Meet the President

Joanna Kalina, AIFD, CFD, IMF

Joanna currently lives in the Cedar Rapids area. She went to college to be a teacher before stumbling into the floral design world and realizing her new dream! She absolutely loves designing, but personalized sympathy work is her jam. One of Joanna’s current projects is to create photo shoots in the colors of the rainbow including floral design with the colors meaning and sharing them with you. She completed the Iowa Master Florist certification in 2013 and 7 years later was inducted as an AIFD designer. Joanna’s hobbies include photography, hanging out with friends and family, piano, and plants!

Joanna has been on the Iowa Florists’ Association’s board for 5 years now and is the new and current President. She is thrilled to be in her new role and can’t wait to see what the next 2 years hold for her, the Board, and all our wonderful Members. Joanna wants to put a lot of effort into not only securing new Members but really giving our current members good solid reasons to want to be a part and participate in this wonderful organization even though it’s continuously changing and evolving.

Joanna also wants to focus on Education during her term. Education in the Floral Industry is really at a minimum, as many Wholesalers have ceased a lot of their classes and workshops, Cedar Rapids’ Kirkwood Community College’s Floriculture program is no more, and Florists are doing the best that they know, but could flourish even more with education and networking all over the state of Iowa. In case you’re wondering, Joanna is the voice/typing hands behind most of the blog posts, she keeps the website updated and current, and helps with the social media posting.

Wedding Design Class

Congratulations to our 5 students, who all passed with flying colors! We encourage you to check out their beautiful bouquets for yourselves as proof. The Iowa Florists’ Association applauds all you students for your accomplishment and dedication to your education.

Here’s to Final Festing in September 2020 & ICF Graduation March 2021!

Thank you to the Flower Shop at Cedar Memorial for hosting our class, our wonderful students for making the commitment to their education, as well as a special thank you to Nancy Meckel and Joanna Kalina, AIFD for instructing!

Each student was instructed to design a hand-tied bridal bouquet, wire and tape a corsage, and design a bouquet in a bouquet holder, plus the beginnings of wiring a halo/garland as an extra tip to take to your own businesses. Way to go Ladies!

Left to Right/ Becky Greiner, Bonnie Silbaugh, TIna Sparks, Tracy Plummer and Tina Sullivan
Fudge’s Flowers & Gifts in Jefferson, Iowa. Becky Greiner, Bonnie Silbaugh (Owner), Tina Sparks


What does the color green symbolize?

According to google green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has a strong emotional correspondence with safety. The color wheel pro says that green has healing power. It is the most restful color to the human eye; it can improve vision. Green suggests stability and endurance.

In the floral world green is essential to most designs. There is nothing like a few sprigs or stems of a well-placed type of greenery to enhance and set your artistic piece off to the human eye. If you’re anything like me, greenery is one of the absolute staples to design with as you’ll see featured below in this “green” themed photo shoot!

Model: Nicole Kalina ( Thank you Nicki for being a great model)

Location: Family Farm – Vinton, Iowa

Photography & blog written by: Joanna Kalina, AIFD, CFD, IMF

When you just have to scavenge and add branches into the photo for that little extra bit of texture and color. Isn’t it a fun and different touch!?
Who wouldn’t like this combo as a centerpiece for their coffee table?

What kind of greenery is your favorite to design with? I want to encourage you wherever you are to bring that freshness, growth and peace into your customers and families life in any way you can. We have such an opportunity as floral artists!

Can anyone guess what color the next photo shoot will be?

Offline to Online

Good news, Friends!

The Iowa Florists’ Association Board has made the decision to move the Membership booklet strictly to an online form with a PDF printable version for those who like the tangible paper copy. The online version will have some really cool options.

  1. PDF Printable version
  2. Vendors/Sponsors that have purchased ads will have the ads in there as usual. However, customers, potential customer/clients and browsing members can click on the ad, and the click will take each viewer to your google listing for easier and faster and complete viewing.
  3. Members‘ Shop listings will be very similar to the Vendor option. Registered Members will have their shop/personal name and basic info listed which when clicked on, will take the viewer directly to your google listing for a faster and easier viewing as well.
  4. Personal Members listings will have the option to link to a website if chosen.
  5. Clean, green and user friendly viewing!

Thanks for your continued support!

For the Love of Orchids!

Written By: Fran Newsom, IMF

Orchids are one of the largest and oldest families of plants in the world. Over 30,000 species of orchids inhabit every part of our earth with only two exceptions, the driest deserts and Antarctica. 

