Posts tagged Debra Prinzing
Simple Country Bouquet from the Garden

Besides growing your own edibles, it is a great idea to grow your own flowers for bouquets. Here is a simple country bouquet idea for an event I had this spring.

Flowers. My perennial sweet peas were abundant and in bloom. I have written about my lovely perennial sweet peas in more detail, Perennial Sweet Peas. Perennial sweet peas are easy to grow, bloom spring to summer, and return year and year. Perennial sweet peas are one suggestion. Let your garden dictate your bouquet.

Vessel. I collected Bulgarian yogurt jars back in the seventies. When traveling through Bulgaria, yogurt was sold in these simple-shaped wide mouth jars. Such a nice size, and an appealing shape. You can use any vessel you have on hand. Try using vessels which appeal to you and are a little out of the ordinary.

Embellishment. These Bulgarian jars are clear. For fun, and a little color, I lined the jars with peppermint geranium leaves. These leaves are very soft and fuzzy. They hold up well in water for several days. The leaves are the prettiest "Ireland" green which is fabulous with the various pinks of the perennial sweet peas. I could have added a pretty ribbon, or glass balls at the bottom of the jars.

In a way, this simple country bouquet from my garden is exactly what my dear friend, Debra Prinzing, and her photographer, David E. Perry, are trying to convey in their new book, The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers. Following after the "Slow Food" movement, Prinzing and Perry introduce us to the "Slow Flower" movement. Do you know where your flowers are grown? When they were harvested? If chemicals were used to grow them? Prinzing and Perry introduce us to local organic flower growers, gathering, and ultimate "Slow Flower" design. Using fresh flowers out of our own gardens is one easy step in this direction.

Please share if you are aware of local organic flower growers in your area? Please share if you create your own organic flower bouquets out of your own garden.

Holiday Gifts for the Gardener

Wearing Dianne B. Garden Shoes at DDM Harvest 2009 Best Garden Boots from The Best @ Dianne B. Garden Boots. Tired of the standard Wellies? My dear friend, Debra Prinzing had the skinny when I asked about her great gardening shoes. She was right. These Panther Print Garden Boots ($74) are garden chic, comfortable, and durable. Did I say French, too? I always get compliments on them. Boots are also available in Olive Green ($64). Tip: I ordered a whole size larger, than my normal shoe size.

French Woven Baskets by The French Basketeer. Beautiful, authentic French baskets and totes. Prices vary by different shapes and sizes. They are beautiful! Available online, and Sundays 9am-1pm at the Rancho Santa Fe Farmers Market.

Books! My dear  friend, cookbook author, and speaker, Carole Bloom, has another hit with her new book, Intensely Chocolate. More on Carole, and her new chocolate cookbook next month, as I must share with you her "Milk Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Bar" recipe that I recently made!  Edible landscaping pioneer, Roslind Creasy has a "hot" new book out, Edible Landscaping, pushing us to continue to explore the endless possibilities of edible and garden together.  I also recommend many more incredible books on VintageGardenGal's home page, right side bar!

Cobra Head Weeder & Cultivating Tool. My dear friend, Anneliese Valdes, and her family out of Wisconsin, make a wonderful must-have gardener's tool, The Cobra Head ($24.95). Created by her father, the Cobra Head concept was invented from a five-tined old fashion cultivator. I use my Cobra Head all the time. It is easy on your hands and wrist, and glides through soil. Check out other fine products for gardeners on their website, Cobra Head.

Zingerman's Olive Oil Food Club. ($125.00). Most gardeners are terrific cooks. What better gift for them than rare olive oils from around the world. Think spring mesclun salads, roasted home-grown vegetables, and dipping with artisan fresh-baked bread. Zingerman's Rare Olive Oil Food Club. Coined "Best Food Club" by the Wall Street Journal in 2007. You have the option of different monthly installments.

Succulents Galore. Author, speaker, and painter,Debra Lee Baldwin, has opened an online store, Debra Lee Baldwin with "everything succulents" from key chains to mouse pads, to her paintings. We all need to add a few more succulents in our life!

