Debra Prinzing

Archive for the ‘Slow Flowers: 52 Weeks’ Category

What’s in bloom now: Spring seasonal floral design

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Yesterday, I hosted a hugely inspiring gathering of floral designers

We celebrated spring with a hands-on workshop to explore color, texture, form and scale

Below is the result of our creative expression 

2_bouquets

Floral Designs Above, from top: SUSAN WADE and TRACY STRAND (Mother & Daughter)

4_bouquets_May_3_set_2

Floral Designs Above, clockwise from top left: DEBRA PRINZING, SUSAN CARTER, SUSAN KESE and SHAWN CHAMBERLAIN

4_bouquets_May_3

Floral Designs Above, clockwise from top left: KEITA HORN, KRISTIANN SCHOENING, MAIJA WADE and KRISTIN MATTSEN

Zapote_Gregory_2_IMG_9904

Floral Design Above: ZAPOTE GREGORY

Floral Sources:

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Curly willow, Oregon Coastal Flowers

‘Peony’ Tulips, Ojeda Farms

Bleeding Heart, Ojeda Farms

Sweet Peas, Jello Mold Farm

Bupleurum, Foxglove, Gerrondo Gerberas, Yarrow and Veronica — California Grown

Florabundance (thanks for the donation of California-grown products!)

Garden Roses from Rose Story Farm

Dusty Miller

Lilacs

Parrot tulips

SLOW FLOWERS Podcast: Make my Valentine’s Flowers American-Grown, Please! Thanks, Peterkort – an Oregon Rose Farm (Episode 128)

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
A rainbow of rose colors grown in Oregon by Peterkort Roses. Love this palette!

A rainbow of rose colors grown in Oregon by Peterkort Roses. Love this palette!   

 

Love this graphic messaging on the side of Peterkort's delivery truck.

Love this graphic messaging on the side of Peterkort’s delivery truck.

Hello again and thank you for listening to the newest episode of the Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra Prinzing

This is part 2 of my back-to-back episodes on American grown roses, in honor of Valentine’s Day, taking place later this week. In our previous episode, I introduced you to Danielle Hahn of Rose Story Farm, based in Carpinteria, California.

Today, I hope you’ll enjoy my conversation with Sandra Peterkort Laubenthal of Peterkort Roses.

Most U.S.-grown roses hail from California, which accounts for 75 percent of the nation’s overall floral production. Yet in Oregon, Peterkort Roses has raised hybrid teas for the floral trade since the 1930s. The Peterkorts, a third-generation Oregon family, currently produces 2 million roses annually, using many sustainable growing practices.

“We have this certain niche, and we really want to support the local floral industry,” says Sandra, granddaughter of Joseph and Bertha Peterkort, who came to Oregon from Germany and started flower farming in 1923, raising sweet peas, gerberas and pansies.

This photo is from a visit I made to Peterkort Roses in May 2012 when Portland TV personality Anne Jaeger produced a segment about sustainable and local flowers for The Oregonian. Sandra Laubenthal and her brother Norman Peterkort  pose at right: I'm on the left and Anne is second from left.

This photo is from a visit I made to Peterkort Roses in May 2012 when Portland TV personality Anne Jaeger produced a segment about sustainable and local flowers for The Oregonian. Sandra Laubenthal and her brother Norman Peterkort pose at right: I’m on the left and Anne is second from left.

Historically, the state had been home to several commercial cut rose growers, but during the past two decades those operations either shifted to other crops or folded altogether. “We are an anachronism, but it seems like the ‘City of Roses’ should have its own local rose grower,” Sandra points out. 

Here’s the video segment produced by Anne Jaeger for The Oregonian/Oregon Live: “Sustainable bouquets — buying local extends to flowers, too!”

Stunning pink rose blooms - perfect for your sweetheart.

Stunning pink rose blooms – perfect for your sweetheart.

Peterkort’s elegant blooms look vastly different from those softball-sized imported ones that are offered by supermarkets, wire services and conventional flower shops every February 14th.

