Sunday, December 29, 2013

(Cool) Projects

(Cool) Projects: by Carling A.W. Elder

carling for blogBack in August, Ellen and I had the pleasure of meeting with Heather Weisse Walsh, Editor of (cool) progeny, to hear all about this fun, family-friendly publication, and to see why Local Color Flowers might want a dose of (cool).

Started by Heather and her husband a few years ago, (cool) progeny is an online resource for parents that is dedicated to “putting (cool) back in to the crazy, upside down world of modern parenting.” Heather told us that when she and her husband became new parents, they kept striking out while searching for information about family-friendly events and activities in Baltimore. So they took matters into their own hands, and (cool) progeny was born!

(cool) progeny is bursting with good stuff! The website is divided into seven main categories of: eat, play, learn & create, style, parents, party, and out & about. Each category features articles from guest contributors who are all experts in different fields. When Heather asked if Local Color Flowers would like to partner with (cool) progeny as “Floral Experts,” we thought it might be fun to come up with some kid appropriate floral projects. So we began brainstorming…

The first project was Halloween Terrariums.  It was easy to get the kids involved in building a terrarium. They could layer the ingredients of their terrariums (rocks, charcoal, and dirt), plant the succulents, and then have a blast decorating their terrarium vessels! The Halloween Terrariums gave the kids some of their first experiences caring for plants, and they turned out so fun! 

(cool) progeny makes a #halloween terrarium with local color flowers in baltimore! #holidays #gardening #kids

Our second project with (cool) progeny was a “Thankful Tablescape”  For this project, the kids got to forage for natural elements such as mini pumpkins, seed pods, and Indian corn to place on their family Thanksgiving table. They also got to write what they were thankful for on the gourds and pumpkins. At the same time, the adults could design a seasonal arrangement in a large pumpkin as a centerpiece. The kids had a great time picking out their favorite natural elements for this project, and it was an easy way to include children in Thanksgiving decorating.

Thanksgiving + Kids: Thankful Tablescapes with Local Color Flowers and (cool) progeny

The third project was Holiday Swags.  A swag (a bundle of greenery that hangs on your door) is perhaps the easiest holiday floral project you can make! I loved working with Lila (Heather’s beautiful daughter) on this project. It was so fun to show her the different evergreen and berry varieties as we made her swag, and to see which decorations she chose. I wasn’t too surprised when she chose a sparkly silver ribbon and shiny Christmas ornaments :).

How to Make a Holiday Swag - (cool) progeny

In the floral industry, we don’t often get to work with children. We mostly work with Brides, Wedding Planners, and well, other adults. As is necessary, conversations are often centered around details, time-lines, and requirements. There’s not much opportunity to just play with all of our amazing plants and flowers and see what comes out of unbridled creativity.  Working with the kids and seeing the flowers through their eyes was so much fun!

What I loved most about our projects with (cool) progeny was the chance to create and have pure fun with flowers and these cool kids. I’ve worked with evergreens a million times, but I don’t know if Lila ever had. I could see her curiosity as she felt the different branches and sniffed their spicy scents. Making these floral projects was a first-time experience for these kids, and it was exciting for them. Their excitement was exciting to me.

It makes me so happy to have had a small part in these kids’ first exposure to the floral world. I’m grateful to (cool) progeny for recognizing the value in teaching children early about the world of flowers, and for creating the online space to share these teachings with others. More (cool) progeny and Local Color Flowers collaborations are in the future, and I can’t wait to play some more!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Beaming with Pride

butterbeeI can’t tell you how excited I am to share this story from the Friends School of Baltimore Magazine this month.

The story, written by LoCoFlo designer Carling Elder is the story of two Friends School alums that came together to create something amazing in Baltimore and along the way, became fast friends. The two friends are no ordinary young women. Laura Beth, my dear friend and founder of Butterbee Farm is a passionate, driven entrepreneur who is creating a sustainable flower farm in Baltimore. Irene Donnelly, also one of LoCoFlo’s designers, is a skilled floral designer, a creative artist and business owner (check out Snark Machine) and a truly joyful soul to be around.

