Debra Prinzing

Archive for the ‘Plants’ Category

Week 25 // Slow Flowers Challenge

Monday, June 29th, 2015
A red-white-and-blue, All-American bouquet!

A red-white-and-blue, All-American bouquet! (c) Tim Gleason

Floral Fireworks for July 4th (c) Tim Gleason

Floral Fireworks for July 4th (c) Tim Gleason

Happy Independence Day!

We have so many opportunities to celebrate local, seasonal and beautiful flowers and there’s no better one than welcoming Week 25 of the  Slow Flowers Challenge which coincides with the July 4th holiday.

Join me in clipping and arranging red-white-and-blue botanicals to honor the holiday.

I am so excited that all of the flowers in this week’s stellar arrangement came from one of my favorite flower farms,Charles Little & Co. of Eugene, Oregon. I visited this past week and received permission from Bethany Little to harvest to my heart’s content. Thank you, Bethany!

Tomorrow begins the inaugural American Flowers Weekcampaign, a tribute to the farmers who grow flowers in all 50 states, and to the artisans who interpret those flowers in bouquets, arrangements and other botanical beauty.

You are invited to take part in American Flowers Week by posting the flowers you grow and arrange on all social platforms with the hash-tag #americanflowersweek.

web_2015AmericanFlowersWeekLogo

Learn more and download this lovely logo by clicking here.

Here are a few more details about this week’s bouquet:

A profusion of red, white and blue annuals and perennials for July 4th (c) Tim Gleason

A profusion of red, white and blue annuals and perennials for July 4th (c) Tim Gleason

web_June_27_2015_DSC_4366 White flowers:

  • Variegated green-white sedum as foliage (which you can barely see!)
  • Centranthus
  • Queen Anne’s lace
  • Nigella
  • Double-white Yarrow (Achillea ptarmica ‘Angel’s Breath’)
  • Obedient Plant (Psysostegia virginiana)

Blue flowers:

  • Delphinium – pale and dark blue
  • Scabiosa
  • Cornflower/Bachelor’s Button (Centaurea cyanus)
  • Sea Holly (Eryngium sp.)

Red flowers:

  • Crocosmia
  • Geum

 

Please enjoy this  Snapshot of an All-American flower farm:

Charles Little & Co., Eugene, Oregon:

Flower farmer Bethany Little, of Charles Little & Co.

Flower farmer Bethany Little, of Charles Little & Co.

At the foot of Mount Pisgah in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Flower farming is hard work, but this daily view makes it worth it!

At the foot of Mount Pisgah in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Flower farming is hard work, but this daily view makes it worth it!

Farmhouse (left) and Flower Barn (right) at Charles Little & Co.

Farmhouse (left) and Flower Barn (right) at Charles Little & Co.

Farmstand Sign offers American-grown Lovelies and more!

Farmstand Sign offers American-grown Lovelies and more!

Week 24 // Slow Flowers Challenge

Sunday, June 21st, 2015
A garden-sourced Father's Day bouquet for my husband, Bruce

A garden-sourced Father’s Day bouquet for my husband, Bruce

A bucket filled with lovelies from my garden.

A bucket filled with lovelies from my garden.

Greetings and here’s to SUMMER’S arrival today, June 21st! I couldn’t be more inspired to celebrate the Solstice than to take a walk in the garden. I clipped each stem for today’s Slow Flowers Challenge from my Seattle yard this morning and spent a glorious (and blissfully meditative) hour or so arranging.

And since it’s Father’s Day, I’m using the arrangement for tonight’s dinner we’re preparing for Bruce, my husband and the father of our two boys.

I’ve always loved pairing lime and wine colors together, in garden borders and beds, as well as in container gardens. No surprise that the deep burgundy Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’) looks terrific with the acid green Lady’s Mantle ( Alchemilla mollis). Stems from those two create the textural and high-contrast foundation for this design.

Steps one and two: Insert foliage to create the foundation.

Steps one and two: Insert foliage to create the foundation.

By the way, this is a vintage Haeger American-made vessel, a creamy ivory piece that I brought home with me from a trip to Iowa a few years ago. I love the proportions – perfect for a centerpiece. (Here’s a similar one on Etsy  – they’re not too difficult to find.)

