Tarnished and Textured

Week 45, as we revisit the 10-year anniversary of the book Slow Flowers

Autumn week 8 for Slow Flowers Revisited 2023
My 2023 edition of the green “still life” arrangement inspired by a vintage green, paint-chipped, cast-iron planter; the white mini-pumpkins are called ‘Baby Boo’.
Page 86 from Slow Flowers (the book) 2013
Page 86 from “Slow Flowers” (the book), 2013

It’s that time again, when we’ve bid adieu to our beautiful dahlias, thanks to the arrival of frost in many fields and gardens.

This week, I’ve had the pure pleasure of recreating one of my favorite pieces from the 2013 “Slow Flowers” book, and it falls under the “non-floral florals” concept that Robin Avni of BLOOM Imprint and I featured as a key theme in the 2023 Slow Flowers Floral Insights & Industry Forecast.

Tillandsia xerographica, purchased at Ravenna Gardens in Seattle
Tillandsia xerographica, purchased at Ravenna Gardens in Seattle
Tennessee Dancing Gourd and 	Pumpkin Black Kat
Details: Tennessee Dancing Gourd and Black Kat mini pumpkin, grown by Slow Flowers member Rain Drop Farm; Scabiosa stellata, grown by Everyday Flowers, and mini tillandsia from Fernseed, a Slow Flowers member retail flower + plant shop in Tacoma
Detail: Echeveria cutting
Detail: Echeveria cutting, mini tillandsia, and Scabiosa stellata

As with that piece, I incorporated a Tillandsia xerographica plant, several decorative mini-gourds, and Scabiosa stellata, the ping-pong style pods which last forever when dried. In 2013 I wrote: “their papery bronze texture is well suited for the paint-chipped urn and its contents.”

Vintage French cast aluminum jardiniere with succulents, gourds, and tillandsias
Vintage French cast aluminum jardiniere with succulents, gourds, and tillandsias

Speaking of the urn, I found it at the Long Beach Flea Market more than a decade ago. Thanks to an internet search and Google “lens” technology, I now know that this piece, called a cachepot or “jardiniere,” is older than I once thought. It is possibly from the early 1900s and has little feet and beautiful scrolled handles.

This arrangement does not require water. As I originally wrote, “it’s an assemblage of tactile and uncommon ‘found objects’ from nature that will look beautiful for months, displayed on a coffee table,” or fireplace mantle (where it now sits).

Slow Flowers revisited - Autumn - Week 45

New elements include succulent cuttings that recently broke off of a planter when I moved it into the greenhouse for winter safekeeping. No worries! I plan on letting them produce tiny aerial roots over the coming weeks, and when I’m ready to deconstruct this arrangement, I’ll pot them up in the greenhouse. I love the addition of tiny tillandsias, too. They provide yet another lovely textural accent.

Tablescape by Shane Connolly (c) Amber Fouts
Tablescape by Shane Connolly (c) Amber Fouts
Tablescape by Shane Connolly (c) Amber Fouts
Tablescape by Shane Connolly (c) Amber Fouts

Shane Connolly, the famed British floral artist, created a stunning tablescape when I hosted him for a Seattle lecture at the end of September. He used all sorts of sage green pumpkins and gourds, sedums, potted plants, fall vegetables, and cut flowers in bud vases. This week’s submission takes its palette inspiration from his piece.

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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