With the Global Pandemic- everyone is staying at home- business is on hold- while we #staysafe and #stayathome- our lives are literally- on hold- delayed, disrupted or cancelled. In the mean time – Flowers don’t have the normal outlets- and they aren’t going to weddings, events, parties, being sent to friends or even taken home with us- instead they are blooming in the fields- a sight that was never meant to happen… this is devastating to flower farmers- the world over…
At the same time- there is NO denying the Power Flowers have… and the positive effects they can have on our health and wellness- from reducing stress- to increasing happiness- or reducing arguments- all of these POWERS are vital during these uncertain times…
Learn more about the Health and Wellness Research- that has been done with flowers- at this link
I’m highlighting the Incredible Positivity of my friends- who are California Flower Farmers this week- with FREE Video Links designed to entertain- enlighten and educate you about these Amazing Farms and the Flower Heroes that run them. These are certainly challenging times for these California Flower Farmers- they plant crops- months ahead of time- in anticipation of having those flowers when WE – the flower lovers want them.
I’m amazed how my flower friends have turned these challenging times into positive Powerful Flower Messages!
My Incredible Friends at Holland America- Benno and Nicolette Dobbe- have been all over the news lately- Sharing the Health and Wellness Aspect of Flowers… Literally- by taking flowers that would have gone to waste- and sharing them safely and positively- throughout the community!
That’s what Amazing Flower Folks do… Turn the Negative into Positive! The Tulips Fields of Holland America in Washington are all blooming- and Benno and Nicolette have been sharing these flowers- with Local First Responders- Medical Facilities and Nursing Homes… making sure the POWER of FLOWERS is shared to the amazing Heros- on the Front Lines… and those in Isolation!
They are Flower Heroes and they are my friends… and they are taking the “Lemons (this pandemic is rolling out_ – and Making Lemonade”. It’s not easy- but it’s a choice- and my friends at Holland America are Heroes that are Helping! Follow Holland America on Social Facebook here!
I visited Holland America- (their slogan- Dutch Roots in American Soil) and spent the day with my friend Benno- (he’s amazing-one of my Heroes and one of my favorite humans… HONESTLY!!!)… we visited Freesia Production- (One of my Favorite Flowers!!!) … learned how they create Bouquets, visited Lily Production and talked about their facility in Washington! Whenever I “hang” with Benno- it’s memorable… and FUN!
See their Freesia in our 3rd Episode of J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom- The Romance of Flowers- as the featured Flower-
Visit Holland America with Me and my buddy- Benno Dobbe- Psst… there’s a BUNNY- and Benno’s Grand-daughter in Authentic Dutch Costume too…
Let’s look at another example: Sun Valley Flower Farms- and my friend Lane DeVries- harvest Telstar Iris- year round… it’s an amazing flower- and it’s harvested just as it sets bud- with the teeny tiniest glimmer of blue showing in a tight bud! Those flowers are harvested, packaged and shipped all over the country- to be sold- STILL in Tight Bud- so that when we get them into our homes- we can experience the excitement- of having them open right before our eyes- this adds so much to the enjoyment- of the flowers…
Here’s a photo- that Lane shared on his Facebook Page (Follow Sun Valley Floral Farms on Social Media- to see beautiful pictures of flowers!
The Iris blooming in Arcata in the photo above- were destined for flower sellers all across the country- instead… these iris are blooming in the field- I commend my friend Lane- for sharing this Magnificent picture- for several reasons- a flower farmer might look at this picture… showing thousands of wasted flowers- as depressing, or with anger or worse… but instead… Lane is Taking the Positive approach- like Lane always does…
INSTEAD… This is a ONCE IN A LIFETIME Picture- something NEVER SEEN BEFORE by the Human Eye- this incredible picture of thousands of Iris- in Bloom- HELPS! (remember – “Look for the helpers”- as Mr Rogers said)…here’s how Positivity and this photo help:
1.Pictures of Flowers- also offer the same health and wellness benefits as actual flowers- looking upon this picture- allows the viewer to have:
A. Happier thoughts
B. Feel less depressed
C. Experience encouragement and creativity-
So… while challenging- the sharing of this NEVER BEFORE SEEN Beauty- helps!
2. When I look at this phone- it makes me love flowers-MORE! It makes me want to experience that same flower beauty- it makes me want a few stems of iris in a vase in my house… it creates desire- and anticipation- and above all HOPE! Hope for the Future- A Future that Includes Flowers!