Perhaps this is why they seem to have a magical beauty and allure that contributes to the belief that they are hard to grow. In reality, most are not difficult plants and some are practically indestructible. Humans crossbred species to create 150,000 hybrids with more appearing all the time and with a few basic tips, your orchids can grow, thrive and bloom!

Evidence of orchids appears from as long ago as 120 million years which also makes them some of the first flowering plants. Scientists have identified the oldest orchid fossil on record. A tiny gnat, preserved in amber, carrying a tinier bundle of orchid pollen from between 45 and 55 million years ago. It’s likely that orchids evolved in the Cretaceous Period, blooming alongside the dinosaurs, and have been enticing pollinators with their bright colors, bizarre shapes and unique scents for tens of millions of years. Several have an evolutionary relationship with a single bird or insect pollinator.

Unlike most plants, they do not grow in soil, but in the air and are called epiphytes because their roots attach to trees, rocks, and cliffs where they capture moisture and nutrients that wash over them in the rainforests. Because of their minimal water and soil requirements, orchids make good house plants.

The first step in caring for your orchid is learning what kind it is. Most of the orchids that are sold are hybrids created specifically for their flowers and ease of care in homes and offices. offers information about basic care for the most common kinds of orchids available for sale and are best suited for beginners.

There are only 3 orchid species native to Hawaii, but 32 species in 13 genera in Iowa and include some of our rarest plants. The most beautiful and showy native Iowa orchids have been at risk of being collected for most of this century. Many of our native Iowa orchids require a special fungi present in the soil to survive. For this reason, transplanting them almost always fails.

Most importantly, habitat destruction, dangers from pollution and climate change endanger many orchids. Please do everything you can to stop these threats because we are already losing many of these wondrous plants forever! You can help by reducing what you use, recycling and taking action to stop the destruction of the rainforests and wetlands. Only buy plants from legitimate vendors, and never take plants from the wild.

Fran Newsom, IFA, IMF

Resources:, George Poinar, Jr. entomologist, Oregon State University  and Central Iowa Orchid Society

Passing the Torch!

Written by: Nancy Meckel, ICF, IMF

Hello Flower Friends,

I am pleased to announce your new 2020-2022 Board of Directors:

President – Joanna Kalina, AIFD,CFD

Vice President/Secretary – Kelsey Thompson, AIFD,CFD

Treasurer – Tonia Benson

Immediate Past President – Nancy Meckel, ICF, IMF

This is a dedicated group of young (and not so young..that would be me!!) florists who will do a wonderful job of implementing new innovative education opportunities and creatively bringing the Association forward!  Please wish them the best as they begin this journey in their new roles!

I have met so many special people during my years of involvement with the Iowa Florist’s Association. We have had some wonderful headlining designers at our conventions and I enjoyed working with and learning from them! So thank you Adam Havrilla, AIFD, Derek Woodruff, AIFD and Tina Davis AIFD. It was my pleasure to watch you do your magic! All three of you are amazing, nice and so much fun to be around!!  I also want to thank Randy Wooten, AIFD for the wonderful opportunity to design alongside him at Bonnett’s Annual Open House! Randy is a true southern gentlemen and such a delight!

I also want to thank Joanna Kalina for her unwavering dedication and hard work!! She will be an amazing president!

There are two very special Board Members I would like to thank. Fran Newsom, you are an incredible person and I want you to know your years and years of hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your constant support and your friendship! Kent Bonnett, I want to thank you for your support and your generosity over the many years you have been a part of the IFA Board. We can always depend on you for anything! I don’t know if everyone knows how much time and product you have donated…A LOT…and we want you to know how much you are appreciated!!!

These are tough times for all of us, however I know one thing for sure.. after speaking with florists from all over the state through the years….you are strong, you are resilient and you will prevail! Bravo to you all!!

Thank you!

Nancy Meckel, ICF, IMF

Immediate Past President

Iowa Florist’s Assocation


Written by: Kelsey Thompson, AIFD

Being a florist can be a physically demanding job. Long days standing at the design table, cutting thick stems, lifting buckets of water, repetitive bending and those 20 minute phone calls that result in a crick in your neck! You may not always feel sore at the end of the day (or hey, maybe you do!), but all those motions can put a short and long term strain on your muscles. We all know that good nutrition, exercise and sleep are going to keep us healthy for the long haul, but I wanted to concentrate on some “preventative maintenance” of specific areas that we florists have trouble with – our necks, wrists and feet. The following stretches are easy to do while standing at work and hopefully will help keep you in tip-top shape!