Instead, Peterkort’s 60-plus rose varieties are closer to what you might find gracing a mixed perennial border in the garden. Specialties include the hybrid tea rose, with upright, spiraled petals; a German-bred hybrid tea that features multi-petal characteristics of an old garden rose; and dainty spray roses with many small blooms on a single stem. Today, Peterkort’s 16 hoop houses produce thousands of rose stems, as well as gorgeous Oriental and Asiatic lilies, maiden fern, orchids and new crops like ranunculus and anemone.

More Peterkort pretties!

More Peterkort pretties!

Designers count on Peterkort as an important local source for bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, flower girl wreaths and tabletop arrangements. The versatile color palette begins with pure white roses and ends with ones covered in dark, velvety black-red petals. Unlike unscented imported roses, these have a light, pleasing fragrance. Because Peterkort harvests its flowers one day and sells them the next, their roses are super fresh and, as a result, are long-lasting in the vase.

Fresh roses on the grading table at Peterkort's greenhouses.

Fresh roses on the grading table at Peterkort’s greenhouses.

“I’ve been ordering roses from Peterkort for years,” says designer Melissa Feveyear, owner of Seattle-based Terra Bella Floral Design, who specializes in local and organic flowers. With varieties like ‘Piano Freiland’, a red, peony-shaped rose, and spray roses that last several weeks in an arrangement, Peterkort’s blooms make up in quality what they don’t have in size, she says.

“Because the stems are thinner than (those of) imported roses, they’re very easy to use in hand-tied bouquets. You can group a bunch together for really stunning impact without making the stem feel too bulky for a bride to hold.”

A detail from a Valentine's Day bouquet featuring Peterkort Roses.

A detail from a Valentine’s Day bouquet featuring Peterkort Roses.

Indeed Peterkort is the last Oregon rose grower, but in fact, customers around the country have begun to discover these boutique blooms. A message on the company’s web site helps to explain their popularity: “What can we say about a bunch of people who are still dedicated to growing cut flower roses in the U.S.? . . . We continue because we are obsessed.” 

Peterkort’s sustainable practices produce greener blooms:

  • During the winter months, Peterkort increases the amount of artificial greenhouse light, thereby producing more roses in less space for the same amount of energy. Energy curtains provide additional insulation as outside temperatures drop. The panels are made of Mylar and are suspended from cables across the greenhouse ceiling, containing heat within when closed.
  • Peterkort uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system of biological controls to curb aphids, spider mites and other predator pests.
  • Peterkort selects disease-resistant rose varieties and suppresses the spread of fungal diseases by maintaining ideal temperature, humidity and air circulation levels inside the greenhouses and keeping the ground clear of dead leaves and debris.
  • All packaging is recycled and roses are wrapped for market in newspaper purchased from a local charity. 

Here are some of my arrangements from Slow Flowers, featuring roses and lilies grown by Peterkort Roses: 

Peterkort lilies with winter greenery. The variety is Lilium 'Rio Negro', a hybrid Oriental lily.

Peterkort lilies with winter greenery. The variety is Lilium ‘Rio Negro’, a hybrid Oriental lily.

 

Peterkort's lovely red garden rose 'Piano Freidland', makes this autumn arrangement sparkle!

Peterkort’s lovely red garden rose ‘Piano Freidland’, makes this autumn arrangement sparkle!

 

"Supergreen' is a hybrid tea rose grown by Peterkort - a sublime pale green rose.

“Supergreen’ is a hybrid tea rose grown by Peterkort – a sublime pale green rose.

 

A springtime bouquet featuring 'Supergreen' with a  pastel combination.

A springtime bouquet featuring ‘Supergreen’ with a pastel combination. 

For many sweethearts, Valentine’s Day is filled with expectations and anticipation. Yet for followers of the Slow Flowers movement, the romantic holiday is not complete unless the flowers we give and receive come from local farmers who use sustainable practices. Peterkort is one such source. Please ask your local florist to order these domestic roses rather than the steroidal giants that must be shipped from afar, a continent or two from here.

