Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter! – Exciting updates from the Indiegogo campaign

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

I’m watching and excitedly dancing in my seat from Austin, Texas as you and the other pioneers of sustainable floriculture change the face of the industry! Brava!!

Can’t wait for the directory project to come to fruition- my tiny donation did’t break the goal mark, but every little bit counts. Thanks from EcoChic Floral.

– Natasha Madison, EcoChic Floral, Austin, TX

Above is just one of the many supportive messages I’ve received in the past three weeks since launching the Indiegogo campaign to help me complete the launch of the site. 

So fun to see this project on the big screen at last night's Indiegogo Seattle Event!

So fun to see this project on the big screen at last night’s Indiegogo Seattle Event!

It has been so gratifying to run my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, the amazing resource that has such an inspiring tagline: “Fund what Matters to You.” Truly, if you are planning on taking this path to help raise funds for your own passion and dreams, this is the company to work with. They’re amazing!

SO many people – friends, family, fellow advocates in the Renaissance of the American Grown Flower Farm – and more, have contributed funds large and small.

Even more people loyally promote this project on their own social networks, like my Facebook friend Annie Haven of Authentic Haven Brand Natural Brew who constantly gives me a thumb’s up or an encouraging comment or re-post. It means so much.

Or my number-one supporter Kasey Cronquist, CEO of the California Cut Flower Commission, who has been picking up the telephone to call and encourage someone else to get involved.

Or, like my friend Susan Appleget Hurst, some are sending an email to an entire networks of people, encouraging them to view flowers as part of agriculture. Thanks so much to you all! 

Here are some stats:

Funding goal: $12,000 (by February 19th)

Funds contributed to date: $10,050 – that’s 84% of the goal!

Number of people who’ve contributed: 145

Number of states represented: 29

Number of countries represented: 3 (U.S., Russia and the Netherlands)

There is one opinion that occasionally bubbles up in our industry that the idea of supporting local and seasonal flowers is “something that happens on both coasts” and that it is nonexistant in the central part of our country.

Let’s debunk that misperception right now. The supporters in Texas, Iowa, Montana, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Michigan, Tennessee and New Mexico believe in the importance of American Grown flowers. They’ve joined supporters from East Coast and West Coast states — Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Florida, Washington, D.C., Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Maine and Massachusetts! That’s seriously impressive and such a wonderful representation of flower farming, floral design and demand for local flowers.

Thanks to the San Francisco Flower Mart for coming onboard this week with a $1,000 PRESENTING SPONSOR contribution! 

Thanks to the Los Angeles Times (reporter Lisa Boone) for blogging about this project last week – that was a great show of media attention.

Thanks to Rochelle Greayer of the Studio G Blog for this wonderful post. I love that she describes as “an online farmers’ market for flowers.”

Thanks to Indiegogo’s Bret Harris and Amanda Hat for inviting me to be part of their Seattle Event last night. It was pretty fun to be with other fans of Indiegogo, including Joya Iverson who successfully raised $29,525 for her new venture Tin Umbrella Coffee Roasters – a whopping 160% of her original goal of $18,500.  

Here are some more fun photos from last night’s event:

I brought a bouquet of local flowers - from farms in Washington, Oregon & California - to illustrate my passion for American Grown. . . it was a perfect "show-and-tell" and this guy won the bouuqet as a giveaway (his birthday is this weekend). Real men love local flowers!

I brought a bouquet of local flowers – from farms in Washington, Oregon & California – to illustrate my passion for American Grown. . . it was a perfect “show-and-tell” and this guy won the bouuqet as a giveaway (his birthday is this weekend). Real men love local flowers!


From left: Amanda Hat from Indiegogo, me, Joya Iverson of Tin Umbrella Coffee, and Bret Harris from Indiegogo.

From left: Amanda Hat from Indiegogo, me, Joya Iverson of Tin Umbrella Coffee, and Bret Harris from Indiegogo.


Thanks Indiegogo!

Thanks Indiegogo!

That’s it for now~ I’ve got lots more to do before this campaign ends . . . AND before we launch Hoping to have a *beta* (soft launch) to share in the coming weeks. That’s the plan and my design and programming team is working tirelessly to finish. Stay tuned!

What I did on my summer vacation . . .

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Welcome to the Iowa State Fair!


This post was somehow lost between computers. I actually started writing it at the end of August. So . . . a little delayed, but no less informative (says I). The trip to Des Moines and Chicago was filled with “firsts” and I thought I’d share some of them, in a series of posts. 

