Fresh flowers in your home add a deeply personal touch, whether you prefer a simple bouquet of sweet peas on your nightstand or an elegant arrangement of lilies in the foyer. Malcolm Hillier's book Flowers may well be the ultimate guide to floral design for both professionals and novices; the photography is beautiful, the tools and techniques are explained in detail, and the unusual A-to-Z plant directory will have you swooning with delight.
Within its 500 pages, this book contains both creative inspiration and practical tips. Different styles of arrangement are examined, from simple nosegays to timeless ikebana, and with each style, equal attention is paid to both overall form and specific plant suggestions. Instructions for various projects are included, and range from a time-consuming garland to a trendy wedding bouquet of peonies and feathers. Whimsical rose petal "cocktails" are charming, while a traditional holly-filled urn makes a perfect holiday centerpiece.
New students of flower arranging will want to start with the "practical techniques" chapter, or some of these projects may seem a bit overwhelming. This chapter shows the proper methods of choosing and treating flowers for long-lasting blooms, as well as wiring and gluing techniques. The step-by-step photos that accompany the straightforward instructions are a huge help; novices will be feeling like Martha Stewart in no time. The plant directory arranges blossoms by type, color, season, and scent, and includes special plants known for their dramatic effects or need for special treatment. This is the place to turn when you're designing a special color-coordinated bridal bouquet or seasonal arrangement; the suggestions include both classic and unusual plants, so no matter what style you're looking for, you're sure to find ideas. --Jill Lightner [via]