Floral Art & Design at the Slow Flowers Summit

Our Speakers elevate local flowers with their beautiful aesthetic

The 2021 Slow Flowers Summit brought local flowers, sustainable design, a seasonal aesthetic and amazing creatives who inspired our audience with their sensitivity to place and time. Here are their designs – from the Slow Flowers Summit stage at Filoli Historic House & Garden.


Max Gill, Max Gill Design (Berkeley, California)

All of the botanicals featured in Max Gill’s demonstration originated from the gardens at at our host venue, Filoli Historic House & Garden. Max was drawn to the vegetable displays for cardoon, artichoke and herbal elements. He contributed clematis vines from his own garden in Berkeley. (c) Missy Palacol Photograph

Max selected a large etched metal urn for his display. Mechanics include a vintage pin frog and chicken wire (c) Jenny M. Diaz Photograph


Max calls himself a “Monochromatist,” which is reflected in his serene botanical palette (c) Jenny M. Diaz Photography


Susan McLeary, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Susan McLeary’s vibrant hanging installation set the stage and created a beautiful backdrop at the Slow Flowers Summit (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Marigolds, yarrow and citrus (left); Susan McLeary teaching sustainable techniques (right) (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Details of Susan’s suspended three-dimensional floral sculptures (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Sue taught us her “green” mechanics, including this sustainable “burrito” with foliages wrapped with chickenwire (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Susan McLeary presented her keynote: “The Creative Journey: Finding Your Artistic Voice, Truth and Expression” — demonstrating one of her favorite design “hacks” to stimulate creativity (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Inspired palette and shape, by Susan McLeary (c) Missy Palacol Photography



Teresa Sabankaya, Bonny Doon Garden Co., Santa Cruz, California

Our local host, Teresa Sabankaya, of Bonny Doon Garden Co., demonstrated her popular “message” posies and invited guests to make their own posies (c) Jenny M. Diaz Photography


Teresa’s posy incorporates flowers with meaning, as featured in The Posy Book (2019), which she signed for Slow Flowers Summit guests after her presentation (c) Jenny M. Diaz Photography



Sustainable Farming x Floral Design, with Kellee Matsushita-Tseng of UC Santa Cruz and Second Generation Seeds; Emily Saeger (Filoli Horticulture alumnae) and Molly Culver of Molly Oliver Flowers

Our fabulous panel, from left: Emily Saeger, Molly Culver and moderator Kellee Matsushita-Tseng (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Kellee discusses her botanical selections while designing (and moderating the panel!) (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Kellee Matsushita-Tseng’s floral arrangement incorporating all local and California-grown botanicals, mostly harvested from the flower beds at Filoli Historic House & Garden (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Emily Saeger, Filoli alumna and Masters in Landscape Architecture candidate at University of Washington (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Emily’s floral arrangement features a California native, wild and dried botanical palette (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Molly Culver of Brooklyn-based Molly Oliver Culver (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Molly Culver’s seasonal arrangement in a vintage container selected from a Filoli vase collection (c) Missy Palacol Photography



Pilar Zuniga, Gorgeous and Green (Oakland, California)

Pilar Zuniga spoke on the topic of “Branding the Sustainable Floral Business,” followed by one of her signature designs (c) Missy Palacol Photography


Pilar’s lush, local and seasonal arrangement (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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