Susan McLeary

KEYNOTE | The Creative Journey: Finding Your Artistic Voice, Truth and Expression

30-minute keynote, 30-minute design demo, Q&A

Sue keeps her creative imagination alive by continually pursuing new work, new techniques and new ideas. She will kick off the Slow Flowers Summit with a new, original, highly personal presentation sharing and encouraging you with her approach to nurturing and sustaining a creative life.

Followed by a signing for Sue's first book, The Art of Wearable Flowers

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Abra Lee


Abra has lectured extensively on African-Americans and Ornamental Horticulture, gathering her research of 600 years of history from pre-colonial Africa to today and the artistic contributions of Black gardeners, horticulturists, educators and landscape architects to the green profession. While continuing her research for her upcoming book on the subject, Abra has unearthed an incredible narrative of Black Americans in floristry. She will share these stories of people, their flowers and their entrepreneurism in a new talk for the Slow Flowers Summit audience.

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Max Gill


Max Gill has said of his work: "I'm always botanically inspired. What I find most compelling in nature is when plants are struggling to find their place in the environment. As they fight to overcome the challenges of space and light, often surprising us with their juxtaposition, they create beauty through adaptation."
Slow Flowers Summit attendees will enjoy Max's masterful design demonstration, inspired by the historic Filoli House and Gardens. 

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Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Molly Culver and Emily Saeger


Led by Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, a panel of farmer-florists will share how their roots in sustainable agriculture has shaped their design aesthetic. Hear each presenter's personal journey through farming to floral design, and enjoy visual inspiration as each demonstrates a signature arrangement using all locally-grown seasonal flowers.​

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Lorene Edwards Forkner


Since early 2018, Lorene has been plucking a plant and capturing its colors in simple watercolor gestures, which she then posts to her Instagram account @gardenercook. The project, which began as a daily meditative practice has grown into a lively community of people learning to slow down and make time to really see.​

Lorene will share a visually-inspiring presentation on being an intentional observer of nature's pigments. She will share a brief primer on color mixing. Then using watercolors and working from fresh botanicals found at Filoli's extensive gardens, participants will explore hidden hues and details. No previous experience is necessary—this isn’t botanical illustration so much as an exercise in concentration and seeing with fresh eyes.

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Pilar Zuniga


Since launching Gorgeous and Green as an event floral business and later a Berkeley retail floral and gift store, Pilar Zuniga has built an enduring brand around sustainable design. Today, through her design studio, Pilar uses her platform to advocate for beautiful sustainability, including chemical-free design techniques and mechanics. Learn how her personal values have shaped Gorgeous and Green's brand and mission in the marketplace. 

Pilar's illustrated presentation will be followed by a demonstration of her signature floral style using all-local botanical elements.


Jennifer Jewell

CAPSTONE | Earth in Her Hands: The Power of Women Working in the World of Plants

Based on her book, The Earth in Hands: 75 Remarkable Women Working in the World of Plants, Jennifer Jewell explores how women specifically around the world are re-imagining horticulture through innovative horticultural and cultural endeavors—making the many branches of horticulture more creative and viable career paths for a wider diversity of people. They and their work profoundly and positively impact the larger world: environmentally, culturally, economically—making them inspiring role models for all. Jennifer will share how many of the women she profiles creatively navigate the challenging ideal of work-life balance. The main lesson? Balance is not a destination but an ongoing and highly dynamic process in which women face common challenges and embrace coping mechanisms and solutions through their careers.

Followed by signing of Jennifer's book, The Earth in Her Hands.