers showcased the floral art of six Black designers who created large-scale floral installations inspired by favorite music genres and popular Southern California themes like beach bonfires, and old-school, neighborhood block parties. Slow Flowers member Talia Boone, CEO of Los Angeles-based Postal Petals, and author and historian Abra Lee, who wrote

Conquer the Soil: Black America and the Untold Stories of Our Country's Gardeners, Farmers, and Growers, developed the floral show after the women met at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit, where Abra presented the capstone lecture about the history of Black-American florists. In her talk, Abra quoted pioneering African-American florist Bessie Weaver (1882-1968), acknowledged as once saying, "Be it said to the credit of our race, our people have always been lovers of music and flowers." According to Abra's research, Weaver gave her inspiring remarks in 1915 at the National Negro Business League Convention, the business conference founded by Booker T. Washington in 1900. Abra believes that Weaver's historic quote is equally relevant today, viewing flowers as an artistic medium that uplifts women's economic independence, nurtures financial success, and provides an ability to make a living while also perhaps caring for children. Talia’s strong response to Abra's Slow Flowers Summit lecture

INSTALLATIONS + ARTISTS 'BEST COAST' BONFIRE Kimberly Jacob, K. Jacob Events Vallejo, California CALIFORNIA LOVE #TENACITY Rose Study, Roses Say Chino Hills, California @rosessay FLOWERS FOR NIP Amorette Brooms Queen Los Angeles Inglewood, California @queenn_losangeles HITTIN' THE STREETS IN FLORAL CHIC Ashley Robinson 12amsunshine Oakland, California @12amsunshine IT'S A VIBE! PERIODT. . . Nia Black Xquisite Floral Design and Events Riverside, California @Xquisitefloral LA CR(E)ATES Kristen Gordon Kristhetic Los Angeles, California @kristhetic_ WESTSIDE OVER EVERYTHING Amber Mayfield, designsbyher floral + event design Los Angeles, California @designsbyamberm

led her to later introduce herself. "It felt very much like kindred spirits coming together," Talia recalls. "I wanted to use Postal Petals as a platform, and produce floral installations as a way to



help designers expand their work. Before going to the Summit, I had a vision to produce large-scale floral art as a way to uplift and celebrate Black florists, but I hadn't been thinking at all about historic Black florists." The women began to brainstorm about developing a public exhibition to feature flowers and reflect the impact of flowers and music in the Black community of Los Angeles. Abra and Talia pitched the idea of hosting a Music x Flowers event on the grounds of South Coast Botanic Garden in Los Angeles to MaryLynn Mack, the garden's COO. As president of the American Public Garden Association, and one of the top leaders in the public-garden arena, Mack knew there was something special about Abra and Talia's idea. "Our mission at South Coast Botanic Garden is that 'we are a garden of experiences for ALL,' and that's in all-caps," Mack explains. "What intrigued me about this idea was that it spoke

"Our mission ... is that we are a garden of experiences for ALL." to welcoming and engaging with a demographic we might not often have at the garden. It told a rich story about Black floriculture, about flowers and music in Los Angeles, and was a perfect way to bring the African-American community to our garden." With South Coast Botanic Garden as Music x Flowers' host venue, and with seed funding from the garden, Talia and Abra curated an exhibition that combined immersive botanical and wellness experiences with floral installations. They partnered with Valerie Crisostomo, founder of Black Girl Florists, inviting several Los Angeles-area and California-based florists to participate. Each designer received a stipend for floral supplies and materials, contributing her design talents to the project. Receiving financial support from South Coast Botanic Garden was priceless, the co-producers say. "MaryLynn Mack was such an unwavering ally for us," Talia says. "It's a privilege that we don't get to experience often, having a champion behind the scenes who made sure we had all the things we needed to make





this event happen." Adds Abra, "In true form, it was a Black woman who gave us a chance. We have ideas, we have culture. That's what we do all day long. But when people like MaryLynn and public gardens like South Coast Botanic Garden invest in an event like Music x Flowers, that changes everything." The educational component of Music x Flowers included three Wellness x Flowers workshops for attendees, including gentle yoga, guided meditations, and floral-arranging activities. Floral storytelling told through the lens of Black Californians infused the exhibition, both visually and through music. The beautiful, vibrant floral installations "took guests on a journey through the streets and neighborhoods of Los Angeles, through the lens of music and flowers," Talia explains. Each display was paired with an album cover as its musical inspiration. For example, Amorette Brooms of Queen Los Angeles portrayed "Flowers for Nip," featuring a flower-bombed 1964 Impala to honor Nipsey Hussle, the late hip-hop artist, entrepreneur, activist, and Grammy Award winner. Kristen Gordon, owner of Kristhetic in Los Angeles, enclosed her installation with a wall of colorful milk cartons, a nod to DJs who carried their vinyl albums in similar crates, suggesting a festive summer block party, complete with lawn chairs. K. Jacobs Events, owned by Kimberly Jacobs, created a floral bonfire to reflect gatherings on LA's beaches, inspired by a Red Hot Chili Peppers album cover. 20

FALL 2022

Nia Black, of Xquisite Floral Designs and Events in Riverside, is known for her red-carpet events. She designed the green "Cali Carpet," featuring familiar Los Angeles street signs and a nod to the famous Hollywood sign, complete with palm trees and sand. Ashley Robinson, from Oakland's 12amsunshine, brought her botanical couture talents to the exhibition with "Hittin' the Streets Floral Chic." Her display incorporated wearable floral fashions with amaranthus, craspedia, lily turf, and other blooms, drawing from LA fashion culture and street wear. "This was the largest event that Postal Petals and Conquer the Soil have ever done," Talia notes. "For a lot of our florists, it was also their largest installation ever. So in a beautiful way, we all worked together and stretched each other. We honored these female floral artists, and gave them as much space as possible to fully express themselves." Talia and Abra plan to revive Music x Flowers as an expanded event and installation at the South Coast Botanic Garden on June 4, 2023, scheduled to coincide with Black Music Month. "The connections between flowers and music are real—they are probably the two most powerful communication tools for joy or for grief," Talia says. "For our designers, flowers are not just a way to express the artistic narrative that they were given, but an expression of their culture." SLOW FLOWERS JOURNAL



emerald design. evansville, indiana Last March, Whitney Muncy opened Emerald Design's new retail shop in downtown Evansville, Indiana, the state's thirdlargest city. Flooded with natural light, the 1,000-squarefoot space occupies a former law office just a half-block off of Evansville's Main Street. Emerald Design's logo is stenciled across the glassed-in foyer, and a sandwich board on the corner makes it easy to for pedestrians to find the entrance. There are two interior rooms, including one that feels extra spacious, thanks to the removal of dropped acoustic tiles exposing a 12-foot-tall ceiling, now painted matte black. An adjacent room is smaller, with alcoves and nooks that accommodate display fixtures. Wood-patterned flooring replaced old carpeting. Whitney worked with the landlord on renovations to remove cubicle partitions and expose the 100-year-old building's brick wall. A team member painted a 1970s rainbow mural on another wall, using retro pastel colors with Emerald Design's signature green branding. Shane Muncy, Whitney's husband, built most of the large work tables, and other display cabinets and shelving came from an eclectic mix of Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace acquisitions, repainted to echo the mural's sorbet palette. Whitney says the shop's gift-and-home goods product mix reflects customers' lifestyles and interests. "We looked at what wasn't represented in our market. We shopped at the Atlanta gift market and bought from local Indiana artists and makers, keeping to our botanical theme," she explains. Emerald Design's terrarium bar is a popular feature, inviting customers to personalize their plantings with quartz, crystals, tumbled glass, and polished rocks. 22






Whitney has a B.A. in music education and she spent a decade teaching music at all grade levels. With two art teacher-parents, a grandmother who created church flowers from her own cutting garden, and college jobs in local garden centers, it's no surprise that she eventually turned to growing and designing flowers. When she and her husband returned from Michigan to their hometown of Evansville, the opportunity to help her mother with wedding flowers appealed to Whitney's role as a young mother and entrepreneur. Eight years ago, Whitney renamed the floral studio Emerald Design, with a focus on weddings and events. Since 2015, she has worked in a 400-square-foot studio, with an adjacent walk-in cooler in a small building in her backyard. The bonus building is one of the reasons she and her husband bought the house.

