J Schwanke, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, has had a pretty covetable start to the holiday season. For the past week, the founder of uBloom.com has been in Roland, Arkansas, decorating Moss Mountain Farm and talking all things floral with the property’s owner, television personality P. Allen Smith.
Schwanke filled Florist 2.0 in on his time in The Natural State and what readers can expect to see on PBS in the coming months.
F20: Tell us a little about the show. When will it air?
JS: We filmed seven segments that will air over the next twelve months. Additionally, the upcoming season of “P. Allen Smith Garden Home” will include many segments I have previously taped with him. There’s not a specific airdate, as all PBS syndicated stations are independent and allowed to decide when to premiere.
The “Deck the Halls” episode, in which I decorate the farm for Christmas, is currently running on PBS and on YouTube (for a nominal fee of $1).
F20: What are you doing in the shows?
JS: I appear as “the flower expert,” giving tips, tricks, hints, and inspiration for creative flower-arranging projects. For instance, in one of the shows, I create a bundled arrangement using ‘Dragon’s Breath’ celosia, a red carnation topiary, and Ilex berry container gardens. Other segments will include:
- a centerpiece cut from the ever-blooming hydrangeas at Moss Mountain
- a garden-inspired arrangement using kale, mustard leaf, hyacinth bean pods, and garden roses
- an arrangement of all-green garden items, including gourds, artichokes, hedge apples and ‘Green Trick’ dianthus
- an arrangement featuring feathers and plumes from the poultry at Moss Mountain
…plus more fun ideas for the holidays!
F20: How did you become friends with P. Allen Smith?
JS: We met at the Dallas Market Center a few Januaries ago, when Allen was the keynote speaker. I was his liaison and “tour guide.” We became fast friends. He invited Kelly, my husband, and me to come to the farm and we shot a few segments together. We’ve kept up with one another and we both love sharing our passion for flowers, plants, and design.
Our friendship and shared passions share well on camera and off. He has been instrumental in helping us launch “Life in Bloom,” which will air in the spring (more on this later!) and we have created cross over episodes for each other’s shows.
Sometimes you meet someone and you just click. I enjoy P. Allen’s sense of humor and we have a similar approach to our passions. It’s great to have a friend who understands what it’s like to produce a TV show—or weekly web-based web series and documentaries!
F20: I’ve noticed a lot of familiar names tagged in your posts over the past week. How has this show helped you promote you friends in the industry?
JS: National television—and the huge following that Allen has—allows us to educate anyone interested about flowers, including where they come from and who produces them. Knowledge is power. This is about tearing down barriers and introducing them to the passionate people around the world responsible for their favorite products.I love every flower and every type of foliage and want to share the virtues of the people behind them. I don’t see national borders or competitors. My focus is encouraging more people to enjoy more flowers and foliage more often.
We have an amazing network of flower industry friends who support our efforts.
I’m honored and fortunate to have them. Kelly and I are dedicated to help them promote and market their great flowers, foliage, and design products that help make flower arranging fun and rewarding, whether you’re a professional florist or a complete novice. We want to make sure that EVERYONE knows where their flowers, foliage, and design products come from.