Day 27: Slow Flowers & A Book Giveaway

“Each bouquet tells a story about one moment in time, about Grandmother’s cherished flower vase or the fleeting memory that returns with a whiff of lavender or lilac. That’s one of the intangible gifts of bringing flowers into our lives.”

-Debra Prinzing, Slow Flowers

From Debra Prinzing’s new book, Slow Flowers

First there was slow food.

Now, thanks to Debra Prinzing, we are discussing Slow Flowers!

Debra Prinzing by Mary Grace Long Photography

Debra Prinzing is a dear writer friend of mine with incredible talent. Based in Seattle, WA, she writes for numerous magazines and newspapers (including the Los Angeles Times, Better Homes & Gardens, Country Gardens and many, many others). It is always a thrill to pick up a magazine and see her byline because you just know it’s going to be good.

She is also the author of many books including one of my favorites: The 50 Mile Bouquet with photographer extraordinaire, David Perry. And it was with that book that her current journey started.

The 50 Mile Bouquet showcased the local, sustainable flower-growing movement and the farmers and florists making a difference. All of us at Growing A Greener World TV enjoyed that book so much, we filmed an entire episode on it and I had the pleasure of writing it.

The Slow Flowers Book:

Now in her newest book Slow Flowers, Debra brings that message home and shows us the DIY info on how to enjoy local, in season flowers ALL YEAR LONG. (Yes, even in winter.) What started as a challenge to herself to create a fresh, local bouquets all 52 weeks of the year, quickly turned into an entire book.

According to Debra, it doesn’t matter if you are growing the plant material yourself, foraging it from the wild or buying it from your local organic farmer. You really CAN find local/sustainable plant material and the fun is in being creative with it!  In her book, she gives arrangement ideas, earth-friendly floral techniques and even a few “secrets” for long-lasting blooms. It is a beautiful book filled with valuable information.

The giveaway at the end of this post is closed, but there is still some great info about the book and slow flowers below!

So, What are “Slow Flowers”?

Pitchers of Poppies – Week 11

In a nutshell, Slow Flowers are fresh-cut flowers and foliage that are chemical free, in-season and harvested within miles of your home if not from your own backyard. And why shouldn’t we want that? After all, these bouquets are used to brighten our lives, soothe our soul, decorate our home and shower people with love. Right?

But sadly, most florist flowers are anything but local, in-season OR chemical free.


Most of what is found in standard floral shops and grocery stores is covered in a cocktail of chemicals meant to keep it perfect and fresh.

You may be thinking, but we don’t EAT those flowers – so what does it matter?

While it is true that we may not (usually) eat the flowers, we certainly DO touch them our hands and sometimes even stick our nose deep among the blossoms and inhale! However, there is even a bigger message here…

If we purchase chemical laden flowers sourced from two continents away, we are perpetuating the problem! And we are not supporting the sustainable flower growers who are working hard to do it right – for the environment, the health of the floral industry workers and us. Debra says, “It seems so wasteful to spend so much jet fuel to ship a perishable item from South America to Miami; where it is then put on a refrigerated truck and driven across the country to your local supermarket. Those flowers are as disconnected from their origins as you can imagine. They aren’t fresh” (As a side note, there is a great book by Amy Stewart on the back story to the floral industry. Check out Flower Confidential if you want to learn more about that. Sadly some of it will probably shock you.)

The alternative?

Debra encourages us to “enjoy flowers IN SEASON, just like every foodie advocates about their best seasonal menu ingredients. If flowers are in season, then ideally they were grown locally – near where you live and shop.

A Winter Arrangement – Week 4

Finding Slow Flowers:

If you can’t grow flowers in your own cutting garden, Debra recommends that you seek out at least one local flower farmer at the farmers’ market where you live. And if you are STILL having trouble finding someone near you, Debra advices that you check out the flower farm directory on the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.

The Giveaway:

I have one copy of the book Slow Flowers to give away to a lucky reader. The giveaway is now closed. I will announce the winner soon.

To win, you need only comment below with just ONE of the following:

  • Tell us what you love about fresh cut flowers OR what they bring into your life.
  • Or just share what your favorite flower is.