To create this design, I placed a large cage-style metal flower frog (also vintage) in the bottom of the bowl. The grid has 5/8-inch openings, ideal for a combination of woody and herbaceous stems as I’m using here.

Steps three and four: Adding garden roses, a sweet pairing of a peachy-pink rose with a bicolored white-ruby rose. I inherited these two unknown roses when we moved to this garden four years ago.

Steps three and four: Adding garden roses, a sweet pairing of a peachy-pink rose with a bicolored white-ruby rose. I inherited these two unknown roses when we moved to this garden four years ago.

After I added the roses, I wanted to take advantage of some wispy pieces to bring a playful dimension to the design. I incorporated a beautiful, mauve-colored Astrantia and several stems of a burgundy-petaled tickseed with great yellow centers ( Coreopsis sp.).

Steps five and six: Astrantia and Coreopsis for their wispy textures.

Steps five and six: Astrantia and Coreopsis for their wispy textures.

Two final and rather unexpected touches utilize other garden stalwarts: Crocosmia in bud – love the strong lines of it at this stage; and bronze fennel. Now some may argue that bronze fennel is a garden thug, and it is. But the flouncy, lacy texture is pretty fantastic in an arrangement, so I always allow a few stems of it to remain after weeding out the volunteers.

Steps seven and eight: Crocosmia buds and bronze fennel stems.

Steps seven and eight: Crocosmia buds and bronze fennel stems.

Week 23 // Slow Flowers Challenge

Saturday, June 13th, 2015
Sea holly (Eryngium sp.) looking dazzling!

Sea holly (Eryngium sp.) looking dazzling!

This week’s arrangement comes to you courtesy of a special event in which I participated to benefit the King County Library Foundation.

Called an “Author Salon,” the private gathering was one of several offered at the Library Foundation’s recent annual Literary Lions Auction. Library supporters  Elaine & John Hogle  and  Felicia Dixon & Lucas Hoban  hosted the Author Salon last weekend at theBellevue Botanical Garden – one of my very favorite public gardens in the Seattle area. Landscape architect Liz Browning of Swift Company also participated by leading a tour of the newest garden BBG installations area designed by her firm.

The Author Salon team, standing, from left: Felicia, Liz and Elaine; I'm seated in front.

The Author Salon team, standing, from left: Felicia, Liz and Elaine; I’m seated in front.

What a beautiful venue! I was asked to talk about Slow Flowers, the book, as well as the slow flowers movement to source domestic and local flowers rather than rely on imports.

Local flowers and the Slow Flowers book go together well!

Local flowers and the Slow Flowers book go together well!

My publisher, St. Lynn’s Press, generously donated copies of Slow Flowers so that everyone in attendance took home a signed copy. And all the proceeds of the afternoon benefit the King County Library Foundation. Cindy Sharek and Andrea Quigley of the Foundation ensured that we had a lovely reception to hear the message of supporting literacy education!

And about the flowers you see here. I asked – and received special permission – to cut from the famed Perennial Border at the Bellevue Botanical Garden for my demonstration.

While you might think I focused on which blooms to choose first, it was the oak leaf hydrangea that caught my attention before anything else.

My vase had a fairly wide opening of about 7 inches, so I needed larger, structural branches and leaves as my design’s starting point. Plus, I absolutely love the hydrangea’s stage right now. The leaves are large and supple and the flowers are still in bud so they’re the same color green and the foliage.

Susy Hutchison took home the Slow Flowers bouquet.

Susy Hutchison took home the Slow Flowers bouquet.

See my entire plant list below. As I was basically designing on the fly, (I only clipped the blooms 30 minutes before the event!), it occurred to me that I had three primary hues and three secondary hues of blooms — and naturally, that gave me an organizing structure to discuss a bit of color theory.

I had a few longtime friends in the audience who surprised me by attending, people I hadn’t seen for years!

How cool that my friend Susy Hutchison, former news anchor for KIRO-TV (CBS affiliate) won the doorprize to take home my arrangement. Seriously, it was not a fix!

Susy reported to me that the bouquet was “still going strong,” one week after she brought it home. Yes, folks, that’s another great reason for sourcing locally – your arrangement’s vase life will be extended!

The finished "color wheel" bouquet - clipped just steps away from our event.

The finished “color wheel” bouquet – clipped just steps away from our event.

