For immediate release: May 19, 2022
The American Horticultural Society (AHS) and National Partners
Launch “The 50 State Flower Garden Project”
River Farm, VA: The American Horticultural Society (AHS), celebrating 100 years as the nation’s premier gardening organization, is announcing a special collaboration with national partners to celebrate the beauty and diversity of America’s horticultural heritage and traditions. The project is designed to highlight the personal and inspirational stories of the farmers, flower growers, gardeners, horticulturists, and artisans who root us together in common ground and the pursuit of beauty. The project, entitled The 50 State Flower Garden Project, also explores innovative themes and new trends in floriculture. “The 50 State Flower Garden Project, a modern take on what defines a state flower, is the perfect vehicle to help elevate our spirits and remind us of our common ground during difficult times,” notes Jill Brooke, editor-in-chief of Flower Power Daily and overall project coordinator.
Objectives: At the heart of The 50 State Flower Garden Project is the idea of expanding the definition of state flowers (last updated in the 1900s) to showcase the diversity of botanical varieties nationwide, and the stories – and people – behind them. The overarching goal is to highlight our shared roots in flowers through a combination of public exhibits, illustrative designs, exclusive products, and media features – eventually resulting in a modern flower garden representing every state based on flowers that actually grow there, beyond the legislatively-mandated varieties. By updating and modernizing our understanding of what defines a state’s most iconic flower, the project will bring fresh attention to the important role of flowers, gardens, and horticulture in everyday life and the parts they play in creating a healthy and sustainable future.
Public Engagement: To help identify the specific flowers that evoke a sense of place and memories state by state, The 50 State Flower Garden Project will incorporate public participation through multiple channels and formats: photography and garden design contests, social media engagement, and interviews with people across the country. The project’s goal is to create a dialogue and invite input from expert purveyors of specialty flowers to individual backyard garden enthusiasts about what best represents the beauty, individuality, and spirit of each state via flowers. In addition, The 50 State Flower Garden Project will emphasize how we all can achieve a positive impact through flowers and gardening with specific tips, techniques, and inspiration, for both cultivating and arranging flowers at home – whether it involves tending a simple urban window box, planting an enchanting cottage-style garden or growing a vast field of wildflowers.
Partners: AHS will serve as the non-profit, philanthropic partner for The 50 State Flower Garden Project, providing a national platform for communicating ideas and connecting people, along with disseminating horticultural knowledge and expertise. Jill Brooke, former CNN reporter and current editor-in-chief of Flower Power Daily, will function as the overall project coordinator. She will collect flower images and interview farmers and growers across the country, publishing these stories via a variety of media platforms. Camron King, CEO and Ambassador of Certified American Grown Flowers and Foliage will connect flower growers with The 50 State Flower Garden Project team and will also help procure representative sample flowers for each state. Michael Dehn Breault, CEO of Gibson & Dehn candles, is developing customized scents based on bouquets of flowers that exemplify each state. Anna Weatherley, renowned designer of hand-painted porcelain, will create decorative plates inspired by these new iterations of state flowers. A portion of proceeds from candle and porcelain sales will be donated to AHS and organizations that support American flower farms.
Next steps: Over the next few months, look for specific information about The 50 State Flower Garden Project, including interviews and stories about American flowers and farmers, to be posted on AHS (ahsgardening.org), Flower Power Daily (flowerpowerdaily.com), and The 50 State Flower Garden Project partner websites. Here, people will also find specific opportunities for public engagement, including photo and garden design contests as well as forums for soliciting feedback on new state flower ideas. For more project information, contact Jill Brooke at email@example.com.
50 State Flower Garden Project partners:
The American Horticultural Society (www.ahsgardening.org)
Certified American Grown (www.americangrownflowers.org)
Gibson & Dehn Candles (www.gibsonanddehn.com)
Anna Weatherley Designs (www.annaweatherley.com)
Jill Brooke (www.flowerpowerdaily.com)
AHS media contact: Brian Bauman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gibson & Dehn contact: Whitney Lasky (email@example.com)
Quotes: “AHS is thrilled to be part of the 50 State Flower Garden Project and we are delighted that Jill brought all of the partners together during AHS’ 100th anniversary year,” notes Laura Dowling, AHS Board member and former Chief Floral Designer at the White House. “We look forward to exploring these important themes and working with our partners to highlight both U.S. horticultural traditions and new innovations that focus on environmental conservation and sustainable gardening practices, she continued.”
“We are also trying to create conversations and focus on what roots us together,” says Michael Dehn Breault, CEO of Gibson & Dehn. “This is an opportunity to bring people together and focus on discussions about the beauty in our communities that we all share.”
“As an immigrant who came to this great country from Hungary, I am grateful to be part of this project and donate to the AHS and American floral farmers,” says Anna Weatherley, who designed the White House “Magnolia” botanical-themed, hand-painted porcelain dinner setting for former First Lady Laura Bush.
“We are so happy to be part of The 50 State Flower Garden Project,” says Camron King, CEO, and Ambassador of Certified American Grown. “In the past five years, interest in farming and knowing where products are coming from has increased and so too has interest risen in where flowers, foliage, and plants are sourced. Many small and boutique flower and foliage farms have launched across the country. Whether these innovative farmers are growing peonies in Alaska, dahlias in Michigan, marigolds in Texas, tulips in Virginia, exotic foliage in Florida, or poppies (and many other flowers) in California, America’s bounty in flowers and foliage cannot be celebrated enough. This project is a wonderful tribute to the beauty that is our country.”
“This is an exciting opportunity to champion American floriculture and the local growers, state by state, who create inspiration and beauty for all of us,” concludes Jill Brooke, editor-in-chief of Flower Power Daily.
ABOUT AHS: The American Horticultural Society (AHS), founded in 1922, is an educational, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making America “A land of sustainable gardens, cultivated by a diverse population with a common passion for plants.” Its mission is to share with all Americans the critical role of plants, gardens, and green spaces in creating healthy, livable communities and a sustainable planet. For more information about AHS or Historic River Farm, visit ahsgardening.org today.