Carling got together with Laura Beth and Irene and interviewed them for this article. In addition to being a fabulous designer, Carling is a great writer (as evidenced by her recent Honorable Mention Award from the City Paper in their annual poetry contest). The article, beautifully captures so much of what we are trying to do at Local Color Flowers. We’re working hard to help support new growers, connect like minded folks around the business of growing local flowers and have fun while we’re doing it.

I’m so happy that LoCoFlo played a supporting role in bringing these three women together. They inspire me every single day. I’m so grateful that for their contributions to our business as well as their passion and commitment to local flowers and farmers. Way to go team!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

LoCoFlo’s Got a New Grower! Introducing Flowers by Bauers

The flower farming community in our region is pretty tight. Most growers know each other and LoCoFlo’s been fortunate to meet and work with many of them. That being said, Dave Dowling, of Farmhouse Flowers had been telling me for years about a grower close to Baltimore that grew snaps in the winter. This year, with more and more winter orders coming in, I thought I would do the research to find this mystery grower.

Their name is Flowers By Bauers and they are located in Jarrettsville, just north of Baltimore. They’ve been in business for over 30 years and the work they do is pretty incredible! Here are some of the things I love about Flowers By Bauers:

  • they are SO passionate about their work (the first day I met Matt Bauer he talked enthusiastically about his work and his plans for the future!)
  • they deliver
  • they have beautiful snaps all winter (and stock starting in January)
  • they’re only 23 miles away

snaps flowers by bauers

Flowers By Bauers is not your average flower farm. This family run business is modeled off the Dutch way of growing …in giant greenhouses. Not only are all of their plants grown indoors…they are also grown hydroponically. Click HERE to watch a short video from MPT profiling Flowers By Bauers showing just how it’s done. (they’re the first segment!)

I’m so grateful to have been introduced to this amazing flower farm. Can’t wait to get a tour of their operations in 2014!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Local Color Flowers, Mr. Gorgeous and the Baltimore Beauty Pageant

I can’t lie. When I got the email from Mr. Gorgeous asking if LoCoFlo would be willing to provide a bouquet for the winner of the Baltimore Beauty Pageant, I jumped at the chance. I mean…how can you say NO to Mr Gorgeous!

If you’re not familiar with Trixie Little (and Monkey) and Mr. Gorgeous, you are missing out on one of the true gems of Baltimore!! Trixie Little and her husband Monkey are “an acrobatic burlesque super duo” that has been entertaining Charm City (and the world) for the past 10 years. Mr. Gorgeous, (aka Eric Gorsuch) is a 6ft 5 inch burlesque/circus performer extraordinaire that famously partners with Trixie and Monkey in Baltimore best holiday show: the HOLIDAY SPECTAC-U-THON at the Creative Alliance.


So you can see why I was so excited to meet Mr. Gorgeous and have him use our flowers in the pageant! Irene made a spectacular bouquet for the winner including all sorts of local goodies…including “hairy balls”. (what pageant would be complete without them!)


The pageant, hosted by Trixie and Mr. Gorgeous at the Otto Bar featured five beautiful, burlesque “contestants” including one of our 2014 brides “Ruby Rockafella”. While she didn’t win, Ruby Rockafella looked fabulous!

Everyone at Local Color Flowers wants to congratulate the winner…the gorgeous…Sunny Sighed! 

Way to go Baltimore! Another reason we LOVE you!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Decking the Halls…LoCoFlo Style

December is here, weddings are over for the year and we are in full holiday mode!

We’ve got so much fun stuff happening over the next few weeks!

This Saturday is our last wreath making class! There are currently still spots available!


We’re also offering a holiday terrarium class on Sunday, December 15 at 11am. I’m super excited for this class because our terrariums are going to take on a holiday twist! Picture a little winter wonderland…with succulents…under glass!

