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The Floral Artist's Guide-a Book Review

“The Floral Artist’s Guide-a Reference to Cut Flowers and Foliage” (ISBN 0766815722) by Pat Diehl Scace from Delmar-Thomson Learning (www.delmar.com). This comes with a searchable CD-ROM.

As a child, the author spent time in her grandparents’ and parents’ greenhouses. Later, she was involved in the retail floral business. Following that, she became the assistant exhibit designer for the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, and was involved in the floral industry on a freelance basis. As she made the rounds and attended meetings, she saw a crying need for a pictorial ID guide to commonly available flowers and florals. The result is this comprehensive title that serves the needs of consumers buying flowers as well as the professionals.

This beautiful, all color guide features over 500 kinds of plants, and is sure to be so useful for both novice and experienced designers. It will help you choose and identify flowers and florals, and presents ideas on how to prepare and use them in designs.

The accompanying user-friendly CD-ROM will make flower selection, arranging and design so easy. It requires Windows 95 or above.

Readers will find this is a very useful reference for many reasons. First, it will help you to ID the plants. Often when I buy stems there aren’t labels of any kind to identify the different flowers. This book remedies that situation. It will help you identify blooms, and learn how to use them in specific kinds of designs.

If you’re looking for a specific color of flower, refer to the color guide at the end of the book. It contains a list of flowers for each color. With that information, you can look at the entries to see which ones you really want.

At the beginning of the book she presents some very helpful information. One page deals with the different kinds of flowers, and has line drawings or photos of the different shapes. She has similar information for leaves too, since many kinds of foliage are used in floral design.

In addition, she explains the system of botanical names, and gives a list of some words used in botanical names and what they mean in English. For example, grandiflora means it has large flowers.

There’s a wonderful section on caring and conditioning flowers, and a list of ones that are sensitive to ethylene.

Scace also provides the basics on floral design. She has sketches and easy to understand explanations of the different design principles and the various shaped designs.

The plant directory makes up the majority of the book. There’s one section for flowers, and another for foliage. The flower section is pink, and the foliage one is green. So, you can instantly find which one you want.

For each plant, she has a full color close up photo, and details on availability, color, unique features, how it is used in designs, and its usual vase life. The plants are arranged alphabetically by Latin name.

This book is just packed with helpful information. Let’s look at a sample entry of the snapdragon. She says it is available year-round in a range of colors, which she lists. The flowers are a medium size, and are used as line flowers in arrangements. They are suitable for all kinds of designs. According to Scace, the name snapdragon comes from the fact that the bloom really does snap if you gently squeeze one. Most of the snapdragons are fragrant. The stems tend to bend or curve due to gravity.

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