It's true--we love fresh flowers for Valentine's Day. Every day, for that matter. And why not? Something so pleasing should be a regular treat. Whether you pick your own from a backyard garden or pick up from a local florist, consider the beauty of locally-grown plants, and support the Slow Flower movement. With similar values to Slow Food, Debra Prinzing (author of Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet) encourages us to buy seasonally and American-grown with, an online hub. Shouldn't we value fresh flowers grown without chemical primping, mass-scale magic, and global transport to get to your kitchen counter? To find flower farmers and heart-fluttering florists in your neighborhood search

As a gardener, I'm lucky to be surrounded by green plants and blooming branches most of the year. A lot of the food-bearing plants I grow become beautiful bouquets or tabletop decor, proving tasteful beyond the dinner plate.  If choosing a tree for your front yard, go for a fruiting  apple, plum, cherry, or peach instead of purely ornamental options. It will be covered in dainty blossoms that will later fruit and as it grows over the years. When pruning in late winter, enjoy these budded cuttings in a vase indoors. Make a kitchen wreath of bay laurel, thyme, lavender, sage, and other herbs. Nab leaves or stems here and there as you cook. It dries beautifully for long-term use. Or if you, like me, are always pressed for time, keep it simple: snip a handful of purple basil, bolted arugula blooms (it's gonna happen!), yellow flowers from that bok choy that got away, and chive blossoms for a fragrant--and edible--easy posy. 

Sound like fun? Come see us talk about this very topic in Seattle today and tomorrow. I'm representing our Cooking Light garden and "Beautiful Edible Arrangements" with author Stefani Bittner at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show now! Seminars are Thursday 5:00-6:00 and Friday 3:15 on the DIY stage, with book signings to follow. Get geared up for Spring and a great garden season with 60,000 other plant lovers this Valentine's week. Follow along on social with #NWFGS and @mbshaddix.