Thursday, April 5, 2012

Petal & Twig: Seasonal Bouquets with Blossoms, Branches, and Grasses from Your Garden by Valerie Easton: A review

My husband sometimes surprises me with books that he thinks I might like. Since I am a serious gardener, this one jumped right out at him when he saw it mentioned in a New York Times review and so he got it for me. Sweet husband. And sweet little book. 

It is a little book, only 115 pages, and is easily read in one sitting. The author, Valerie Easton, is a garden writer based in Seattle, who enjoys bringing nature into the house with bouquets of flowers and foliage from the garden and, in this book, she shares her enthusiasm for that art. 

Her philosophy of flower arranging is that simple is best. She is not interested in creating elaborate floral constructions. She prefers to keep it informal and as natural-looking as possible, maybe a handful of daisies or of interesting limbs and twigs from the garden stuffed into a simple vase. This is an art of flower arranging that even I might be able to master! 

For those interested in growing plants for cutting and arranging, the author has included a chapter called "What to grow: A core list" where she gives a list of plants for the different seasons that do well in arrangements. She doesn't neglect edible plants and foliage that can be quite striking in bouquets. 

Truth is, I'm not much of a flower arranger. I tend to prefer my flowers alive and growing in the garden, not dying in a vase, but after reading this little book, I might amend my philosophy a bit to include the occasional bouquet, at least on special occasions. Readers who really enjoy having fresh flowers from the garden in their home will find this book very helpful in providing ideas and tips for their use. 

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