Although cultivating a flower garden can be challenging at times, it isn't without its perks. First, you have a beautiful and colorful garden. Second, you get to use the flowers in your garden to decorate your home! There is nothing like a home that is decorated with the natural color and beauty of flowers. It's one of the reasons why I love decorating with indoor plants. However, many flowering plants grow too large to cultivate indoors, which is why I often have to settle with creating bouquets of flowers.
Those who have tried creating bouquets from freshly cut flowers in their garden know how difficult it is to create a nice bouquet. Unless you like having a “wild” flower arrangement (to be differentiated from “wild flower” arrangements), creating a bouquet is not as simple as putting flowers into a vase. It involves putting the right flowers together, making sure gaps are filled, and matching the flowers to the vase and the room!
When I first tried my hand at creating bouquets from the flowers in my garden, I failed miserably. I tried again and again till I decided to finally just take a class on flower arranging. In that class, I learned about Susan Bales and her garden books, and I instantly became a fan! One of my favorites is Garden Bouquets and Beyond: Creating Wreaths, Garlands, and More in Every Garden Season, a book on how to create beautiful bouquets and flower arrangements using the flowers from your garden!
Even though I don't regret taking my classes, I sometimes feel that I could have learned a lot of what I know about flower arrangements by reading this book. It's an amazing reference book that features a lot of timeless bouquets and flower arrangements. It helps you utilize the various flowers in your garden, but it also teaches you not to forget about branches, leaves, and vines, which not only make great accents in most bouquets, but they can also be used to make lovely seasonal arrangements.
The book actually features flower arrangements for each season, with separate sections focusing on seasonal flowers. Bales believes that “Life is best lived in sync with the seasons,” and she proves this by showing everyone how beautiful arrangements can come from using seasonal foliage. Those who like creating fresh arrangements during the holidays will really appreciate her instructions on how to create wreaths!
More than just giving a person everything they need to create beautiful flower arrangements, though, Garden Bouquets and Beyond also teaches you how to care for your cut flowers so that they last longer. The index actually features a list of flowers and how long their "vase life" is. Apart from that, it teaches you how to get a flower bud to open, which is really useful for some arrangements!
Try as I might, I have nothing bad to say about this book. My only criticism is that the section on floral topiaries is somewhat useless, but I only think so because I'm not inclined to making these. This section may be useful to others, though.
A truly exceptional book, you are likely to find yourself going back to it again and again because it is both inspirational and instructive. From discussing different flower bouquet containers to decorating gift boxes with flowers, the book doesn't stop teaching you how you can use flowers! And its amazing to think that many of them are flowers that are easily grown in your garden!
Garden Bouquets and Beyond: Creating Wreaths, Garlands, and More in Every Garden Season makes a great book for keeps and a great book for presents! If you like arranging flowers, this book is a must have!
(For those of you who are wondering, I grow more than just hydrangeas!)
Want a sneak peek into Garden Bouquets and Beyond? Click here!