Finally, we’re offering two holiday centerpiece classes on December 23rd (10am and 7pm). This is a great way to bring some of your crafty, DIY love to the dinner table on Christmas! Sign up today!


If you don’t want to MAKE your holiday goodies (we can’t all be Martha!), you can come out to Makers Alley on December 14th from 10am-2pm at Local Color Flowers! We’ve got amazing local vendors including Rat Czar, Priya Means Love, Snark Machine, Charm City Cook, Highway to Hill, Byrdie, Kinderhook Snacks, Two Back Flats and of course…Local Color Flowers.  They’ll be ready to sell you some awesome holiday gifts for everyone on your list!

 makers alley

Finally, we’ve got loads of holiday offerings to decorate your home and to share with others! Check out our holiday page for more details on how to order! Our CSA and other holiday gifts have been featured in Baltimore Magazine’s Holiday Guide, the City Paper’s Holiday Guide and Cool Progeny’s Holiday Guide!


Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

BOOKCLUB! Coming Soon to Local Color Flowers in 2014

Love to read? Passionate about nature? Think Buying Local is cool? If you said yes to any of these questions, then you’re going to be SO excited about LoCoFlo’s new Book Club starting in 2014!

flower confidentialThe idea: Read fiction and non-fiction books about flowers, gardening, nature, farming, small businesses and more! Bring snacks and wine and discuss!

When: We’ll meet 6 times in 2014 at LoCoFlo’s studio in Charles Village (3100 Brentwood Ave) from 7pm-9pm each meeting. RSVP’s welcome (email but not necessary.

Here’s the list:

Be sure to put the dates on your calendar! Happy Reading!

Giving Thanks

thought about this ee cummings poem today and thought I would share it for thanksgiving.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Holidays are Coming to LoCoFlo!

It’s November. We’re just about finished with weddings for the season. Know what that means? It’s holiday time!! This is our first year in our new space and we are SO excited for everything that we’ve got planned!

For those of you who want DIY your holiday centerpieces, holiday wreaths or holiday gifts, Local Color Flowers has some super fun design classes for you.

  • Terrific Terrariums! Our next terrarium class is Saturday, November 16th at 10:30. Sign up today!
  • Thanksgiving Centerpiece Class! Want to wow your guests with homemade centerpiece filled with locally grown flowers, foliage, succulent, berries, dried elements and more? Sign up for our Thanksgiving Centerpiece class!
  • Wreath Making Class! Who needs a generic, grocery store wreath? Not you! Come make your own, personalized wreath filled with locally sourced greens, dried goodies and more!
  • Holiday Terrariums! Our holiday terrarium class will include designing a holiday themed terrarium AND a holiday ornament!
  • Christmas Centerpiece Class! Like our class at Thanksgiving, you’ll feel just like Martha when you wow your guests with homemade centerpiece filled with locally grown flowers, foliage, succulent, berries, dried elements and more!

No time  for DIY? Local Color Flowers has LOADS of centerpieces, wreaths, holiday gifts and more available NOW on our website. Order today! 



We’re also offering gift certificates that can be used for flowers, our 2014 CSA, subscriptions and classes. A perfect gift for the flower enthusiast or locavore in your life!

Local Color Flowers is so excited to announce our first holiday pop-up market- Maker’s Alley!

makers alley

This is going to be such a fun event and the perfect place to purchase unique holiday gifts! Our AWESOME vendors include Rat Czar, Priya Means Love, Two Back Flats, Charm City Cook, Snark Machine, Highway to Hill, Kinderhook Snacks, and Byrdie!

Be sure to buy local this holiday season! See you soon!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

2013 CSA…Success! Looking Ahead to 2014!

IMG_3606One of our goals here at Local Color Flowers is to help more people enjoy locally grown flowers on a regular basis. Finding locally grown flowers at the grocery store isn’t always easy and in some communities, it’s nearly impossible. The thought behind our 2013 Flower CSA was to connect urban folks with flower farmers so that they could experience flowers throughout the seasons.

