The American Horticultural Society (AHS) and national partners launch “the 50 state flower garden project”

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) 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.

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 information:
Brian Bauman
American Horticultural Society
+1 202-386-3246
bbauman@ahsgardening.org 
www.ahsgardening.org 


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