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Fresh Flowers-Book Review

“Fresh Flowers” by Nikki Tibbles with photographs by Simon Brown, published by Watson-Guptill Publications. This is one of Watson-Guptill’s Home Decorating Workbooks, a series of practical, spiral-bound books full of foldout pages and lots of color photos.

Tibbles, a renowned English florist, gave up a successful career in advertising after she discovered she loved working with flowers totally by accident when a friend ask for help with her wedding flowers. Initially, Tibbles got a job in a local florist shop, and opened her own shop about six months later.

In this book, she focuses on projects that are suitable for dining tables, and features 20 step-by-step projects, many of which feature candles.

The book opens with a section on basic techniques and other helpful information that will be beneficial in particular to novice floral designers. She uses unusual florals, such as bamboo, papyrus, fatsia, and woody branches. In fact, she says she hates baby’s breath, carnations, and mums—staples of the floral industry.

Before creating a design, she encourages readers to first consider what table linens, dishes, and vases will be used. Her advice is to pay attention to every detail—from the style of the floral design to the folding of the napkins. She urges readers to match the table arrangements to the mood of the occasion—whether it be elegant, or light hearted. So far as details are concerned, she says to stick with something simple.

She suggests inexpensive ways to perk up a table when budgets are limited, and encourages readers to use flowers that are in season, or ones from the cutting garden to keep costs down.

The book features over 50 exquisite table decorations using flowers and floral materials. They’re all illustrated in gorgeous color.

She organized the projects by color. There’s a beautiful classic romantic blue table wreath made from grape hyacinths, anemones and other flowers with candles. For summer, the sunflower burst with birch twigs is just breathtaking.

Tibbles often uses fruits and veggies. The limelight roses arrangement with slices of lime and green roses is just extraordinary. There’s also a fruit and flower urn in an orange color scheme with tangerines, hypericum berries, berried ivy, and orange tulips and poppies.

For one delightful design, she starts with a painted trug (a flat wooden basket) and fills it with a selection of ornamental cabbages. This would make a wonderful centerpiece for an informal spring or autumn event.

In addition to the projects, she includes quite a bit of information in the appendix, including a list of suppliers, a plant directory, and a discussion of table accessories.

Adventuresome types who are bored with ordinary flowers will just love this book. If you entertain a lot, this book is essential.

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