Part One: On August 15th, I flew into Des Moines, Iowa, in the early afternoon. Susan Appleget Hurst met me and whisked me off to the famous Iowa State Fair for an extravagant and authentic Midwestern County experience. 

I’ve heard so much about this quintessential state fair so it was a thrill to take in the experience for an afternoon. Susan tells me that there’s an entire movement of fair fans who arrive with campers and RVs and pay to park their wheeled homes on-site in order to hang out at the fair for the full 10-day experience. 

I only saw the highlights, but they were unforgettable. If you only have four hours to take in this fair, here’s what NOT to miss! 


The sign says it all.

First things first: Eat lunch. 

Susan recommended a Pork Chop on a Stick. This is a savory chop cooked on open grills. The rib is butterfly-cut to form the “Handle” for easy, fork-and-knife-free dining. A napkin will do, but be sure to add some barbecue sauce. 

I asked the crew behind the counter about the pork chop’s popularity. “We sell 6,000 to 8,000 a day during the fair,” boasted one guy. Wow. This is a big Iowa Tradition and I sure enjoyed my chop. Given all the deep-fried offerings on the fairway, I think the chop was one of the healthiest sources of protein! 

What a charming way to illustrate the Dairy industry!

We left the Iowa Pork Farmers and strolled through several of the Agricultural Buildings. Susan wanted to make sure I checked out the “butter cow,” a popular annual feature. This life-sized bovine is – yes – carved from pure butter. No wonder you have to photograph Bessie through a glass window. She is temperature-controlled due to the humid and hot Iowa summers. 

Look but don't touch!

We also checked out the produce displays and took a gander at a 1,323-lb prizewinning pumpkin. 

Other Plus-Sized highlights at the Fair included a gentle-looking steer and lots of livestock raised for everything from wool to milk to dressage. Horses large and miniature, goats wearing sweaters, baby calves, and the fair’s largest hog….what a fun tour of Iowa’s farming heritage. 

We stopped for dessert and got ourselves a cup of the famous Iowa ice-cream from an old-fashioned pharmacy. Susan recommended the homemade fresh peach ice cream, but since I couldn’t decide, I also ordered a scoop of homemade strawberry ice cream to split. 

The garden gals in the wine tent, Deb and Susan

We thought we might leave by then, but Susan’s husband Jerry and his friend were in the Iowa Winery tent. So we obliged and joined them to taste some of the really excellent offerings from local wineries. 

All in all, this was a very special visit. I loved the fair and would love to return next year. What a treat!

A meadow in a vase

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

The September issue of Better Homes & Gardens features my “Debra’s Garden” column encouraging readers to add ornamental grasses to their seasonal flower arrangements.  

"Meadow in a vase" is the theme of my September column for BH&G

The photo that accompanies the piece depicts a gorgeous autumn bouquet bursting with asters, fall foliage and miscanthus blades.  

Its sultry palette includes dark purple, russet-red, gold and green elements in a clear, glass vase. As a footnote, I promised to show off my favorite grasses for cutting and flower arranging here on this blog.  

As it turns out, I’ve been seeing a lot of wonderful ornamental grasses and grass-like design ingredients lately. These days, I have dreamy plumes of fountain, feather, and silver grasses on my mind.  

There’s something both completely romantic and purely modern about grasses in floral arrangements (or in the landscape, for that matter). Here’s a peek at what’s caught my eye this year, including my favorite grasses for cutting:  


Owned by Diane Szukovathy and Dennis Westphall, Jello Mold Farm is one of my favorite local flower sources here in the Pacific Northwest. Diane and Dennis use sustainable practices and recently they’ve delighted floral design customers with gorgeous late-summer grasses. You can find Jello Mold Farm at the Queen Anne Farmers’ Market every Thursday – be sure to check out the incredible selection of downy and fluid grasses.  

Here are a few show-stoppers included on Diane’s “fresh list” that she emails to customers every Monday. The four images you see here were taken by Diane: 

Jello Mold's RED JEWEL MILLET, with large, elegant, arching, red-toned seed-heads approximately 5 inches long

Jello Mold's GREEN MILLET, with 3-inch-long, fuzzy green seedheads and a wonderful texture

These awesome examples are ornamental millets, not edible ones. 

While actually cultivars of Pennisetum glaucum, you can almost convince yourself that they are relatives of the corn family if you squint. 

When cut for bouquets, the plants yield both the sweet, furry seed-heads, as well as the strapping, wide leaf blades. Both plant elements are useful in an arrangement as beautiful counterpoints to blooms. 

Like many good things, “more is better.” For example,  I like to gather several seed-heads together in a clump and inset them into the arrangement. 

