Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Monday, 24 February 2014

Time to Dream of Spring with a Book Review

Let's face it, it's been an awful winter no matter where we are, so to dream a little of the months to come is a welcome release.  I was fortunate to be asked by Jessica at The Arum Publishing Group if I would like to review a new book by Louise Curley (her Welly Woman blog is here).  I am very protective of my little blog and its contents, but I know that quite a few of you love to fill your homes with blooms and are green fingered as I am so, with my garden sadly lacking love and attention over the winter months, and it looking battered and bruised with the winds and rain, the request came at the most perfect moment.  Time to sit back in a cosy arm chair surrounded by seed catalogues and Louise's beautiful and visual stimulating book - The Cut Flower Patch, was very welcome indeed.
What I love about this book is that it is 'useable'!  There are some gardening books that are full of scientific facts and plain, simple diagrams or photos that leave me a bit deflated.  I can honestly say that this book did the exact opposite.  It spoke to me with Louise's easy to understand hints and tips on creating a patch of garden, no matter how big or small, and whether new to gardening or experienced, that can be created with the purpose of providing your home with cut flowers throughout the different seasons, as well as the art of foraging in hedgerows.  This is something I do each year, filling my house each weekend after the usual housework Saturday to cheer the heart and soul!
Louise's ideas for the different flowers, and what makes a good cut flower that would last five days were invaluable, as well as her diagrams for a suggestion of different beds.  Her recommendations on the types of flowers to grow were detailed and plain speaking, a joy to read.
The photography is by Jason Ingram, and how I would ooze with happiness if I could take delectable photos of plants they way he does.  Each page draws you in and the flower arranging that is shown towards the end of the book is so natural and unstaged, a pretty arrangement to fit into any season including winter in all sorts of containers.  Nothing too fussy, just happy, cheery and simple.
As well as reviewing this book I wanted to actually try the information too, so with a few weeks of looking at these two forlorn little beds that were once herb patches (now being moved to the front garden), I was at a loss of what to do with these, especially as during the summer evenings I like to sit under the pergola, so I wanted scent and colour.  I am at a loss no more.  These two beds will become my Cut Flower Patches, close enough to the house for me to pop out and fill a vase, and also to put together a posy for the garden table.  Yes, my creative juices are flowing!  The bulbs are already in, just a bit of removal of the remains of some herbs and weeds (and pots that have flown through the air!).

So, a visit to the garden centre was required and a happy time was had by slowly filing through the seed packets and cross referencing them with Louise's book.  The wind and rain were blowing a storm outside but I was in a happy place, dreaming of what will be.  I came back and looked at my poor, lonely green house and stacked up the seed packets.  They looked like a little bundle of colourful fabric, seeds that will produce a flower blanket.
The garden gloves look hopeful and the stacked pots are waiting patiently to be filled.  The green house staging will need a bit of cleaning but once again this handy little haven will soon be a productive room once again.  These two patches of garden will now go on a little journey this year and I will be capturing the changes on my blog to show you the progress.
So yes, you may have gathered that I was incredibly happy to review this book and enjoyed every page.  Including the fact that I won't be buying flowers for the house this year as my own flower market will be outside dancing with the bees and the hover flies.  More money for seeds next year!

And now for the information you need if you are interested in this great book.  If you would like to order Louise's book which is published by Frances Lincoln / @Frances_Lincoln, the book will be retailing at £20 but you can buy this at the discounted price of £16.00 including p&p), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG101.

Alternatively, you can send a cheque made payable to: LBS Mail Order Department, Littlehampton Book Services, PO Box 4264, Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 3RB.

Please quote the offer code APG101 and include your name and address details.

*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

I am so happy that I have just completed my first garden post for this year (and my first book review - it's been fun), it's made me long for the spring weather and to fill wheelbarrows with compost once again and seed trays to nurture... I'm easily pleased!

Enjoy your spring dreaming!

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  1. Sounds great. And there's nothing more disappointing than cut flowers that have drooped or died by the end of the same day. I think we're all looking at gardening books about now! :-)

  2. That looks like an interesting book. I'm on a crusade to make our garden as wildlife friendly as possible and would be interested to know whether the authors recommend plants for pollinators? Having a patch to cut flowers from is a lovely idea.