New Hens at "Coop de Manion"

Dolly, Dahlia, and a Tail of Charley My dear friend, Poultry Princess Kathy Lafleur, so aptly penned by panache garden writer Debra Prinzing, gave me three young hens a few months ago from her billowing flock. All three young hens, Kathy raised from day-old chicks, from a baker's dozen purchased from My Pet Chicken, five months earlier.  All of the chicks turned out to be hens, to My Pet Chicken's credit. It is not easy to sex day-old chicks. It is an art. With that said, Kathy's coop "runneth" over as the chicks matured into young pullets (hens) and I was happy to adopt three of her beauties.

Two of my new hens are Silver Spangled Hamburgs, gorgeous, elegant black and white hens, that I named Dolly and Dahlia. The third is Charley, a White-Crested Blue Polish hen, whom you might have seen in her debut appearance, Chickens Dig Dirt Baths.

I was a little reluctant to blend these beautiful young hens in with my existing flock, for fear of not knowing the outcome.  I must confess, all went well, and introducing these young hens proved to be easy, nary a peck or a drawing of blood ocurred. Thank goodness, my elder hens, were on their best behavior.

Silver Spangled Hamburgs are small, almost bantam size, and very lively. In fact, after three months, I'm still trying to capture them together in a photo-worthy moment to no avail. I have noticed that when Silver Spangled Hamburgs are excited, they tend to fan their tail feathers, somewhat resembling a peacock.

Silver Spangled Hamburgs are an old traditional breed, whose origins date back hundreds of years to England and Holland. These hens exude elegance with their striking white feathers against black polka dot markings. Other stand-out features include a beautiful red rose-shaped comb, white ear lobes, and bluish legs. They are very quick, somewhat flighty, and not your "cuddly-lap" chickens for children. This breed is known for laying abundant ivory-colored dainty eggs, and a nice choice for "show competition."

Thank you, Kathy, for your lovely young hens. They are a joy, and a wonderful addition to our "Coop de Manion" flock.

Please share what factors have determined your personal chicken breed choices? Please share your motive for having, or wanting backyard chickens?

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Prep Your Garden Tools For Spring

Last year my husband, John, and I were featured in an article called "Grow Greener" highlighting our flower/vegetable gardens, and organic practices in, Nature's Garden magazine, Spring 2008,, written by friend, Debra Prinzing, an incredible garden and design features writer. See below, for more information on Debra. For this article, she asked me my "top ten healthy garden practices", and the last one I chose was "order before beauty", which Debra so aptly penned, "Chores Have Their Rewards".

One of the chores I was particularly thinking about, was caring for your tools. Tools should always be cleaned, dried, and stored away in an orderly manner. If you have the due diligence, go one step further and wrap clean rags or towels around your tool heads before stowing away. Spring is especially a great time to prep your garden tools and have them ready, for all of your busy gardening needs, so you can "hit the dirt running".

Take a good look at your tool inventory and their condition. Do you know where your favorite tools are? Are your tools clean, or a bit rusty? If so, deep clean and lubricate them. Do they seem dull when using, or do they still have their sharp edge? Make sure your tools are sharp, it will save you physically. Are your tool handles rough or soft to the touch? If rough, lightly sand your wood handle tools with fine sandpaper, and apply a generous amount of linseed oil with a soft cloth. If the oil absorbs quickly, reapply. Your tool handles will be as soft as velvet and a treat to work with. Properly cared for tools can last generations, and can be handed down from one generation to the next budding generation of gardeners.

It is all the same, whether it is your personal life, your home, or your garden. If you are organized and tidy, you will be much more effective, efficient, and accomplish more effortlessly. You will soon experience the rewards. There is a great quote that reinforces this message. "When you do the things you have to do when you have to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them."--Zig Ziglar, Author.

Debra Prinzing is a Southern California-based writer and lecturer who specializes in interiors, architecture, and landscape design themes. For more information and articles, please visit her website,, and her blog, Her latest book, with William Wright, architectural and interior design photographer, is called "Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideways".