Sombreuil Climbing Rose 1850

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Dear Friends, Flower and Food Lovers,
Due to a broken wing, aka elbow, the Chief Rose Rangler is unable to continue harvesting olives to be pressed into oil or harvest the big luscious roses that we take to the Joy Bus charity every week.  This email is physically and emotionally difficult to send but we do need help.

If we can get three volunteers today, Tuesday, or tomorrow, Wednesday, or Thursday by 8 a.m. we can finish the olive harvest.  3.5 people picked 150 pounds in less than 3 hours yesterday.  We need to harvest 150 more pounds, that’s just 5 five gallon buckets.  Some of these olives are up high and will require tall people who are comfortable on ladders. You will be rewarded in fresh pressed olive oil proportionate to the assistance you lend us.   You could even accompany us to drive the olives to the mill if that is of interest to you.  If you were the recipient of some of our oil last year you know how great it is.  If not this is your opportunity to try some very fresh, very clean Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Thursday morning at 7 a.m. we could use a couple of volunteers to harvest roses and put them with some fresh herbs and greenery into the 40 bud vases.  The more hands that help the less time it will take.  The vases then need to be delivered to The joy Bus Diner.  It is located at the 51 and Shea.  You will be rewarded with all the feels knowing your hands created flower arrangements that will go to people who are at home undergoing cancer therapies.  You will also be rewarded with the opportunity to select roses to take home for yourself or giving Or if you accompany me to The Joy Bus Diner to carry the vases in I’ll treat you to a meal.  They know how to cook it up and the hospitality is always warm & welcoming.

Join us for either or both!  You just bring yourself and wear closed toe shoes, sun hat, sun screen, long sleeved shirt, gloves long pants.  Bring a gallon of water.  Dehydration can sneak up when you are working outside.  We’ll provide rose pruners, and olive rakes.  We can also have donuts, bagels, pastries whatever your preference and of course water to refill. 

RSVP to this email if you can help out.  We’ll respond with a confirmation with directions, etc.

With deep gratitude to all of you who can step up to help on our little, tiny, suburban, boutique, bespoke, micro farm.  ; < )
Wish you Well.

Saturday, November 25, 2017



Here's hoping you enjoyed your holiday.   
You were among who & what we are thankful every day.  

If you're a Black Friday Shopper why not carry on 

A day to check out Local growers, crafters, artisans & businesses.  
They appreciate your business &! support every day & especially as holiday shopping begins.  

Try it you may like it.  

If you're not a competitive shopper SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY is for you.  Or perhaps your holiday flowers need refreshing or you want to be in a quieter pace.

 We have flowers, herb greenery & a few other things for you to leisurely pick through.  We have the full rainbow of colors & if you're into big, at this time of year roses grow their biggest. 😃 

We'll be harvesting roses & olives so you're on your honor.  But you can call us with questions 480-483-0060.  Enjoy your weekend!

Wish you well.

Our neighbors beautifully planted rusty cast iron urn.  We love it!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


One of the things we enjoy about Instagram is getting to know people from all around the world.  We especially like to see what other flower farmers are doing.  This is a repost from The Low Tox Life with Alexx Stuart in Australia.  She interviewed two Australian flower farmers Danielle White and Celine Watz of  Floral By Nature.  We feel we are kindred spirits with these Aussies.   With rare exceptions we have been growing flowers and food without chemicals since 1979.  Since learning about sustainability methods and more recently regenerative methods of growing we strive to align with those as well.

Enjoy the article and then consider joining us for a class at the Desert Botanical Garden www.dbg.org on Monday and Tuesday Novmeber 6 & 7 with Debra Prinzing, author of The 50 Mile Bouquet and founder of Slow Flowers http://slowflowers.com!  Look for the class on Artisanal Flowers.  On the first night learn about the status of US and AZ flower farming.  On the second evening you'll learn about flower arranging from a local florist using locally grown flowers!  A twofer!  