The giveaway ends on Friday, March 8th at Midnight (PST) at which time I will randomly pick a winner. Once the winner has confirmed with me via email, they will be announced here on the blog and on my Facebook Page and I will ship out the book. You must live in the United States to win.

Disclaimer: Although I did receive a free copy of Slow Flowers to review, I purchased the book being given away in this post. I did that because I enjoyed the book and felt it was a good fit for my readers. I am not being compensated in any way for this review and my opinions are my own.

Photo credit – All photos are copyrighted by Debra Prinzing except where noted.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Living Homegrown. Sign up for my newsletter (weekly or monthly) so you don’t miss any of the inspiration and resources I will be sharing for living local, fresh and homegrown!


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About the Author

Theresa Loe is the Co-Executive TV Producer and the On-Air Canning/Homesteading Expert for the national PBS gardening TV series, Growing A Greener World. She is a lifetime canner and a graduate of the Master Food Preserver Program. She studied both sustainable horticulture and professional culinary arts and she is a wrangler of chickens and two teenage children. (Not necessarily in that order.)

{ 47 comments… add one }

  • Debbie McMurry March 4, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I love fresh cut flowers! It brings a little of my gardens inside.
    My two favs to grow and cut are daisies and coneflowers.

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  • Shannon Mulligan-Mayernik March 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    My favorite flower is a sunflower-they are nice and hardy. If I cut one out of the back yard; and continue to cut the end of the stem and keep the water clean, I can have fresh cut sunflowers for almost 2 weeks in my nice big bay window! I love flowers and flower photography! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  • Jessica Anne March 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    My favorites are Irises. They brighten the whole house.

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  • Crystal March 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I love fresh daffodils. Brings the spring indoors!

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  • carmen gordon March 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Wild flowers are my favorite, for it brings back cherished childhood memories of walks with my mother as I would pick wild violets, queen anns lace and dandelions…sometimes roots and all.

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  • Teresa March 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I love to cut flowers from my garden and bring them inside to enjoy the beauty….Nothing is like a fresh cut bouquet indoors to bring God’s wonderful blessings into the home…..I am so very ready for Spring and warmer weather here so I can start cultivating my yard and garden……

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  • Susy March 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I love to have fresh flowers in the house, the put a smile on my face! At this time of year I love Daffodils best of all.

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  • Rita March 4, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    The scent of fresh flowers (or fresh plant matter)-so uplifting! Stirs the soul, settles the mind, soothes the senses. Ahhhhhhh.

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  • Patricia T. Gardner March 4, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    My favorite flower–there are so many–but peonies are high on the list, as are hydrangeas. They just speak to me and my heart sings when I see them in bloom. I love to bring the peonies inside because their scent is so special.

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  • Nicky @dirtandmartinis March 5, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I love this concept of having fresh flowers for weeks on end. I don’t really have a favorite flower, but I always make little bouquets of herbal flowers in the summer. Rue, sage, borage, lavender and rosemary blosdomd make the daintiest of bouquets…and smell great too!

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  • Jeavonna Chapman March 5, 2013 at 8:01 am

    I love fragrant flowers. It is wonderful to walk into a room with fresh cut fragrant flowers. It’s as if you walked outside into a flower be. I’m especially fond of night fragrant bloomers. They make a late night stroll more interesting.

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  • Julie March 5, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I’ve been dying to get this book! It’s so funny–I “challenged” myself this summer to gather flowers in the yard to make a celebratory “Friday” bouquet. It went well for a few weeks…and then went the way of good intentions. ;-) I adore Debra’s writing, plus I’m a member and grower for Slow Food–we have the nation’s first Earth Market in Greenville, SC, and I grow most of the vegetable transplants that are on the Ark of Taste. I would love to win a copy of her book–but no matter what, I’ll definitely buy a copy if I don’t win. Thank you so much for the giveaway, but especially for helping readers become aware of why Slow Flowers matter! Cheers!

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  • Tracie March 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I absolutely love fresh cut flowers from my flower garden. Nothing like a home grown flower bouquet to brighten your day!