It’s a pretty picture to have three to five seed-heads cascading out of a bountiful grouping of seasonal flowers and foliage. 


Fancy foliage in a vase – lessons from Better Homes & Gardens

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Here is my trio of vases inspired by my "Leaf it up" story in the June issue of Better Homes & Gardens. Each tiny arrangement features at least one cut succulent paired with foliage from a similarly-colored perennial.

Sometimes all you need are a few pretty leaves to conjure up a gorgeous tabletop arrangement or centerpiece. I have my talented friend Susan Appleget-Hurst, former senior associate garden editor for Better Homes & Gardens, to thank for producing a story that illustrates this idea (with several cool designs).

Susan, who now blogs at Cake in the Garden (check it out!) designed the lovely, leafy bouquets and co-produced the story with art director Scott Johnson. Then I was lucky enough to be asked to create the accompanying text. Pick up this month’s BH&G or click here for a peek at the story.

A turquoise vase gets the cool touch from lemon-lime and chartreuse ingredients.

The idea of using leaves as cut flower ingredients is nothing new. But it’s always nice to see someone else’s twist on the technique. One of the things I love about Susan’s designs is her use of white vases in several different sizes. The white really offsets the leaves and focuses the viewer’s interest on the form, texture and scale of the various cut foliage. I also loved the monochromatic and contrasting combinations of leaves.

After writing the text, I kind of forgot about this story until I opened up the June issue and saw how beautifully it turned out. I decided to try my own version of this floral design project (I can’t get more “seasonal, local and sustainable” than my own backyard!).

Looking around my landscape, I realized how many awesome succulent plants grow here. Even when a sedum, aeonium or crassula stem breaks off of the plant or gets bumped when someone pushes a chair out from the patio table, I try to “rescue” the severed piece and put it in water. Inevitably, a few roots will emerge and I can plant that cutting. So clipping a few succulent pieces for the designs you see above didn’t kill me. Once these pieces root, in water, they will be returned to the potting soil or garden bed.

My idea: To showcase the amazing color diversity of succulents. For each of three color schemes – silver-blue, maroon, and lime green – I looked for perennial foliage to match with the companion succulent. Unlike Susan’s white vases, I tried to pair the foliage hues with my slender colored-glass bud vases. I have owned this trio in green, tangerine and turquoise glass for several years. I think they came from IKEA.

These designs look sweet displayed on my block-printed cotton table cloth (it’s nice that each picks up on the botanical pattern and palette).

Here is what I included in each:

Orange vase with silver-blue ingredients.

Deep purple-maroon ingredients look dramatic against the vibrant green vase.

The Orange Glass contrasts beautifully with three silvery-blue ingredients. The succulent element is called Senecio mandraliscae. Here in Southern California, people grow this shrubby, South African succulent as a groundcover. I actually have some in a pot and I love its slightly curved blue-gray leaves. Softer textures come from my other fave silvery garden plants. First is Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’, which has lacy foliage. I clipped the taller stems from Westringia fruticosa, also called coast rosemary. It’s from Australia, has a rosemary-like texture, and looks just gorgeous growing at the base of my fruitless olive tree.  

The Green Glass is a perfect foil for the deep purple-maroon ingredients. My succulent starting point was to add two small Aeonium rosettes. Not sure of the cultivar because I inherited this plant when we moved here in 2006.  Almost like a touch of embroidery, the dark plum version of sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) spills from the neck of the slender vase.

The Turquoise Glass gets a fresh accent from lime green and chartreuse stems. I started with an un-named lemon-lime sempervivum that has pretty pointed leaves. These bold forms have a fluffy collar of chartreuse dead nettle (Lamium galeobdolon).

My challenge to you is to walk outside, clippers in hand, and create a foliage bouquet with what you have growing in your garden. Don’t overlook the unexpected ingredients. Hey – maybe that awesome artichoke leaf in the vegetable patch is worthy of a starring role in a vase. Or perhaps the conifers could stand in for my succulent ingredients. Have some fun! The best part? It means you have a lovely centerpiece for free!

Better Homes & Gardens and me

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
Don't you love this giant red trowel, called "Plantois"?

Don't you love this giant red trowel, called "Plantois"?

On Nov. 30th, I took one of the only direct flights from LAX to Des Moines, Iowa (on Allegiant Air), arriving in the Midwest around 8 p.m.

Susan picked me up at the airport and whisked me off to her cozy home where we sipped wine and reminisced about being in Tuscany together only four weeks earlier.

We indulged in sentimental memories, of course. The week in Italy – in a village called Montisi – was life-affirming, especially because it was to celebrate my big Five-Oh.

