Debra Prinzing

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Seasonal Spring Floral Design Workshops with Debra & Alicia

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

2 Workshops + 1 Saturday = Flower Filled Day
When: May 3, 2014
Where: The 95 Yesler Collective Studio, 3rd floor (Seattle)
Who: Debra Prinzing & Alicia Schwede

Workshop #1 – 10:00-12:00
Seasonal Flowers with Debra Prinzing

Every single element in this vintage white pitcher is from my Seattle garden. Happy Spring!

Every single element in this vintage white pitcher is from my Seattle garden. Happy Spring!

What: A seasonal, hands-on floral design workshop for gardeners, DIY designers and flower lovers alike.
When: 10-12
Who: Debra Prinzing, Slow Flowers advocate and author of The 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers. Debra is an award-winning writer, editor and speaker. She has spoken and/or led hands-on floral design workshops at major botanical gardens and for leading garden clubs including the Dallas Arboretum, Denver Botanic Garden, Chicago Botanic Garden, Los Angeles Arboretum, Pasadena Garden Club, Seattle Garden Club, the Garden Club of Santa Barbara, and more. She was the 2014 Floral Curator for the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. Learn more about Debra at

Seasonal Flowers introduces students to of-the-moment flowers for growing and arranging as each reflects her/his personal style and creative muse. Taught in a 2-hour session, the workshop is formatted as follows:

    • Introduction of seasonal flowers, foliage and other botanicals
    • Discussion of growing methods and popular cultivars
    • Discussion of harvesting/post-harvesting treatments
    • Principles of color and elements of design that relate to specific floral ingredients
    • Eco-friendly design techniques and care tips

You’ll take home a custom floral arrangement or bouquet for your home, along with a resource handout.

A la carte Price: $95 per student; or take advantage of the bring-a-friend price of $175 for two

Supply fee per student/per class: $15 (includes vase, tools and floral design supplies)

Lunch Break – 12-1pm, lunch on your own.

Workshop #2 – 1:00-4:00
The Bridal Bouquet & Pricing Workshop with Alicia Schwede 

Demystify the design and pricing of a Wedding Bouquet with Alicia Schwede.

Demystify the design and pricing of a Wedding Bouquet with Alicia Schwede.

What: A hands-on floral design workshop with a discussion and learning session about pricing designs.

When: 1:00-4:00pm
Who: Alicia Schwede, owner of Bella Fiori & editor of the Flirty Fleurs Floral Designer Blog. Alicia is the author of Bella Bouquets Book, which will be available for purchase at the workshop.

The Bridal Bouquet & Pricing Workshop is a hands-on workshop where you will learn how to design luscious hand-tied bouquets. After we design a beautiful bridal bouquet we will have a discussion and learning session about pricing our designs. All instruction and fresh flowers are included, please bring your own tools.

Investment: $195.00 

flirty fleurs floral designer workshop in Seattle


Please note: You may choose to take one or both of the workshops. Either way, the workshops must be paid for separately.

Register for Debra’s Workshop

Register for Alicia’s Workshop


Questions? Send Alicia an Email
Or send Debra an Email


How to choose the freshest bouquets and flowers at your local farmers’ market

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Field-grown peonies should be selected at the “marshmallow” stage, when the heads have just a little give when squeezed.

Forget flowers grown far from home. You’ll find the best blooms right in your own neighborhood – straight from a local flower farmer.

The growth of local farmers’ markets is staggering – up 17 percent nationwide in 2011, according to the USDA (USDA Farmers’ Market Data). And as more farmers’ markets establish in communities across the U.S., you can be certain to find more beautiful flower stalls, which is great news for the DIY floral designer, hostess and nature- lover.

When you shop at a weekly farmers’ market, look for fresh, seasonal and uncommon floral crops – you’ll be wowed by the selection and quality. Yes, it’s fun to meet the people who grow these blooms. But you can also learn from their experience and knowledge — ask your flower farmer for tips on how to care for their beautiful stems at home. Here are some of the best ways to enjoy farmers’ market flowers and extend their vase life:

Selection: Most farmers harvest their crops as close to market day as possible, ensuring very fresh varieties – straight from the field. Shop early in the morning for the best choice (plus, flowers are always happier when it’s cooler!). If the market is in an uncovered location, expect to see large awnings or umbrellas to keep the floral products out of direct sun. Look at the stall’s hygiene – are the buckets clean and filled with fresh water? Be sure to ask “Where is your farm?” and “Why type of growing practices do you use?” – let the vendor know you appreciate sustainable practices.

What to look for:

  • Shop the Farmers' Market

    Chicago floral designer Lynn Fosbender, owner of Pollen Flowers, relies on Midwest flower farmers for her summertime vase arrangements and bouquets.

    When choosing a mixed bouquet, look at all the ingredients to see that they are equally fresh. The focal flowers, softly-textured delicate elements and foliage should feel plump; not wilted or limp. When selecting a straight bunch, often called a “grower’s bunch,” check that all the stems are similar in length and all the blooms are similar size.