Three sets of complements: Blue & Orange; Purple & Yellow; Red & Blue (with lots of green thrown in for good measure)

Three sets of complements: Blue & Orange; Purple & Yellow; Red & Blue (with lots of green thrown in for good measure)

Three sets of complements: Blue & Orange; Purple & Yellow; Red & Blue (with lots of green thrown in for good measure)

Three sets of complements: Blue & Orange; Purple & Yellow; Red & Blue (with lots of green thrown in for good measure)

Here's that essential oak leaf foliage

Here’s that essential oak leaf foliage

Here is the recipe, with all ingredients from the Perennial Border at Bellevue Botanic Garden:

  • Oak leaf hydrangea foliage & flowers (Hydrangea quercifolia)
  • Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
  • Red/Maroon: Astilbe
  • Green: Allium ‘Hair’ (a mutation of  A. sphaerocephalon)
  • Orange: Geum (Geum chiloense) possibly ‘Totally Tangerine’
  • Purple: Catmint (Nepeta sp.)
  • Yellow: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Blue: Sea holly (Eryngium amethystinum)
  • Bonus stems: I added a few beautiful stems of pale orange and yellow foxglove
The lady's mantle and oak leaf hydrangea blooms add a touch of lime.

The lady’s mantle and oak leaf hydrangea blooms add a touch of lime.

Week 22 // Slow Flowers Challenge

Saturday, June 6th, 2015
A cool-toned combo for early June, including Acanthus mollis, baptisia, cerinthe and sweet peas - all offset with fragrant mint foliage.

A cool-toned combo for early June, including Acanthus mollis, baptisia, cerinthe and sweet peas – all offset with fragrant mint foliage.

Here's how the entire bouquet turned out. I used a large trophy-like urn to accommodate the scale of the bear's breech.

Here’s how the entire bouquet turned out. I used a large trophy-like urn to accommodate the scale of the bear’s breech.

This week I couldn’t take my eyes off the gorgeous flower stalks of two bear’s breech plants ( Acanthus mollis) growing between our back porch and the pond in a shady area.

This perennial typically belongs at the back of the border where the large glossy foliage can offset smaller and more delicate companions. Deeply lobed, the acanthus leaf is a classical form in art and architecture. I’ve actually used the leaves in winter floral arrangements before. In my Zone 8b garden, the leaves are basically evergreen and winter hardy.

The blooms are also arresting. They are tall and pointed with an overall spiny form and purplish-green bracts. I will say this: They don’t LOVE being cut and plunked in a vase.

The five stalks I cut and used in this bouquet had mixed performance from between one to three days. So if you have bear’s breech in your perennial border, consider it a day-of cut flower.

'April in Paris' sweetpea, grown by Jello Mold Farm. If only you could inhale its perfume!

‘April in Paris’ sweetpea, grown by Jello Mold Farm. If only you could inhale its perfume!

Baptisia (love the sweet pea-like flowers on the tall stem), with honeywort (Cerinthe).

Baptisia (love the sweet pea-like flowers on the tall stem), with honeywort (Cerinthe).

Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis)

Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis)

Curled just like a little shrimp, Cerinthe has a fabulous blue-green/purple flower

Curled just like a little shrimp, Cerinthe has a fabulous blue-green/purple flower

Here is the recipe::

  • Garden mint, grown by Ojeda Farms in Ethel, Washington
  • Honeywort (Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’), grown by Jello Mold Farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington
  • Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis), Jello Mold Farm
  • ‘April in Paris’ Sweet Peas, Jello Mold Farm
  • Bear’s breech (Acanthus mollis) flowers, from my garden
Trophy_1_IMG_3954

Everything came together beautifully, including the addition of the mint foliage!

Just for fun, here’s how the Acanthus mollis foliage lent much-needed drama to a December arrangement. I paired it with Callicarpa, curly willow and camellia foliage.
Note the large, glossy Acanthus foliage on the right side of this winter arrangement.

Note the large, glossy Acanthus foliage on the right side of this winter arrangement.

And on its own, the foliage of Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) is also fantastic. Long after the beautiful flowers fade, you can keep cutting the leaves for arranging:

Baptisia foliage in an August bouquet.

Baptisia foliage in an August bouquet.

Week 21 // Slow Flowers Challenge with Mock Orange and Garden Peonies

Saturday, May 30th, 2015
Back Porch Bouquet - with every bloom clipped from my garden.

