Seasonal Flowers fill an Old World Vessel

Week 41, as we revisit the 10-year anniversary of the book Slow Flowers

Sunflowers in green glass oil jar
Sunflowers, Sedum Autumn Joy, Purple Shiso and Safflowers in a vintage oil jar from Purtugal

Large enough to be used as a terrarium, this bottle green jar is one of two I purchased years ago from a Seattle antique shop at the urging of designer friend Jean Zaputil. The size and shape, not to mention the irregular hand-blown rim, appealed to me as objects now displayed on the living room mantel.

page 78 of Slow Flowers book (2013)
“Old World Meets New Flowers,” my arrangement from one decade ago

Back in the fall of 2012, when I was photographing arrangements for the 2013 publication of Slow Flowers, I knew I wanted to use the smaller of the two jars as a floral vase, seen above. That one measures 13-inches x 9 inches with a 5-1/2 inch opening. I used Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Bells of Ireland, chocolate sunflowers, and fruiting crab apple branches. I photographed the composition in front of the dark rust door of our former home.

Seasonal blooms against a maroon red door.
Seasonal blooms against a maroon red door.

This week, in revisiting and reinterpreting the seasonal arrangement in a vintage jar, I again chose the smaller one and sought botanicals with the longest stems possible. I shopped the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and selected these ingredients from the market floor:

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, grown by Space Lotus Floral Collective 
Shiso Foliage (red-burgundy), grown by Diamond Day Bouquet
Brilliant yellow sunflowers with dark centers, grown by Field to Heart
Safflower stems, BC-grown

Sunflower srrangement in a vintage green glass oil jar, placed in front of a red door
This week’s arrangement in a vintage green glass oil jar, placed in front of a maroon-red door

As with the earlier arrangement, the Sedum served as a bit of a “green mechanic” to support stems of other flowers. I wasn’t able to source bells of Ireland this time around, but I’m so thrilled that I found the red-burgundy Shiso, its foliage glossy and frilly. It is the connecting element that seems to blend beautifully with everything else. And while it was just a few weeks too late for fruiting crabapple branches, the safflower with such intense orange-gold blooms was a delightful new accent for the design.

Safflower detail
Safflower detail

Speaking of Safflower, here is a great cultural tip sheet on the annual from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Why aren’t more of us growing this beautiful annual that serves as a flower, a “filler” or textural element,” and dries with ease?

The photograph’s backdrop is surprisingly similar. In our new home, the exact door as the prior one is painted a dark burgundy-red — a great contrast to the vivid yellows and darker elements.

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, 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 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.


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