When I was younger, my mother liked to plant Impatiens along the walk to our front door. My grandma had large Gardenia bushes in her backyard, and the smell of them always reminds me of her. Bougainvillea, Hydrangeas, Peonies, Ranunculus- Every flower has a different smell, every flower as a different meaning, and I love how the look and the smell of a flower can mean something different to everyone, recalling memories and linked so close with emotion.
We've had more flowers in the house than usual this year, but I'd certainly love to make it a more regular occurrence! I love the way they brighten up a room and they way they make me feel. That's probably why I loved Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein so much. It's the most beautiful how-to book that teaches you how to grow, harvest, and arrange your own blooms in season. So naturally it looks like we're going to need room for my extensive flower beds in addition to all of the other plants and animals we've dreamed up for our Autumn Meadow Farm :)
I came across her book thanks to an article in the summer issue of The Magnolia Journal. Erin seemed like a girl after my own heart- she had an idea about growing flowers and went straight to the library to check out every book she could find about them. And the results of her research and hard work are absolutely stunning! She shares all of her secrets in her book AND you can even get seeds for the flowers you fall in love with through her website, Floret Flowers. Erin strikes me as someone who is curious and brave and kind. Reading her books makes you feel like you can be all of those things too and grow your own beautiful flower garden while you're at it.
“There is something magical about experiencing an entire year through flowers... I find I’m much more present in the moment and connected to the seasonal shifts going on around me.” -Erin Benzakein
I also read A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor around this same time, perhaps because I was dreaming of flowers and the idea of a book about London's famed flower sellers seemed like the right fit. The idea for the novel stems from the Crippleage & Flower Girls Mission in London (established in 1866), a charity set up to save the destitute girls in the city who were barely surviving off of their meager flower sales. Going into the book, I had visions of My Fair Lady in my head and a keen interest in learning more about the history of the flower markets in London, but I'm afraid the story wasn't very well executed- always a disappointment when the concept is so intriguing.
For the time being, I'm elbow deep in bouquets of herbs, searching daily for any raspberries that are ready to eat right off of the vine, and patiently waiting for our garlic to dry and cure so I can braid and hang it. The tomatoes are green, the carrots and peppers are almost ready, and thoughts of flowers seem reserved for next spring... or at least until another bright bunch catches my eye while I'm out and about :) But that does give me nearly a year to plan out my flower garden and start saving for all the seeds I have my eye on at Floret Flowers!