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Why You Should Read The 50 Mile Bouquet: Q and A with Debra Prinzing

The 50 Mile Bouquet is one of those books that gardeners (and those who love flowers) should have on their bookshelves. Debra Prinzing has done a stupendous job of inspiring and educating us about the slow flower movement. David Perry’s photographs….as always….don’t disappoint. They capture the sumptuous beauty of the flowers and the emotions on the faces of the growers. Fran Sorin

For our readers who aren’t familiar with you, can you tell them a bit about yourself?

Like many of us in garden writing, I have an eclectic background. Mine combines design and journalism, with a large dose of horticulture thrown in. I have an undergraduate degree in textiles and clothing, which led me to my first job in New York City at Seventeen Magazine in the early 1980s. When I moved back to Seattle, where I had spent three years in college, I worked for $500/month as an assistant editor at a women’s magazine and in marketing for an architectural textile design firm. That’s also when I started freelancing for design trade publications and started thinking about graduate school. In 1987-88, I spent a year at the University of Washington’s graduate school of Communications where I did all my master’s coursework, with a reporting emphasis on Seattle’s emerging fashion industry. While I never obtained my degree, those studies launched me into business journalism and I spent the next decade working for our major local business newspaper, Puget Sound Business Journal (I covered the “chic beats” – architecture, advertising, media, retail, hospitality, graphic design, and apparel manufacturing).

By 1997, while pregnant with my second child, I remember sitting at my desk one day thinking: I’m sick of interviewing dot.coms and CEOs. I want to be a garden writer. That simple utterance reflected the heavy influence of two close friends who were landscape designers; I called them my muses.

So here we are, 15 years later, and thanks to an inherent understanding of design principles; a long tenure as a working journalist; and several years taking horticulture classes at the local community college, I can legitimately call myself a Garden Writer. My specialty is design-related topics and now I spend about 75 percent of my time covering garden-themed stories and 25 percent of my time writing about architecture and interiors.

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