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  • Shreela March 5, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Bird of Paradise, followed by orchids, thanks!

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  • Shirley N March 5, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Favorite flower is, whatever is in season. LOVE flowers and would love to win this book. Thank you for sharing the opportunity.

    Have a God Filled Day

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  • Gordon Chamberlain March 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Hello, I love fresh cut flowers because they smell good, make me smile, feel happy inside, and brighten my life…I like to give them away to my friends to brighten their day!

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  • Cressa March 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    This is such a great topic! I love how flowers (any species, anytime, anywhere) give me a sense of peace and beauty, how something so seemingly insignificant can put everything in perspective.

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  • Mary J March 5, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    I’ve always loved all types of flowers! And have only bought the chemical-laden florist ones on rare occasions! Grow your own or buy them locally. And give them to everyone you know. Share the beauty God has created!

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  • Jackie Kronsted March 6, 2013 at 4:28 am

    Even a so called weed is a flower someplace!

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  • Jackie DiGiovanni March 6, 2013 at 4:40 am

    It’s receiving a gift when an indoor plants starts to bloom–geranium, peace lily, violet. I bring flowers from the garden into the house during the growing season (Zone 6 in Southeast Michigan), but I don’t buy them very often. Fresh flowers signify a celebration. Perhaps, I need to celebrate more often.

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  • virginia March 6, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Although sunflowers are one of my favorites, I really love seeing Chammomile pop up in my yard every Feb…. I really dont see the flower until the beginning of March but it reminds me spring is here, I love Gladiolas but they wont grow in my zone its to hot…

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  • Eileen March 6, 2013 at 4:58 am

    reading about slow flowers brings up such a longing for spring! One of my home environment practices is to have fresh flowers present, whenever possible. By March, I am tiring of snippets of wintered tall grasses in vases and do begin to cheat, local-grown-wise. But hope is in the air!

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  • Kelly G. March 6, 2013 at 5:13 am

    I love fresh flowers in my home. I especially love them in the Spring and Summer when everything is in season and blooming. My favorite fresh cut flower would be a sunflower or a bouquet of mixed zinnias.

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  • Debbie March 6, 2013 at 5:34 am

    My husband has never brought me flowers from a florist, but he often brings me a bouquet that he has picked around our property! Winter or summer, he always manages to make a beautiful arrangement! He is so creative about using pieces of moss, dried seed pods, branches, and berries! I know how lucky I am!

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  • Deb March 6, 2013 at 5:40 am

    I am fond of puttering around the yard and using my trimmings for an arrangement inside the house. Even without a mass of blossoms, an array of greens and browns can be made into a stunning arrangement!

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  • Gerry March 6, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Fresh flowers grown at home ALWAYS reminds me of flowers from my grandparents garden SO many years ago. Here is HOPING to win the book and start growing more of her suggestions here in Michigan.

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  • Jackie Isler March 6, 2013 at 6:17 am

    I just love to see a fresh bouquet of sunflowers! They bring sunshine indoors!

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  • Allie March 6, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Believe it or not, I love dandelions…because that’s my kids’ favorite flower to pick for me. :)

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  • Karin March 6, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Wow! This book looks absolutely gorgeous! I love fresh cut flowers…my mother who is 93 still brings in bouquets of fresh cut flowers and places them in every nook and cranny she can find in her house. I love it! I definitely inherited my love for gardening and flowers from her.

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  • Maureen March 6, 2013 at 7:59 am

    I love, love, love the sweet peas that fill my garden in spring.
    I always have trouble cutting them because they look so perfect in the yard.

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  • laura carlson March 6, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Zinnias and daisies are so friendly and easy to harvest seeds for each season.

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  • Colleen Lanchester-Raynie March 6, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I adore lilacs and sweet peas for their fragrance, but there’s little that compares with the first hydrangea of each season. Perfectly arranged and needing nothing more than a simple vase, it’s like a little miracle!

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  • Kathina March 6, 2013 at 11:45 am

    It’s the resemblance of life and living. After the flowers has been separated from its roots, it continues to strive. Like that of any bud becoming a beautiful flower; red, green, yellow, purple or white. What an amazing sight!

