Roses and Succulents

Week 30, as we revisit the 10-year anniversary of the book Slow Flowers

2023 interpretation of the original 2013 design for Slow Flowers book
My 2023 reinterpretation of the original 2013 design from the Slow Flowers book

This week’s arrangement gathers together a medley of all the roses in bloom right now — some are cherished David Austin or Weeks roses; others are cut from a landscape shrub or grocery store rose that graces my front yard. What’s abundantly clear is that the season’s first rose flush has come and mostly gone; the shrubs are covered in buds and not quite ready for the vase. But I really do like the mix of creamy white, apricot, pale pink, rosy red and burgundy and together the multi-petal rose form is beautiful in this mixed palette.

Page 54 Stunning Succulents from Slow Flowers, the book
Page 54 Stunning Succulents from Slow Flowers, the book

When I originally designed a rose arrangement for the Slow Flowers project (remember, it started as a blog project and didn’t transform into the notion of a book until I was deep into the year!), I wanted to share the “hot” design trend of using rosette-shaped succulents as floral elements. I had first learned of this concept from designers in California; we featured a Bay Area wedding with succulents in the bridal and bridesmaids’ bouquets in The 50 Mile Bouquet. The technique involves “wiring” a stem to the base of the beheaded succulent to make it easy for inserting in a hand-tied bouquet or vase.

page 2 of the Stunning Succulents spread in Slow Flowers
page 55 – the second page of this Stunning Succulents chapter in the Slow Flowers book

At the time, though, tender succulents weren’t readily available to Seattle area gardeners. I brought home a suitcase packed with some echeveria and aeonium rosettes when I returned from a trip to Los Angeles, and used them in the rose-and-echeveria arrangement above. I wrote in Slow Flowers at the time, “they lasted the entire summer in a number of arrangements.”

Details of the rose-and-succulent arrnagement
Details of the garden rose-and-succulent arrangement

The trick to cut the rosette leaving just a tiny nub of a stem no longer freaks me out. I am not going to kill the plant this way! It will produce new roots at the base of the rosette, making replanting possible so these tender succulents will rejuvenate in my greenhouse over the winter — along with many pots of their cousins.

I added other succulent elements that really enhance the new interpretation:

  • True succulent flowers — the long, arching stems that emerge from the rosette with tiny pink and coral flowers
  • Stems of garden sedum as a green element that helps stabilize the many top-heavy roses and larger succulents
Another detail with vintage olive green glass vase
Another detail with vintage olive green glass vase

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)