"I've been able to take on more, and bigger, events because of this space." "Because I have three kids, who got into everything, it has made a huge difference not having to clean up whatever I am working on at the end of the day." The studio space wasn't large enough for workshops, but Whitney partnered with other local businesses in the past, such as an independent coffee shop, to teach DIY workshops and pop-up events. She sources from a number of small-scale flower farms in the area, "but we don't have a long season, and none of the local farms grow under cover with hoop-houses or greenhouses." In the past, Whitney rented a 1/4-acre plot at an agritourism center, where she grew cut-flowers and stocked the local farm stand. That lease ended after the 2021 season, which prompted Whitney to tell herself, "I need something else!" Evansville's local business improvement district has been experiencing a recent revitalization, so the idea of opening a retail shop there began to take shape, she explains. "Most of the florists that we have here are more traditional, and I saw an opportunity to offer another option. I knew I wanted to be downtown, because it's a really dynamic part of Evansville with wine walks, beer garden pop-ups, family events for Halloween, Christmas and other holidays—it's a huge draw. Plus, the



district promotes the businesses here, and there's a strong focus on local." Whitney values the sense of community she's formed with other tenants in her building. "Emerald Design is located directly behind a zero-waste store on Main Street, and they have been great neighbors. I feel like we have the same customers." The building also houses other female-owned businesses including a photographer, hair salon, and podcast studio. "The building is named 425, so one of my neighbors calls us the '425 Fempire,'" she jokes. As for her floral offerings, Whitney says there are many advantages to having a centrally located storefront. The already=established Emerald Design floral subscription program continues here, now providing daily delivery of arrangements. A custom flower bar serves walk-in shoppers, while a selection of cash-and-carry bud vases and jam jars

GOING RETAIL? When is the timing right

The new store is a billboard for wedding inquiries.

to open a retail flower shop? While we hear

filled with local flowers can be found in the cooler, priced from

stories of brick-and-

$12-$20. "The smaller arrangements sell really well because we

mortar and mom-andpop flower shops closing across North America, there is a countertrend taking place in the Slow Flowers community. No fewer than a halfdozen of our members

are in a walkable district," she points out. "Everything we design in the shop is 'designer's choice,' including our subscriptions." "We have more exposure now," Whitney admits. "While we limit ourselves to one full-service event per weekend, and only three per month, having the shop allows us to design for a la carte weddings as needed. We get a lot more orders for just

have opened retail

personal flowers and flowers for wedding parties this way."

locations in 2022,

She employs a full-time shop manager, a designer with retail

a reflection that their customers

experience who also helps with weddings, and several part-time team members.

place a value on sustainability and local

Customers' senses are stimulated when they enter Emerald

sourcing, not to mention

Design. Indie music plays in the background, and incense burns


near the front door. Outdoors, a 10-by-10-foot cutting garden—

spaces that reflect their lifestyle choices.

designed and cared for by Whitney and her team—includes purple fountain grass, chocolate cosmos, scabiosa, gomphrena,







heavy petal. Two creatives team up to launch Heavy Petal, a botanical T-shirt collection for plant people

Like printing T-shirts with artwork

working on our projects. It was the

The idea for Heavy Petal sparked

from their favorite bands, Chantal

best work experience that I ever

in 2019, after Chantal filmed an

Aida Gordon and Ari Wells

had at that agency."

Instagram video about Amanda

have elevated trendy plants and blooms — monstera, hellebore, and California poppy — to rockstar status with their new graphic apparel venture, Heavy Petal.

Chantal recalls being drawn to Ari's office, a "creative rumpus room," as her preferred work environment. "It was a sensory wonderland, complete with

Thomsen's Backyard Adventure book. "I was just wearing a 'whatever' T-shirt in my backyard and thought, 'well, I really need a shirt that does justice for this very cool gardener who I admire,'"

The women once bonded over

cool plants and music playing."

shared playlists and a happy

Inevitably, Chantal shared her

ponytail palm in Ari's office at

botanical passion with Ari, who

the San Diego advertising agency

describes her friend as, "the most

where they both worked. Ari was

botanically nerdiest person" whose

The friends got serious during the

the firm's creative director, and

plant lust was contagious.

early quarantine days of 2020. "Ari

Chantal was a copywriter whose side-hustle was writing about plants for The Horticult, a popular gardening site she co-founded.

The women eventually moved on, Ari co-founding Hearth Agency, a San Diego marketing firm, and Chantal co-authoring the garden

she recalls. "That's when I got the idea for a garden-inspired, punk T-shirt."

and I had many epic brainstorms into the night, after working our other jobs," Chantal recalls. "We imagined the type of music a certain plant would make, and

"When Chantal walked into her job

book, How to Window Box (and

interview, we immediately noticed

speaking at the first Slow Flowers

we had the same coppery red-hair

Summit in 2017). Their urge

color," Ari jokes. "As the main

to collaborate blossomed into

creative team, we used to spend

Heavy Petal, with a unisex T-shirt

They chose sketched-out

an hour talking about music and

collection inspired by their favorite

prototypes, and researched USA-

plants, followed by another hour

plants and wide-spectrum music

made T-shirts and screen-printing

genres, ranging from womenfronted punk bands and hip hop, to '70s doom metal.



wanted to amplify its vibe on a vintage-style shirt inspired by band and rap tees."




methods. "One of my favorite

continues. "Just knowing the

things about the designs is that

person who made your shirt was

we are flipping the stereotype of

paid a living wage means a lot."

each plant," Ari says. "We strived to do something like what we did in advertising — skewing ideas and bringing in the unexpected."

