Floral Art & Design at the Slow Flowers Summit

Our Speakers elevate local flowers with their beautiful aesthetic

The 2021 Slow Flowers Summit brought local flowers, sustainable design, a seasonal aesthetic and amazing creatives who inspired our audience with their sensitivity to place and time. Here are their designs – from the Slow Flowers Summit stage at Filoli Historic House & Garden.

Max Gill, Max Gill Design (Berkeley, California)

All of the botanicals featured in Max Gill’s demonstration originated from the gardens at at our host venue, Filoli Historic House & Garden. Max was drawn to the vegetable displays for cardoon, artichoke and herbal elements. He contributed clematis vines from his own garden in Berkeley. (c) Missy Palacol Photograph

Max Gill designing

Max selected a large etched metal urn for his display. Mechanics include a vintage pin frog and chicken wire (c) Jenny M. Diaz Photograph

max gill designs detail shot

Max calls himself a “Monochromatist,” which is reflected in his serene botanical palette (c) Jenny M. Diaz Photography


Susan McLeary, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Susan McLeary Installation

Susan McLeary’s vibrant hanging installation set the stage and created a beautiful backdrop at the Slow Flowers Summit (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Susan McLeary

Marigolds, yarrow and citrus (left); Susan McLeary teaching sustainable techniques (right) (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Susan McLeary

Details of Susan’s suspended three-dimensional floral sculptures (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Susan McLeary

Sue taught us her “green” mechanics, including this sustainable “burrito” with foliages wrapped with chickenwire (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Susan McLeary Day Two

Susan McLeary presented her keynote: “The Creative Journey: Finding Your Artistic Voice, Truth and Expression” — demonstrating one of her favorite design “hacks” to stimulate creativity (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Susan McLeary design Day 2

Inspired palette and shape, by Susan McLeary (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Teresa Sabankaya, Bonny Doon Garden Co., Santa Cruz, California

Our local host, Teresa Sabankaya, of Bonny Doon Garden Co., demonstrated her popular “message” posies and invited guests to make their own posies (c) Jenny M. Diaz Photography

posy by teresa

Teresa’s posy incorporates flowers with meaning, as featured in The Posy Book (2019), which she signed for Slow Flowers Summit guests after her presentation (c) Jenny M. Diaz Photography


Sustainable Farming x Floral Design, with Kellee Matsushita-Tseng of UC Santa Cruz and Second Generation Seeds; Emily Saeger (Filoli Horticulture alumnae) and Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers

Our fabulous panel, from left: Emily Saeger, Molly Culver and moderator Kellee Matsushita-Tseng (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Kellee Matsushita-Tseng design

Kellee discusses her botanical selections while designing (and moderating the panel!) (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Kellee Matsushita-Tseng

Kellee Matsushita-Tseng’s floral arrangement incorporating all local and California-grown botanicals, mostly harvested from the flower beds at Filoli Historic House & Garden (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Emily Saeger

Emily Saeger, Filoli alumna and Masters in Landscape Architecture candidate at University of Washington (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Emily’s floral arrangement features a California native, wild and dried botanical palette (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Molly Culver of Brooklyn-based Molly Oliver Culver (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Molly Culver design

Molly Culver’s seasonal arrangement in a vintage container selected from a Filoli vase collection (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Pilar Zuniga, Gorgeous and Green (Oakland, California)

Pilar on stage

Pilar Zuniga spoke on the topic of “Branding the Sustainable Floral Business,” followed by one of her signature designs (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Pilar’s lush, local and seasonal arrangement (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Debra Prinzing

Debra Prinzing is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for American-grown flowers. Through her many Slow Flowers-branded projects, she has convened a national conversation that encourages consumers and professionals alike to make conscious choices about their floral purchases. Debra is the producer of SlowFlowers.com, the weekly "Slow Flowers Podcast" and the American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4) campaign. Debra is author of 11 books, including Slow Flowers (2013), The 50 Mile Bouquet (2012) and Slow Flowers Journal (2020). She is the co-founder of BLOOM Imprint, the boutique publishing arm of Slow Flowers.

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Slow Flowers Journal is brought to you by SlowFlowers.com. Slow Flowers is an award-winning online directory created to help consumers find florists, studio designers, wedding and event planners, supermarket flower departments and flower farmers that supply American grown flowers. Founded in 2014, the site has grown to 700 members across the U.S.

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For more information, please contact Debra Prinzing
at 206-769-8211 or 844-SLOWFLO (844-756-9356); debra(at)slowflowers.com.