    1. I have just looked through again to make sure and yes, there are suggestions on flowers and what types to grow.

  3. Chel, I loved your review! Thanks for sharing!
    We might (in the next two years) be making a move and will have to start from scratch a whole new garden and I am looking for any ideas!

  4. One of my 'If I was a millionaire I would...' scenarios is to 'have the house full of fresh flowers every day!' So maybe this is the book for me! Even more so that it has Sweet Williams on the cover. One of my all-time ever favourites!

  5. This looks like a treasure of a book, Chel! I once knew a woman who grew a cutting garden and gave away little bouquets to everyone who came to visit. She collected canning jars and little jugs from the thrift stores to give away her flowers. It is a lovely tradition to grow your own flowers for bouquets. I think I would love this book. xo Karen

  6. It looks like a very interesting and pretty book, and sounds from your descriptions as though it would be very useful. Glad that you enjoyed your review! xx

  7. I'll be interested to see how it goes, carving out a cut flower patch is on my wish list too.

  8. Hi Chel, I can't wait to see all those beautiful and colorful flowers of yours. How lucky are you to not have to run to the store to pick up flowers! Have a nice week. xoxo

  9. This looks like a lovely book! Can't wait to see the flowers you plant.

  10. What a wonderful book ! I am looking to do my own gardening scrap book of my gardens that I can use year after year with info of what where and when I planted and with my own photos to . I am soo looking forward to spring . Love the name Wellie women that's cute ! Thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

  11. What a wonderful review and a beautiful book! I love garden books with pretty covers out on my library table or coffee table and this one sounds like it has good information, too. We don't grow many flowers here but we have rose bushes and they provide us with a lot of roses to cut and bring inside. Sweet hugs, Diane

  12. What a delightful review of what appears to be an excellent and most beautiful garden book Chel. You made me want it however I have to stick with flowers native to this area, our hot and humid Summers kill many of my English cottage garden faves. I have tried many over the years and ended up weeping over their loss come August!
    Soon I'll be out there too, digging and delving with the best of them! I enjoy gardening but now find it harder on my back and arms, and hips and legs........I guess everywhere, LOL! We may have need of a gardener soon, meanwhile we'll keep going best we can. If only the pesky mozzies would stay away, they're another big problem here.

    The photography looks wonderful.
    Happy week, hugs Mary.

  13. What a lovely book.. I look forward to seeing your pretty flowers grow :o)

  14. A lovely book and I love the images you used to accompany the review

  15. Wow aren't the photos in this book just beautiful. I'm always on the look out for new gardening books for my step dad and this looks perfect, present sorted for father's day. Thanks Chel.
    Have a lovely week.
    Ali xx

  16. It looks a lovely book, I've read a couple of reviews on it before & it is definitely on my list.

  17. I'm disappointed that I missed out on reviewing this one. I think I'm blacklisted as my last book review wasn't really favourable.

  18. What a scrumptious little book! I love the photography. I am not green fingered, alas, apart from growing herbs, I leave all that to Him Outdoors! But I still get excited in Spring when all the seed packets come out, and I buy plants and bulbs and stuff I know nothing about, and leave it for my dearly beloved to sort out! (I have other, indoor type talents!)

  19. Lovely book and a great review of it. Love those stacked flower packets, what a fun photograph. Excited to see your garden progress.

  20. Hello Chel, I've just stumbled across your blog and realise that you are a follower of my own little ol' blog, Tales from a Cottage Garden. I've been away for a year (so nothing doing in 2013) but have started posting again this year. I love this space you have created here, something interesting to look at or read about at every click! I hope you don't mind if I add you to my blog roll as this is how I keep in touch with all my favourite blogs.

    I'm a Londoner too, born and bred, but now living in beautiful Suffolk, oh and Greenwich is one of my favourite London places as well. I posted about a visit there with my Londo- based niece in April 2012 if you want to have a peek.

    Great review. The book looks fab, I have a weakness for gardening books so it has found a place on my 'to buy' list! So glad to have found you!


  21. thank thank for sharing that.just my kind of book. ps love the blog from hesta

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  23. Hi Chel, I just love Sweet William, they have always been one of my favourites. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  24. I was reading the post above, and just when I scrolled down to leave a comment, I saw this post. Well, being a gardener I had to read it, what a gorgeous book. I'm going to check to see if our library carries that one here. Thanks for the review.



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