Chantal says they wanted the T-shirts to have the feeling of ease, like an old shirt from the '70s

designs to be legit, for people

that you can't stop wearing. The

in the plant and horticulture

project reminded her of her early

industry, so we made sure the

days in the fashion industry when

artwork was botanically correct."

she was the West Coast assistant

part of "slow fashion," rather than throwaway fashion. "Having our T-shirts made here in the U.S. was really important to us," Chantal


as important as the graphics, as

Adds Chantal, "We wanted our

The women see Heavy Petal as be


Fabrication and ink choices were

at Vogue. "I never thought I'd find my way back to fashion," she laughs. WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM


top five. Slow Flowers Podcast Episodes (October 2022-January 2023)

EPISODE 579 Flower-farming with your sister, with Becky Osborne and Kate Munno of Sandy Hook, Connecticut’s Becky at Appleberry Farm. WATCH HERE

EPISODE 584 A conversation with farmer-florist Dee Hall of Mermaid City Flower Farm in Norfolk, Virginia, founder of Black Flower Farmers. WATCH HERE

EPISODE 586 Flower-farming on Papaaloa, Hawaii’s Big Island with Christian Ingalls of Daisy Dukes Flower Farm. WATCH HERE

EPISODE 588 Meet Lourdes Still of Masagana Flower Farm in Manitoba, Canada – Experience Guide, Flower Grower and Natural Dyer. WATCH HERE


Flowers for All: Modern Flower Arrangements for Beauty, Joy, and Mindfulness Every Day — Susan McLeary of Ann Arbor, Michigan, introduces her inspiring new book. WATCH HERE




botany lessons

about the forecast Like you, when we turn the page to a new calendar year, the Slow Flowers community embraces the inevitable progress of change with a dose of optimism as we look to the future. Since 2015, we have published an annual forecast with insights and predictions of emerging themes, topics, and categories relating to the floral marketplace. In 2022, Slow Flowers began a collaboration with its publishing partner BLOOM Imprint to produce our forecast and that partnership continues with the 2023 report. Our reports have become an important gauge for our members, as well as for the greater floral marketplace and business media, as we evaluate prevailing cultural shifts, notable changes, and breakout ideas


influencing flower farming, floral design


and consumer attitudes about flowers.


The insights you read here reflect a full year of intelligence gathering, as we surveyed our members and conducted hundreds of interviews for articles, our video show and the Slow Flowers Podcast Debra Prinzing draws from her wide-ranging conversations

Annette Kraus Signed, 8 x 10 giclee prints are available for purchase at ANNETTEKRAUS.COM WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM

with florists, growers, experts, influencers, makers, and educators. Bloom Imprint's creative director Robin Avni contributes her point of view and expertise in cultural and consumer trend-watching, applying timely lifestyle insights to share with you.

© COPYRIGHT 2023 SLOW FLOWERS SOCIETY AND BLOOM IMPRINT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publisher.


botany lessons Sinking our roots deeper into nature and its healing qualities Holding our collective breaths, we seek to shed the burden of worry and redefine our lifestyles. There are the glimmers of promise as we sense an intentional reset among creative professionals and consumers alike. Whether it's for personal or professional reasons, we are reimagining and renewing what we want and how we work. Emerging from the pandemic (or adjusting to its constant presence, but not holding back), what does the new reality look like? We view 2023 through the imagery of being rooted, of sinking our roots deeper into nature and the plant kingdom, and in the healing qualities of both. The embrace of small and slow provides one path to take control, whether by rebranding your business, reviving your mission, and refocusing your purpose. Our 2023 Slow Flowers Member Survey reveals a clear desire for transformation. We asked, "Have you changed, or plan to change, your floral career or enterprise?" Responses reflect this trend line, with one-third of our members "launching a new product or service that I have thought about for years" and one-quarter choosing to "phase out a product or service I no longer enjoy." More specifically, individual survey comments reveal the choices our members are making: "I'm opening a wedding venue," "Opening a new studio," "Expanding our services with container planting and design." We'd love you to join the conversation! Do you see yourself in this discussion? What feels right for you? Here is our roundup of eight important insights to influence you in the New Year. Bloom Imprint is scheduling insight presentations for organizations and businesses. Reach out if you're interested in taking a deeper dive into these insights and how to leverage for your interests.

[NO. 1] the rise of non-floral florals We adore our favorite blooms, but our love affair with the natural world has added plant life in all its forms to a growing list of floral design elements. Everything is up for consideration, and that means sourcing from produce departments, farm stands, garden centers, and (responsibly) wild-foraged from the forest or seaside. As floral artists expand their use of all plant life, they build deeper connections to the earth, enriching customers and clients in the process.


THE LARGER CULTURE The idea of "non-floral florals" means we have a broader palette of botanicals available for growing and designing. The proliferation of


plants into hospitality, fashion, consumer marketing, environmental

members cite using

to "plant literacy." Pollinator plants appear in public gardens and

of Slow Flowers plant-based materials

design, and architecture is helping change our "plant blindness" municipal spaces, plants as design icons are splashed across home

such as branches,

design and fashion with a heightened awareness of replacing turf with

willow, and foliages

native and edible plants is influencing zoning policies across America.

as their foam-free mechanics

WHAT IT MEANS FOR BUSINESS We're relying on more plant-based solutions rather than chemical or synthetic applications, with demand for biodegradable accessories such as containers, packaging, and mechanics. Floral designers and flower farmers alike are expanding their botanical palette to include native species and place-adaptive plants. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, Slow Flowers member Alexandra Cacciari of Seeley Farm has introduced her floral customers at the Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative to native plants suitable as cut flowers. Through a Farmer-Rancher grant from North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NC-SARE), the project has trialed

FLOWERS FOR ALL Modern Floral Arrangements for Beauty, Joy, and Mindfulness Every Day by Susan McLeary Photography by EE Berger

more than 20 species of native, herbaceous flowers and foliage plants to determine their value and marketability in the wholesale floral industry. According to Alex, these plants (which include such beauties as gentian, black-eyed Susan, blue flag iris, Joe Pye weed, and swamp milkweed) support wildlife and pollinators, and are more drought- and flood-tolerant than their non-native counterparts. "As cut-flower crops,

Chronicle Books, 2023

when planted in their desired conditions, native plants require less


sustainable option for growers," she explains.

added water, fertility, and pesticides than traditional crops, and offer a




Here, brunnera, hosta, nasturtium, lungwort, Japanese forest grass, artemisia, luffa gourd tendrils, and lupine are presented unpretentiously alongside clusters of immature currant tomatoes and stark white mushrooms from a local grocer.



MAGICAL MUSHROOMS Have you noticed? Mushrooms are everywhere! Fungi fans are no longer the only ones collecting mushrooms, and you'll see mushroomy imagery popping up in home decor and textiles, housewares and tabletop, fashion, and yes, floral design! As part of a distinct plant kingdom, mushrooms are far more than a culinary delicacy. Carolyn Kulb of Seattlebased Bloom Poet recently showcased the shapes and forms of mushrooms in the bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpiece for a summer wedding. "As avid mushroom hunters, my couple wanted their spring wedding florals to be forest-inspired, mushroomy, and colorful. And we went with a bright, whimsical palette that included unique elements like moss, spider roots, and a wide variety of mushrooms."







[NO. 2] creative waste More consumers, and especially more flower folks, are rejecting throwaway culture. We are replacing single-use plastics for compostable alternatives; we are making intentional choices in how we run our businesses by changing our everyday habits, and how we spend our budgets. From small to large steps, the Slow Flowers community is leading by example, helping customers and couples understand how their purchases make a positive impact on the environment. We call this resourcefulness "creative waste," reflecting the Slow Flowers Movement's practice to use all parts of a plant (think of 'root-to-bloom' as similar to the culinary world's 'nose-to-tail' idea of utilizing all parts of an animal). THE LARGER CULTURE Sustainability is no longer a fringe topic; it has moved to the mainstream in all sectors. Consumer concern about the planet and its future is impossible to ignore, especially given wastefulness that has come to light with the excess packing material generated by a spike in online ordering during the pandemic. Corporations know it, and whether they are making honest steps to change or just paying lip service to the conversation, their consumers are demanding green practices and transparency.