In fact, here is my list of American rose farms. If your local florist says, “I can’t find American-grown roses,” then give him/her my recommendations and ask them to do their homework. You have to care enough to do the right thing.

It has been my pleasure to share with you today’s podcast conversation with Sandra Laubenthal. All photos are (c) Debra Prinzing.

Because of the support from you and others, listeners have downloaded episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast more than 6,500 times! I thank you for taking the time to join to my conversations with flower farmers, florists and other notable floral experts.

If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.

Until next week please join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. 

 The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about her work at hhcreates.net.  

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 52

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

 FRESH PICKED AND EVERGREEN

Local Washington tulips fill one of my favorite pedestal vases. The greenery and branches are all from my garden.

Local Washington tulips fill one of my favorite pedestal vases. The greenery and branches are all from my garden.

Here we are at the final week of the year. And I want to share with you a final look at my year-long project to create, photograph and write about 52 consecutive weeks of local and seasonal floral arrangements.

It was a fabulous ride – and one that rewarded me with so many gifts, friendships and experiences.

Today, I’m sharing a bonus bouquet – created during my one-year odyssey. It didn’t make it into Slow Flowers, but I’m not sure why. I truly love this arrangement, which was created with downed confier branches and bare twigs from my vine maple tree — all free for the taking! They’re paired with two small bunches of white and creamy-yellow tulips grown by Alm Hill Gardens and purchased at Seattle’s Pike Place Market just after Christmas.

The chicken wire is somewhat inelegant, but you'd never know it by looking at the finished bouquet above.

The chicken wire is somewhat inelegant, but you’d never know it by looking at the finished bouquet above.

This is just the sort of shallow vase into which a conventional florist would stick a chunk of foam before arranging the branches and stems. But if you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you know I am a big hater of foam.

A simple square of chicken wire, formed into a mushroom-cap shape and inserted into the opening of the vase, is the perfect alternative. I use this wire over and over again, rarely throwing it into the recycling bin until I’ve gone through multiple arrangements.

Enjoy! Not sure when I’ll resume this bouquet-a-week project, but I promise to share more of my local, seasonal and sustainable floral projects in 2014.

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 51

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

THE ALLURE OF AMARYLLIS

'Joker', a red-streaked amaryllis - perfect for a long-lasting holiday display

‘Joker’, a red-streaked amaryllis – perfect for a long-lasting holiday display

amaryllis and paperwhites II Ingredients:
2 amaryllis bulbs (Hippeastrum ‘Joker’), available via mail order, online and garden centers beginning in autumn. Store in a dry, cool space until planting. Can be planted and “forced” four to six weeks prior to desired bloom.
 
Vase:
8-inch tall x 8-inch diameter glass trifle dish used as a bulb planter
 
Design 101
Better than a flower pot: I realize it’s a little unconventional to fill a clear glass trifle dish with soil. But the elegant footed serving piece seems fitting for the graceful amaryllis plants it holds. Glass and ceramic serving pieces can quickly change the ordinary flowering bulb into a stylish floral display. I snagged this piece for $14 at a holiday flea market – and as a bonus, it was actually filled with the slightly faded Christmas balls!

 

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 50

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

ILEX BERRIES AND PAPER WHITES

One must maintain a little bit of summer,
even in the middle of winter.
–Henry David Thoreau

Welcome to the Holiday Season, when flowers are less likely to originate - at least in my garden. This festive combination is a great option.

Welcome to the Holiday Season, when flowers are less likely to originate – at least in my garden. This festive combination is a great option.

Ingredients:
5 paper white bulbs (Narcissus papyraceus), available at many garden centers beginning in autumn. I like to plant pots of these bulbs indoors around Thanksgiving so that their blooms (and scent) fill the house by the December holidays.
20 stems scented geranium foliage (Pelargonium citrosum), grown by Charles Little & Co.
10 stems winter berry (Ilex verticillata), grown by Charles Little & Co.
 
This is how all three ingredients appear together in a low tray.

This is how all three ingredients appear together in a low tray.

