Casey and I had a fab­u­lous time at the 2021 Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit this year in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia held from June 28–30. It was fun to attend as just reg­u­lar folk! The last time we attend­ed a Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit (in 2018), we were speakers!

First, we drove north after fin­ish­ing events and bridal meet­ings on the Sat­ur­day before­hand at got to the hotel just before bed­time. On Sun­day morn­ing, I met up with a long-time friend who lives in San Fran­cis­co and she treat­ed me to a pre-birth­day brunch at Beach Chalet in Gold­en Gate park. Casey was busy doing wed­ding pro­pos­als with her new ver­sion of Details soft­ware in the hotel while lis­ten­ing to her son’s base­ball game (being played back home) on the Game Chang­er app. After the game was over, I took Casey on a scenic dri­ve to Half Moon Bay where we had din­ner at the Half Moon Bay Brew­ery. It was packed! Every­one was enjoy­ing their Sun­day after­noon. Casey was excit­ed to have her first post-pan­dem­ic draft beer  in over a year and a half! We were back to our hotel ear­ly for bed to prep for the first day of the Summit!

Kit and Casey

We took advan­tage of our mini vaca­tion and did a lit­tle sightseeing!

Day 1 of the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit

Max Gill, Sue McLeary, Floral Takeover, Teresa Sabankaya, Abra Lee Demonstrations and Storytelling

The first day of the Slow Flower Sum­mit at Filoli His­toric House and Gar­den with amaz­ing speak­ers and tal­ent­ed florists who demon­strat­ed fan­tas­tic designs. Max Gill of Chez Panisse start­ed us off with his amaz­ing large-scale flo­ral design made with forged items from the Filoli gar­den. Then we had a les­son in large-scale design that was free of any kind of flo­ral foam by Susan McCleary.

Flower Takeover at Filoli

Tall takeover North Hall

Casey led this design for our flo­ral takeover at Filoli. Pho­to by Kit Wertz

Casey and I were lead­ers for part of the flo­ral takeover inside the Filoli House. It was fun to work with oth­er atten­dees to make two designs inside the North Hall. We were giv­en our flow­ers and pots by the team with the Sum­mit and were able to get more flow­ers to round out the designs. Casey led the big design I did the small one. We did­n’t have to give too much direc­tion, though. It was a fun way to col­lab­o­rate with oth­er attendees.

Small takeover filoli

Kit led this low design for the North Hall flo­ral takeover at Filoli dur­ing the 2021 Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit. Pho­to by Kit Wertz.

We even got to be hands-on with a Posy bar by Tere­sa Sabankaya. and she gave us many won­der­ful tips on how to design the best posies. As she writes in her book, The Posy Book, it’s not a posy with­out a sen­ti­ment attached. Each flower has a mean­ing and you must include a lit­tle card to explain the mes­sage you are send­ing to the recip­i­ent of your bou­quet creation!

We had a won­der­ful sto­ry­telling ses­sion about the his­to­ry of the black Amer­i­can florist by Abra Lee.

Abra Lee

Sto­ry­teller Abra Lee of Con­quer the Soil at the Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit 2021 — Pho­to by Kit Wertz

After the Sum­mit, we had time to head down to Palo Alto, tour the cam­pus of Stan­ford (we do have kids who are grow­ing fast) and then a love­ly din­ner at Local Union 271 (and more draft beers!) Did you see our newslet­ter a few sum­mers ago on how to use the dif­fer­ent types of beer glass­es as vas­es?

Beer at Local Union 271

Yum­my beer and food at Local Union 271 in Palo Alto. Pho­to by Kit Wertz

Day 2 of the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit

Finding Your Artistic Voice, Sustainable Farming, How to See Color in the Garden, Sustainable Floral Business Practices, Women in the Plant World

Cocktail Hour at The Slow Flowers Summit

Here we are at the end of day 2 next to Sue McLeary’s hang­ing florals.

Day two of the Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit went by way too fast on June 29th. The first speak­er of the morn­ing was Susan McCleary who told us about how to find our artis­tic voice. That was fol­lowed by an eye-open­ing pan­el dis­cus­sion on sus­tain­able farm­ing and flo­ral design with Kellee Mat­sushi­ta-Tseng, Mol­ly Cul­ver and Emi­ly Saeger.

The crowd at the Slow Flowers Summit

The crowd reacts to a speak­er at The Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit 2021 — Pho­to by Kit Wertz

After lunch we learned how to see col­or in the gar­den with Lorene Edwards Faulkn­er and all were hands-on painting.

We learned about how to brand the sus­tain­able flo­ral busi­ness from the ground up with Pilar Zuni­ga from Berkley’s Gor­geous and Green.

The most cap­ti­vat­ing of the day was a pre­sen­ta­tion by Jen­nifer Jew­ell  who talked about the pow­er of women work­ing in the world of plants from her book Cul­ti­vat­ing Place. She was most inspiring.

Casey and I were sur­round­ed by amaz­ing flower peo­ple at this con­fer­ence and we were so hon­ored to be able to attend. It was Kit’s third and Casey’s sec­ond sum­mit and we loved the ample oppor­tu­ni­ties we had to mix with oth­er atten­dees and meet the speak­ers, too. Every meal was superb and a fun oppor­tu­ni­ty to sit down with new peo­ple and learn about their businesses.

Filoli Gardens

The gar­dens of Filoli at The Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit 2021 — Pho­to by Kit Wertz

Day 3 of the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit

A trip to flower farms: Kitayama Brothers & CamFlor

The best way to spend a birth­day is to tour flower farms in Cal­i­for­nia. Casey and I toured two flower farms on my birthday!

Thanks to the Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit for set­ting up these won­der­ful tours of Kitaya­ma Broth­ers Farms and Cam­Flor Farms. We saw beau­ti­ful flow­ers, beau­ti­ful prod­ucts and love­ly peo­ple. It was won­der­ful to see how the flow­ers are grown and then processed for ship­ping. We learned a lit­tle bit about the his­to­ry of Amer­i­can flower farm­ers, too and how they are dwin­dling. I felt for­tu­nate to see these in action now.

Robert Kitayama

Robert Kitaya­ma leads a tour at the Kitaya­ma Broth­ers Farms in Wat­sonville. Pho­to by Kit Wertz

At Kitaya­ma Broth­ers, we toured the ship­ping area and a num­ber of grow­ing green­hous­es fea­tur­ing lilies, ger­bers and snap­drag­ons as well as long-stemmed gardenias!

Gerber Daisies

Ger­ber Daisy fields at Kitaya­ma Broth­ers — Pho­to by Kit Wertz

When we went to Cam­Flor, we toured their dis­tri­b­u­tion ware­house and were treat­ed to a taco truck lunch! The vari­eties of flow­ers (over 100) were amaz­ing from dahlias to sol­ida­go to many oth­er spe­cial­ty cut flo­rals like globe this­tle and upright amaranthus.

Purple Dahlias

Pur­ple Dahlias at Cam­Flor dur­ing our tour — Pho­to by Kit Wertz


Greenery buckets at CamFlor

Green­ery buck­ets at Cam­Flor part of the Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit 2021 — Pho­to by Kit Wertz

It would­n’t be a Slow Flow­ers Sum­mit with­out Mud Baron’s Flow­ers on Your Head.  We did it (see top pho­to). You can, too! Make a bouquet…hold it on top…take a self­ie and smile from your flower-lov­ing soul!