BOTANICAL RIBBONS At Forage Floral in Santa Ynez, California, Jill Redman keeps a jar

In its third consecutive Deloitte UK sustainability survey, the

in her flower shop to

consultancy found: "with fewer choices and opportunities due to

"brew" silk ribbon from

the impact of inflation and supply-chain disruptions, consumers are

discarded flower petals.

finding more 'innovative' ways to spend less; for example by adopting

"Every day, no matter

a more sustainable lifestyle and choosing goods that are more

what botanical material

durable or that can be reused or repaired easily."

we bring in, we put some

According to IBM Institute for Business Value, "as climate change intensifies, companies across sectors have transformed their business models to forge a sustainable future — one that protects people, planet, and profits. In the race to reduce emissions, consumption, and waste — while protecting biodiversity — everything is on the table. Supply chains are being recalibrated. Source materials are evolving. Travel requests are carefully scrutinized. But companies can’t do it alone. Consumers also play an important part. What they’re willing to pay for defines, in part, how far a sustainable business can go."

of it in a pot and see what happens with our ribbons," Jill explains. "Nothing ever comes out the same, but it's pretty magical. We tie all the bouquets going out the door with our custom, plant-dyed silks."

WHAT IT MEANS FOR BUSINESS Slow Flowers members are not waiting around for the global floriculture industry and their customers to catch up with their preferences. While it takes more time and intentionality, our member SLOW FLOWERS JOURNAL


[NO. 2] creative waste flower farmers and floral designers are driving the conversation. Retail flower shops are adopting regular practices and sharing that information to educate their customers. At Foxbound Flowers in Eugene, Oregon, Kelsey Ruhland tracks the volume of plant and flower trimmings that she diverts from the landfill by weighing it on a weekly basis. As a "zero-waste business, we divert 90% or more of our waste by recycling, repurposing, or composting," she says. Wedding florists are tackling similar waste challenges. Blair Lynn of Sweet Blossoms in Ijamsville, Maryland, outside the Metro DC market, says she has been able to recycle three-quarters of the flower packaging that arrives at her studio. "I feel the best thing I can do is choose vendors who package their product in the most green way. I buy most of my flowers from in-state flower farms because the blooms are mostly wrapped in paper, not packaged in plastic. My primary rose supplier in Oregon packs everything in paper and does not use styrofoam in the shipping box. We separate small wood pieces from shipping boxes and recycle it as kindling for our wood stove. The rubber bands are never cut; they are unwrapped from the stems and saved to return to flower farmers. I save ice packs and give them away on Facebook Marketplace, usually for high school athletic game coolers." She is proud of the steps that Sweet Blossoms has taken, but knows there is more to do. At The Flower Bar in Bozeman, Montana, Richelle Koffman partners with a private composting service to provide earth-friendly, postevent disposal of flowers and foliage. "Happy Trash Can is one of our favorite partners. They help turn all our scraps into nutrient-rich compost and divert materials that would otherwise sit in a landfill and contribute to climate issues. They provide a simple, easy, affordable service that requires very little on our part." ADDITIONAL READING AN INNOVATIVE ECO-FRIENDLY ALTERNATIVE MATERIAL FROM FLOWER WASTE



SUSTAINABLE WAYS Increasingly, people are concerned about the single-use plastics in the floral industry. In last year’s Slow Flowers Member Survey, we asked, “What percentage of your design work uses alternatives to floral foam?”


of Slow Flowers members use alternatives to floral foam in 75-100% of their designs

Sustainability is so much more than just showing and posting, it's about doing and taking action.



RECYCLE + REUSE A glass-vase recycling program spearheaded by Tammy Myers of First & Bloom in Seattle, Washington, is addressing pandemic supplychain shortages faced by florists through a collaboration with a local private recycling service. Tammy partnered with Ridwell in a pilot collection across four Seattle neighborhoods, amassing 117 boxes of unwanted glass vases. She created vase collections by size and type, and resold them to florists through the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. "I am absolutely loving the addition of recycled vases back into my offerings," she says. "Not only does this help reuse household products and prevent them from entering a landfill, I spend less and that means more profit in my pocket" SLOW FLOWERS JOURNAL


[NO. 3] the naturals Concerns about the environment and personal wellness are driving demand for plant-based beauty and health-care solutions. It's related to the concept of clean eating, as increasingly, consumers view that what they put on their bodies is as important as what they put in their bodies. Nurturing beauty solutions from the garden has prompted small-batch makers to exploit the healing qualities of herbs and petals, while growers and florists are experimenting with custom formulations and body-care product lines as an extension of their botanical brands. THE LARGER CULTURE According to Grand View Research, the global, natural skin care products market size (valued at USD 6.7 billion in 2021) is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6% from 2022 to 2030.


"One of the primary factors driving the market is growing awareness

From the Slow Flowers Member Survey:

and dullness," the report says. "The increasing awareness about the

about the adverse effects of chemicals on the skin, such as irritation benefits of organic, ingredient-based items has prompted customers to seek out eco-friendly, natural skin care products.


Additionally, the recent Covid-19 outbreak has severely impacted the

grow plants for

growth of the beauty and personal-grooming industry, disrupting

aromatherapy and

production, as well as sales of beauty and personal-care products

wellness products

through both online and offline channels due to social distancing and stay-home policies."



offer health and

The desire to formulate bespoke beauty products from the farm isn't

wellness activities for

new, but we're spotting many creative expressions of this trend. And

their customers

there's an upside to putting your botanical byproducts in the jar or bar. At Wild Heart Farm in Rimrock, Arizona, Kate Watters calls her

7.5% utilize plants for soap and candle products

approach to plant-based products and programs "Flower Healing." "Plants have so many qualities that bolster emotional and mental wellness," she explains. "We have been making tinctures, tonics, and flower essences with our farm flowers, as well as offering immersive, day-long and weekend retreats that help women in particular learn how to use plants, make teas, and flower essences for their personal healing." In 2023, Wild Heart Farm plans to offer herbal tonics and flower essences for clients' wedding celebrations, and host immersive flower parties for showers and other gatherings held at their farm.




[NO. 3] the naturals

At a December 2022, Slow Flowers Member gathering, two flower farmers shared how they are building separate business channels with their value-added products. Among other items, Sarah Wagstaff of SUOT Farm + Flowers makes herbal tub teas, and Natasha McCrary of 1818 Farms produces botanical wax sachets. At Sweet Blossoms, Blair Lynn makes a plant-based skincare line called Sweet Botanicals. The all-natural product line includes bath bombs, body butters, salt scrubs and beard balms for men. "I started creating these products to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in our home," Blair says. "I wanted to make sure that I knew what all the ingredients were, and that they were packaged in reusable containers, using no plastic, if I could help it. My ingredients include plant-based butters and oils, plant-based fragrances, nonsynthetic vitamins, minerals, and only two animal byproducts (lanolin and beeswax)." ADDITIONAL READING BLOOM OF INTEREST IN PLANT-BASED PRODUCTS (THE GREEEN CELL)



Natural products are a lifestyle choice and getting back to basics has its merits.


Throughout history, great beauties have always

Think about what you are using, how it is

made their own special skin-care treatments,

packaged, and the origins. Locally sourced

so we realize that making your own natural

ingredients that otherwise might be discarded,

cosmetic products is not a new concept. You might

like avocado pits, citrus peels, or coffee

recall Cleopatra made the milk bath legendary;

grounds, can be transformed into DIY beauty

she would infuse her bath with honey and herbs


for silky skin. Lipstick has more of a checkered past, for sure, but even among Puritan women, homemade lip salves were socially acceptable.

