When Debra Prinzing talks about "Slow Flowers," the title of her new book, what's most striking is the extent to which concepts that sound so familiar and so logical also can seem so foreign. After all, how many times have we picked up flowers at Trader Joe's without asking ourselves: Are the blooms in season? Were they grown locally? Who produced them or where did they came from? You might find those kinds of sourcing questions answered on menus but rarely on store-bought bouquets.
Prinzing will be in Los Angeles on Wednesday to talk about the ideas driving the book, which is subtitled "Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets From the Garden, Meadow and Farm" [$16.95, St. Lynn's Press]. The writer, one of the garden and design contributors to L.A. at Home, approached the project as a challenge to herself: Could she create 52 flower arrangements -- one for each week of the year -- using botanical material from her own garden supplemented by flowers from friends and other local sources. Flowers became more than a commodity; they were a connection to the flower-growing process and the people behind it.
In "Slow Flowers," Prinzing pairs that mind-set with factoids and how-to advice from her own experience and from experts she consulted on the road. Readers will learn that some hydrangeas with a tendency to wilt fast in a vase can be brought back to life with a cool, 15-minute bath in the kitchen sink. Or that peonies will stay fresh much longer if chilled in the refrigerator at least 24 hours before going into a container.