Debra Prinzing

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Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Beauty from Branches

Beauty from Branches

A wistful combination of two spring-flowering branches, captured in the morning light. Aaah!


Kerria japonica ‘Variegata’, which has white-edge leaves

Flowering quince (Chaenomeles x superba), available in coral, red, pink or white


17-inch tall x 7-inch diameter cream urn. This is my go-to vase for last-minute arrangements and it is tall enough to handle the branches, which are nearly three feet long.

A vase filled with spring branches

If you add cut branches to the vase when the flowers haven’t yet opened, the warmth of your home will coax them into flowering indoors. . . for up to two weeks.

From the Farmer

Jump-start spring: Many flowering shrubs and trees are suitable for indoor forcing. In addition to Kerria and quince, you can cut the bare branches of forsythia, witch hazel and numerous fruit trees. Harvest branches when their buds begin to swell, taking care to use proper pruning techniques. Re-cut the stems on a 45-degree angle and place them in a vase of clean water. Over time, the buds will respond to your home’s warmer temperature and begin to flower. Be sure to change the water as you would with any floral arrangement.

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~



Do-over with my February Flowers

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
SPRING: Two types of pink tulips, Oregon grown; plus pelargonium foliage, white ranunculus & deep purple-blue anemones from California

SPRING: Two types of pink tulips, Oregon grown; plus pelargonium foliage, white ranunculus & deep purple-blue anemones from California

I came home Sunday from a weekend in Portland, where I lectured about “Slow Flowers” and demonstrated eco-floral design techniques at the Yard, Garden and Patio Show. It was a great way to kick off the 2013 flower & garden show season, thanks to the very warm and supportive welcome of the Portland community.

I enjoyed a very special treat because some longtime family friends, including Donna Davey and her husband Bill Davey came to the event. In 1984, Donna designed the flowers for Bruce’s and my wedding. Pretty amazing for both Donna and me to reminisce about her influence on me . . . 28-plus years later! The bridal bouquet she designed used gardenias and I will always associate that wonderful fragrance with our marriage.

Live demos always have their surprises and this one was no different. My tulips had very floppy stems and they did not cooperate. It was my intention to recreate the bouquet on the cover of Slow Flowers, but the tulips I procured from a local Oregon grower the day before didn’t play nicely with my scheme.


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.