Creating your own products means you use less packaging and you're able to reuse containers that you have on hand. You may even do away

These days, cosmetic and body-care products

with packaging all together when you create

featuring garden- and plant-based ingredients

shampoo bars, lotion bars, and toothpaste

are one of the fastest-growing areas in the

bites. More and more consumers are changing

personal care industry, and very easy to find

how they live by starting small with daily

on drugstore shelves, online retail outlets, and

cleansing habits and other health and wellness

supermarket aisles. That was not the case years


ago, when natural bath and beauty products were only found at natural food stores and

Just know, all efforts can make a difference.

farmers' markets.

Swapping out disposable products such as

The term "natural" should mean that products do

Become a packaging snob and a label reader.

not contain man-made ingredients or materials. They are as nature created them, pure and unpreserved. Words like "organic," "aromatherapy," or "hydrotherapy" are used as well — and depending on the product category, can carry different meanings, even more as marketing speak than truth. No matter the reference, these

razors and facial wipes means less waste. Look for skin-care ingredients sold in bulk, such as herbs, clays, extracts, and essential oils. Homemade body-care products are a wonderful addition to anyone's lifestyle; they are a unique blend of cooking, crafting, gardening, and natural practices.

phrases have become a part of our modern lives.

There are inventive and exciting changes from

They demonstrate a growing consciousness and

an industry that still sells many of the same

interest in wellness and the priority to take better

ingredients and treatments that were popular in

care of ourselves — and the world around us.




[NO. 4] opposite ends of the spectrum Last year, given supply-chain issues and flower shortages, we encouraged you to expand your palettes and consider incorporating other hues in your practice, and that you did! It turns out, so have the multitude of color experts, gurus, and sages, as they have declared a wide-ranging assortment of hues for their "2023 color of the year" with a saturated celebration of color that runs from one end of the spectrum to the other. There is no doubt that color palettes are moving away from the safe creams, whites, and beiges and that too-long obsession with the various shades of gray. What say you 2023? THE LARGER CULTURE


When the world around you appears dismal and gray - inflation in

Slow Flowers members identify their 2023 palette preferences:

the cost of goods, a looming recession, layoffs, and a decrease in consumer spending - it's not difficult to surmise that an infusion of warm and saturated colors are finding favor. Add in a little bit of patina as there is a European influence at work in the dramatic, deep saturated colors that are beginning to show up on stateside interiors walls, cabinets, and molding. The deVOL Kitchens palette has influenced all the major paint brands and, as a result, the current color shift. Even the iconic Farrow & Ball has introduced new paint colors for the first time four years. Viva Magenta, the 2023 Pantone Color of the Year is a bit of an outlier given it's intense magenta hue. The color was generated using Artifical Intelligence (AI) and brings a tech glow to the mix. AI imagegenerating programs like DALL-E 2 infuse vibrancy into the image composition with a simple typed request and click. It's great news that nature conveniently provides specular options in the Viva Magenta range for those clients who want an intense vitality to their choices.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR BUSINESS Along with clients dictating what to wear to their guests (Thank you, Instagram and TikTok), we see the intersection of personal expression and economic constraints having clients staying closer to home and looking to downsize budgets; meaning fewer destination weddings and more local events, parties, and celebrations. Individuals want to be the creative director of their special story, and will continue

27% Warm and Saturated (Moving to the top of the list from second last year at 20%)

22.4% Mixed Medley (Moving up from third last year at 16% to second)

17.9% Organic Neutrals (Dropped from the top of last year's list at 26%)

7.5% Bright Pastels

7.5% Cool and Vibrant

6% Muddy and Sultry


to look to online influencers more than traditional media sources to

White and Blush

find inspiration. Growers, designers, and florists should continue to

(Dropped to the bottom,)

think local to help cost constraints, and realize the ever-expanding choices of visual palettes. ADDITIONAL READING WHY ISN'T BEIGE EVER THE COLOR OF THE YEAR? (WSJ)

1.5% OTHER








Seattle florist Melissa MercadoDenke of Campanula Design Studio accents seasonal blooms and foliage in golden tones with the surprising addition of persimmons. MIX WARM AND COOL TONES FOR EYE-PLEASING BALANCE



Kelsey Ruhland of Foxbound Flowers in Eugene, Oregon, balances the warm-cool spectrum with local annuals and an organic vessel crafted from recycled wood fencing. BROWN (AND TAN) IS BEAUTIFUL This composition expresses the wild, bold, and natural aesthetic of Bozeman, Montana-based Labellum and designer Remy Brault. She loves to combine fresh and dry elements, including grasses, pods, and feathers. GO DEEP WITH RED + FUSCHIA The lush and seductive palette is expressed in hot-hued dahlias grown by Krista Rossow of O'Flora Farm in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Spikes of celosia and scented geranium foliage complement summers starring focal flower.








[NO.5 ] incredible edibles Interest in edible flowers has been part of the Slow Food scene for years, but offerings of locally grown, organic, flavorful — and pretty — edible blooms has been a bit slow to catch up with demand from the culinary crowd. Now is the time to take advantage of this value-added category as chefs, bakers, and mixologists are hungry for colorful, nutritious blooms to enhance their recipes and concoctions. These bite-sized delectables give flower farmers and floral designers an opportunity to diversify and cross into the hospitality, event, and specialty-food markets. THE LARGER CULTURE Edible flowers enhance the sensory appeal of culinary dishes and drinks, and they have special relevance for vegetarian and vegan menus. The use of petal garnishing as a decorative trend is fast gaining traction. The French food blog ChefClub declared 2022 the year of edible flowers, citing the Slow Flowers Movement, and the momentums continue for 2023. "With an average of 107k queries typed each month into Google worldwide, the term 'edible flowers' doubled compared to 2019," the blog writes, adding: "Local producers are making the choice to grow edible flowers, feeding a local market that respects the ecosystem and the seasons. It must be said that the field of possibilities is vast, very vast.” Transparency Market Research found upward growth through 2028 in the global edible flowers market. "One of the key reasons

THE EDIBLE FLOWER A Modern Guide to Growing, Cooking & Eating Edible Flowers Laurence King Publishing, 2023 THEEDIBLEFLOWER.COM


supporting this growth is increasing demand from food incubators and restaurants, who want flowers suitable for human consumption, not to mention a growing awareness about the health benefits of edible flowers." Technavio says the Packaged Edible Flower Market is expected to grow by $100 million during the 2021-2026. Reasons for this predicted growth include: • The demand for photogenic food • Lavender, hibiscus, dandelion, and rose flowers used as taste


enhancers, effect magnifiers, and additional fragrances. "Given

to help you pick what

this, chefs have begun using edible flowers as garnishing agents

edible flowers you can

to impart unique flavors and highly-appealing textures to their

grow on your own

dishes," Technavio continues • Cocktails, lattes, sparkling drinks, and teas immersed with edible flowers improve the presentably of the beverages




[NO. 5] incredible edibles Technavio states in their report the "barrier to entry is low when you can grow and sell varieties like borage, nasturtium, geranium, marigold, dianthus, calendula, viola, pansy and other tasty blooms that feed body and soul. Fresh flowers can be used to decorate both sweet and savory dishes. Encased in an ice cube, they enhance cocktails. Dried, they can be used in infusions, jams, breads, and sauces. Gelled, they become edible works of art. Pressed or crystallized, they give relief to pastries."





