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April 24th 2018

The newest crop of flower and garden books

Written by
Floret

Spring has sprung here at Floret and the harvest of late daffodils and early tulips is in full swing. After so many gray winter months, it is invigorating to be surrounded with so much vibrant color.

harvesting daffodils in rain

Inside, my desk is currently covered with tattered seed catalogs, spiral-bound notebooks filled with field notes and an ever-growing stack of books. The book pile has grown considerably in the last month as I eagerly collect all the new releases of flower and garden books.

overhead view of flower books on deskEven though so much of our business has moved online, I’m still very much a paper kind of person. I love the ritual of writing notes and lists on paper and holding a real book in my hands. When the kids were younger, we would regularly max out the book check-out limit at the local library. Before I could find quick answers on message boards and Instagram, my go-to source for garden-related information was always the library.

After writing Cut Flower Garden, I gained an even deeper appreciation for books. I now look at them with a totally different lens. I appreciate how much thought and effort go into each paragraph and photograph. I notice how many little details that I never would have before, like the way book chapters are organized and how page layouts are constructed.

I am regularly filling my Amazon cart with the latest flower and garden-related books. My latest shipment included a treasure trove of beautiful new titles including:

The Art of Flora Forager by Bridget Beth Collins: From the touching dedication on the first page, to the final step-by-step peek at her creative process and every original imaginative piece of artwork in between, this book is a sheer delight. Every time I flip through the pages, I notice yet another delicate detail of the flowers, leaf and fungi used to create her gorgeous artwork. A year and a half ago I had the opportunity to meet the delightful Bridget Beth in person, interview her for the Floret Blog [read the interview here] and provide buckets of blooms for her to play with. Appealing to a wide spectrum of ages, this book is a follow up to Bridget Beth’s adorable journal and a prelude to a new Flora Forager journal and notecard set. I can’t say enough good things about this sweet little book.

Vegetables Love Flowers: Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty by Lisa Mason Ziegler: If avid vegetable gardeners aren’t already convinced they should tuck a few flowers in with their tomatoes, peppers and beans, then this book should definitely do it. Authored by fellow small-scale flower farmer Lisa Mason Ziegler this book dives deep into the benefits of planting flowers alongside your favorite garden vegetables. The book’s emphasis on beneficial insects, pollinators and organic practices is persuasive and super approachable. Her previous book, Cool Flowers: How to Grow and Enjoy Long-Blooming Hardy Annual Flowers Using Cool Weather Techniques, introduced innovative growing techniques and transformed the way thousands of flower gardeners grow hardy annual flowers; her newest book is sure to do the same for veggie gardeners.

mantle stacked with garden booksMartha’s Flowers: A Practical Guide to Growing, Gathering and Enjoying by Martha Stewart and Kevin Sharkey: What I like about this book is the mix of practical growing advice combined with really pretty design ideas using vessels as varied as simple glass bottles to elaborate urns and artisan-made pottery. I recognized many of the images from past magazine articles, but even die-hard fans and readers will find a nugget of new information or inspiration from Martha’s impeccably manicured cutting gardens.

The Fine Art of Paper Flowers: A Guide to Making Beautiful and Lifelike Botanicals by Tiffanie Turner: If you want to take your flower obsession to the next level or simply need help getting through another cold and gray winter, be sure to check out this incredible book. Beautifully photographed and thoughtfully designed, each page will make you do a double take, as the flowers look unbelievably real. This is a fun book to flip through regardless of whether you want to try your hand at creating one of these intricate flower crafts. Hands down, my favorite book this year!

The Flower Patch: Fresh Ideas for Growing and Arranging Your Own Flowers: Although this is not a flower book, this adorable new magazine is worth a peek. Published in the U.K. and available throughout Europe, I’m told copies will be available at Barnes and Noble stores in the U.S. or you can order single issues or digital copies.

The Flower Book by Rachel Siegfried: Written by the U.K. farmer-florist behind Green and Gorgeous, this book, released within the last year is big. Like, really big! It is 10 x 12 inches (25 x 30 cm) and 3.8 pounds (1.7 kilos) and makes most of the other new releases look and feel small. This coffee table book is filled with extra large, detailed photo profiles and quick tips for post-harvest care of cut flower garden favorites. This book is a real treasure.

Other books on my stack that I’m excited to dig into include two new titles by Jane Eastoe and photographed by Georgianna Lane: Vintage Roses and Peonies: Beautiful Varieties for Home and Garden, another new book about peonies: Peony: The Best Varieties for Your Garden by David C. Michener & Carol A. Adelman, the new Tulipina book, Color Me Floral: Stunning Monochromatic Arrangements for Every Season by Kiana Underwood, Styling Nature by Lewis Miller, How to Window Box: Small-Space Plants to Grow Indoors or Out by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit and Branches & Blooms by Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo of Studio Choo.

After a long day of both harvesting and planting, I look forward to collapsing on the couch and curling up with a good book to unwind. I can’t wait to dig into these beautiful new books over the next few weeks. How about you? Do you have any new (or not so new) garden or flower books you’ve been reading lately? I’d love to know in the comments below.

23 Comments

  1. Bridget Beth Collins on

    …And I still dream of those dahlias. One of the most beautiful experiences of my life!

