Debra Prinzing

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When lilacs meet hellebores . . . and play with fritillaries

Friday, April 29th, 2011

A yummy spring bouquet - straight from local farms and fields

 Springtime is embodied in this vase, isn’t it?

Take a visual "whiff" and enjoy this combination of three lovely flowers.

You can almost smell that heady perfume associated with Syringa vulgaris, or the common lilac. To me, the fragrance is associated with my lifelong relationship with flowers. 

We lived in rental house in Connecticut when I was in elementary school; the backyard was home to an overgrown lilac that drew me to its blossoms (we loved playing underneath the flower-laden branches and smelling spring). 

Later, when I was a teenager, I remember secretly harvesting armloads at a city park and carrying them to school in May, as if I was in a pageant! 

When we planted our former Seattle garden in the late 1990s, I asked my friend Karen to select a lilac for the border. She chose one called ‘Sensation’ – it has deep purple florets and each petal is rimmed in white. That shrub never disappointed. . . and I waited for its blooms each year until we moved away. 

And most recently, while living in Southern California, I nearly fainted when I happened upon a lilac farmer at my local market. I was so fascinated to learn lilacs can grow there at a high elevations, such as in Lancaster, Calif., north of LA. I even had to run back to my car for my camera so I could interview her about those unforgettable flowers

Another closeup - I can't resist!

Today’s bouquet features the addition of several Jadeite-green garden hellebores and a few sultry plum-and-yellow Fritillaria assyriaca. These companions turn two bunches of just-cut lilacs into a sweet bouquet for my fireplace mantel. 

And the best thing about these blooms? They’re from local Northwest flower farmers – yeah! 

The lilacs were grown by Oregon Coastal Flowers in Tillamook, Ore. 

The hellebores were grown by Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Wash. 

The fritillarias were grown by Choice Bulb Farms in Mt. Vernon, Wash. Check out David Perry’s gorgeous still life of this unusual flower at our blog, A Fresh Bouquet

If you’re a floral, event or wedding designer, be sure to meet these fabulous farmers at Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. If you’re a customer, be sure to ask your designer to patronize this amazing cooperative of local growers. Their motto is awesome: From Farm to Florist.

Here’s a link to a little post and gallery from my visit earlier this week.