  • Flower heads should be relatively tight on most varieties, ensuring that they will continue to open in the vase on your dining table.
  • Some flowers, such as dahlias, do not open further once cut, so what you see is what you get. Others, like zinnias, can be fully open and they’ll last well over a week.
  • With lilies, such as Stargazer or the Asiatic varieties, choose stems with plump, tight buds and possibly only one full bloom – you’ll have more than a week of enjoyment as those flowers open in succession.
  • Sunflowers should be about half or two-thirds open and will soon look fuller as their petals unfurl in the vase.
  • Tulips should have a tight head with the tips of the foliage as tall as possible (if the tulip head is far above the foliage tips, it means the flowers have been in water for several days, as the stems continue to “grow”).
  • Daffodils that are tight in bud will open beautifully to a full trumpet shape indoors.
  • Peonies should be in the “marshmallow” stage (squeeze the bud gently and you’ll feel a spongy quality – like a marshmallow). If you buy fully-opened peonies, they won’t last long at home.
  • Garden roses should not have tight heads or fully-opened heads; look for a partially open rose head.
  • Tall or spiked flowers, such as delphiniums, gladiolas and snapdragons, should have tight or closed buds along the top one-third of the stem, with the lower two-thirds in bloom; those upper-most buds will open in your vase.
  • Lilacs are not known for lasting more than 5 days or so – but their intoxicating fragrance makes up for their shorter vase life. Pick lilacs with the top florets still in bud.
  • Hydrangeas should be almost fully open and they will need lots of fresh water – up to their necks in a vase – to ensure that the entire stem is hydrated.
  • All stems should be clean, stripped of their bottom foliage, and not slimy. Any remaining leaves should be fresh and un-bruised.



Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Zen in Bloom

Showcasing a single type of flower - here, it's spring daffodils - this technique is easy and carefree.

Showcasing a single type of flower – here, it’s spring daffodils – this technique is easy and carefree.



15 stems common daffodils, from my garden

Multiple lengths of coral-pink twig dogwood, cut approximately 2 inches wider than the vase opening. Any straight, woody branch will work, including vine maple, pussy willow or the colorful twig dogwood (Cornus sanguinea or C. sericea)


6-inch tall x 6-inch square glass vase (this design adapts to any square or rectangular glass vase)

The daffodil stems are stabilized by a "raft" of twigs, lashed to cover the opening of the vase.

The daffodil stems are stabilized by a “raft” of twigs, lashed to cover the opening of the vase.

Other supplies:

Decorative pebbles

Twine-wrapped wire (available at craft stores in natural or green)

Design 101

Borrow inspiration: The idea for this bouquet came from a project featured in Design, a publication of The Flower Arranging Study Group of the Garden Club of America. Whenever you’re inspired by another designer’s technique, it’s important to give it your own twist rather than make a direct copy. For example, the original creation used florist’s foam inside the container, but I found it unnecessary, especially since the pebbles and twigs are enough to hold the daffodil stems in place.

NOTE: Each Sunday of this year, I will post my photographs, “recipe” and tip for that week’s floral arrangement, created for my new book, Slow Flowers.

Enjoy the floral journey through 52 weeks of the year~


How many times has a vase of flowers tipped over in your car?

Monday, April 30th, 2012
Here’s a clever new way to transport a vase of flowers in the car!

I’ve tried all sorts of tricks to stabilize and transport a gift bouquet in my car. It usually means holding my breath while driving to the party.

Sometimes I place the vase inside a 5-gallon bucket or a large file box and stuff crumpled up newspaper around it. Occasionally, these ideas work out great. Then there are those times when I turn the corner and – oops – everything spills out.

I’m not saying the Vase Brace is perfect, but I sure think it’s a clever idea for transporting a vase, especially on the floor of the passenger’s side or behind the back seat.  Liz Griffin, a budding cut flower farmer from Auburn, brought along this nifty product to the workshop I taught at Seattle’s Dunn Garden on Saturday.

When the class was over, Liz simply placed the sturdy square base on the table and centered her vase on the top. Then she pulled on four bungee cords and snapped their hooks over the rim of her vase. The tension of the cords hold everything in place. No tipping allowed!

I was not the only person to ooh and aah at this clever product. In fact, I snapped a few photos of Liz’s beautiful arrangement secured for transport home in her car.

Today, she sent me the link to an online source called Arranged for you. Check it out – for just under $17, this simple product may make driving to a dinner party nearly stress-free! Thanks Liz!

Concrete orb how-to

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Here's the photo that inspired readers to ask: How do you make these cool orbs?

Last summer, I wrote a little piece about using orbs in the garden. Better Homes & Gardens illustrated the words with a photo depicting a trio of concrete spheres that looked like they were stained a denim blue color. Really pretty.

I posted two photo galleries of spherical ideas, emphasizing design principles for using circular and round elements in the landscape, but people still wanted to know how to make those concrete balls!

Fortunately, I found the instructions, posted by Fairegardens, a blog based in Tennessee. Francis of Fairegardens is heading to Seattle this summer to attend the Garden Bloggers Fling, an event that I’m organizing with three other writers, so it will be fun to meet in person!

Frances not only explains how to make these balls (which she first saw done on an HGTV program), she also goes into great detail on the steps, shares a supply list and many photos of the progress.

She calls these Hypertufa balls, but  explains that quikcrete mix can also be used. I hope this gets you motivated to make a big mess for satisfying results!