Sarah Wagstaff of SUOT Farm and Flowers in Burlington, Washington, partners with Darcy Olsen of Fir Island Cakery, who incorporates pressed violets and pansies into flower lollipops (Sarah sells them in her flower shop and online for $3 each or 2-for-$5). "I also sell edible blooms and petals to area restaurants and chefs. We see so many uses: cake decor, catering garnishes, cocktail infusions and more!"

At The Marigold Gardens in Ithaca, New York, Caitlin Mathes grows only one type of flower: marigolds. "To me, they taste a little like lettuce just before it bolts with maybe a slight citrus/ spice note — and visually, the sunny, celebratory energy of marigolds is undeniable," she says. Caitlin supplies bakers, chefs, and caterers with this "petalled sunshine," as she describes her favorite edible flower. It's a favorite garnish that matches the color of Aperol Spritz.


They're perfect for birthdays, weddings, baking, or wanting to add something fun to your dinner. CHRISTIAN INGALLS | DAISY DUKES FLOWER FARM



At Salty Acres Farm on Whidbey Island, Washington, Tonneli Gruetter and her mother Kim Gruetter sell festive floral "confetti" as a way to turn a waste product (dead-headed flowers) into a shelf-stable product, Tonneli says. "We separate edible flower varieties and dry them for use as cocktail garnishes, confection toppings, and our special rainbow-colored and biodegradable alternative to confetti."

Christian Ingalls of Daisy Dukes Flower Farm on Hawaii's big island grows dozens of annual varieties that can be cut for floral designers, but which also are edible, ensuring the presence of two channels for her blooms. Christian markets Flower Bento boxes for $10 each, with a mix of up to 22 edible varieties packaged in a biodegradable container.



[NO. 6] community retail Let's face it, retail is undergoing major disruptions, with name-brand chains closing locations and so many empty storefronts. Online consumption is up, and in-person shopping is down. But after all that alone time, or too much online-only interaction, consumers are yearning for a physical space to visit, gain inspiration, be a maker, or shop from an curated collection. These community-centric retail spaces celebrate creativity and offer experiences are continuing to thrive. THE LARGER CULTURE We're seeing industry reports about "retail as theater" from a Whole Foods executive who predicts "our core customer really cares about quality standards and the differentiation that we bring to market,” and luxury brand Neiman Marcus crediting its turnaround (from a


36% of members operate online retail floral shops

2020 bankruptcy) on customer relationships. Neiman's CEO, Geoffroy van Raemdonck, recently spoke to a National Retail Federation audience about the ongoing importance of immersive experiences, saying, “At the end of the day, we are all social creatures. We want interactions. We want to touch the product. We want the advice.” These top-brand lessons are just as relevant for small business creatives, especially those offering the potential of flowers and plants

9.3% of Slow Flowers members own retail flower shops (up from 7.48% in 2021)

to make an emotional connection with customers.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR BUSINESS Community-based retail is closely connected to the personality and style of its owner(s), and our Slow Flowers Society members are opening shops that reflect their aesthetic, mission, values, and brands. Our members have been at the forefront of community retail, and we

6.25% of members opened new retail flower shops

have documented this cultural shift for several years. In our 2017 forecast, we cited the "Return of Brick and Mortar," identifying studio florists who opened stand-alone retail flower shops. Our 2019 forecast identified "Experiences, not Conveniences" and "Relational, not Transactional," key reasons behind successful floral retail endeavors with a local and sustainable focus. The momentum continued through the pandemic, as retail floral entrepreneurs who survived became more deeply rooted in their communities. These successes echo other creatively focused destinations, such as knitting shops and independent coffee spaces.




[NO. 6] community retail We know that retail is not for everyone, but there are facets of retail that all Slow Flowers practitioners can put into practice. Community Retail is high-touch, relational, personalized, and artisan. The successful floral retailer can be host or hostess of


their own "show" or "party," welcoming guests who are not just

Ellen Frost of Baltimore,

shoppers, but community members invested in the success of their

Maryland-based Local Color

local flower shop.

Flowers doesn't operate retail

We are learning much from recent conversations during the recent Slow Flowers meet-up with members whose new retail spaces — all opened in 2022 — are supporting valuable customer connections. These floral entrepreneurs are going against the grain and proving that the local flower shop isn't disappearing

hours at her 2,000-squarefoot warehouse studio, but she regularly hosts events to engage her customers, from a botanical book club, to holiday pop-ups. "We're

from Main Street. Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora (Charleston,

really trying to find new

South Carolina), Tamara Hough, Morning Glory Flower Co.

ways to connect with our

(Glenville, West Virginia); Lisa Larson, Sunborn Gardens (Horeb,

customers and do new things

Wisconsin); and Kat Willrett and Mary Grace McCauley, Willrett

with local flowers." People

Flower Co. (Malta, Illinois) are creating flower-forward ventures that connect customers with the source of their flowers (this even includes flowers grown on the farms of these retailers).

who love local flowers are also passionate about their pets, she noticed. "My friend Naomi Cataldo of Urban

We have interviewed floral boutique owners who shared tips on

Row Photography came up

bringing more patrons through the door. Jill Redman recently

with the best idea: portraits

opened the second Forage Florals in Solvang, California, which

of pets wearing flowers at

offers craft nights and a bloom bar for DIY floral enthusiasts who

the shop. Not only was it a

want to design while enjoying wines from the tasting room next door. Angela Turner of Bel Fiore Co. Flower Bar & Boutique in Lees Summit, Missouri, who recently opened her first retail shop, which stocks a 100% American-grown flower bar for everyday DIY customers. These relationships are authentic and accessible and add meaning and purpose to new retail formats with a heart. ADDITIONAL READING RETAIL RENAISSANCE: THE STORES REVOLUTIONIZING SHOPPING (HARPER'S BAZAAR) UNREASONABLE HOSPITALITY, BY WILL GUIDARA (OPTIMISM PRESS, 2022) (FAST COMPANY)

money-making opportunity, we ended up with great studio photographs and made a video for our blog." Naturally, Ellen and her team created stylish floral crowns and botanical collars for the dogs and cats who posed for their portraits, often with their human owners. Pet Portraits was a highlight of last year, she says. "It was frenetic and lots of fun. We have another 30 pets coming in two weeks — the event sold out in two hours!"





[NO. 7] farewell flowers go green On the macroeconomic level, consumers are concerned about the environment and global climate change. There is an overwhelming urge to reduce their impact and to be more sustainable. In floristry, especially during the past decade, these sentiments are driving florists' domestic and local flower-sourcing choices and (as we identified last year) a widespread rejection of single-use plastic mechanics and supplies. These values have influenced the rise over the past decade in "green weddings," but only recently have consumers scrutinized the sustainability of funeral flowers and the larger funeral industry's environmental impact. THE LARGER CULTURE prompted consumers to question floral industry waste, magnified


by a story published by CBC News in Canada that critiqued plastic

Slow Flowers invited

wrapping accumulated from the mountain of floral bouquets left at

designers to share

Buckingham Palace and other places to commemorate the Queen.

foam-free methods

Media coverage around the recent funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

Perhaps all those bouquet sales were good for flower retailers, but

for producing floral

the criticism generated by scenes of container loads of plastic trash

arrangements, casket

was disturbing. Slow Flowers member Becky Feasby of Prairie Girl

sprays, and other

Flowers, producer of #sustainabilitysunday on Instagram, was quoted in the CBC News story. She questioned whether there are ways that packaging can be changed to reduce plastic consumption.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR BUSINESS Ever since we published our first Slow Flowers Forecast in 2015, we have identified concern over the harmful and toxic attributes of floral