Susan on a sunny Tuscan afternoon at La Foce

Susan on a sunny Tuscan afternoon at La Foce



The 10 women who joined me, including Susan, are some of my dearest friends. I would do anything to recapture that week we had together. We’d all love to return as quickly as possible!

The Italy week was an amazing “new beginning” for Susan as she dreamed about her next venture, a culinary destination she plans to open in rural Iowa. Stay tuned for news on “Applehurst Farm,” the project Susan is developing as I write this.

Doug Jimerson and Eric Liskey, BH&G's garden guys

Doug Jimerson and Eric Liskey, BH&G's garden guys

On Tuesday morning, Susan dropped me off at the world headquarters for Meredith Corporation, publisher of Better Homes & Gardens and a million other home, garden, food and lifestyle titles.

I was to spend the day as guest of Doug Jimerson, group editor of all Meredith’s “outdoor” content (books, mags, online) and Eric Liskey, deputy garden editor of Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

It was hard to be businesslike when I kept running into the friends I’ve made and worked with over the years:

They included James Baggett, editor of Country Gardens; Nick Crow, art director of Country Gardens; Jane Austin McKeon, editor of Nature’s Garden magazine and her art director Jarrett Einck; Denny Schrock, a talented editor and past fellow Garden Writers Association board member; Justin Hancock, BHGBH&G web garden editor;  and David Speer, editorial manager. Hugs and high-fives ensued. These are people I would rather be friends with than spend my time hustling for assignments.

Doug and Eric and I brainstormed about possible ways I can get more involved in BH&G’s editorial pages. Then we met up with Gayle Goodson Butler, editor-in-chief of the mothership!

Wow – what a great experience. Gayle, Doug, Eric and I had a delicious lunch during which we tossed around story ideas and discussed outdoor living trends. It looks like I will join the BH&G family as a contributing editor for gardening and outdoor content in 2010. I couldn’t be more excited!!!

I'm posing with BH&G garden editor Eric Liskey

I'm posing with BH&G garden editor Eric Liskey

I also posed with Doug Jimerson, Meredith's Group Editor for Garden & Outdoor Living

I also posed with Doug Jimerson, Meredith's Group Editor for Garden & Outdoor Living









After lunch, we took a tour of the Meredith “campus,” which includes an incredible, larger-than-life sculpture of a trowel called “PLANTOIS.” The pop-art style of this sculpture reminded me of the 19-foot eraser at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, called “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X.”  Turns out, BH&G’s trowel was also designed by Claes Oldenborg .

A site plan of BH&G's gorgeous test garden

A site plan of BH&G's gorgeous test garden

Doug and Eric also showed me Better Homes & Gardens’  Test Garden, a beautiful walled oasis in the heart of the corporate campus. Here’s a plan of the garden (right) and a company description of how it is used:

It is an outdoor studio for our photographers, a venue for corporate entertaining, and a meeting and lunch spot for employees. While inner-city, the garden is landscaped in the style of someone’s backyard. Or, actually, several someones’ backyard. Because anywhere you take a look in our garden, if you turn ever so slightly, you will have a whole new vista. Because anywhere you take a look in our garden, if you turn ever so slightly, you will have a whole new vista. And so will our cameras, as we set about photographing how-to sequences and plant portraits, and documenting the performance of new plants. In all, there are 22 distinct areas in the Test Garden.

Yes, a rose was still in bloom on Dec. 1st

Yes, a rose was still in bloom on Dec. 1st

Mind you, this was on Dec. 1st in Des Moines, USDA Zone 5 or something like that. But several roses were still in bloom and the garden looked almost ready for its dormant winter phase, with lots of fresh mulch spread around, grasses and perennials cut back and everything tidy.

I was particularly drawn to the green shed, of course. I found out from David Speer that the plans for this potting shed are a free benefit of joining BH&G’s new Garden Club.

I do love this green potting shed with gabled roofline

I do love this green potting shed with gabled roofline




For $9.95, you get the shed plans and other cool resources. Check out how to sign up here.  

If you find yourself in Des Moines, you can schedule a tour with garden manager Sandra Gerdes on Fridays from noon to 2 p.m., May through October. The garden is located at 1716 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50312. The phone number is 515-284-3994.

Here are more pics of the beautiful Test Garden:

By the way, the original test garden is on Doug Jimerson’s farm outside Des Moines. I got to visit that evening and join him and Karen Weir Jimerson, his writer-wife, for a delicious dinner.