Back Porch Bouquet – with every bloom clipped from my garden.

After all the traveling I’ve done since March, it’s so nice to be HOME. So for the last week of May, the Slow Flowers Challenge has stuck close by. All of these flowers are straight from my garden. You could call it the “5 Step Bouquet.”

I wish you could inhale the light fragrance of the peonies combined with the sweetly scented mock orange blossoms (Philadelphus coronarius). Wow! It’s a perfect pairing to grace the small table in our home’s entry, allowing me to share the garden perfume and perfection with anyone who might stop by this weekend.
Two types of peonies, a profusion of mock orange, and young hydrangea buds.

Two types of peonies, a profusion of mock orange, and young hydrangea buds.

I especially love using this vintage American-made vase. It is also featured on pages 50-51 of Slow Flowers, where it holds beautiful garden roses that I paired with smoke tree and the ‘Black Knight’ Queen Anne’s lace. The 7-inch tall McCoy jardiniere is from the 1940s era and has a raised design of vertical bands (maybe suggesting picket fencing?) and a rim of flowers. It’s the ideal scale vase for such blousy bouquets!
By the way, here’s that design from Slow Flowers where you’ll spot the familiar vase:
Analogous color palette of pinks, mauves and purples! This design was originally published in my book, Slow Flowers

Analogous color palette of pinks, mauves and purples! This design was originally published in my book, Slow Flowers

Below are a few more images from yesterday’s bouquet. The ingredients:

  • Two types of peonies, both inherited when we moved to this home. So I don’t know the cultivars. I love the pale pink with the fringey yellow centers, but I think I love the single white variety even more, especially for its dense centers, some cream; some rose-tinged.
  • Mock orange branches and blossoms
  • Immature hydrangea stems, used as a lime green accent.
Quite delicious to the eye and fragrant to the nose!

Quite delicious to the eye and fragrant to the nose!

More delicious details!

More delicious details!

Slow Flowers in the UK: A visit to Petersham Nurseries in Surry

Monday, May 25th, 2015
The Garden Shop at Petersham's Nurseries

The Garden Shop at Petersham Nurseries

Lovely spring urn with heuchera, ferns and more.

Lovely spring urn with heuchera, ferns and more.

After a harrowing taxi ride (one hour for 12 miles?) from London, my mom and I arrived on Wednesday at Petersham Nurseries. And once we discovered what was inside the gates, we concluded that our 40 pound fare was totally worth it!

We took the journey in order to meet up with Sarah Statham of Simply by Arrangement, an up-until-now virtual flower friend, who had invited us to spend a few days with her in Yorkshire.

She was also in London for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and made the brilliant suggestion that we use Petersham as a meeting place before driving to Hebden Bridge, where she lives and designs flowers (and more on that later!).

Petersham Nurseries dates to the 1970s when it was a local garden center carved out of the Petersham House estate.

After years of neglect, the nursery reopened in 2004 after extensive restorations by Gael & Francesco Boglione, the current owners of Petersham House.

Plant displays on old carts - what's more perfect?

Plant displays on old carts – what’s more perfect?

Foxgloves galore! It is spring, after all.

Foxgloves galore! It is spring, after all.

Lunch at Petersham Nursery: pea-and-mint soup with tomato and burrata salad.

Lunch at Petersham Nursery: pea-and-mint soup with tomato and burrata salad.

Beautiful garden furniture, gifts, tableware and antiques can now be found amongst the plants which adorn the vintage glass greenhouses.

In a ramshackle wooden teahouse we found delicious pastries and homemade cakes (as well as lunch!).

There is also a popular restaurant to which I would love to return some day.

This is a thoroughly charming destination not far from London.

It has history, an obviously talented team of horticulturists, beautiful plants and that timeless character you can’t get in the U.S.

The cutting garden, where we met up with Caroline and Rosie. This lovely long raised bed supplies flowers for Petersham House, as well as the Restaurant and Cafe.

The cutting garden, where we met up with Caroline and Rosie. This lovely long raised bed supplies flowers for Petersham House, as well as the Restaurant and Cafe.

Sarah planned a huge surprise for us – a private tour of the Petersham House grounds. Her friend Caroline is gardening here as a volunteer, working alongside Rosie, who is the genius behind many of the landscape plantings you see in these images.