What do you see when you see these?
And how about these?
Well, one of them is of beautiful, local flowers grown sustainably (the top ones!) and the other comes from another continent, shipped over and sprayed with potent chemicals such as Round Up and Methyl Bromide on arrival to meet our customs guidelines, and possibly produced by farm workers not earning a living wage. The question is: Do we know where our flowers come from, if they’re fairtrade and if they’re chemically treated? The answer is often “I haven’t got the faintest. I buy because they’re pretty!” And that’s fine. That’s where you might be at today, but knowing there are a few key factors in buying responsibly: It’s time to rethink our flowers, don’t you think?
This was one of the more recent realisations I made a couple of years ago, and many of you will have seen me instagram @lowtoxlife various beautiful, locally grown flowers I’ve bought for family and team members since. It’s something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while and as synchronicity has it, I’ve made friends with a wonderful local floriculturist – aka flower farmer – on instagram and now have a magnificent guest post for you to get the low down on SLOW FLOWER FARMING. I hope you enjoy it. It’d be a beautiful thing to unite on instagram with the #lowtoxlife #lowtoxflowers hashtags and see what we were all inspired to find out and about choosing a bouquet from locally grown, sustainable flowers.
Take it away Danielle White and Celine Watz from Floral By Nature…

By Danielle White & Celine Watz | Members of Consortium Botanicus, Australia
While we’re all pretty familiar with the global slow-food movement and the positive effect it has had on our understanding of the benefits of growing and eating local, healthy, low-tox, real food, well, sustainability, provenance, low toxicity and ethics apply to the flower industry too.
Aside flowers that are naturally toxic to humans and animals (Hemlock, Foxgloves, Daffodils and Lilies to name a few), a large percentage of flowers world-wide are sprayed, dipped and preserved using a range of toxic pesticides, fungicides and fumigants.
As a result, many of the flowers we see in florists and supermarkets – imported and Australian-grown – bring with them residual chemicals, flower miles, environmental costs and health and exploitation issues. The true cost of these ‘fast-flowers’ is hidden behind their pretty petals. Not to mention the toll that imported fast-flowers take on small-scale Australian floriculture, our health and our appreciation for what is grown locally and seasonally.
In recent years, these issues have seen the cut-flower industry expand into artisanal, holistic, micro-farms around the world.
Sometimes, it’s not until others show us new ways to view things that we stop and think about what we might otherwise take for granted. For the past decade, three American women have been doing just that and to great effect; Amy Stewart, Debra Prinzing and Erin Benzakein. In 2007, Amy wrote her New York Times’ best-seller Flower Confidential; an exposé of the global flower industry that asks if there is such a thing as a socially responsible flower. Five years later, in 2012, Deborah wrote The 50 Mile Bouquet; a guide to organic flower-growing, gathering and design and, all the while, in Washington’s Skagit Valley, Erin and her family were putting seasonal, artisanal flower farming into practice at Floret Farm; their two-acre cut-flower farm devoted to trialling flowers, foliage and edibles and teaching workshops for fellow farmers, designers and flower lovers the world over. From these beginnings, the American Slow Flowers movement was born and Floret Farm’s stunning Instagram account helped artisanal, low-tox flower farming become a world-wide inspiration.
Back in Australia, while the percentage of flowers imported annually might sit at around just 10%, many of Australia’s large, commercial flower growers make extensive use of genetic engineering and harmful pesticides, which for non-edibles has comparatively little regulation of residue. According to the Organic Gardener Magazine, “The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA) indicates there are around 100 different pesticide active ingredients permitted for use on flowers. The list includes highly toxic insecticides such as chlorpyrifos, diazinon and endosulfan (now banned in over 60 countries), persistent herbicides such as simazine (a known groundwater contaminate) and fungicides like thiram, which is a nervous system poison that also causes developmental and reproductive effects.” So, the simple message is, if you don’t know the provenance of your cut flowers then, “it’s probably safer not to bury your nose in among them and, when they’re spent, don’t put them in the compost bin.” * How crazy is that!? Not on our low tox watch, right? (that last bit is me, Alexx, interjecting as I am horrified by this!)
