Slow Flowers Journal’s book maven recommends
The Cut Flower Source Book is chockfull of plant lists and tips, making less work and better choices for flower farmers and artists.
Rachel Siegfried is keenly aware of the climate costs of the mechanized, global floral industry. Fittingly, she has made every effort to lessen her carbon footprint and better the land under and around her at Green and Gorgeous, a flower farm located via a one-hour train ride from London. She points to the value of growing perennials, flowering shrubs, and trees for floral ingredients — winter-hardy woody plants prized for their multitasking virtues. According to Rachel, woody plants and shrubs are dependable and as “backbone” plants, they are well-suited to withstand weather extremes. Moreover, they contribute a wilder and more joyful style to floral arrangements.
Rachel divides each of the four seasons into three parts – early, mid, and late — as she pays attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts of plants and flowers as they develop. “You are much better able to capture the essential character of a plant when you watch it grow,” she maintains. Yet, all of this still depends on climate and weather, and your soil. Her helpful photos and lists for the 12 “progressive seasons” are welcome planning tools. They are so good I’ve shared those lists with the design team at our botanical garden here in Boise, Idaho. The “pick of the garden” sections include separate lists accompanied by beautiful images that show how the mini-seasons differ.
It is important to note, and often not mentioned, that a biodiverse flower farm is a refuge for birds and insects when needed—another good reason for planting shrubs and trees. Even in the artistic world of flowers, it helps to work smarter, not harder.
Someone asked me recently what makes a book that makes my list, reviews-especially since I am NOT a florist, farmer, or flower farmer. First, the book has to captivate me. It must be clearly and accurately written. I am not above checking facts and recommendations. Yes, I am a total sucker for exquisite photography. It must be easy to understand. Most important: I have to learn something – preferably a lot — from books I review and those I want to share. I’ve been gardening and writing about gardening for a couple of decades, and the only thing I can say for sure: I keep reading because I realize how much I still don’t know!