Martha's Flowers

This book is beautiful, and you should have it for your library. The pictures are inspiring, and there is practical advice about growing and designing with flowers I have not found featured in other books.

The structure of the book emphasizes six spring flowers (daffodil, tulip, rhododendron, lilac, allium, and peony), six summer bloomers (rose, poppy, clematis, delphinium, hydrangea, lily), and three from fall (sunflower, rudbeckia, and dahlia). There are lots of other flowers along the way, and I'm already planning to grow some of these add-ons. We're not currently growing alchemilla, which looks like it's used much in the same way we use bupleurum, and I'm interested in seeing how it goes. We're only a short while into growing cotinus, but Kevin Sharkey's magic with it made me really want it to hurry up and grow.

And tree peonies. Wow.

We'll probably do a few more varieties of lilac as well, and some hydrangea paniculata (they were generally of the opinion that they worked better in designs than macrophylla, which I agree with).

Notably, there are a few difference in seasonality between here in Maryland and Martha's northern climes. Nobody in Maryland would ever call poppies or delphinium a summer flower. Or a perennial for that matter. And we'll happily cut dahlias starting at midsummer. But this can certainly be forgiven, because Martha loves Maine, and there's so much there to love, and such a short growing season during which it can be loved.

I've gone through the book cover to cover twice, and I've noticed different things each time. The focal flowers, the supporting cast, the beautiful surroundings, and Martha's apparent enjoyment of faux-bois, which is a new word I learned on page 233.

Kevin, Martha, thank you both for the lovely tour of your beautiful flowers and your inspiring artistry.