Growing Heirloom Flowers: Bring the Vintage Beauty of Heritage Blooms to Your Modern Garden is a new how-to-and-why gardening handbook from Chris McLaughlin out 8th May 2018 by Quarto - Cool Springs Press. It's gloriously full color, 163 pages and available in ebook and hardcover formats.
The book starts with an introduction and explanation; what heirlooms are and why we should be interested in growing them. The author continues on to describe the different uses of plants and starts off with flowers for the cutting garden. Most of the plants she describes for different uses have an individual entry with pictures, color photos and uses. Happily, she includes the proper Latin names in each listing, so gardeners can find their way to the correct plants.
Interspersed rather whimsically in each chapter are short tutorial with crafts and other fun tidbits (making a flower crown, freezing flower ice cubes for drinks, drinks, crafts and foods, etc). Fragrant flowers get their own chapter and I really agree with all her choices. There are a number of old favorites often overlooked (especially in modern garden centres), and which deserve a place in the cottage garden. The chapter on cottage garden classics also includes a fair number of old 'forgotten' favorites which will reward the modern gardener with gorgeous blooms and provide wonderful food and pollen for bees and other wildlife.
The book includes a resource list (slanted toward gardeners in the USA) and handy list of gardens to visit for inspiration. There's a very short author bio and a useful (abridged) index. All in all a worthwhile addition to the heirloom gardening library.
The author's style is very breezy and chatty and exuberant. It did get a bit wearisome that she referred to every one of the plants in the book as 'she' and 'the girls'. A bit of anthropomorphism is fine, but it got to be a bit much for me particularly. On the other hand, for the vast majority of gardeners who will use this book as a pick-and-mix resource and not read it from cover to cover, that won't be an issue. It's a charming and useful book.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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