Book Review

Book Review
The Art of Floral Design-Second Edition. Norah T. Hunter. Published by Delmar/Thomson Learning. (

If you can only afford to buy one book on floral design, this is it. Because this volume is so comprehensive, it is often used for classes on flower arranging. This book is by no means cheap, but in this case you get what you pay for. And you’ll use it for years. With around 500 pages, it is just packed with information you can use.

This marvelous how-to-guide is fully illustrated with color photos and line drawings to guide you through every step of the process—from choosing the floral materials and containers to techniques and styles.

The book is well-organized and well-written. Easy to use, the text is arranged into five sections with appropriate chapters under each. This makes it easy to find whatever you’re looking for. There is also a complete index.

The first section entitled “theory and design” devotes considerable attention to the design principles. Under the chapter on texture she has even included fragrance, something you don’t often see in design books. There is also a delightful history of floral design, and a chapter on tools, containers, and mechanics.

The second section is devoted to florals, their care and handling, and how to choose ones with suitable forms. The chapter on flower and floral names is very interesting. The vase life of flowers is influenced by many factors, and she explains this in easy to understand terms with tips on how to care and handle the blooms once they are harvested.

In the next two sections she deals with the nitty gritty of design by focusing on basic techniques and styles. There is a very helpful chapter on the shapes of floral arrangements, and another on creating designs for different occasions and events, such as holidays and ones for seasonal interest as well as for weddings, and funerals. An entire chapter is devoted to the various kinds of arrangements you can wear, like corsages. Everlastings are also given their own chapter.

If you’ve yearning to try new contemporary design styles and Oriental design, this is your chance. She has chapters on those subjects as well.

Anyone considering a career in floral design will find the section on the floral industry very beneficial. She devotes chapters to the retail flower shop, careers, and continuing education. For those who are curious about the floral industry, learn about flower harvest and distribution from this informative book.

The appendices are especially useful. The first one is a separate alphabetical listing of the different kinds of flowers with a complete description of each, its vase life, common and family name, details on availability, and information on how the plant got its name. A similar appendix follows for foliage. Most of the florals are illustrated in full color.

Following that, there is a helpful glossary and a complete index.
This book is suitable for the novice and experienced flower lover. Everyone is sure to find something of interest.

This is a high quality, hardcover that will last for years.

The author teaches at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She has taught floral design for nearly twenty years, and has worked in the retail florist business for over fifteen years. She has her own floral consultant business, Norah’s Wildflowers.

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