As with any new project, we weren’t sure what to expect. The plan was to provide mixed bouquets twice  a month for 5 months. Each bouquet would have a tag describing the types of flowers that were in the bouquet and what farms they came from . We started with peonies in early June and finished up in October with some of the most beautiful dahlias I’ve ever seen.  We partnered with JHU’s Space Telescope Science Institute to have a drop of location at Hopkins main campus. We also let people pick up their bouquets at our studio.



Well, the CSA turned out to be SO MUCH FUN! Members were so excited to see what each new bouquet would include and we were excited to tell them all about the farms, farmers and flowers.

“ My wife and I were absolutely delighted with the flowers we received as part of the CSA this year!! We loved the variety of flowers and the arrangements you put together.”

                                                                    - Steve

“the csa was a bright spot in my summer!”



Since we liked it so much, we’re excited to announce that sign up is now open for the 2014 Local Flower CSA! If you sign up before the end of the year, you get a 10% discount (great holiday gift!). All the details can be found on our website.  We’ll be adding a couple new/fun features to the CSA this year. Each week we have a bouquet pick up, we’ll do a blog post about the bouquet, where the flowers came from, who grew them and more. Also, at the start of the season, we’ll offer a discounted design class for all CSA members to help them make the most of their bouquets throughout the season.  So much fun to look forward to!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Meeting Amy Stewart

What a way to usher in my 41st year than with an evening  at Cylburn Arboretum with Amy Stewart! For those of you don’t know, Amy Stewart is an amazing writing of books, blogs and all things gardening. On this night, she was at Cylburn to read from her most recent book, the Drunken Botanist. For me though, Amy is most known (and loved) for authoring the book: Flower Confidential.

Flower Confidential, which was IMG_5833published in 2007 played of pivotal role in our decision to start LoCoFlo. It was, and still is, one of the most comprehensive looks at the global cut flower industry. It came to me at the perfect time. I was working part time on a farm, meeting flower farmers, starting to try my hand at floral design and feeling restless in my day job. It sparked something in me, something that let me know that there was an opportunity within the cut flower industry for something different, something unique, something sustainable…something local.

So, while we were standing in line to meet Amy, Eric kept telling me not to burst out crying…which I almost did. I was just so excited! I wanted to tell her everything about LoCoFlo and how grateful I was and how because of her, we were really changing the industry in our little corner of the world. Instead, with a line of people behind me, I told her a little of everything in a hurried, jumbled, tear filled shpeal. She was gracious and excited to hear my story and hopefully didn’t think I was too much of a flower stalker! What I really wanted, was to sit on a little sofa and have a cocktail with her and talk about flowers.


The Drunken Botanist reading and discussion was awesome and super interesting for plant nerds, cocktail nerds  and normal people alike. I got to visit with friends (thanks Chesapeake Wine Company) drink yummy cocktails (thanks Rye) and enjoy my birthday in the best way possible!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Local Color Flowers On Debra Prinzing’s Slow Flowers Podcast!

Debra Prinzing, for those you don’t know, is one of my flower idols! She has an amazing career as a garden writer and recently published two AWESOME books called  the 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers.

       50_mile-bouquet1-150x150       slow flowers

I don’t know Debra, not in person, not yet…but I  KNOW her. We share a passion for local flowers and local flower farmers. The work that she is doing to bring attention to American Grown flowers and the people that grown them and the people that design with them is truly inspiring.

Recently, Debra started this really cool podcast called Slow Flowers which you can subscribe to/download on Itunes.  It’s a wonderful look at the American flower industry including farmers, designers and enthusiasts. Listening to these interviews is definitely a treat and makes me feel part of extended community of amazing flower folks.

This week’s podcast features none other than Local Color Flowers! It was such a treat to talk with Debra and share the story of LoCoFlo with her listeners. If you want to give a listen, you can go to Debra’s website or you can find it on Itunes!

