Debra Prinzing

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‘Tis the Season for SLOW FLOWERS

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Seattle, Washington!

I was gifted a flat of paperwhites in bloom this week – one lonely bulb per pot – crying out for some equally lovely companions in a holiday arrangement. So yesterday, I clipped from here and there in the garden and created this trio of vases to adorn our Christmas dining table tonight.

Three vases filled with festive and LOCAL vines, leaves, branches, blooms, buds and JOY!

Three vases filled with festive and LOCAL vines, leaves, branches, blooms, buds and JOY!

The paper whites started it all - and I sought pretty plants with winter interest to accompany them.

The paper whites started it all – and I sought pretty plants with winter interest to accompany them.

In addition to the paperwhites, here’s what the vases contain:

  • Pieris japonica (Lily-of-the-valley shrub)
  • Camellia in bud
  • Bay tree stems
  • Daphne odora in bud
  • Dusty Miller
  • Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’
  • Variegated Ivy
  • Evergreen fern fronds
  • Narcissus (Paperwhites)

 

As I prowled through my mostly dormant landscape, each one of these plants reminded me how much I have to value in the winter garden. If you plant for four seasons, with intentionality, those woody ornamental shrubs really deliver! I found myself thinking: “Make more room for Pieris!” as I only have three and they’re relatively young shrubs. But those chains of blooms, deep pink and delicate, are simply sublime dangling out of the vases.

Close up, the tangle of stems reflects a perfect moment in time - in my garden and in the season.

Close up, the tangle of stems reflects a perfect moment in time – in my garden and in the season.

The Daphne – only planted two years ago next to the backyard patio where I will smell its fragrance in winter – well, I gingerly snipped three stems, each with a bud – and each from a lower/back part of the shrub. I still want to enjoy Daphne outdoors, as well as indoors!

I gaze at the Viburnum ‘Dawn’ every day – it’s just outside my office window and such a welcome a note of color – intense pink! – in December and January. Even the Dusty Miller, marginally winter hardy here in Seattle, had hung on long enough to give me a silvery cluster of soft leaves for each vase.

I’m launching a new project next week, appropriately called “The Slow Flowers Challenge” – and so making this holiday trio of arrangements has been my warm-up exercise.

If you’re ready to join me, start collecting your vases, eyeing botanicals in your landscape or neighborhood, and dreaming about a year of flowers in your life.

Happy Day, dear friends.

merrychristmas2014

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SLOW FLOWERS: Week 45

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

VINTAGE PATINA

Oh how I love the way hydrangeas respond to cool weather as fall settles in!

Oh how I love the way hydrangeas respond to cool weather as fall settles in!

Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) are like little sparklers emerging from the hydrangea mound.

Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) are like little sparklers emerging from the hydrangea mound.

Ingredients:

12 stems mop-head hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), harvested from my garden (note, the lace-cap hydrangeas don’t have the same visual impact as the mop-head form)
20 stems Dusty Miller (Centaurea cineraria), grown by Charles Little & Co.
25 stems sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), grown by Jello Mold Farm
 
Vase:
7-inch tall x 11-inch diameter cast-iron urn. Intended as a planter, it converts to a watertight vase when lined with a plastic bowl.
 
 
This was the very first arrangement I designed in early November 2011 when I dreamed up the bouquet-a-week-for-a-year project.

This was the very first arrangement I designed in early November 2011 when I dreamed up the bouquet-a-week-for-a-year project.

Eco-technique

Preserve your bouquet: There’s a bonus to using these late-season flowers in an arrangement. As the vase water slowly evaporates, the mop-head hydrangeas, Dusty Miller foliage and sea oats will air-dry without changing shape or color.
 
I created the arrangement you see here during the first week of November and by the following May it looked just about the same. By then, I needed the urn for another project, so I disassembled the preserved ingredients and tossed them in the compost bin. Not every cut flower will air-dry as nicely as this trio did, but with a little experimentation you’ll soon notice that some long-lasting ingredients can be preserved for months.
 

A BONUS BOUQUET: Using some of the same elements, here’s a bouquet I made this week, November 2013. It employs the same weathered urn, hydrangeas, a lacy form of Dusty Miller, rose hips, feverfew sprays and a few Cafe au Lait dahlias. This is a favorite style to which I continue returning. Love it!

An autumn arrangement glows on a table by my front door.

An autumn arrangement glows on a table by my front door.

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SLOW FLOWERS: Week 20

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

A Softer Side of Green

Pastel bouquet

An unexpected combination, inspired by the pale ‘Supergreen’ hybrid tea roses given to me by the grower

 

Pastel flowers in detail

This sweet detail shows the delicate features of the apricot verbascum and the varietgated Star of Bethlehem

Ingredients:

15 stems Dusty Miller foliage (Centaurea cineraria), grown by Charles Little & Co.
5 stems lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina), grown by Charles Little & Co.
15 stems ‘Supergreen’ hybrid tea roses, grown by Peterkort Roses
9 stems Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum nutans), grown by Choice Bulb Farms
6 stems Verbascum ‘Caribbean Crush’, grown by Jello Mold Farm
Vase:
7½-inch tall x 7-inch diameter woven basket with a 6-inch tall x 6½ inch wide glass insert
Eco-technique
Vase in an instant: Any container can double as a flower vase as long as you can hide a watertight vessel inside of it. This simple, budget-conscious technique instantly expands your design choices. I frequently pick up glass vases for 50-cents to a few dollars at the thrift store, which means I always have extras on hand to tuck inside boxes, baskets, tins – and even leaky watering cans .

 

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Decisions, Decisions . . . right flowers, right vase?

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Metallic, pewter, and snowy white - the non-floral arrangement

Choosing the appropriate vase for an arrangement is like finding the right pair of shoes to compliment your cocktail dress, right? There’s good, better and best. A critical eye is required to make the right choice!

Today, not able to decide which vase to use for my New Year’s arrangement, I photographed my silvery-winter ingredients in three different vases. Please vote for your fav!

The ingredients:

  • Pussy willow from J. Foss Garden Flowers in Chehalis, Washington (grower Janet Foss tells me the cultivar of her unique, multi-branched form of pussy willow is unknown; she took cuttings from a customer’s garden and began propagating them). The stems are truly stunning and way more interesting that your typical ramrod-straight pussy willow branch
  • Two forms of Dusty Miller (Centaurea cineraria) — lacy and broad, grown by Charles Little & Co. of Eugene, Oregon
  • Plus, a few sprigs of feathery Artemisia arborescens from my garden.

We’re all a little tired of evergreens and red berries, right? That was my thinking when I came up with a metallic, pewtery vibe, which seems fitting for the New Year.

Option 1: Stripes of bronze, brass and pewter embellish this substantial urn, inherited from my father-in-law. It’s the only shiny-metallic vessel I own.

Option One

 Option 2: Basic white. Going for the simple statement. The foliage definitely looks snowier against this glazed vase.

Option Two

 Option 3: More textures, this time in a ginger jar with a raised, circular pattern. Its color is arguably mauve or pale lilac. Or maybe gray with a tinge of purple.

Option Three

Please vote in the comment section – and tell me WHY you prefer a particular vase for this combination!

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