In her book, Growing Flowers, flower farmer and florist, Niki Irving, shares her expertise on creating a cutting garden and using its bounty to make beautiful arrangements. Aimed a newbies, the book presents the basics, starting with understanding hardiness zones, choosing and preparing a garden plot, choosing the plants, and planting the garden. She then turns to tending the garden with suggestions for such tasks as weeding, irrigating, and fertilizing the flower beds. A chapter on harvesting and arranging the flowers is the high point of the book and is followed by directions for putting the garden to bed.

The text is very clearly written and lays out such essentials as soil preparation, pest control, and composting. A nice touch is the inclusion of a bar at the beginning of the chapters that lists the needed tools for accomplishing the tasks described. Insets provide helpful suggestions on such topic as calculating the amount of lime and fertilizer to apply, keeping a garden journal, and storing seeds and bulbs. One of the most helpful tips was about planting flowers for balanced bouquets, an especially important idea considering that a cutting garden is all about making arrangements. Special attention is given to the growing of dahlias, Ranunculus, and anemones, florist favorites. Detailed step by step instructions are given for hand tied and paper wrapped market bouquets, and centerpieces using either chicken wire or a pin frog. Many colorful photographs enhance the text but lack captions and are more decorative than instructional. End features include an illustrated list of gardening tools, contact information for gardening supplies, a 2 page USDA hardiness Zone map, and an index.

To buy Growing Flowers from Amazon, click here.