3. By placing this “challenging” Situation- in front of others-and Positioning it in a Positive Light- Lane is promoting compassion- and kindness. It has been stated by so many – “we do not know what the person across the grocery aisle- in line at the gas station- sheltered in place in their home- is going through! – Thus we need to be KIND!” - By Sharing this picture- of a hardship- turned “POSITIVE” – it enables us to experience compassion and empathy! That is SO valuable! I believe – that when all this is behind us- we will emerge – Kinder, Gentler- and more Compassion People… and this simple flowers is helping to pave the way to that Better Tomorrow!
You can see Sun Valley Flowers In Action- they have many amazing locations- (so far) The crew and I have filmed in Oxnard California.
You can see the Oxnard farms here… A Visit to Sun Valley Floral Farms in Oxnard!
We also visited Sun Valley In Arcata CA- Have you been? It’s a treat- and Lane built this Tulip and Iris Farm – in the perfect place.. for growing Tulips and Iris… I got a personal tour- and Lane shared the magic behind how they grow tulips and iris…
Here’s that link… A Visit to Sun Valley Floral Farms in Arcata- with Lane!
The visit to Arcata- was also featured in Episode 6- Year Long Spring- on J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom -Watch it now!
I have a LOT of Flower Friends- that are personal heroes to me… for many different reasons- perhaps (more than likely) they don’t even know that I consider them a hero- but today I want to share some of those stories with you- Stories of my friends… that I believe are heroes!
At the same time- I want to share their stories- so you can learn more about them… and how they grow flowers and plants. I know we all have time on our hands- (far to much right now)- Important to note- part of the mission of Public Television- (where we present- J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom) encourages “comforting” content- in uncertain times…
These Flower Tour videos- will let you meet my friends- my Flower Heroes and hopefully offer a happy distraction- with Flowers! Sit back and relax- and come along as we visit these Flower Farms- and learn more about Flowers!
Back in 2010 – a Decade ago- we came up with a concept for a Documentary Series- in conjunction with CA Grown- and the amazing flower industry folks that grow and distribute flowers in California. This documentary was designed to highlight these American Flower Farms and Flower Sellers. View the entire FREE Archive of the CA Grown Experience on uBloom Here!
Another set of Positive Flower Power Heroes are Mel Resendiz and Diana Roy at Resendiz Brothers in Fallbrook CA. We visited Mel on our first trip to California…
For our Next Visit- Mel and Diana had a great idea- they wanted to make a video that was more about the tour of the farm- and the beauty of the flowers and location! WOW!
In this video I actually get to make a bouquet on top of a mountain in Fallbrook. I know- WOW Again! I remember that day and experience so distinctly! We were hurrying- rushing to set up the shot- (Directors Note) you can see the storm coming in the background- and were trying to get it done before the storm set in…everyone was very busy- and when you rush- and hurry- you don’t experience everything… just sayin’!
Kelly came up and said- “I just want you take a second and look where you are arranging Mel’s flowers… it’s a once in a lifetime experience! I don’t want YOU to miss it”… That’s why he’s the “guy in the back in the room” – he sees so much- and makes sure I don’t miss out!
We stopped- took a breath- and everyone took a minute or two- to just marvel – in the amazing location Mel and Diana provided for this flower moment- A Once in a lifetime experience for sure! Sign up for Resendiz Brothers Newsletter here – it’s a Great Dose of Positivity!
And we feature that Moment in Episode 2- Protea- lasting beauty- on J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom!
I’ve got great memories – provided by life long history in the flower industry… it’s a treasured blessing to be sure! I recall visiting the Historic San Francisco Flower Mart when I was 7- it was the summer of 1967… and I went with my Dad- at 3am- on a bus tour with the Society of American Florists to visit this Historic Location- it’s still one of my very favorite places on the Planet…
Whenever I am in San Francisco- I have to go to the Flower Mart- I have to get up early at 3am- I have to get a coffee- I have to walk around and see amazing flowers and life-long flower friends…visiting with friends I’ve known “forever” both Botanical and Human… there’s also some pretty cool Dogs there too!
Here’s a visit to the Historic San Francisco Flower Mart- keep these amazing people in your thoughts- as we navigate one of the largest challenges we’ve encountered in the flower industry! Visit the SF Flower Mart Website to learn more!
We made another visit a year later- This video includes a few of the vendors- including one of my favorite Dogs- Sally- at Figone Nursery, My friends at Torchio Nursery- and more inside the Historic San Francisco Flower Mart
Another HERO- when it comes to Flowers- is my Friend Roy Borodkin- he’s now retired and sold his business Brannan Street this past year. We miss Roy- he’s amazing… and when we toured Brannan Street- my lifelong friend Barbara- took us on the tour… Talk about Fun- this is Flower Power – for sure- and spending the morning- (we actually started at 11pm to film this… so we’re outside with the moon at Midnight… yep!!) with Barbara at Brannan Street is just Flower Power Fun!