    Reply
  2. Kassi Yancey on

    I just purchased Lisa Ziegler’s book Vegetables Love Flowers at the Mother Earth News Fair this weekend in Asheville, NC. I met her too, as she gave two wonderful talks at the fair, one about seed starting troubleshooting and one about her new book and the practices it outlines. She is awesome; and I am so excited to be making connections all over the place with inspiring flower farmers! Cheers to life-long learning!

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Cheers to that, Kassi!

  3. Georgianna on

    Merci for including our books in such wonderful company! I love them all!

    Reply
  4. Jen Martindale on

    Thanks for sharing Erin! I too appreciate holding paper in my hand! Call me old-fashioned but there is just something about being able to turn a page that I really enjoy! As I am knee-deep in planting all my little “babies” I am hoping I can start to read these newest selections during my free time! I appreciate the beauty and knowledge that you pass along to all of us!

    Reply
  5. Lindsay Rojas on

    Haha, I just finished reading the Flower Book and returned it to the library. I really enjoyed how she summarized gardening, conditioning, and arranging for each flower. And the “language of flowers”tidbits were lovely too. I also enjoy How to Propagate (also has lots of photographs of different plants) and your book! Can’t wait till the next one comes out!

    Reply
  6. Lisa Steele/Fresh Eggs Daily on

    Hi Erin! I have met Lisa Ziegler and she’s just as awesome as her books! I have her new one on my reading list and just received Martha Stewart’s new book. Might I suggest my book Gardening with Chickens? It’s less about flowers and more about incorporating chickens into your garden throughout the year as well as the benefits of chicken manure, feathers and shells, but might be a nice change from your normal cadre of flower books!

    Lisa Steele
    Fresh Eggs Daily

    Reply
  7. Cindy Flake on

    Here are a few of my go-to books: Lavender Lovers Handbook by Sarah Berringer Bader, Lilacs by John L. Fiala & Freek Vrugtman, A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants by The American Horticultural Society, Floriculture Principals and Species by John M. Dole and Harold F. Wilkins, and Hartmann and Kester’s Plant Propagation Principals and Practices.

    Reply
  8. Miriam Landsman on

    Wonderful book with winsome drawings.
    Second Bloom: Cathy Graham’s Art of the Table
    Clark, Alexis

    She is coming to Greenwich in November.

    Reply
  9. Bella on

    I recently added to my book collection with the brand new British Flowers Book by Claire Brown. It’s an excellent information book on flowers by the season. I am loving it!

    Reply
  10. Jen on

    I’m laid up in bed following surgery on my leg, and the enforced rest time means I’ve cracked and ordered two books I’d been trying to resist for some time: yours, and Claire Takacs’ Dreamscapes. Can’t wait for them to arrive!

    Reply
  11. Lisa Mason Ziegler on

    Thank you Floret for including my book Vegetables Love Flowers! So honored to see it lined up with such wonderful works.

    Reply
  12. Rhonda Howell on

    Thank you for your promotion of paper and ink resources! No glare to hurt the eyes! I search for vintage books at the resale shops. The more hand written notes inside the better! They will listen if they hear it from you!

    Reply
  13. Teri on

    I ordered your “Cut Flower Garden” book at the same time I ordered “Vegetables Love Flowers” — both are so enjoyable with such gorgeous photography. Do you have any recommendations for Perennial specific books with beautiful photography?

    Reply
  14. Khamoor Poehlmann on

    I love a good pile of books too, and will look into building my stack with some of these suggestions. We also need to remember to support our local booksellers and independent bookstores… Just like seeds and bulbs should be purchased from independent sellers (thanks!), so too should books!

    Reply
  15. Alicia on

    I have two on this list and so happy to see more treasures I should look into. Thank you for your insight and book suggestions.

    Reply
  16. Bella on

    A book that’s just come out and I only got yesterday but have learnt two new plants for April is the British Flowers Book; it’s an excellent manual for what’s in season! Admittedly it’s British but brilliant.

    Reply
  17. Tess on

    Thank you for this wonderful post! I’m going to go out and get a few!

    Reply
  18. BarefootTofino on

    Hi Erin. Thank you for the book suggestions, what a beautiful post. Funny enough, the photo above of daffodils caught my attention. I’m curious about your technique for conditioning daffodils. I hope to expand into more spring flowers next year and I’m finding hellebores, tulips and daffodils tricky to preserve–what is your favorite and efficient technique?

    Reply
  19. Nancy Vidlak on

    I’m a huge fan of Paula pryke … Flowers: the complete book of floral design… Flowers Flowers… Decorating with Flowers…and several others. Check it out. She is out of London, England. She has\had ( not sure if it is still there) in Kings Crossing in London. Very creative arrangements.
    Also love Kenneth Turner’s Flower Style. His are very elaborate arrangements but fun to look at. Also a fan of Jane Packer’s FastFlowers.

    Reply
  20. Erin McCracken on

    I recently discovered the garden section of the local library, and now I’m regularly checking out just about everything they have! From the California Master Gardener’s Handbook, to my recent borrowing of The Lavender Lover’s Handbook by Sarah Bader, as well as a book on dahlia’s (my favorite!), and some books on converting front yards into gardens. Gardening books are a source of joy, and mild frustration since I can’t immediately start the 20 project ideas they give me! :)

    Reply

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