Floral Friday: Slow Flowers from the Cutting Garden.

Remember in the spring, when I told you how excited I was to install a new raised bed specifically for flowers? Well, I'm delighted to report that this week's Floral Friday bouquet originates straight from the cutting garden! Hooray!

My inspiration for the cutting garden—and Floral Friday—originated with this book:

Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow and Farm.

Author Debra Prinzing is my floral muse. One of the reasons I began gardening long ago was to fill my home with flowers. A bouquet grown from seed, nurtured organically, harvested, and personally arranged into a bouquet will always bring me more joy than tired grocery store red roses. In the past few years, though, I've spent more time and effort on our edible gardens, relegating flowers to companion plant-status for pollinators. But when I read Prinzing's book, I realized I needed to revisit my original love—flowers—and raise their rank in the garden.

Flowers grown to enjoy inside.

Flowers used to test my skills and learn more about floral design.

Flowers to share, to brighten a friend's day.

Flowers to celebrate the weekend.

I needed more flowers in my life.

Prinzing's passion for local, fresh-from-the-field bouquets is contagious:

“One of the joys of gardening is to step out my back door and clip a few sprigs to bring inside. The day's prettiest blooms and just-unfurled leaves—gathered simply into a bunch and displayed in a jar of water—provide everything I need to start the day. The tiny arrangement graces my kitchen counter or brightens a spot by the keyboard, connecting me with the natural world even when I'm 'stuck' indoors, away from my beloved garden.”
~ From the Introduction (Stop, Smell—and Gather the Roses)

Thus began my cutting garden—and Floral Friday.

Last year, I read Prinzing's The 50 Mile Bouquet, a fabulous book encouraging flower lovers to look locally for their floral-fix. Her book showcased farmers dedicated to growing sustainable flowers and foliage and spotlighted the florists who embraced those ingredients to create stunning designs.

Recently, I was thrilled when Prinzing launched the Slow Flowers directory: an online resource that focuses on American grown flowers. From florists, wedding and event planners, supermarket flower departments and flower farmers, all members found on the website commit to using American grown flowers.

As a member and former grower for Slow Foods, I support our local farmers. It only makes sense to support our local flower farmers, too. In fact, when our son announced his engagement, I turned to local flower farmers – both for the rehearsal dinner and for the wedding. (Originally, I hoped to have homegrown sweet peas for the rehearsal dinner, but they bloomed a week after the wedding. Boy, the pressure you're under when there's a deadline! I don't know how flower farmers cope. Luckily, my friend Ed, who owns the local organic flower farm, Field and Flower, saved the day. He harvested a bucketful of gorgeous blooms that I used to create the arrangements.) The flower farmer and floral designer for the wedding, Elaine of Urban Farm Girl, provided stunning, organically grown bouquets, boutonnieres, and arrangements that not only met our local, green criteria – but took our breath away.

I'm amazed by her talent.

The lovely thing about gardening is that you can always create something beautiful to enjoy inside, no matter what season. I force forsythia branches in early spring. Pinecones gathered from the forest make a pretty, simple centerpiece in winter. Summer brings an endless supply of blooms. That's the beauty of Slow Flowers. It's filled with lovely photos of arrangements created by Prinzing. She challenged herself to make a bouquet from her garden each of the 52 weeks, then documented it for our inspiration.

“My goal is to inspire others to create personal bouquets with what's at hand, if only they begin to see what's around them with new eyes.”

Obviously, I'm inspired.

Now, it's your turn to get inspired! I'm giving away a copy of Slow Flowers. Here's how to enter:

  1. Go to the Garden Delights Facebook page.
  2. Share a photo of a bouquet or arrangement you've created using flowers or other items from your garden. (You can also use flowers from your favorite local source, too, like the farmers' market. You can play along with #FloralFriday on the Garden Delights' Facebook page today or next Friday, 8/29 as an entry if you'd like!)
  3. Leave a comment on the blog, sharing your favorite flower you grow in your garden. (Or if you're land-challenged and don't have a garden, just tell me your favorite flower!)
  4. Enter by Monday, September 1 at midnight. I'll announce the winner on Tuesday. (We do things the old fashioned way here--all entries go into a bowl, and one of the kids will draw the winner.)
  5. Please remember--I need a way to contact you! Leave an e-mail address, please, or check back on the Garden Delights Facebook page September 2 to see if you won.

Have fun and enjoy creating something beautiful from your garden! I can't wait to see what you share!

Here's my contribution for today's #FloralFriday:


I wanted to use some of the 'Sweet Autumn' clematis vines that are everywhere in our forest because they smell incredible, but when I added them...it just wasn't a good match. Maybe next week!

A few blooms harvested from the forest...

A bouquet of cheerfulness to celebrate Friday--and the end of the first week of school!

Happy weekend, friends!