2022 Speaker Profile: Xenia D'Ambrosi

Meet Xenia D'Ambrosi, our local host, who will bring her design talents to the Slow Flowers Summit on Day One. Contributor Jo Ellen Meyers-Sharp recently interviewed Xenia D'Ambrosi for this Slow Flowers Summit feature.

Gardening came into Xenia D’Ambrosi’s life during a health crisis. While undergoing breast cancer treatments, she began volunteering at local farms, including at the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. Having her hands in the soil was therapeutic and ultimately, life-changing.

Xenia's diagnosis and treatment coincided with the final months of a successful financial banking career in commercial real estate finance. She left that professional chapter in 2010 as her life’s demands changed along with personal priorities. “I was working all the time and I had two kids at home who needed me,” she explains.

Xenia and her family had moved from the city to the outer suburbs of Westchester County, in Pound Ridge, New York, where they inherited a small backyard garden. “I loved to be there on the weekends," she recalls. "This is where I taught myself a lot about gardening.”

​This NYC gal grew up without a blade of grass to call her own. Her encounter with garden therapy sparked a new passion for connecting with plants, nature, and the soil. Xenia took classes at the New York Botanical Garden and in 2011 received a Certificate in Gardening and Sustainable Practices. In 2012 she formed and incorporated Sweet Earth Co. and serves as lead designer and farmer-florist. Sweet Earth Co. specializes in sustainably-grown specialty cut flowers and herbs, and in designing sustainable gardens and floral installations.

Today, Xenia operates her commercial flower farm on the acreage surrounding an 1800's-built farmhouse. The fields, barn, and design studio teem with life, energy, and creativity. Pollinators abound and the improved health of the soil are good for the environment and for her business. Sweet Earth Co. produces a variety of flowers with a focus on peonies, lisianthus, and dahlias. “These are premium varieties and they look so much better when grown locally and not shipped.”

Xenia also grows herbs and has developed a line of herbal teas.

Sweet Earth Co.'s business mission includes an educational component, with a learning hub, workshops, a blog, and other student resources. Courses include wreath-making, seed-starting, or planning a cutting garden for floral design. One of her most popular is an after-hours session called Wine & Design. Xenia also conducts garden tours of her farm's demonstration gardens.

She and her husband also operate a modern luxury bed-and-breakfast in Cape Cod, designed to provide an experience that fills the senses. "Flowers are a big part of that, from the cutting gardens outside to the photo gallery curated to evoke an indoor flower garden," she explains.

Flowers have the ability to bring joy, inspiration, and healing

At the Slow Flowers Summit, Xenia will demonstrate bouquet-making and present her advice on cutting garden design. Her message: “You can grow your own bouquet with a focus on growing and cutting from seasonal flowers. Your designs are fresh and creative when you grow the flowers yourself.”

Clearly, the values of sustainable practices and good land stewardship are important to this floral entrepreneur. Her fields are a toolbox from which she pulls to create bouquets and arrangements for flower subscription members and for wedding and event clients.

Her work, she says, is a continuation of her Puerto Rican heritage. Her parents and relatives grew up farming. “This history of land stewardship and farming is engrained in my DNA.” Through flowers, Xenia has found her passion and her calling — “flowers have the ability to bring joy, inspiration, and healing.”

 

Slow Flowers Summit welcomes Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp as our profile contributor for the 2022 season. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp is the Hoosier Gardener. She’s a 25-year, award-winning veteran of print journalism and owner of Write for You! LLC, a freelance writing and editing business.

You can find her blog at hoosiergardener.com. Jo Ellen is immediate past president of GardenComm: GardenCommunicators International. She's the former editor of four regional gardening magazines. She is a garden coach and has a four-season commercial and residential container planting business. For nearly 25 years, she has worked at a large, independent garden center in Indianapolis, including a stint as buyer of perennials, trees and shrubs. A popular speaker, she has more than 50 5-star reviews at greatgardenspeakers.org.


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