59% use natural jute or twine rather than zip ties, elastics, or tape

foam. More professionals, especially Slow Flowers practitioners, are


prioritizing their values by upcycling and choose plastic (plant-based


and compostable) alternatives to floral foam. One of the six values identified in the Slow Flowers Manifesto is “to eliminate waste and the use of chemical products in the floral industry.” As interest in green (or natural) burials increase, Slow Flowers members can provide a valuable service by offering "farewell flowers" in alignment with green funerals. In the following pages, Lori Poliski of Seattle-based Flori LLC shares her findings about environmentally friendly shifts in the funeral industry. Respondents identified barriers to offering sustainable flowers, including not having an established ties with area funeral homes and more education about earth-friendly materials. One member

alternatives to floral foam

45% designing with compostable mechanics like moss

21% compostable or reusable trays, rather than plastic options

emphatically responded: "There are no barriers! It is totally doable!" SLOW FLOWERS JOURNAL


Green "farewell" flowers is a major new opportunity for industry.

the final floral footprint BY LORI POLISKI | FLORI FLOWERS

What could be “greener” than flowers? They

arrangement using floral foam was present at

come from the soil of the earth. What could be

half of the 2.4 million funerals held in the U.S. in

“greener” than a burial? One's body is returned to

2020, that would be 1.2 million pieces of foam

the earth. Yet the floral and funeral industries are

entering the landfill in just one year. This is a

anything but green. Rife with problems regarding

conservative estimate. Many funerals have more

sustainability, when combined, the pollution

than one floral tribute, so the number could

generated by these two industries is compounded

actually range from 1.2 million to 3.6 million

and their footprints on the earth are heavy.

arrangements using floral foam in a given year,

Funerals in Western civilization may have been influenced by societal and cultural shifts over time, but the importance of honoring the end of life with sympathy flowers has remained a constant.

water and atmosphere, in a single year. Reducing or reversing such overwhelming metrics can, indeed, seem impossible.

What has not changed is while modern society

So much of past floral education has been

increasingly focuses on sustainable lifestyles,

supplier-driven, says floral educator, Hitomi

traditional floral tributes and traditional death

Gilliam AIFD. "We essentially have to reexamine

practices continue to pollute the planet.

what constitutes 'best business practices' for

Melissa Meadows of The Modern Mortician, a licensed funeral director in Washington, attributes much of the waste generated by funerals and in cemeteries to funeral flowers. “Go to any big cemetery and you are going to see a mound of plastic, wires, foam, ribbons, and fake flowers that are just a filthy, dirty, dumpy mess. Sometimes, that trash is just pushed down a ravine or ends up in the landfill.” Melissa suggests small measures that florists can immediately take to become more sustainable, including working with funeral homes to reuse metal easels and glass vases, and ditching plastic card-holders. And, of course, “to make farewell flowers as natural as possible.” If you estimated that just one funeral flower 62

and that end up in landfills, and eventually in our


sustainable floristry. In rethinking and reassessing materials that can be deemed compostable, for example, we can come up with new product lines that are more suitable for the present generation of floristry. Also, within the currently available supply lines, we have to Pare away all the singleuse plastics and toxic contaminents, and find the alternatives to take their place.” Tara Folker of Splints and Daisies, based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has offered sustainable designs, including sympathy arrangements, for over 20 years, long before sustainability was a buzz word. “I only offer ‘eco-friendly’ floral designs during my clients' lives," she says. "So, I see no reason to send off a loved one at death with toxic ingredients, plastics, foam, or noncompostable mechanics.”

“Sustainability equals seasonality in one’s local region," he continues. "Let the seasons be the guide.” Sustainable education is difficult to find. In my © SAVANNAH THOMPSON

review of new textbooks used in U.S. certification programs for floristry, I found chapters on how to use floral foam in designs but no chapters covering alternatives or sustainable design methods, or on using seasonal or local flowers. Sustainable farewell flowers have the potential to Shane Connolly of Shane Connolly & Co., is one of Britain’s most well-known florists who holds a Royal Warrant of Appointment and is an advisor to the Royal Horticultural Society. His natural and sustainable funeral wreath for Queen Elizabeth

greatly impact not only the floral industry, but the funeral industry. And the impetus for change will likely be driven by conscious consumers who want all aspects of their lives and lifestyles to reflect their values — not to mention be earth-friendly.

II’s funeral in September 2022 was seen in images

By offering sustainable farewell flowers and

and footage around the world.

funeral flowers through my floral design studio,

Shane has been practicing sustainable floristry for years and is a strong advocate on social media, having popularized use of the hash-tags #nofloralfoam and #sustainablechurchflowers. In a recent discussion, he noted, “It would be unacceptable for me to work as a florist, connected with and reliant upon nature, to NOT try to be sustainable; I just couldn’t condone the use of floral foam and imported flowers when I can get locally grown ones.”

I've differentiated Flori LLC in a crowded and affluent marketplace, serving customers who take comfort in knowing their funeral budget isn't harming, but rather, is honoring, the environment. Is there a certification for sustainable floristry? Yes, it is on the horizon. The Sustainable Floristry Network (SFN), founded by Rita Feldmann, a second-generation florist, science writer, and founder of the No Floral Foam movement, is launching one soon, based on the United

Floristry is the interpretation of nature, “not a

Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Several

Pantone color,” says Shane, who encourages

prominent floral leaders are involved, including

florists to frequently visit a local botanical

Connolly, who serves as an ambassador, and the

garden to seek inspiration and connect to nature.

Slow Flowers Society is an industry advisor. SLOW FLOWERS JOURNAL


[NO. 8] woe is social media? The pervasive technology has taken a tumble of late, and we don't mean in the stock market or with their recent round of layoffs, but rather in our hearts and minds. Our feeds are overrun with ads we never asked for, creatives mourn the good-old-days of Instagram when aesthetics mattered more than algorithms and reels, Facebook feels faded, and there are ongoing questions about TikTok. Social media's invasive access to personal data haunts both the government and our school systems - but sadly, not our youth. Oh, and, all that fuss about the metaverse? Meh. THE LARGER CULTURE An article in the January issue of House & Garden asks Is Instagram the Enemy of Creativity? at the same time the Wall Street Journal

CAN TECH REWRITE ITS WRONGS? Produced by the cultural intelligence unit of TBWA\Worldwide is a global study of society's complex relationship with technology and social media. The ezine can be downloaded HERE.

82% agree that technology

declares There’s No Quick Fix for Social Media because "what's bad about social media has everything to do with what’s good about it." So, while as a society we struggle with social media's larger implications, do the benefits of technology still outweigh the concerns? We've all experienced how a simple like, love, or picture post can link us with family, clients, new associates, other creatives, and old friends. It's the dark side of social media that is coming to light. But to understand the dark side is to acknowledge the dark side of humans. Hate speech, trolling, disinformation; it all existed long before social media. Which is why personal and professional vigilance is paramount. Now, more than ever, monitor your feeds and your followers; evaluate how social media is impacting you and your business.

has been a benefit;


saving them time or

Social media is a hungry beast that needs to be fed a constant diet

money and making them

of content if there is any hope of achieving visilbity. It consumes your

more productive

head space and your precious time. Spend a moment to assess what


platforms are worth your investment. Take stock of who you are trying to reach, and why, and choose your platforms accordingly. Are there

say life was better before

two, maybe three, platforms that will achieve your business goals?

social media

Perhaps it's time to create a Patreon space or build a Facebook


Community for a more controlled connection with your followers. Do you share demonstrations, and training, or advice? Maybe, like

are concerned about the

farmer-florist Beth Syphers of Crowley House Flower Farm in Rickreall,

direction new technology

Oregon, it means building out a YouTube audience. "You can fake a

is headed

lot on Instagram, and I wanted to show what actual flower farming looks like.” For Beth, YouTube is where her time is better spent, rather than Instagram reels. Her audience is growing by 300 new followers per month, and those fans hop over to Crowley House Flower Farm's Instagram to see more.