Roy is retired- and I miss him- we visited Roy before he departed- it was an amazing day- walking through the flowers- just like always- I remember I gave Roy a big hug- and he gave me a “smack” on the cheek- and said “I love you Buddy”… Right back attach Roy… You’re my Hero!
We made three trips to California- each time filming more episodes- with different flower farms- or returning to ones- for yet another story! We visited Eufloria Flowers- Three Times- I highlighted their videos in my Blog about Eufloria- that has recently announced- they are OPEN For Business again!
We made 3 Trips to Mellano & Company as well. The Mellanos- and Schwankes go back a long way- we’ve been family friends for decades… let’s visit 3 of their flower operations! First to visit their farm- that is a patchwork quilt of amazing foliage and flowers- including Myrtle and Eucalyptus with my Friend Mike A Mellano!
Then we visited Mellano & Company Wholesale in the LA Flower Market- with my friend Bob Mellano… and I got to arrange with their incredible flowers- including some Ranunculus…
And then we made our way to the Historic Carlsbad Flower Fields- This visit was with my Favorite “Mellano”… Michelle Castellano Keeler- and her Mom and Dad joined us for coffee and doughnuts in the fields- The Mellano are caretakers of the Flower Fields… and if you’ve never been… YOU need to put this on the bucket list…
When I look back at this series- I realize- how fortunate I am- to have been able to visit these Flower Farms and Flower Facilities- with a film crew- capturing a visit- I can share with millions of people. This Series has experienced over 35 Million views – on Youtube, Vimeo, uBloom and more…
Another Incredible visit was with Rene Van Wingerden at Ocean Breeze near Santa Barbara- recently- Rene and his son Ivor- gave away 30,000 Gerbera Daisies in true FLOWER POWER Form… this was another day- filled with great memories- Rene and I are both offspring of flower families… and this was a Bucket List Day- I got to spend the day in his truck- in the fields- steaming soil- ( we steamed soil to clean it back when I was a kid in the greenhouses- and that smell is a memory maker!!) and finally- I got to do the “Nestea Plunge” into a Pool of Gerbera Daisies at Rene’s House… now there’s a LIFE TIME Memory!
Here’s the Visit to Ocean Breeze International with my Friend Rene- Pay Special attention to the interview- This Amazing Man- has a Heart the Size of California- and he another one of my personal heroes!
In Season 1 of Life in Bloom- we visit Succulent Gardens- and then owner Robyn- (who is an avid professional surfer) – he toured us around his Succulent Garden- and we learned so much about Succulents- and had an amazing time…
You can watch Episode 5- Succulents- the Not Quite Flowers- here…
And you can experience the entire Visit to succulent gardens with Succulent Expert Robin- here…
We also visit Westerlay Orchids on J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom- in Episode 13- Demystifying Orchids and visit with my friend Toine Overgag
Season 2 of Life in Bloom will include a visit with my Life Long Friend Robert Kitayama- and his brother Stuart- and Cousin David…in the show about Japanese Flower Art- and if you want to see more and also get to see another of my favorite Flowers- The Stemmed Gardenia- and visit the flower growing greenhouses- with Jimmy- their grower… you can do that Now!
Robert also introduced me to the Last American Carnation- the Akiyama Family! Since we grew carnations in our greenhouses in Nebraska when I was a kid- this was like taking a step back in time… to see this historical family flower operation.
We were on a quest- in this series to find a grower that still grew carnations in the USA… and Robert got us hooked up to see them- Check out the Video Here-A Visit to Akiyama Nursery- the last Carnation Grower in America!
There are over 40 Videos in this entire series…
The Entire Series is located in our CA Grown Experience Archive!- and all the episodes are FREE To watch-
The Power of Flowers is truly amazing- and my Flower Friends truly are turning these uncertain times in opportunity- and creating Flower Power! Nothing really says it better… than this Music Video we created with the permission of Pharrell Williams- to “Happy”… it’s a compilation of our visits- and these amazing flower folks- Singing and Dancing… It shows the power of flowers- and shows off these amazing heroes in style!
Join me- and Let’s get “Happy With Flowers” in this video!- you’ll recognize lots of faces from the videos above- and it’s just plain fun to watch Flower Farmers dancing and singing…
As you navigate the days ahead- when things are challenging, or uncomfortable- look to the flowers… Picking up a bouquet on your next grocery run- bringing a few flowers inside- or looking at pictures of flowers- will help you feel less stressed- decrease depression- and make you feel happier…
That’s what my friends have to offer- Flowers and Flower Power for Today, Tomorrow and the Future!