Here to change all that, Consortium Botanicus is the initiative of a bunch of Australian flower farmers, farmer-florists and floral designers who produce and use seasonal, sustainable, bio-diverse, low-tox flowers for their local cut-flower markets. As members of the consortium, we grow flowers on artisanal-scale family properties that range in size from half-an-acre to several acres. Together, we aim to plant a seed that will blossom into a floral renaissance throughout Australia. We hope that mindful eco-conscious flower-lovers, florists, stylists, wedding and event planners and DIY couples seeking an ethical alternative to buying imported, out-of-season, toxic blooms can now source their flowers from Australia’s collaborative bunch of flower farmers via our online Collective Directory. We’re also asking flower farmers and florists who fit with our philosophy to apply to become a member and get a free listing on our website so that together we can promote healthier flowers Australia-wide.
In our experience, once our clients become aware and attuned to the beauty of naturally-grown flowers, the all-too-perfectly-formed, all-too-colour-exact, available in-any-season flowers can seem a bit off-putting. Especially, when compared to field-grown flowers like roses, peonies, dahlias, ranunculus and blossom whose perfume and diversity are precious and beautiful and evanescence is viewed as something that adds value rather than something that needs to be bred-out.
Knowing the provenance and ethics of decorative and edible flowers is just as important as knowing where your milk comes from!
Below are 6 steps to practicing a low-tox botanic life that can help to create a more sustainable, less toxic ‘Australia Botanica’.
I. Shop Truly Local
Just like food and wine, provenance matters when it comes to buying flowers. Buy locally-grown-not-flown, low-tox flowers, foliage, seeds and edibles. Ask your florist which ones are grown by local, small farms. They’ll know! You can often buy directly from the farmers, or find a stylist, florist, wedding and event planner that sources local and sustainable flowers in their arrangements. Think daisy-chain not supply-chain!
II. Support Change Makers
Support the farmers, growers, makers, designers and doers who farm using sustainable, low-tox, ethical methods without harmful pesticides. These small businesses, in turn, help small regional communities and the environment to survive and thrive, build resilience and remain healthier. Support the change-makers and strive to make sustainable, ethical flower farming a bloomin’ success.
III. Ask Questions
Sometimes the unscrupulous use words like ‘Fresh’ and ‘Local’ to trick unaware consumers. ‘Fresh’ might mean not dead. ‘Local’ might mean that they were purchased from the local flower market BUT from a wholesaler who imports them from Africa, China and Colombia where they were fumigated and harvested days ago! When in doubt, ask! Don’t just rely on branding and labelling. How long ago were these flowers cut from the field? Where is that field located, exactly? Does the grower use toxic chemicals? Were they fumigated? Are these flowers in-season in Australia? Get the drift petals!
IV. Go Seasonal
If you’re planning a wedding or event or you just love having flowers in your home or at work, then choose seasonal. Rather than insist on certain florals that are unavailable or out of season and costly (money + footprint) to fly in, ask us or your stylist or florist to let you know which locally-grown flowers will be in season. Botanic designers and event stylists are talented folks so you’re more likely to get a beautiful one-off look. Or, alternatively, think ahead and plan your occasion to occur when your favourite flowers are in season!
V.  Buy The Best You Can Afford
Flowers are food for the soul; their perfume reminds us of special milestones and celebrates the joy of life itself. What value do you place on those who farm flowers with your health in mind? Paying a little more for low-tox, local florals brings happiness, colour and fragrance to your special event, home and loved-ones plus it keeps your money in your own economy, which helps grow healthy communities + makes us all smile.
VI. Join Consortium Botanicus
If you’re a flower farmer, farmer-florist, floral designer, then hop on over to the Consortium Botanicus website and apply to join their Collective Directory to help sow and grow the seeds of low-tox floriculture! Resources and links are below! Thanks for having us on the Low Tox Life blog, Alexx to spread the word on SLOW FLOWERS!