Okay, doesn’t it make you feel better to know that the guy who heads up all of Meredith’s garden/outdoor living content is basically a gentleman farmer? In addition to their lovely farm and century-old farmhouse, Doug and Karen tend to six dogs, at least six cats (I lost count), a flock of sheep, a huge family of chickens and roosters, donkeys and horses. Before dinner, Doug gave me a tour of the Jimerson Farm in the waning daylight. I thought about how much I could love living on a farm in Iowa. Never mind. I’m just going to visit Susan and Jerry when Applehurst Farm gets up and running.

As for BH&G, my first contributions won’t appear until May 2010, but you can be assured that lots of creative storytelling will occur between now and then.

I’m excited – and grateful – for this cool opportunity!

Let’s see what 2010 brings!!!

A Post Script. I flew home from Des Moines on Dec. 2nd. While I was there, the weather was beautiful, with brilliant blue skies, sunshine and balmy (for Iowa) low 50-degree temperatures. One week later. . . yes, only one week later, my friends were buried in 16 inches of snowfall that practically shut down Des Moines. I heard that something like only 17 out of 60 flights were allowed to depart from the Des Moines Airport.

Whew. I totally lucked out. Thank you to the weather gods!

December has arrived!

Monday, December 1st, 2008

It was 74 degrees and sunny here today in Southern California, but I have wintry visions dancing in my head.

To get into the holiday spirit (even though the leftover turkey and stuffing is still packed in the fridge), I picked up the December issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, out on newsstands now. That’s where my pal Susan Appleget Hurst serves as the talented senior associate editor for gardens and outdoor living. She blogs as The Everyday Gardener (with colleague Eric Liskey).

When we were last together in September, Susan mentioned that she had worked on a wintry design for iced botanical containers to hold votive candles. (Photo at right: Mary Ann Newcomer aka; Susan, and me, taken while gallivanting around Portland in September).

The idea Susan described sounded gorgeous and sparkly, a creative new way to use favorite ingredients from the garden — leaves, berries, colorful branches and conifer sprays — for holiday decorations. Her twist on the traditional luminaria even found a new use for poinsettias, which are rarely successful as cut flowers.

I spoke with Susan today and congratulated her on the alluring designs, which are splashed across five pages of the magazine. She sent me a web link to a BH&G video demonstration, which makes the project easy-to-understand and replicate.

All you need are a few ingredients and space in the freezer to transform a watery concoction into frozen floral luminarias. Susan’s article begins on page 58 of BH&G. It’s titled “Icy Hot: Bright flowers, twigs, and berries suspended in sparkling ice make naturally beautiful luminarias.”

Susan has a culinary and herb-gardening background, so it didn’t come as a surprise to learn that she has used a similar technique to freeze blooms and herbs into ice rings to float in punch bowls. That handy trick, combined with the editorial challenge of showing readers new ideas for using their garden during the depths of winter, added up to the holiday-on-ice project. The frozen floral ring, best employed for a summery brunch, also taught her that distilled (rather than tap) water is preferred because it freezes clear rather than cloudy.

Susan first captured ruby red poinsettia bracts in a flexible plastic container, arranging each leaf so it’s evenly spaced (see finished project, above). Pour in a little bit of water, say 1/2-way to the top. Then insert a smaller plastic cup, sinking it with a few stones. Pop the entire vessel into the freezer until it’s frozen solid. There are tips in Susan’s article for choosing the right containers and for slightly thawing your creation in order to remove the finished product from the plastic molds.

The poinsettia votive holder was so successful that Susan experimented with colorful cut branches, arranged to stick out around the top of a luminaria like a beautiful nest for an exotic winged creature.

“How on earth did you fit that into the freezer?” I asked.

She laughed and pointed out that the water-and-branch-filled mold (actually a big plastic cake carrier) froze in the outdoor environment of her Des Moines, Iowa, backyard.

“I just needed sustained, freezing temperatures,” she added (assuring me that these conditions do not occur every winter in Des Moines, but they did last year when Susan played around with this project).

Um, okay. Well, since we don’t have an open-air freezer here in my SoCal yard, perhaps I’ll stick to Susan’s smaller projects. Like the ones that use 1-litre and 2-litre pop bottles with the tops cut off.

The Icy Hot story illustrates Susan’s gifted floral design skills. She’s got more tricks up her sleeve and you can find them in future editions of Better Homes & Gardens. Here’s what I managed to get out of her: The February 2009 issue will feature Susan’s inspired new way to design with forced branches and fresh flowers. In April 2009, look for her egg story. I don’t want to give away the details, but suffice it to say she is NOT cooking an omelet or quiche with her eggs!

Happy December. I hope it’s filled with joy and peace for everyone.