Week 51, as we revisit the 10-year anniversary of the book Slow Flowers
The text began: “Welcome to the Holiday Season, when flowers are less likely to originate from my outdoor garden and more likely to be forced indoors. The lovely tradition of potting up paper whites (Narcissus papyraceus), a spring-flowering daffodil cherished for its intensely fragrant flowers, can’t come at a better time for most of us.”
That’s exactly how I approached my 2023 version of this arrangement, forcing paper white bulbs in vases filled with washed gravel and water. For weeks, the table underneath the livingroom window was home to a lovely compendium of tall, green flowers stalks and foliage blades. Then, just in time, they started blooming (and falling over due to the height of the stems).
In 2013, I used the paper whites while still on the bulb, but this time around, I cut them all to add to this week’s arrangement.
I had arranged in advance to order two bunches of scented geranium (Pelargonium sp.) from the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, so this year, I used two varieties — an unnamed green leaf, slightly serrated around the margins, and one called ‘Chocolate Mint’, with contrasting reddish markings. The foliage and the red Ilex berries are all from California.
Today, on my pre-Christmas grocery store run, I spotted one more element, new for 2023. Five-stemmed bunches of standard red B.C.-grown tulips for $4 per bunch were irresistible. I cut them low into the arrangements because that holiday meal is 48 hours away and I know those tulips will “grow” in the warmth of our home.
This design is a favorite for its versatility! I distributed the flowers, berries, and foliage across four metal pots. And then I photographed them two ways: in a row and nested in a basket. Both options are appealing, fresh, in the palette of the season, and will last for several days. If the paper whites begin to fade, there are extra bulbs yet to flower, so I’ll have a few more stems to replace them.
We’re almost ready to wrap up a full year of Slow Flowers Revisited! This 52-week project has celebrated the original designs created for my 2013 book, Slow Flowers.