Sustainable and seasonal trends from a top floral design educator

by Debra Prinzing on December 20, 2010

in Florists and Floral Designers,Growers,The Book Project,The Sustainable Marketplace

The “Artisan” approach is a refreshing shift in floral world

Oregon-grown beauties by Peterkort Roses

Our visit to the Portland Flower Market earlier this month was filled with delightful new discoveries of the farmers and designers who believe that uncommon, fresh and locally-grown botanical ingredients are at the heart of their success. 

David and I were blown away by the inspiring flower growers and floral artists who help make this small but vibrant wholesale flower market tick (and it has been ticking, mind you, for decades, since the Oregon Flower Growers Association launched as “. . . a marketing cooperative formed by growers in northwest Oregon and southwest Washington in order to assist in the sale and distribution of our floral products.”
We’ll be posting a sneak peek of our photography and stories of these flowers and artists in the coming weeks (we’re saving the more extensive imagery and narratives for the pages of A Fresh Bouquet), so stay tuned.

First up, here’s Debra’s interview with veteran design educator Leanne Kesler of Portland’s Floral Design Institute.  Leanne’s educational program teaches a range of subjects, from introductory floral design skills to cutting-edge techniques. Would-be designers enroll in the school’s full program; experienced designers freshen up their skills at one- or two-day workshops. Leanne and her husband David Kesler also produce DVD instruction videos to train students around the globe. 

Leanne is on the front lines of floral fashions and she sees the shifts in consumer tastes earlier than anyone else. Here are some highlights of the video interview:
  • Flower consumption is “up,” but Leanne sees that there is a paradigm shift to how customers are buying their flowers. While supermarkets and large retailers continue to stock an array of cut flowers, Leanne says there’s a return to the small flower shop underway.
  • Reminiscent of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, that small studio or retail shop “offers the romance of hand-crafted flowers,” she says. The flowers may be grown by the designer or by “someone they know, such as a farmer who uses good growing practices.”
  • The strength of this shift is in the relationships connected to any flower purchase. Those relationships connect flower farmers to floral designers; designers to the floral customer.
  • Design tastes align perfectly with this shift because Leanne observes that customers are passionate about ”wild garden,” “field grown,” and “Grandma’s flowers” – including lilacs, peonies, snowball viburnum, garden roses and spray roses.

Watch the full conversation to learn more, including Leanne’s predictions about changes in floral color preferences . . .  

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Debra Lee Baldwin December 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Fascinating, Debra. Can’t wait to learn more. I love the return to nostalgia flowers, although it’s unlikely nasturtiums and geraniums (the main blooms of my childhood) will show up in any floral marketplace soon!

Deb Hollister December 21, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Thanks Deb!! Loved the interview and update on the floral industry. I’m doing a tv segment in January on GREEN WEDDING trends. Living in our cold Montana climate, it’s hard to narrow that footprint and enjoy the colors/textures of your climate. Spring is still the BEST TIME to enjoy those beautiful WILD FLOWER GARDEN mix that was mentioned. I vote for Spring Weddings for the Montana Brides.

Billie OBrien May 2, 2012 at 7:55 am

We always try to by local . I buy mums from a mum grower near my home and travel to Carlsbad to by from small local growers in that area … You can do it if you make an effort even in the busiest areas . I grow allot of foliage and succulents in my own yard and I live in Orange county ..small yards… So much fresher and better . Love this site . We have had this little shop 28 years ..

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