Not much more to say than this: Please gaze upon the beauty of a 150-foot-long English garden double-border in May. Few can replicate this, due to lack of time, money, or land – but please feel free to borrow a few ideas for your own patch! And if you will be in London on June 7th, you can visit the private grounds of Petersham House as part of the National Gardening Scheme charitable program.

Petersham House, as seen from the long border.

Petersham House, as seen from the long border.

The glorious Petersham double border. Sublime!

The glorious Petersham double border. Sublime!

Week 20 // Slow Flowers Challenge with #Britishgrown flowers

Sunday, May 24th, 2015
Beautiful Yorkshire-grown blooms from the garden of Sarah Statham and James Reader

Beautiful Yorkshire-grown blooms from the garden of Sarah Statham and James Reader

I promised to share an uniquely British-themed arrangement for this week’s Slow Flowers Challenge  and the floral offerings you see here are indeed straight from the garden of Sarah Statham, my host these past four days.
Sarah is the owner of a wonderful enterprise called Simply by Arrangement, a floral workshop-culinary experience created with her friend Christie Buchanan.
I met Sarah “virtually” when introduced by Gill Hodgson of Flowers from the Farm. Gill is the champion behind the organization that promotes British flowers and the farmers and florists involved with the renaissance of their domestic floral industry (sound familiar?). When I told Gill that I would be in England to tour the Chelsea Flower Show, she arranged an ambitious itinerary for me and my traveling companion, my mother Anita.
After four days in and around London, we headed to Northeast England with Sarah. She and her husband James hosted us at their lovely home in the Yorkshire village of Hebden Bridge.
We’ve had many wonderful moments together, including joining a gathering of the Yorkshire flower farmers and florists who are part of Flowers from the Farm. They graciously asked me to share the story of Slow Flowers and news of the American grown floral movement. And that was a rare privilege made more special by the service of afternoon tea, in the most proper fashion.
On Friday, Sarah gave me a pair of clippers and a bucket and let me loose in her garden. Together, we both designed truly local and seasonal Yorkshire arrangements to share with you here.
The green glass vase contains an exhuberant display of spring Yorkshire flowers - and captures a moment in time as I clipped and designed with flowers from Sarah and James's garden.

The green glass vase contains an exhuberant display of spring Yorkshire flowers – and captures a moment in time as I clipped and designed with flowers from Sarah and James’s garden.

The flowers and foliage used above in my bouquet include:

  • White Centranthus ruber ‘Albus’
  • A type of acid-green euphorbia
  • Rodgersia foliage (large, dramatica and a beautiful dark rust color)
  • Astrantia blooms (whitish-green)
  • White bleeding heart (Dicentra) – flowers and foliage
  • Meadow rue (Thalictrum) flowers
  • Peach tulips
  • Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’ – a NEW perennial to me with deep burgundy, thistle-like flowers and long prickly foliage.
Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'

Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’

Here's Sarah, putting the finishing touches on her lovely design.

Here’s Sarah, putting the finishing touches on her lovely design.

Sarah made me thoroughly envious when I saw her collection of vintage copper containers, including a few she picked up at a Chelsea Flower Show vendor who I’d completely overlooked. The copper informed her designs, as she opted for a sultry burgundy, plum and apricot palette.  

It is stunning, as you can see below:

A copper-inspired bouquet by Sarah Statham - so gorgeous!!!

A copper-inspired bouquet by Sarah Statham – so gorgeous!!!

Here are the ingredients Sarah selected:

  • Two types of Japanese maple foliage
  • A variety of tulips, including peach, plum, white and almost-brown
  • Geum with an apricot flower
  • White Astrantia
  • White-flowering Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Raven’s Wing’
Here are the ingredients Sarah selected: Two types of Japanese maple foliage A variety of tulips, including peach, plum, white and almost-brown Geum with an apricot flower White Astrantia White-flowering Anthriscus sylvestris 'Raven's Wing'

Up close, Sarah’s design is completely shimmery.

The photo shoot: In the courtyard of Sarah's ancient stone cottage in Yorkshire. So magical to be there!

The photo shoot: In the courtyard of Sarah’s ancient stone cottage in Yorkshire. So magical to be there!