Vase:

2½-inch deep x 6 inch diameter ceramic dish used as a bulb planter (this one has no drainage, so I watered sparingly)
2½-inch deep x 13-inch long x 9½-inch wide oval tray (wicker with a metal lining)
 
Eco-technique
Divided arrangements: When the ingredients in your bouquet have different requirements, you can devise a two-sectioned vessel. Here, the bulbs needed a small amount of soil, but the cut foliage and branches needed only fresh water.
 
The solution was to place a dish with the planted bulbs in the center of the wicker tray. Then, I arranged the ingredients needing water around its edges, making sure to keep the water level lower than the rim of the center dish.

 

 

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 49

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Conifers, Cones and Lilies

Deep raspberry-pink lilies (Oregon grown) paired with evergreens from my yard.

Deep raspberry-pink lilies (Oregon grown) paired with evergreens from my yard.

Ingredients:
5 stems dark pink ‘Rio Negro’ hybrid Oriental lilies, greenhouse grown by Peterkort Roses
5 stems Norway spruce (Picea abies), gleaned from my driveway
7 short branches Western red cedar (Thuja plicata), clipped from my garden
3 stems Camellia (Camellia japonica), clipped from my garden
5 lengths variegated ivy (Hedera helix), trimmed from a neighbor’s fence


Lovely cones contrast organically with the teal vase and blue-green needles.

Lovely cones contrast organically with the teal vase and blue-green needles.

Vase:

12-inch tall x 9-inch diameter with 6-inch opening vintage McCoy urn

Design 101
Lilies for longevity: When you design with Oriental lilies, more than a week of enjoyment will ensue. One or two blooms at a time open and share their loveliness almost in succession, ensuring that something is always in flower. Don’t forget to clip the pollen-laden stamen and pistils from the center of each bloom as it opens. Otherwise, as those pieces fall, they can stain table linens.

 

 

 

 

 

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 48

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

I’ll take flowers in any form

Ornamental cabbage (pink) with tri-colored sage

Ornamental cabbage (pink) with tri-colored sage

Ingredients:
7 stems pink flowering kale (Brassica oleracea), trimmed to resemble a bloom, grown by Charles Little & Co.
20 stems tricolored sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’), grown by Charles Little & Co. 
Vase:
5-inch tall x 10-inch diameter with 6-inch opening vintage ceramic planter 

nicecropbowl Grow This
Herbs for foliage: Herbs of all kinds – herbaceous or woody – make excellent greenery in floral arrangements. When you think about it, this comes as no surprise.

Culinary herbs last for days when we clip them from the kitchen garden and bring inside, plunking a few stems into a jar of water until we’re ready to start cooking. My “aha” herb moment occurred while on a photo shoot at a U-Pick farm. The photographer was waiting and I quickly needed to find dark foliage as contrast for a vase of zinnias. Fortunately for me, the farm’s herb patch was filled with dark purple basil plants and they looked (and smelled) wonderful in that bouquet.

 

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 47

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Leaves, Branches, Berries and Blooms

aluminum pot

The ideal, low, autumn holiday centerpiece

Ingredients:
20 stems smooth eucalyptus foliage (Eucalyptus gunnii), grown by Charles Little & Co.
5 large leaves from oak leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia), harvested from my garden
10 stems purple beautyberry (Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’), grown by Charles Little & Co.
7 stems rose hips (Rosa multiflora), grown by Charles Little & Co.
7 purple coneflower seed heads (Echinacea purpurea), harvested from my garden
5 stems pincushion flower seed heads (Scabiosa stellata ‘Paper Moon’), grown by J. Foss Garden Flowers
7 stems ‘Supergreen’ hybrid tea roses (Rosa ‘Supergreen’), grown by Peterkort Roses
 
All the textures and ingredients of the season, with a little polish from the Oregon-grown roses.

All the textures and ingredients of the season, with a little polish from the Oregon-grown roses.

