Flowers in the Slower Lane

by Debra Prinzing

Flowers in the Slower Lane |

I’ve been eating, sleeping, breathing, writing, and speaking about SLOW FLOWERS for so long that it’s good to sometimes be reminded that not everyone understands what that phrase means. Recently, one of my flower farmer friends emailed to ask: “Tell me again what SLOW FLOWERS means. I know it’s USA-grown flowers but SLOW?”

Fair enough. Here's my personal definition of SLOW FLOWERS. This is excerpted from my introduction to the book, Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm (St. Lynn’s Press, 2013).

Thanks to the culinary pioneers who popularized the Slow Food movement, it now seems like you can put “slow” in front of any term to convey a different philosophy or approach to that subject. When I say the phrase “slow flowers,” there are those who immediately understand it to mean: I have made a conscious choice.

My blooms, buds, leaves and vines are definitely in season; not, for example, grown and brought in from elsewhere in the world during the wet, cold winter months in my hometown of Seattle. So, come December, January and into early spring, my commitment to sourcing locally-grown floral materials sends me to the conifer boughs, colored twigs and berry-producing evergreens – and the occasional greenhouse-grown rose, lily or tulip, just to satisfy my hunger for a bloom.

Slow Flowers (the concept and the book) is also about the artisanal, anti-mass-market approach to celebrations, festivities and floral gifts of love. I value my local sources. If not clipped from my own shrubs or cutting garden, I want to know where the flowers and greenery were grown, and who grew them. Having a relationship with the grower who planted and nurtured each flower is nothing short of magical. I call so many flower farmers around the country my friends. They are the unsung heroes – the faces behind the flowers we love.

Finally, Slow Flowers reflects life lived in the slower lane . . . My “year in flowers” [written about in my book called Slow Flowers] was altogether different. I can only compare it to the practice of praying or meditating. I didn’t realize that those few hours I spent each week, gathering and choosing petals and stems, arranging them in a special vessel, and then figuring out where and how to capture the finished design through my camera lens, would be so personally enriching.

Making a connection with the seasons, with nature, with gardens and with flower farms and fields provides the momentum behind the Slow Flowers Movement. The philosophy supports grown-in-the-USA flower farms as well as floral designers, florists, and retailers committed to using American-grown ingredients. But how do we find the farms and florists that are mindful about the origins of the flowers they sell? After being asked that question countless times by the media and by audiences, I realized there was no single resource that provided an answer. And that's why I created is a free, online directory that helps connect consumers with American flowers and the people who grow and design with them. Since we launched the site in May 2014, this resource has grown to include 530 flower farmers, floral designers, studio florists, and retailers listed on the web site — in 49 states of the U.S.

There are 20 Slow Flowers members within a 40-mile radius of Manhattan. You'll meet a few of them at BLOOM: A SUSTAINABLE WORKSHOP, hosted by the Ethical Writers Coalition.

Flowers in the Slower Lane |

Get ready to be inspired and channel your inner-florist, when you learn from Rachel Gordon of Taproot Flowers and Molly Culver and Deborah Greig of Molly Oliver Flowers. Revel in the beauty and creativity of what they'll teach you and enjoy local flowers, in season, from farms close to you.

You'll be helping put more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time.


Debra Prinzing is an award-winning author, speaker, and leading advocate for American-grown flowers. She is the creator of, a free online directory that helps consumers find florists, designers, studios, and farms that supply American grown flowers. Her book Slow Flowers (St. Lynn’s Press, 2013) received a Silver Medal from Garden Writers Association in 2014. Debra serves on the board of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-to-florist cooperative. She is the producer and host of the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing, which is available for free download on iTunes or at

Images courtesy of Debra Prinzing, Molly Oliver Flowers, and Taproot Flowers.

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