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Celebrate American Flowers Week! Buy local

A dress covered in gerbera daisies, designed by Jenny M. Diaz, represents California in American Flowers Week's botanical couture collection. (Photo courtesy Jenny M. Diaz/American Flowers Week)

Support California growers of ‘Slow Flowers’

The last time you bought flowers, did you wonder: Where did these come from? Who grew these blooms and how?

This is American Flowers Week, a celebration of the nation’s flower farmers. It’s the ornamental equivalent of farm to fork. This is field (or garden) to vase.

Getting to know more about the source of bouquets is at the crux of Slow Flowers and American Flowers Week. Like Slow Food and its connection to locally sourced ingredients, Slow Flowers emphasizes locally sourced blooms and decorative material.

Slow Flowers expert Debra Prinzing came up with American Flowers Week in 2015 to draw attention to attempts to bring back commercial flower farming to the United States. About 80 percent of all flowers sold in the U.S. are grown overseas.

“I get asked this question often: Why should I care where my flowers come from?” Prinzing said. “The parallels between the Slow Food movement and the Slow Flowers movement are obvious. When we know where, who and how flowers are grown, we vote with our pocketbook.”

To show off some eye-popping blooms, Slow Flowers floral designers across the country created dresses entirely out of flowers. The botanical couture collection is featured in Florists’ Review magazine and at .

Jenny M. Diaz, a Fresno-based artist and graphic designer, represented California in the collection with a '60s-style mod shift studded with hundreds of California-grown gerbera daisies. Diaz photographed the stunning pink and orange dress in her hometown.

“It's projects like these that help elevate and raise awareness about U.S. domestic floral agriculture and sustainable floral design,” Prinzing said. “The public and professionals are invited to download a library of free resources from the website (, including graphics, images, floral coloring sheets and social media tools. Participation in American Flowers Week is open to all.”

Is American Flowers Week catching on?

Prinzing measures its impact via social media. In 2015, American Flowers Week made 400,000 social media impressions (Facebook shares, Instagram hits, etc.). Last year, it topped 4 million.

Its impact continues all year long as more farmers get into growing flowers.

Said Prinzing, “What I find really exciting is the amazing diversification, especially in small-cut flower farms, including those in the Sacramento Valley, who are growing unusual and heirloom annual varieties of cut flowers from ageratum to zinnias, highly valued garden roses for the floral marketplace, and flowers that the home gardener might never try growing, such as lisianthus.”


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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