Debra Prinzing

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Week 9 // Heady Hyacinth for the Slow Flowers Challenge

March 8th, 2015

A trio of bud vases displays the season's first hyacinths from my garden, paired with striking black pussy willow twigs grown in Washington by Jello Mold Farm.

A trio of bud vases displays the season’s first hyacinths from my garden, paired with striking black pussy willow twigs grown in Washington by Jello Mold Farm.

It has been a busy few weeks so my floral design time has been limited. Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves to create an epic arrangement or centerpiece — and of course, we know that those expectations take the joy out of the total experience.

So this week’s little moment is a reminder that a few stems are often all we need to bring nature indoors and provide a glimpse of beauty when life is crazy!

These vases are widely featured in a charming book released last year by  Nancy Ross Hugo called Windowsill Art: Creating one-of-a-kind natural arrangements to celebrate the seasons (St. Lynn’s Press). Nancy describes this small vase as “the little black dress of windowsill arranging . . . the perfect foundation for whatever else you might add.”

After interviewing her for the Slow Flowers Podcast (click here to find the interview) and spending time reading this lovely book, I had to order my own set of these four bud vases. They are available fromThe Arranger’s Market, an online shop that specializes in hard-to-find, easy-to-use vases and other arranging equipment.

You can order a set of 4 “glass pyramid” bud vases for $24 plus shipping. I believe they are made from recycled glass bottles. Dimensions: Height = 4-1/4″; Width = 2.3/8″; Opening = 7/8″.

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More from Slow Flowers
Seasonal choices

A sweet bunch of spring hyacinths, from Slow Flowers.

A sweet bunch of spring hyacinths, from Slow Flowers.

About the long stems you see here:  The typical garden hyacinth blooms on a relatively short stem – maybe 4-5 inches at the most. This limits the way hyacinths can be used in floral arrangements. According to flower farmer Gretchen Hoyt, of Alm Hill Gardens in Everson, Washington, the way to stretch those stems is to trick them into wanting more light.

“The longer you can deny them light, the more they stretch,” she explains. At the commercial flower farm, this process begins in dark coolers where bulbs are pre-chilled. When they are transferred to the greenhouse, the hyacinth crates are placed (in the shadows) beneath tables where tulips grow. If Gretchen wants to elongate those stems even further, “I’ll throw newspaper over them,” she says. Leaving bulbs on the stems is optional, but some designers do so to give the arrangement a rustic appearance.
To arrange these lovely, farm-fresh hyacinths, I opted for a simple European-style bouquet. I wrapped linen twine around the gathered stems and foliage, tied a bow, and placed the spiraled bunch in a glass vase. Seeing the twine through the glass adds a touch of whimsy to this effortless bouquet.

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