Pretty in Pink

Week 42, as we revisit the 10-year anniversary of the book Slow Flowers

2023 interpretation of 2013 "Clusters of Pink" arrangement, Slow Flowers book
My 2023 interpretation of 2013 “Clusters of Pink” arrangement, Slow Flowers book

Having the opportunity to design with local dahlias so late into October is such a gift for flower lovers here in the Pacific Northwest. Honestly, when I landed on this week, page 80 of the book “Slow Flowers,” I thought to myself, “Is it really possible that I designed a Week 42 arrangement with such juicy dahlias?”

page 80 from the Slow Flowers Book for week 42 as I designed with local and seasonal flowers through one year
The arrangement “Clusters of Pink,” featured on page 80 from the “Slow Flowers” book for Week 42 as I designed with local and seasonal flowers through one year

And a trip to the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market provided the evidence. In 2013, I used gorgeous pink dahlias grown by Vivian Larson of Everyday Flowers. For 2023, I again found an abundant selection of similar pink dahlias from Vivian! This woman is a gifted dahlia grower.

Hydrangea detail
Hydrangea detail — look at that lovely patina!

Ten years ago, I was living in a garden with something like 10 mophead and lacecap hydrangea shrubs — all inherited and most quite happy to turn the blue-amethyst patina when temperatures dropped. Now, my hydrangeas are of the Limelight and Oak Leaf variety, so I don’t have access to cut ones like those I once enjoyed. Lucky for me, Pam Uhlig of Sonshine Farm outside Langley on Whidbey Island has some and I snagged the last bunch at SWGMC.

Dahlia and Arbutus unedo bloom detail
Dahlia and Arbutus unedo bloom detail

I also wanted to replicate my use of snowberry, but by the time I managed to shop at the Market, they were gone. Casting my eyes around for some type of “little berry” style element, I landed on a cluster of Strawberry tree sprigs (Arbutus unedo), also from Sonshine Flower Farm. This evergreen shrub hails from the Mediterranean and it loves our PNW coastal regions. It produces drooping clusters of fragrant, bell-shaped, white flowers at the tips of its branches from fall to winter. They fulfill that texture and contrast detail I was seeking. (And of course, the desired snowberries and gomphrena from the 2013 arrangement were back in stock from local flower growers the next time I visited SWGMC. The early bird gets the flowers!).

Strawflower detail
Strawflower detail

As a replacement for the absent gomphrena, at the last moment, my eyes caught a few stray stems of apricot straw flowers — amazingly, ones I grew from seed this summer for the #slowflowerscuttinggarden! Their shape and color are a lovely accent to the flamingo-pink dahlias!

Another vase detail: 1960's Floraline vase in avocado glaze
Vase detail: 1960’s Floraline vase in avocado glaze

From a design approach, I wanted to push myself to go taller and wider than a decade ago. I used the same 1960s vintage “Floraline” florist’s vase, an oblong, avocado-green vessel measuring 6 inches x 7 inches with a cute footed base. This is a favorite of mine that I’ve held onto for years because it is deep enough to arrange without chicken wire and its flare encourages flowers to face outward. I’m sure I purchased it for under $10 at a flea market. I just did an internet search and found the same one on Etsy for $14.95.

Tall dahlias in the floral arrangement
Elevate: Stretching myself to add taller dahlia stems to my arrangement

As you can see, I channeled my inner T.J. McGrath and added some tall stems of dahlias to create height.

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)