Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
With the holiday season approaching, here are some wonderful gift books that will help floral designers grow their own flowers.
“Garden Flowers from A-Z” is part of the Compass Guides series from Barron’s. This reader-friendly guide features over 200 kinds of plants and over 250 lush color photos. This title will be especially helpful to those with cutting gardens. There is a symbol beside the name of each plant/variety that is suitable cutting or drying.
This guide features all sorts of herbaceous plants, including annuals, perennials, and bulbs. It emphasizes the need to choose the right kind of plant for your garden’s growing conditions and exposure. It also explains where, when, and how to shop for plants.
Most of this book is devoted to the individual A-Z plant portraits. These are organized into group, such as annuals. Within each group, the plants are organized alphabetically by Latin name. Each plant portrait gives the common names, the plant’s size, its growing requirements, bloom time, routine care, description, and recommended species/varieties. It also explains when to harvest the stems for cut flowers.
For quick reference, refer to the chart in the back that list the plants according to the exposure and soil type. The index gives the Latin and common names.
“Perennial Combinations” by C. Colston Burrell is an expanded and updated edition from Rodale. Though the main focus of this title is on combining perennials in flower beds and borders, this title will prove to be very useful to floral designers for a number of reasons. This devotes an entire chapter to cutting gardens.
This title presents a number of cutting gardens both large and small. This has color photos or watercolors of the gardens in full bloom. For each garden, there is a color planting plan showing the garden layout and complete details on each of the featured cut/dried flowers. This offers information on cutting and drying, when to harvest, the vase life of the flowers, hardiness, how to grow the plants, and their cultural needs.
One of the plans is for a four foot by 12 foot cutting garden. This plan includes a handy table with the plant names, the bloom time, the flower color, the height and spread of each plant, and the number that are needed. This title also features information on dried flowers as well.
Sunset has a wonderful book that will be helpful to cut flower growers. “Big Book of Garden Designs” devotes particular attention to cutting gardens. Featuring over 110 complete planting plans, this title includes a number of plans for cutting gardens. Whatever the season, you’ll find these cutting gardens provide you with interesting cut and dried flowers throughout the year.
For each cutting garden, there is a color illustration, a layout showing the planting plan, and a plant list indicating how many of each kind will be needed. Three of these gardens focus primarily on annuals, perennials, grasses, and bulbs. The hardiness zones are listed for each garden plan.
The winter cutting garden is one of the most interesting. It has separate plant lists for warm and cold climates. The winter plan features various shrubs that are suitable for cutting gardens, such as Harry Lauder’s walking stick, and winter blooming species, such as camellias and heaths. This winter planting plan also has some hardy perennials, such as hellebores and violets.
In addition, this book has a number of different rose garden plans. These can provide floral designers with roses throughout the growing season.