Seasonal flowers inspired by nature and gathered from the garden
I am smitten by these words by Lucy Hunter, included in the pages of her new book, The Flower Hunter: “I am always trying to recreate that wild, utterly romantic and gloriously untamed corner of the garden in an urn, and so I deliberately seek out flowers, that kink and curve, reach for the light yet have space to breathe, look relaxed and contented, and fill the house with scent and joy.”
Those words could – no should – serve as the guiding mantra for gardeners, flower farmers, and floral designers everywhere. It’s the “scent and joy” that got me. Please don’t tell anyone, but I am that person who finds absolute joy in a dreaded dandelion.
And this insight for everyone who has gardened themselves into a frenzy: “I want to be able to enjoy the time I had in the garden rather than resent it.” Amen, sister. Lucy Hunter created a small cutting garden including roses, dahlias, sedums, tomatoes and herbs, narcissus, and tulips. She goes to a flower farm when she needs large quantities of blossoms for events. I could have used this advice 20 years ago.
Lucy creates masterpieces from the smallest pots and plain-ish clear vases, some surprisingly simple and some almost haphazard. She intentionally leaves her roses unpruned, so they reach for the sky, stretching out softly. Hellebores that have gone to seed, tulips growing and drooping in grace, and rosehips from last year, all are admired and perfect candidates for the “garden in the urn.”
Thankfully, Lucy also includes inspiration and instructions for elegant living sculptures and everlasting bouquets for your walls. A fallen tree branch dressed in moody autumn leaves is brought inside to be admired for a few more days. Rangy lengths of Virginia creeper are tucked into floral water tubes and hung from the ceiling. Yes. Virginia creeper as wallpaper. Dying, drying, and the creation of journals of dried flowers, and dyed fabric samples are included. Essentially, Lucy takes readers through a year in her garden, giving us her particular insights and sharing her love of the garden in all its imperfection, as nature will have it.
And last but not least, bear with me, reader, as I tender my love letter to Lucy Hunter:
I am supposed to be writing a book review of your luscious volume, but I want to thank you a million times over for your words.
From page 31, A Curious Mind
“…my inner voice had kept me safe, turning over and then rejecting my ideas. The creativity that had come so easily to me as a child had been replaced with overthinking and a belief that art was something I should do in my free time as a hobby. By following my instincts and saying yes to opportunities without knowing where they would lead, I found friends who would inspire, places that opened my eyes, and a belief that my creativity was of value.”
Those words brought tears to my eyes. I was raised to believe art was a class you took, and anything I made would scarcely be considered worthy. I have since said yes and found those friends and places, and my creativity has led me to a vast new world of artists and supporters. Thank you for saying what I was not able to articulate until now.
The Flower Hunter, By Lucy Hunter
Ryland Peters & Small (November 9, 2021)
Order: Bookshop.org and Amazon