Florida-Grown Ferns, Foliage and Greenery with Erik Hagstrom of Albin Hagstrom & Sons (Episode 194)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

RHS_CHELSEA The Slow Flowers Podcast is coming to you this week from Britain, where I’ve been touring the Chelsea Flower Show, reporting on gardening and floral trends for Houzz.com, and speaking to a passionate group of British Flower Farmers. I promise to bring home inspiring podcast interviews to share in the coming weeks.

And if you want to listen to what’s happening in the British-Grown flower movement, including the perspective of both florists and flower farmers, I’ve added links to past interviews here:

Episode 129: Reclaiming our Floral Heritage . . . Lessons from #Britishflowers

Episode 186: The Flower Farmer’s Year with Georgie Newbery of Common Farm Flowers UK

Flowers from the Farm, the UK's nationwide network of cut flower growers

Flowers from the Farm, the UK’s nationwide network of cut flower growers

A special thanks to Gillian Hodgson of Fieldhouse Flowers and the force behind Flowers from the Farm – an organization of British flower farmers, as well as to Sarah Statham of Simply by Arrangement, both of Yorkshire, who created a magnificent itinerary for my visit. You’ll hear from them both in future reports.

And here are a few more pieces of good news, shared by Slowflowers.com members on both American coasts:

First from Mary Coombs, who with her sister Dawn Clark operate A Garden Party based in Elmer, New Jersey:

Subject line: It is Working

“I was meeting with a client last night and I asked her how she found us. Much to my delight, she found us via Slowflowers.com! She is a perfect fit for my company and I am proud to be listed on this site. Thank you for working so hard on this!
I will also be talking about the Slow Flowers movement on Fox 29 Philadelphia on Monday morning. They are coming to film us in the garden for three live segments to air during their news show. I am nervous but excited!”

Mary’s note is so encouraging that I wanted you to hear it – and check out this news clip featuring Mary and Dawn.

“Anything you can get locally grown will be fresher; it will last longer; it’s going to do better in the vase.” — Dawn Clark, A Garden Party.

And next, a note from one of my favorite flower farmers, Joan Thorndike of Le Mera Gardens, based in Talent, Oregon, just outside Ashland. Joan is featured in The 50 Mile Bouquet, and she was an early supporter of Slowflowers.com. She is a farmer and a florist, famous for her summertime Oregon wine-country weddings.

Here’s Joan’s note, a text that arrived on my phone screen:

“Twice last week a potential customer called me because they knew all about your Slow Flowers as a concept – and so wanted to find a source close rather than far. Thank you for what you do!”

Please keep these updates coming – it is your anecdotal stories of customers finding their American grown flowers from Slowflowers.com farms and floral designers that allow me to share the news with others interested in joining this movement.

4th generatoin Fern Farmer Eric Hagstrom.

4th generatoin Fern Farmer Erik Hagstrom.

sign I met today’s guest in person – finally – after a long-distance social media acquaintance. Please meet Erik Hagstrom of Albin Hagstrom & Son.

Based in Pierson, Florida, Albin Hagstrom & Son is one of, if not THE, largest American farms growing ferns, greenery and all types of cut foliage for the floral marketplace.

The family-owned business was started in 1928.

Glossy and durable -- Leatherleaf fern.

Glossy and durable — Leatherleaf fern.

ft_ah_14611-e1370480079963 Not only did Albin Hagstrom & Son join the Slowflowers.com site very early after we launched, Erik has been a super supportive member. On two occasions, when I was booked to do interviews with Florida radio personalities, I asked him to send a sample box of Florida ferns and foliage to the host. He more than exceeded my expectations.

Such a generous gesture that proved to be a tangible example of the Slow Flowers movement – and in both cases, those radio hosts mentioned receiving those beautiful Florida ferns while we were on the air. That’s the kind of partnership that helps all of us in the movement.

Under the live oak, as I attempted to reach the naturally draped Spanish moss.

Under the live oak, as I attempted to reach the naturally draped Spanish moss.

Last week I spent five days in Orlando, Florida. I was thrilled to have an extra day before I started speaking and designing on the Festival Stage at Disney Epcot’s Flower & Garden Show, and while my two sons went off to Magic Kingdom, I headed north on Interstate, about 75 miles south of where Albin Hagstrom & Sons is located, to find the hamlet of Pierson, population 1,730.