Thanks for listening!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Vacation to Maine = Shopping Trip for LoCoFlo

By Irene Donnelly

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 60I went to Maine last week for Vacation. Ellen, always ready to pounce on opportunity, gave me some spending money and a quest to find all things milkglass, mason jar and cans.  In other words:  vessels for the shop.   

We speculated that Maine would have mountains of killer finds.  I can't speak for Ellen but I imagined Maine as this rural, out of touch place for cheap desirable antiques. A place where I would be able to find warehouses full of Americana that no one found valuable except me.  In reality the vintage landscape was comparable to Baltimore and my quest did not exceed my pillaging expectations.  However, I did learn some valuable lessons. 

Frist, the Flee Market is king for treasures and deals.  Check out the ridiculous items my partner in haggling and life found.


Secondly,  if Flee Markets are going to be my main source for finding vessels in the future, I had better work on my negotiating skills.  It was rough having to go through a financial debate every time I was ready to buy.  The process made me feel iky inside and I didn't get my usual "I found a something really sweet!" high.  It made me miss my thrifting days in Baltimore. It made me think…"price labels…  what a convenient innovation."  I will never take seeing something I like with a price on it for granted again and kudos to me if it happens to be half price day at the Value Village. 

Then again, some sellers I encountered were just easier to make a deal with than others.  For example I got all of these early 19th century medicine and elixir vials for a steal.  Great for a grouped arrangement!


I also found this half gallon Blue Masson Jar for $5.  That was a real deal considering, the quart sized go for about $12 and don't have the pretty glass lid.


Back to nightmare haggling. This woman owned a junk shop on rt. 1 in Maine.  I think it was call All in the Family or Family Antiques but who cares.  She claimed she owned an antique store but her display could have used improvement and imagination.  The words of Carol Caggian0, "perceived value" are currently flashing above my head.  Again, it was a junk shop where everything I picked up  was not quite right and over $12.  Oh my! Way over of my self imposed budget of $4, per vessel.

I did however manage to score these two unmarked cheese boxes.  Haggling ensued and two days later the night sky displayed a magnificent blue moon.  Strange coincidence.


Finally, it has recently become my mission to convert all the rustic Americana folks out there from Masson Jar to Cans.  I mean, just look at the awesome graphic quality's in the labels.  Imagine all the fun we could have displaying complimentary flowers in them. The humor!

can 2

can 3


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Farmer’s Market Design Class at Local Color Flowers

Our first Farmer’s Market Design class was a huge hit! What could be better than a design class focused on locally grown flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables…with local snack…and visits from farmers?

As folks arrived, they were greeted with snacks and coffee from some of our favorite farmers market vendors including Zeke’s Coffee and Chez G. Once everyone got acquainted, the class started with a welcome from Laura Beth of Butterbee Farm.  We were super excited for folks to meet some of the growers who grew the flowers for our class.

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 9

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 62

After I demonstrated some of the design techniques we would be using, including using chicken wire instead of floral foam and how to use fruit and vegetables in arrangements, the students were ready to begin.

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 6      LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 67

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 31

First they chose their vessels and they they chose their flowers.

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 46    LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 34

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 107

Midway through the class, we were lucky enough to have a visit from John McKeown of Locust Point Flowers,  another one of our amazing farmers as well as Mr. Reid, of Reid’s Orchard, who grew the grapes we used in our designs. It was great to hear about flower and fruit farming in our region.

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 156

Toward the end of class, it was time for tweaking arrangements, gentle critique and final flowers before we took photos.

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 158

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 160

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 182

Finally, the finished products!

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 164   LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 169

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 191  LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 199

LoCoFlo Class (08-03-13) 206 

Thanks to everyone that came out to our class! Thanks to all the farmers that provided our flowers including Butterbee Farm, Hillen Homestead, Capital Flower Growers and Locust Point Flowers.

Special thanks to the AMAZING Ana Isabel Photography for these amazing photos.

To see more photos from the class, check out our flick page.

To sign up for our next Farmer’s Market Design class, check out our Class Page.