Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Author/Photog Debra Prinzing invites us to slow down and use the flowers, foliage and branches we have on hand to create fabulous indoor arrangements. In her charming new book Slow Flowers  she creates 52 arrangements in season, using her own flowers and those she begs, borrows and.... buys from local growers.

Debra is a dear friend, so when she came to NYC with her son for a few days to enjoy all the city has to offer, I invited her to try her slow hand on my roof garden. Long ago she was a student here at FIT so she understands what New York is about, knows that garden space is scarce and we have to make do with what we have.
I have nothing of my own but since I tend the 18th story roof garden for my building, I need to cut back rampant herbs when they threaten to take over a mixed container, prune a barberry branch when it reaches out to grab a passing child, remove stems of caladium foliage that are drowning the coleus in the treewell.
 Debra was game to try anything I could throw at her. She selected the celadon glass vase from my container collection. Note that the only flowers I could justify picking were some black-eyed Susans which popped up as volunteers in my garden one year and which bloom happily in over-abundance all summer, threatening to become invasive. Other materials are stems of bi-colored sage, coleus, caladeum,  sumac 'Tiger Eye', basil going to seed. Deb writes that the "rosy barberry sprigs repeated the green and dark pink caladium colors."
 We are kindred spirits in floral design. Grab what you have in every season; love what's around you; spend little money; use branches and foliage; edit carefully; throw it all in the perfect vase; enjoy your garden indoors every time you walk by your arrangement. Groom your arrangement so it will last longest. Here the black-eyed Susans were the first to be discarded.
All photos © Debra Prinzing except the two just below in my living room.
 Eventually you'll pare it down to it's most long-lasting element, the caladium leaves. Since at the end you'll have relatively few stems looking good, select a new, smaller container like a bud vase or as here, a pair of green glass candle sticks.
See the other fabulous 51 arrangements in Slow Flowers by Debra Prinzing, (St. Lynn's Press, 2013).
Here Debra uses just three elements, hydrangeas, dusty miller, and sea oats to great effect. Lucky for me another garden writer friend and two-blocks-away-neighbor  Linda Yang had to dig and divide hers at the end of last summer and I was the proud recipient. I'll surely be copying Debra's arrangement this autumn.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

I know you say it's easy but I also know you two ladies (Deb and O.E.) have a gift. Seriously, your vase of left overs and extras pleases me more than anything from the florist.

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