Variegated pittosporum shrubs, growing prolifically under a shade structure.

Variegated pittosporum shrubs, growing prolifically under a shade structure.

I had a fun visit with Erik’s dad, Richard, grandson of founder Albin, who has just turned 80 and is a walking encyclopedia of fern-farming.

Tree ferns, naturalized under the canopy of live oak trees.

Tree ferns, naturalized under the canopy of live oak trees.

Then Erik and I jumped in his pickup  truck to drive through some of the production area, passing through shade structures and then following a narrow road through the “hammock” where ferns grow naturally under the canopy of ancient live oak trees.

Mostera. Beautiful, but I wasn't going to venture too close!

Mostera. Beautiful, but I wasn’t going to venture too close!

Anytime I wanted to take a photo, Erik indulged me by stopping and letting me hop out. However, when we slowed down to view the shade house where Monstera foliage grows, he warned me that rattlesnakes like to hang out in the protective tangle at the base of these tropical-looking plants with such dramatic leaves. Um, no thank you. I stayed in the car! But I did find it interesting that most of Albin Hagstrom & Son’s Monstera goes to the cruise ships that dock in Florida.

The Hagstrom family homestead, built in the 1920s by great grandfather Albin. You can see the Swedish farmhouse influence in its simple lines and appealing symmetry.

The Hagstrom family homestead, built in the 1920s by great grandfather Albin. You can see the Swedish farmhouse influence in its simple lines and appealing symmetry.

And by the way, Erik is a man of many interests. He started his career working for the famous Daytona International Speedway and has an extensive background in promotions and marketing. While he eventually left the world of racing to grow ferns, Erik is still a huge fan of NASCAR events. He is the owner of an American-made pickup truck, a fact that did not escape my notice!

Tree ferns, just picked and ready for shipping to all 50 states.

Tree ferns, just picked and ready for shipping to all 50 states.

I hope you enjoy our podcast interview and gain a newfound appreciation for FOLIAGE — an important source of botanical beauty for floral design. I left with a huge box of samples and was delighted to use the ferns, foliage, grasses and greenery in my demonstrations on the Epcot stage during the following three days. I was proud to tell my audiences that about those American grown, FLORIDA grown stems beautifying my vases. And in a state where nearly all of the imported flowers and foliage flow through nearby Miami International Airport, it was doubly important to have this gorgeous and tangible example of the Slow Flowers movement in my hands.

Thanks again for joining me today and please visit debraprinzing.com to see my photos and to follow links to all Erik’s social sites.

Albin Hagstrom & Son on Facebook

Erik Hagstrom on Twitter: @erikhagstrom

Listeners like you have downloaded the podcast nearly 49,000 times. Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.

Chelsea in Bloom: Floral Decor for London’s Shopfronts

Sunday, May 17th, 2015
Chelsea in Bloom

Chelsea in Bloom

The theme of Chelsea in Bloom is “Fairy Tales,” and it is utterly charming!

My mom Anita Prinzing and I are in London to celebrate her special birthday and to attend the Chelsea Flower Show.

My Mom is a trooper! She actually has been working out with a trainer to get ready for all the walking we’re doing – and so far, she has put me to shame with her endurance.

Today, we checked out Chelsea in Bloom, a streetscape beautification campaign that has been taking place for the past decade to coincide with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

It is held just outside the Sloan Square Underground Station (the closest stop to the Chelsea Flower Show and a posh London shopping district) encompassing storefronts along Sloan St., King’s Rd., Symons St. and side streets that lead onto each of these.

We spotted many hot botanicals and the designers’ favorite floral materials seem to be:

  • Baby’s Breath (white and pink)
  • Fern
  • Moss — green and Spanish varieties
  • Succulents
  • Carnations (think “color blocking”)
  • Foxgloves
Baby's Breath, ferns, English ivy and more: Club Monaco

Baby’s Breath, ferns, English ivy and more: Club Monaco

The world class alternative floral art show is produced in association with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), l transforming the streets of Chelsea during the week of the Chelsea Flower Show with breathtaking floral displays. The annual competition has grown dramatically each year with Chelsea’s best retailers adorning their shop fronts with creative designs to compete for the coveted awards.

Her head in the clouds: Kate Spade's interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.

Her head in the clouds: Kate Spade’s interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.

