Grow, Harvest & Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms
By Erin Benzakein with Julie Chai
The mood of this gorgeous book, Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden, goes right to your heart. Deep, rich and love-filled, in many ways its enormous wealth of useful information is wrapped in the hug of life where family and flowers are the center of it.
Cutting flowers has perennially been a conundrum for gardeners. We nurture our plants so carefully to entice their blooms that it feels a bit sacrilegious to then lop them off and put them in a vase to die within a week, right?
That is why, as author Erin explains, one must approach the idea knowing that this particular group of flowers IS for harvesting by planting a “Cutting Garden.” Your bulbs or seeds go in the ground with the purpose of generating amazing blooms for bouquets, vases, flower projects and gifts.
Lavish photography embraces a comprehensive, easy-to-follow, step by step guide for creating your own Cutting Garden of any size. She even explains flower nomenclature (if you don’t know that word, check out p.22).
I personally have erratic sun in my yard over the course of the year. The structure of my house is shaped around the back yard like a ‘U’ so even throughout a single day every spot in the yard is at sometimes in the sun and again in the shade—a lifelong frustration here for figuring out what to plant where! After devouring Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden, even I have discovered how i can plot a cutting garden of my favorite dinner plate dahlias. Erin showed me how to locate and mark the space in the yard that gets 6 hours of sun per day, during the right season. And…she showed me how to grow deliciously-scented sweet peas….vertically.
What’s really great about this book is that Erin speaks 100% from personal experience, so her advice readers springs forth from that. For example she says ignore the back of the seed packets that advise wide spacing of annual plants. She knows that spacing them much closer together in a dense planting yields 3 to 4 times as many flowers as a bed would using the seed packet recommendations.
I loved that every page is filled with beauty and color and that all of the photos include Erin on her farm actually doing the work. This book is clearly written by someone living what she is writing about, which enhances significantly her authority and advice.
I seriously would have bought this book just for how good it looks on my living room coffee table. I am doubly glad I read it too and I think you will also be.
Review by Siri Jostad
Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden overflows with equal parts instruction and inspiration, so you will find much of value for you in this book:
You will learn how to grow absolutely everything she touches on in the book
Basics: Essential techniques for planning and designing your plot, watering well, weed management, seed starting, flower supports, caring for cut flowers
Comprehensive guide to Tools of the Trade
4 DIY projects (Flower Crown, Wreaths, Garlands, Indoor Garden)
Flower Arranging and Bouquet Making Step-by-Step
7 seasonal 'recipes' for Flower Arrangements and Bouquets
How to create a steady supply of fragrant-leaved foliage
About forcing branches, not just bulbs
Seasonal task lists
Vase-Life Tricks (ex: how to stop cut daffodil stems from leaking their toxic sap and how to extend the life of cut lilacs, which are notorious for dehydrating quickly, as well as more good stuff to know)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin Benzakein is the founder of Floret Flower Farm, located in Washington's beautiful Skagit Valley. She is known for her lush, vibrant, romantic floral designs. Her childhood was spent at her great grandparent's country home where she inherited from them a deep connectedness to nature.
She pushes the limits of what can be used in bouquets, which led to her winning the Martha Stewart American Made award for Floral and Event Design. Also a winner of Better Homes and Gardens blogger award, Erin trials an enormous selection of unique varieties each season on her small-scale, high-intensity farm, and her work has been featured in numerous books, websites, and magazines including Martha Stewart Living, Victoria, Country Living, Organic Life, and more.
Today, Erin farms, designs and lives in Mt. Vernon, Washington with her husband and two children, where she pursues a slower, simpler, more intentional lifestyle, and where she is completely dedicated to giving flower lovers the tools and information they need to grow the flowers of their dreams.
Read more about her story at www.FloretFarm.com.
Follow her stunning Instagram feed @floretflower
Picture from Erin's Instagram