A Cottage Garden-inspired Basket of Blooms

Week 21, as we revisit the 10-year anniversary of the book Slow Flowers

Floral Arrangement for Week 21 of Slow Flowers Revisited
Reviving a vintage basket for an arrangement inspired by the original Slow Flowers bouquet from 2013

I worried about how I was going to pull off my self-imposed “assignment” — to recreate the bouquet that originally appeared in my 2013 book, Slow Flowers. But things worked out, albeit with a slightly new version of ingredients.

Page 34 of Slow Flowers book A Softer Side of Green
Pale green roses determined the palette for this soft, cottage garden-inspired arrangment from 2013.

I titled the original piece “A Softer Side of Green,” a nod to the central element, ‘Supergreen’ hybrid roses that I brought home from a visit to Peterkort Roses outside Portland, Oregon. My idea was to gather other soft, pale green botanicals to join the roses, as you can see above.

2023 basket of cottage garden blooms
The apricot-blush tones of the ‘Rose Gold’ sprays shifted the palette. They echo the darker tones of the verbascum flowers and ninebark foliage and look compatible with the natural rattan basket.

This time around, I wasn’t sure I could find the pale green roses, so when I shopped at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market this past week, I began with the other ingredients:

  1. The original vintage basket! Miraculously, though I thought I had possibly sold it during a garage sale, I found my basket of unknown origins and age! It was perched on a shelf at my work station in the garage!
  2. Foliages: I sourced dusty Miller foliage (from California) and as a new element, silver poplar foliage tips, appreciated for the white back side of the small leaves (Field to Heart).
  3. Verbascum – yay! I wasn’t sure that I’d find this sweet line flower, but Free Range Flowers, a Slow Flowers member who sells through the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, had brought in ‘Southern Charm’, with plum-apricot tones.
  4. To replace the Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum nutans), a variegated flower, I found white Camassia, Camas Lily (Field to Heart), with a similar form.
  5. And then, the roses. The chartreuse rose option was not to be found, but Peterkort’s ‘Rose Gold’, a pale blush spray rose caught my eye. I decided to pull out the peachy-plum tones from the verbascum instead of a green theme.
  6. Back at home, I still wanted lamb’s ears. On my regular trip to the grocery store or post office, I drive past a home about 1/2-mile from me in Des Moines, which has an entire parking strip filled with stalks of lamb’s ears. I decided to invite myself over for a neighborly request. Wearing my straw hat, with clippers and my flower gathering tote, I walked down to that home. Through the Ring doorbell, I spoke with the voice that answered and explained my mission. I wanted to clip about one dozen stems of their lamb’s ears. “Of course, help yourself,” she said. “And while you’re at it, can you do a little weeding?!”
  7. Once I assembled this arrangement, it felt a little monochrome, both in palette and in texture. It needed darker notes! Thankfully, my ninebark shrub, with deep maroon foliage, was on hand. I clipped seven or eight stems and tucked them into the composition, which yielded pleasing results!

Details that delight:

Verbascum detail
Verbascum detail
Lamb's ear
Lamb’s ear
Silver poplar foliage detail
Silvery poplar foliage detail

Debra Prinzing

Debra Prinzing is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for American-grown flowers. Through her many Slow Flowers-branded projects, she has convened a national conversation that encourages consumers and professionals alike to make conscious choices about their floral purchases. Debra is the producer of SlowFlowers.com, the weekly "Slow Flowers Podcast" and the American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4) campaign. Debra is author of 11 books, including Slow Flowers (2013), The 50 Mile Bouquet (2012) and Slow Flowers Journal (2020). She is the co-founder of BLOOM Imprint, the boutique publishing arm of Slow Flowers.

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Slow Flowers Journal is brought to you by SlowFlowers.com. 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 850 members across the U.S.


Media Contact:

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