Sombreuil Climbing Rose 1850

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.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

When Was The Last Time ...

…you loved you some Apple sauce?!
For some of us it was about one year ago.

We appreciate you fruit lovers who have been stopping by the honor market 
buying and enjoying our peaches and nectarines!  
They are about done but never fear


We are done picking for today.  You can find them in the coolers in the alcove by the front door.  
For those who stopped by yesterday during the cooler failure thank you for your patience 
please let us know how we make it up to you.  
We spent hours of time and many dollars of money correcting the problem and all is chill so,
 so to speak.

The apples are the Anna and Golden Dorsett variety.

  Last year we had an apple disease that we had to treat by putting the apple trees into what we call "suspended animation" for the season.  It saved their lives.
Pollinators certainly did their jobs this year.
Consequently the trees are more prolific that ever even if a season behind fertilization!
The usual sweet tart flavor of our apples is not as off the charts sweetly addictive this year but they are still crisp, juicy and tart.  

Taste is in the mouth of the taster, none-the-less we suggest applesauce with lemon and cinnamon added as an excellent way to enjoy this years harvest.  Sugar free!

It is sooo easy.  Wash the apples well.  No need to peel the skins that hold so much of an apples nutrition.  And they cook down to where you don't even know the skins are there.  Use a corer/slicer tool and toss the the apple slices into a pot, squirt a bit of fresh lemon onto the slices to prevent oxidation, browning.  Sprinkle with high quality cinnamon, or grind your own from cinnamon bark sticks or just toss in some cinnamon bark sticks.

We like the Saigon & Ceylon Cinnamons.   Fresh high quality cinnamon is important for maximum favor.  Continue to core & slice, squirt lemon and sprinkle cinnamon until you have covered the bottom of the pot.  Then turn the stove on medium as you continue to prep the apples and add as many apples to the pot as you'd like.  Stir frequently to prevent apples from burning on the bottom of pan.

Once the apples are bubbling you can turn it down to low.  Cook apples down to the consistency you prefer.   We once used a slow cooker and kept it going for days until it was of spreadable consistency…

Apple Butter on biscuits!  Mmmmm mmm good.

Call us for address and directions to our urban farm

Consult Maricopa County Extension publications for canning and storing fresh produce.
 Time for us to take a break
we'll be out there at dawn tomorrow picking
and feeding
and pruning
so that
you can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017




BYOBottles, Buckets, Bags & Bushels 

For the past two days 
five of us have been working hard gathering back in 
the Orchards and Gardens.  

And now you can enjoy the fruits of our labors.



Shop flowers from the photos on our blog

Give us a call or email if you want ROSES. 
We have every color.  Tell us your quantity, color and arrival time.
We will have them ready when you arrive.
And be sure to let us know if you'd like some jasmine or sweet lemon verbena with your bouquet, 
no extra charge for those.

Our APPLES are crisp, tart and the sweet is beginning to build.
They are cold and juicy in an alcove cooler.

The WHITE NECTARINES in our bags are today and tomorrows...
some are ready to eat today, others are firmer to eat another day.  

We love fruit hot off of the tree but for you they are 
Are all cold, juicy and sweet in an alcove cooler.

Change, if you need it, is in the pop bottle cap holders on the front of the coolers
Instructions are hanging there in the alcove by the front door.

If you do not see what you want, 
If we're there we're happy to come up front to assist you.  
It can take 2-3 minutes for us to come up front so patience please.
If we do not answer CALL 480-483-0060

There's plenty more of everything back there 
so let us know if you are baking a lot of pies for 4th of July
making applesauce 
having an event and it own't be complete without our rose girls.

We can gather more so let us know.

The Gardens at TRE SOLI FARM 
is located in a residential neighborhood 
in Scottsdale.

Call us for address and directions to our urban farm


We have many walkers, runners, children, bicyclers, 
dogs, cats, horses, roosters, goats, and even burrows 
who call our neighborhood home.
Do not put any of them at risk because you are in a hurry 
cannot wait to slurp your juicy fruit and face plant in our roses.  
Fruit and flowers are never an emergency.