It is always with delight and honour to receive a request to review a book, especially when connected with gardening. I was more than happy to say “yes please” when The Arum Publishing Group asked me to review Louise Curley’s book, The Cut Flower Patch.
I follow Louise’s blog, the WellyWoman, so know of her love for plants and nature. Indeed on her “About Me” page she writes: “For some women, they’re happiest when their feet are ensconced in a pair of expensive Manolo Blahniks or Christian Louboutins, for me it’s a pair of mud-splattered wellies”.
The Cut Flower Patch is her first book, due to be published by Frances Lincoln (www.franceslincoln.com | @Frances_Lincoln) on 6 March 2014, so I am privileged to have a preview.
The Cut Flower Patch measures 19cms x 24cms and is a sensible sized book. My first impressions were matt textured cover and the size and font of the print, which is easy on the eye and I found comfortable to read. The next thing was the matt format and attractive photographs of varying sizes including full page photographs with mouthwatering ideas for displaying flowers. The colour reproduction is excellent making it a lovely book to look at.
This is a comprehensive guide for anyone wanting to grow their own cut flowers, whether it be in a small raised bed or on an allotment. It takes you from the preparation of a site to plant layouts and a guide to annuals, biennials, bulbs, tubers and foliage, as well as detailed information and photos setting you on the path of starting off the growing of your flowers from the windowsill to sowing direct.
Louise includes a chapter through the seasons with ideas on supplementing the cutting patch; particularly useful in the winter months. There is a beautiful full page photograph for winter with twigs of Viburnum Bodnantense “Dawn” displayed in an assortment of glass bottles which has made me hunt out some old bottles.
Equally important to growing your own flowers is knowing the best way to show them off. As one would expect in a good book about cutting flowers, there is an informative chapter called ‘Arranging your Flowers’ with floristry guides and tips, supported again by a wealth of photos of beautiful flowers in an interesting assortment of jugs, jars and vases. One that caught my eye was a pewter tankard packed full of Scabious, Sweet Williams and grasses.
Good maintenance, support ideas, feeding suggestions, including a recipe for Comfrey, and dealing with pests and diseases in an organic way are well covered. Louise also gives advice on the best way to cut your flowers to encourage further blooms and prepare them so that they last longer.
Finally at the end of the book is the always useful sowing and planting calendar and cutting patch calendar.
Try as I may, in order to give a well rounded review, I was unable to find anything about The Cut Flower Patch that I did not like. I am going to covet my copy because I know I will refer to it throughout the year for ideas and help. You can place an early order for your own copy, which I would thoroughly recommend. The Cut Flower Patch is published on 6 March 2014.