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  • Angie March 6, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Love them all! Sunflowers, daisies, poppies, lilacs, etc.

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  • TeresaR March 6, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I read a lot about the problems with the traditional cut-flower industry in places like Green America, etc., so I never buy them. While I love a fresh bouquet, I rarely buy them at the farmers market either because it seems such an extravagance (even though we happily buy any food – honey, meats and veggies – and fibers there). We try to grow native flowers like black-eye susans and purple coneflowers…so I guess I have to say that those are my favorite flowers because we actually have them in the yard. LOL!

    I would love to learn flower arranging so that my bouquets could look as stunning as those in your friend’s book!

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  • Paula D. March 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    The earth laughs in flowers, and they bring joy and sunshine in to our homes, celebrations, & meetings…..want to show love, caring, or heartfelt wishes…..bring or give flowers! they are guaranteed to bring joy with them!

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  • Celine March 7, 2013 at 4:29 am

    I was born with a love of flowers. As a small child I would make bouquets of wild flowers and backyard jewels and sell them to neighbors for 15 cents. My first apartment was full of pots and containers to grow a garden of flowers and food. Now I am blessed to have 15 acres to have a garden of my dreams one plant at a time. I found wild azaleas in the woods. This is by far my favorite flower with its delicate pink show and lightly sweet aroma.

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  • Thrivalista March 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Favorites?! I can’t possibly choose! But I’m looking forward to adding my mother-in-law’s heirloom peonies and some hardy roses to our garden this year, and to day-brightening bouquets once they bloom, where they’ll join our daisies, ferns, and coneflowers (assuming the timing works out. Clearly, I’ve much to learn.).

    Love, love, love flowers in the house, and to share with friends.

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  • tera March 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Fresh cut flowers always make me smile….LOVE them! And I love the idea of having them year round!

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  • sarah March 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    For me, flowers bring memories. Morning glories and bachelor buttons for my granny, hydrangeas for my Aunt Sarah, carnations and roses for the flower shop my mother worked at when I was a small child. I would sit in the walk in and just breath. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  • Sarah March 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    It’s hard to pick a favorite flower, but crocuses are one of them. They are such determined little things, often poking their way out of the snow to be one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring. I saw the first one today!
    Looks like such a lovely book! Thanks for doing this giveaway.

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  • Renee March 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    One of my earliest memories is of a Sunday afternoon drive (remember those?) when my parents stopped by a field of black-eyed Susans and let me pick some for a bouquet. I haven’t stopped since, and have a ridiculous collection of tag sale/flea market vases so I can always find the right size and color to showcase whatever’s in bloom. Vegetables tend to lose the space wars to flowers in my little garden.

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  • Laura March 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I love cut flowers, especially those I have grown, because they help me feel connected with my garden – even when I’m stuck indoors doing chores I dislike!

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  • sage March 7, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    My grandmother is Swedish. She and her two Swedish friends here in AR have such a lovely way of creating bouquets out of whatever is around at the time…all year round. Sounds like what this book is all about, no? I’d love to develop that talent myself!

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  • Michele March 8, 2013 at 3:49 am

    I love drawing roses – they are fun and easy to get ‘right’ : )
    One of my favorite things is growing my daisies in my front lawn – taking pictures of them is so neat – making them look like a field instead of a plot. With the raspberries they make the yard look nicer. Favorite flower? I’m not sure I have one, since I gave them all up to have money for clean food a while back. I haven’t received flowers (professionally arranged ones) in a long time either. Sadly my crocuses were eaten up by the moles! I love those most from when I was a child – my Mom would always point them out in the Spring. I think those have to be one of the most loved ones. : )

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  • Kris T. March 8, 2013 at 11:36 am

    My favorite flower is the first one I see poking out of the ground each spring. I planted over 300 bulbs last fall and can’t wait for the snow to melt! Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book!

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  • Kathy March 9, 2013 at 9:18 am

    WOW!! This book would be a treat to have, I love cut flowers out of my gareden!

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