 
Vase:
5-inch tall x 17-inch long aluminum planter with three 6-inch wide planting sections
Grow This
Garden for foliage: Perennials and shrubs produce some of the most interesting “greenery” for DIY floral designers. Clipping leafy branches from your own backyard is obviously more economical than buying foliage. But it also means the difference between a prosaic bouquet and one with loads of personality. Unique silver, burgundy, gold and blue-green leaves of all sizes and textures lend garden-inspired style to your designs.

 

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 46

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

A (LOVING) CUP FULL OF AUTUMN

The last flowers of summer, not to mention those like me who love them, are often reluctant to disappear come fall. That was the case with these beautiful Cafe au Lait dahlias.

The last flowers of summer, not to mention those like me who love them, are often reluctant to disappear come fall. That was the case with these beautiful Cafe au Lait dahlias.

 

Love the detail on this trophy, which my friend Kathryn Renner urged me to acquire.

Love the detail on this trophy, which my friend Kathryn Renner urged me to acquire.

Ingredients:

5 stems Rosa ‘Piano Freiland’, grown by Peterkort Roses
3 stems Dahlia ‘Cafe au Lait’, grown by Jello Mold Farm
9 blades green millet (Setaria italica ‘Highlander’), grown by Jello Mold Farm
3 stems scarlet oak foliage (Quercus coccinea), grown by Oregon Coastal Flowers
3 stems wild rose hips, harvested by Oregon Coastal Flowers
 
Vase:
10½ inch tall x 4-inch diameter vintage silver loving cup (look for old trophies at thrift stores or online auctions; or perhaps you’ll find one in the family that has personal meaning).
 
Design 101
A floral designer’s recipe: To create a classic floral arrangement, I need ingredients to fulfill three purposes. First, I choose the diva – an eye-catching, dramatic bloom with a symmetrical or dome-shaped form, such as a rose, peony or dahlia. Then I add taller ingredients to emerge from the main cluster of diva flowers. Flowering, fruiting or foliage-laden branches are ideal – I consider them the arrangement’s exclamation point. Finally, I add softer elements to drape over the edge of the vase, dripping like chandelier crystals.
 
 
 

SLOW FLOWERS: Week 45

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

VINTAGE PATINA

Oh how I love the way hydrangeas respond to cool weather as fall settles in!

Oh how I love the way hydrangeas respond to cool weather as fall settles in!

Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) are like little sparklers emerging from the hydrangea mound.

Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) are like little sparklers emerging from the hydrangea mound.

Ingredients:

12 stems mop-head hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), harvested from my garden (note, the lace-cap hydrangeas don’t have the same visual impact as the mop-head form)
20 stems Dusty Miller (Centaurea cineraria), grown by Charles Little & Co.
25 stems sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), grown by Jello Mold Farm
 
Vase:
7-inch tall x 11-inch diameter cast-iron urn. Intended as a planter, it converts to a watertight vase when lined with a plastic bowl.
 
 
This was the very first arrangement I designed in early November 2011 when I dreamed up the bouquet-a-week-for-a-year project.

This was the very first arrangement I designed in early November 2011 when I dreamed up the bouquet-a-week-for-a-year project.

Eco-technique

Preserve your bouquet: There’s a bonus to using these late-season flowers in an arrangement. As the vase water slowly evaporates, the mop-head hydrangeas, Dusty Miller foliage and sea oats will air-dry without changing shape or color.
 
I created the arrangement you see here during the first week of November and by the following May it looked just about the same. By then, I needed the urn for another project, so I disassembled the preserved ingredients and tossed them in the compost bin. Not every cut flower will air-dry as nicely as this trio did, but with a little experimentation you’ll soon notice that some long-lasting ingredients can be preserved for months.
 

A BONUS BOUQUET: Using some of the same elements, here’s a bouquet I made this week, November 2013. It employs the same weathered urn, hydrangeas, a lacy form of Dusty Miller, rose hips, feverfew sprays and a few Cafe au Lait dahlias. This is a favorite style to which I continue returning. Love it!

An autumn arrangement glows on a table by my front door.

An autumn arrangement glows on a table by my front door.