The benefits of aquaponics are powerful, using 95% less water than for field-grown flower crops. The technology yields up to twice the growth rate, while reducing weeds and pests (and pesticide use).

something new under the sun BY TOM PRECHT PH.D. | GRATEFUL GARDNERS

This article originally appeared in Plenty (Summer 2022). This is a condensed and edited version.

it was going to be in everything on the farm.

My wife Sarah and I have always wanted to

figuring out how we could implement all new

create something together that we could call our own. We weren’t sure if that was a hobby, a small business, or an intellectual project. Turns out it was all three! We started our farming adventure in 2018, with little more than a backyard and desire to be outdoors with our hands in the dirt. My mother, Diana Precht, had been a gardener for decades and like most good parents, exposed me to her passions (although it took me a good 30 years to embrace it), and she inspired us to start a flower farm. We saw some early success, and with each successive year we saw more revenue, generated more relationships with floral designers and florists, incurred even MORE expenses, and expanded what flowers and foliage we grew. We were at a point in our lives when meaning and passion held more value than the almighty dollar. So, we set out to start a real-life flower farm and make it our real-life job. And thus, Grateful Gardeners was born. What about the environment? We care deeply


We dove into organic and sustainable practices, methods and technologies related to this type of farming. One approach spoke to us, the art of growing plants in water, or hydroponics. Upon investigating hydroponics further, we realized there was an even greener alternative to hydroponics, the less-known aquaponics. Aquaponics recreates a natural symbiotic relationship among three entities: fish, plants, and bacteria. Have you ever looked at a lake or a pond and wondered, how is it that fish can live in that? Aren’t they excreting waste into the water? Wouldn’t that be toxic for them? The answer is that certain bacteria convert the nitrogenous waste from fish into a form of fertilizer that plants can readily absorb. The basic cycle is fish excrete waste, bacteria convert the waste, plants absorb the waste and then return clean water to the system, and the cycle repeats indefinitely. All three participants are in balance, and the overall ecosystem and habitat thrives. Aquaponics is the replication of that same system in a controlled

about it, we want to preserve it, we want to

environment of a greenhouse.

restore it. It was a core principle in our business

Vegetables have been the most studied and

ethos from the beginning. When we came up

researched crops in aquaponics systems, for good

with our three-word mission — Local. Sustainable.

reason; we need more food in this world to feed

Collaborative. — we memorialized how important

a growing population. But we are flower farmers


and so we looked at whether any inquiries had been conducted with flowers in aquaponics. We began writing grants to obtain funding to research this possibility and create the appropriate conditions to produce flowers via aquaponics. In 2021, we received a small USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant to begin the first phase of the project. Later that year, we were awarded an even bigger grant from Maryland’s Tech Development Council (TEDCO) through the Agriculture Rural Recovery Challenge; $200,000 to build a greenhouse and commercial scale aquaponics system to grow dahlias and lisianthus year-round. This was mind-blowing! It’s pushed us to substantially expand our farm operation. We purchased a new 34-acre property in Poolesville to build this dream space. We are building and implementing this system with the assistance of a special consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado, the Aquaponics Source. We are teaming with Regen Aquaculture based in Kentucky, experts in aquaponics research and development. We are being guided by Dr. John Dole, the acting Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University. He is one of the top floriculture experts in the field of cut-flower production. We hope to produce tens of thousands of stems this year all through this groundbreaking technology, but more importantly show other farmers, flower and vegetable alike, that this approach is valid and lucrative and hugely impactful against climate change. Agriculture, at the magnitude that it is practiced currently, incurs a significant toll on the earth, from


soil erosion and carbon sequestration to excessive emissions and overuse of fertilizers and pesticides. We believe we are on the forefront of a changing dynamic in agriculture, the widespread adoption of sustainable-farming methods. All it takes is an open mind, and a willingness to try something new. The sky is truly the limit. SLOW FLOWERS JOURNAL


about BLOOM Imprint BLOOM identifies and develops projects that shine a light on the floral lifestyle, showcasing the stories of floral personalities, creatives, entrepreneurs, farmers, and artisans.


BOOK + EZINE PUBLISHING Founded in 2020, BLOOM engages readers to experience a new relationship with flowers, inspiring them to embrace local, seasonal, and sustainable practices. The publications reveal the authentic voice and vision of our authors and writers, pairing their written narratives with beautiful imagery and strong graphic design concepts. Located in the Pacific Northwest, the independent boutique publishing company works with a variety of creatives from the beginning of a great concept to the final product, including marketing and worldwide distribution with Two Rivers Distribution, a division of Ingram.


CUSTOM PUBLISHING organizations, and artisans. As content developers, we design

DEBRA PRINZING BLOOM Co-founder Slow Flowers Society Founder

specialty packages that align with your needs, goals, and initiatives.

A Seattle-based writer,

Our creative content services include the development and

speaker, and leading

We provide custom publishing solutions for companies,

production of books, magazines, ebooks, newsletters, and annual reports. We offer a menu of content and design services including writing, editing, graphic design, informational charts and graphics, image editing, and production for printed and digital collateral.

advocate for domestic and sustainable floral practices, Debra convenes a national conversation on locally grown flowers. She is the author of 12 books including Where We Bloom. In addition to BLOOM, Debra is the producer of SlowFlowers. com, the online directory of American & Canadian flower farms, florists, shops and studios who supply domestic and local flowers. She is also the creator of American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4), launched in 2015, and is the founder of the Slow

Flowers Journal and the Slow Flowers Summit, dubbed the TED Talk for floral

CONSUMER INSIGHTS + CULTURAL ANALYSIS In addition to our yearly floral lifestyle forecast and twice-a-year topical white papers, we offer custom research, position papers, and primary and secondary research on specific floral and garden lifestyle topics. BLOOM Imprint, along with their sister company Slow Flowers, leverages their extensive professional experiences and relationships to support a portfolio of industry-leading clients through research, cultural analysis, market insights, and advisory services that focuses on the garden and floral industry, as well the floral and garden consumer. Co-founders Debra Prinzing and Robin Avni have provided industry research and analysis to leading home and lifestyle companies, including Johnny's Seeds, Longfield Gardens, Scripps Network, Home Depot, MASCO, Moen Corporation,, Kohler, Microsoft Home, PepsiCo, and General Mills, as well as major shelter and trade media outlets.



ROBIN AVNI BLOOM Co-founder A creative veteran in the media + high-tech industries, including nine years at Microsoft in design and creative management. She has successfully managed innovative, award-winning design teams and highprofile projects, as well as receiving numerous national design awards and honors for her own work. Robin is also an experienced qualitative strategist and ethnographer. In 2003, she founded a consultancy specializing in creative strategy, content development, and trend analysis for home + garden. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, national advertising agencies, and award-winning media properties, applying timely actionable insights to their businesses.

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