Slow Valentine’s Day featured on

Early spring blooms from my garden and California growers is just what we all need right now. Houzz writer Becky Harris recently featured the DIY steps (see below)

Garden fresh and seasonal, this lovely bouquet symbolizes everything that one dozen long-stemmed (and most likely imported) red roses are not. This is a fragrant, vivid spring arrangement that evokes curiosity and interest, not to mention romance. asked me to design a garden-inspired and seasonal arrangement for their Valentine’s Day editorial, written by Becky Harris. The piece appeared on’s home page on February 8th. You can read that article here.

And follow these tips (steps) for designing in this Slow Flowers style:

Getting started. Organize all flower stems and branches by variety. From left: Pieris japonica, poppies, hellebores, anemones, ranunculus, hyacinth tulip magnolia, cymbidium orchid spray (which I ended up not using), Viburnum tinus in back, fancy parrot tulips. Strip off any foliage that falls below the water’s surface to reduce bacteria. Note that I’ve inserted a vintage dome-style flower frog inside the footed vase. This can be secured with floral adhesive, available at craft and floral supply retailers or online.
Note how the vintage flower frog fits inside my vintage vase just perfectly?!
Start with foliage and woody branch stems. Note how the Viburnum tinus is a broadleaf evergreen shrub with wine-colored stems and buds. Placement creates the lines that will ultimately take shape as the arrangement progresses. I love to choose one longer stem to “reach out” to the right as an asymmetrical gesture.
A second broadleaf evergreen choice is lily-of-the-valley shrub (Pieris japonica), with raspberry, bell-shaped blooms. This is one of the best early-blooming shrubs for my Zone 8b garden.
Add deciduous saucer magnolia branches (Magnolia x soulangeana) also placed asymmetrically with buds at various stages of opening.
This “ultra violet” hued Anemone selection has non-straight stems, which I prefer, and button-black centers.
White hyacinths add volume, texture and fragrance. These were grown by Oregon Flowers in Aurora, Ore., but I could just have as easily forced hyacinth bulbs indoors. I went for convenience and bought a bunch of five stems, perfectly in bloom.
These interesting white-and-green variegated parrot tulips are almost fully opened, which gives them a Dutch Masters quality. Grown by Sun Valley Flower Farm in Arcata, Calif.,
Tulip detail, a la an old world painting.
A few quirky stems of California-grown Icelandic poppies (open and in bud) add movement and personality to contrast with the denser focal flowers.
Garden hellebores are sometimes the only thing blooming in my beds and borders at this time of year, so I judiciously snipped just three stems for inclusion in this seasonal arrangement.
I also purchased one bunch of pink ranunculus (California-grown) and placed them in water inside my home for 48 hours to encourage them to open.
Detail of this gorgeous gathering of seasonal spring flowers.
The final design includes four elements clipped from my garden and neighborhood (with permission) and blooms grown by U.S. flower farms. I purchased the hyacinth, anemone, ranunculus, poppy and tulips from the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a wonderful farmer-to-florist cooperative representing only Pacific Northwest and domestic flowers. It is open to the public from 10 a.m.-Noon every Friday. The vintage creamware vase has the Haeger USA mark.
Debra Prinzing

Debra Prinzing is the founder of Slow Flowers and the author of several books.

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Slow Flowers Journal is brought to you by Slow Flowers is an award-winning online directory created to help consumers find florists, studio designers, wedding and event planners, supermarket flower departments and flower farmers that supply American grown flowers. Founded in 2014, the site has grown to 700 members across the U.S.


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For more information, please contact Debra Prinzing
at 206-769-8211 or 844-SLOWFLO (844-756-9356); debra(at)