"Cloud" detail -- all baby's breath, beautifully rendered by Kate Spade.

“Cloud” detail — all baby’s breath, beautifully rendered by Kate Spade.

Those enormous pink flamingos from Alice in Wonderland, expressed by Kate Spade in 2-toned carnations.

Those enormous pink flamingos from Alice in Wonderland, expressed by Kate Spade in 2-toned carnations.

Color-blocking with carnations.

Color-blocking with carnations.

This year’s theme is ‘Fairy Tales.’ The competition showcases floral displays reflecting the participating retailers’ interpretation of the theme in their own unique style. Last year’s Gold winner, Kate Spade, set the benchmark high, along with other award winners L.K.Bennett, Liz Earle and Hamptons International. This year promises to be another exciting competition with all of the 2014 victors competing once again.

T.BA combined women's couture with chicken wire and dried floral material.

T.BA combined women’s couture with chicken wire and dried floral material.

T.BA's entry with chicken wire and dried florals, with fern sprays.

T.BA’s entry with chicken wire and dried florals, with fern sprays.

SOME MORE FAVORITES:

A golden tree stump and woodland display spotted in front of Moyses Stevens, a flower shop

A golden tree stump and woodland display spotted in front of Moyses Stevens, a flower shop

A perfect execution of a storybook world, spotted at Smythson.

A perfect execution of a storybook world, spotted at Smythson.

A succulent footstool at Smythson.

A succulent footstool at Smythson.

Another charming detail at Smythson.

Another charming detail at Smythson.

Pink Baby's Breath Butterfly @Smythson.

Pink Baby’s Breath Butterfly @Smythson.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party at  Brunello Cucinelli.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Brunello Cucinelli.

Tea setting in flowers: Brunello Cucinelli.

Tea setting in flowers: Brunello Cucinelli.

Gold-sprayed succulents - a detail of Cinderella's carriage.

Gold-sprayed succulents – a detail of Cinderella’s carriage.

Here are those foxgloves - at Dubarry of Ireland.

Here are those foxgloves – at Dubarry of Ireland.

Storybook Homes, depicted by Hampton's, a real estate company

Storybook Homes, depicted by Hampton’s, a real estate company

TOMORROW: Chelsea Flower Show Press Day tomorrow! Updates to come!

Week 19 // Slow Flowers Challenge with Flowering Branches

Friday, May 15th, 2015
Some of Springtime's most alluring flowering branches include: Magnolia, Dogwood, Apricot, Quince and Plum.

Some of Springtime’s most alluring flowering branches include: Magnolia, Dogwood, Apricot, Quince and Cherry.

We’re digging into the archives this week for the  Slow Flowers Challenge. That’s what happens when I find myself on too many airplanes, which is ironic, isn’t it? It’s sort of the opposite of my “Slow” aspirations!

However, I’m just back home from speaking and teaching in Orlando, Florida. And now, after recharging for the past five days in Seattle, I’ve re-packed and am heading to the airport tonight to fly to London!!!

That’s right! I’m off to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. I’ll also be meeting many of the people active in the British Flowers scene – U.K. flower farmers and florists who have many of the same objectives that we have here in the U.S. To put local, seasonal and sustainably-grown flowers at the center of our tables!

Stay tuned, because I promise that next week’s Slow Flowers Challenge will be decidedly British!

The acid green of variegated hostas and euphorbia create a "skirt" effect for flowering magnolia branches.

The acid green of variegated hostas and euphorbia create a “skirt” effect for flowering magnolia branches.

I absolutely love the images you see here. I created these arrangements for a national magazine story that was, sadly, never published. The editors, as they say, went in a different direction.

But my photos live on and I’m delighted to share them with you here.

The vase at left is filled with Pieris and Dogwood; the vase at right has both flowering Dogwod and twig dogwood.

The vase at left is filled with Pieris and Dogwood; the vase at right has both flowering Dogwod and twig dogwood.

Flowering Cherry with Snowball Viburnum.

Flowering Cherry with Snowball Viburnum.

Simple: Quince in two hues, plus swordfern.

Simple: Quince in two hues, plus swordfern.

Flowering plum, paired with Lamb's Ear foliage.

Flowering plum, paired with Lamb’s Ear foliage.

Spring hellebores paired with flowering apricot branches.

Spring hellebores paired with flowering apricot branches.