1. Behind the Back Neck Stretch – This standing stretch can be done anywhere, and will offer a deep stretch in the sides of your neck.

Stand with your feet hip distance apart, arms by your sides. Reach both hands behind your backside, and hold onto your left wrist with your right hand. Use your right hand to gently straighten your left arm and pull it away from you slightly. To increase the stretch in your neck, slowly lower your right ear toward your shoulder. Thinking of creating a diagonal line from your left wrist to your right ear. Stay here for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

I’m also including this Neck Stretch video from Mayo Clinic that has some good information on the importance of stretching and a few examples of some more neck stretches:

2. Hand Pumps – This stretch increases circulation and draws blood flow to the wrists, hands, and fingers.

Begin by placing your hands in front of your chest, facing away from you, like you are giving someone the “stop” signal. Curl your hands into fists and squeeze tight. Hold for 3 seconds. Then open up your palms and spread your fingers as wide as possible so that you feel a stretch and circulation flow in. Hold for 3 seconds, then repeat 5 times.

3. Wrist Roll-Outs -This stretch warms up the supporting tissues of the wrists and brings circulation into the joint.

Start by bringing your palms together in front of your chest and interlacing your fingers, as though in prayer. Bring your forearms close together. Keep your forearms fairly still and make circles with your fists, stretching your wrist towards the 4 compass points (North, West, South, East). Repeat 5 times, then reverse directions.

Standing all day takes a toll on the body, including the hips, knees and feet. We all know the importance of good footwear and a good anti-fatigue mat – let’s talk foot care! In addition to these stretches, try icing your feet and ankles after a long day. “As much as people don’t want to hear it, immersing the foot — as long as the person doesn’t have vascular problems — in a bucket with water and ice for 20 minutes works to combat the swelling and inflammation that prolonged standing creates in the foot,” says Lucille B. Andersen, M.D., a foot and ankle surgeon in Pleasanton, California. “Each step we take or minute we stand, we are creating micro-damage that the body has to heal. Using ice is an easy, effective way to help the body heal faster.”

Follow up the ice bath with elevating your feet for a few minutes, or if you’re really lucky, a foot massage! I’m super ticklish, so I have to do this myself or it’s instant uncomfortable laughter, but even just working on pressure points for a few minutes helps. But what about during the workday? Wear proper footwear and alternate standing with one foot slightly elevated (on a short stool or box) to keep pressure off your back. The following stretches will help keep you loose as well!

4. Standing Hamstring Stretch – Stand and cross your right foot in front of your left. Slowly lower your forehead to your right knee (or as far as possible) by bending at the waist. Keep both knees as straight as possible. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat for the other side by crossing your left foot in front of your right.

5. Standing Calf Stretch – To start, stand facing the wall or other support, like a chair, with one foot in front of you by around 12 inches. Point your toes up. Slowly lean forward until you feel the stretch in the back of your lower leg. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Do 3 rounds total.

Incorporating just a few of these stretches into your daily shop routine will help prevent wear and tear on your body as well as release some stress. Make sure and check out the IFA’s Facebook page for video demonstrations of these stretches soon!

March 14, 2021

We have a new convention date, folks! Add it to your calander – this will be an event you won’t want to miss!

Designer: Lisa Belisle, AIFD

Location: Kirkwood Hotel – Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Times and schedule will follow closer to the date.

Governor Reynolds Letter

Dear Members,

“Here is a plea from North American Wholesale Florist, Inc that we, The Iowa Florists’ Association are hearing and we want to make it heard more loudly. Please join us and make your voice heard. You MATTER, and your Shop MATTERS. Instructions down below.

“When you’re in one of only six states in the US that haven’t issued a stay-at-home order, it’s best to be proactive! We’re sending our letters today to North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa, requesting to be allowed to continue no-contact delivery. If you would like a copy to personalize, let us know – we’re more than happy to share! We encourage all of you to reach out to your state. One letter might get lost in a pile, but if there are 50 of them our chances of being heard are far greater.”

– North American Wholesale Florist, Inc

Here is the letter in a google document for easier sharing purposes. Copy and paste first into new document, then feel free to make it your own and personalize.

Click here for the Google Document

Then send your letter to the Governor at: 

Governor Kim Reynolds
Office of the Governor
Iowa State Capitol
1007 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

Iowa thanks you for raising your voice! 

Your Iowa Florists’ Association