And here are a couple of Celine’s beautiful floral arrangements from her instagram @floral.by.nature

Yay! Thank you so much Danielle and Celine for writing this wonderful, simple guide with a couple of great books for you to read if you fancy following up this topic in greater detail.
Here’s to low tox flowers from now on, and enjoy having a chat to your florist about where the flowers are grown and how so we can all raise awareness and vote with our dollars – our florists will buy differently if we start ordering differently.
Pro tip from me if you get asked whether you want a water bath at the bottom in that plastic wrap they do? Pack a small serviette and beeswax wrap  so that you can wet the serviette and cover it yourself to keep the stems damp, AND ask for no plastic pre-wrap – Brown paper is gorgeous, rustic and tied with a beautiful bow, it’s all you need!
Low Tox. Happy People. Happy Planet.


Flower Confidential, Amy Stewart
The 50 Mile Bouquet, Debra Prinzing
Cut Flower Garden, Erin Benzakein
* Organic Gardener Magazine, September/October, 2009
Further details contact:
Danielle White – Flower Farmer at Crofters Fold Estate, Macedon Ranges
m. 0408 797 438 | Insta: @croftersfold | www.croftersfold.com.au
Celine Watz – Flower Farmer-Florist at Floral by Nature, Blue Mountains
Insta: @floral.by.nature | www.floralbynature.com.au
Consortium Botanicus

Tuesday, October 31, 2017



The links below will show you who and what we flower farmers are and are not about.  If you spend 15 minutes watching the video from the ASCFG you'll come away with a breathe of fresh air about those wonders of nature that perfume our air, attract pollinators that give us fruits, vegetables and medicines, encourage our colleagues, comfort and delight our loved ones as well as passers-by.  When done with sustainable, water conserving and organic practices Flower Farming is a humbling and honorable way of life.  
We hope you'll agree and that you'll decide to support local flower farmers, wherever you or the recipient of your floral gift, are as your preferred suppliers of 
flowers -
 the food for your body, heart and soul.

We support or are members of all of these groups.  We've learned so much from each of these groups.  All of what we learn benefits us and in turn you, our supporters.
Keep this list handy for when you are not acquiring your flowers from us and want to let your conscience eve a part of what guides your floral purchases.
You may not see us listed because we are a bit shy but no less enthusiastic.

click on on Local Flowers, Local Farmers







If you want to delve more into the history and future of cut flowers in the USA we invite you to join us Monday and Tuesday evenings November 6 & 7 
6-8:30 p.m.
Desert Botanical Gardens   

Regular Price: $131.00
Member Price: $105.00

Product Image
Monday and Tuesday / Nov. 6 and 7 / 6 - 8:30 p.m.

Discover the background and future of our national cut floral industry with award-winning Slow Flowers Movement leader Debra Prinzing. Learn to grow trending botanicals from an Arizona flower farmer and design with local blooms. Floral artist Morgan Anderson, Ph.D. reviews the design process to assist in the step-by-step creation of your artisan botanical design to take and enjoy. All materials included. Limit 20.

Session Fall 2017: Mon, Nov 6, 2017 6:00PM - 8:30PM  

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


October is the "It" Month for gardeners in Maricopa County.
Check out this calendar for dates of the all the great places to get plants of the desert, plants to eat, plants to sniff, plants to shade you and more!

DBG Fall Plant Sale
Friday - Sunday, October 19 - 22  
Friday Members Only 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
Saturday: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
Sunday: 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

The largest collection of native and desert adapted plants for sale to the public.


Master Gardener Fall Festival & Plant Sale
Saturday, October 28: Fall Festival 
Sponsored by: Maricopa County Master Gardeners 
Location: Metro Tech High School 
Time: 8:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
This group is made up of mostly volunteers and they receive no funding. This is their major fund raiser.  Desert plant lovers will love the bargains galore.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum Plant Sale  
October 13 – 30: Fall Plant Sale 
Daily 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 
Friday, October 13 is for members only 
Plan to make a day of it so you can tour around the grounds.  The higher elevation makes for some different vegetation.  Excellent new additions to their collection.

AZ Rare Fruit Growers fall Plant Sale
Saturday, November 4: Fall Plant Sale 
Sponsored by Arizona Rare Fruit Growers 
Location: Mesa Community College 
Time: 8:00 a.m. to noon 
Rare and not so rare.  All kinds of deliciousness!



Tuesday, September 26, 2017


This is what many call Autumn in the Sonoran Desert, our "Second Spring".  
Isn't this why we struggle through Summer here to enjoy the next 7- 10 months of wonderful weather?!  
Get out the hammock and lawn games, Gladys!

It is a great time for planting the cool season veggies and herbs as well as growing glorious roses.  
In the Chief Rose Rangler's humble opinion roses are at their largest and 
most fragrant this time of year.  
So in anticipation of this Jill and Anne of Sweet Life and Tre Soli respectively, are offering 
hands on classes so you too can experience 
what a desert rose can truly be.  
We are also planning seasonal floral foraging, arranging and crafting classes for 
November and December. 

Those of you who have been to Jill & Anne's classes know that we keep them small so that there is time for  you to ask your questions and try out the techniques we teach.  
If you see a class you want to take but are unable to attend, please let us know.  
If we have enough others wanting it we will try to open an additional session.  
Have a lot of questions?  
Another option is to request Jill or Anne to do a private consult at your home with you and your roses.  

We look forward to teaching and assisting you to enjoy your gardens as much as we enjoy ours.  
Here are our class offerings as of now.

Summer Rose Revival  on Friday, October 6,  10-11 - $25
Roses looking a bit crispy Bunkie?  No fear roses are resilient   We’ll show you and walk you through how do a “rose reset” including light pruning, fertilizing, watering and how this differs from summer and winter needs.  And hips!  What about them?  How to get them if you want them.  And no we're not talking about another slice of chocolate cake, though we do like our chocolate!  

Fall General Potted Rose Selection, Planting & Care on Friday, Oct 13,  9-10 - $25  
Off to a good start: Garden Centers will have roses in five gallon pots for you to plant now.  Where and how to plant, sun exposure, soil & watering needs, fertilizer, compost, mulch, light pruning will all be covered.  How to select a healthy potted rose and signs that indicate it should thrive in your garden.  Average life span of roses will also be discussed. 

Fall General Rose Care Continued on Friday, October 20,  9-10 a.m. - $25

Thorns in your side:  Weeds &  Pests – bugs and rodents, disease - common rose afflictions in Maricopa County.  An ounce of prevention is worth ...well ...well worth whatever precautions you take.  A healthy garden is a garden in harmony.  Learn what instruments will make beautiful garden music. What to look for – signs of damage, or how can you tell when a rose is dead?  General prevention and treatments will also be discussed with an emphasis on prevention!

RSVP to reserve your place in any of the three classes by sending us an email with the title(s) of the class that you want to attend.  The address and directions will be sent to you when we confirm your reservation.  We keep the classes small so they do fill up quickly.  If you are unable to attend please notify us 48 hours in advance so that there is time for for us to offer your spot to someone else.  Payment for class is due when you arrive.

Fall is the best season for roses here in the Valley of the Sun so don’t give up, Bunkie.  
Don’t miss out on these opportunities to grow your best roses yet.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Apples and roses for you!

And You 

And you too!

And tomorrow a few more peaches & nectarines

Check our Instagram@azgardenfresh

for more photos and text.

We've got to get back out there to pick for you.

Hope you stop by soon.