Book Review: A Year in Flowers

With a blizzard raging outside and frigid temperatures predicted for the holidays, it seems the perfect time to dream about next year’s garden and growing bouquets. Erin Benzakein’s book, A Year in Flowers (Chronicle Books, 2020), may help you make that dream a reality come spring.

a year in flowers coverBenzakein is the owner of Floret Flower Farm in Washington state, and author of two other books—one on growing cut flowers, the other on dahlias. Benzakein’s style of flower arranging is loose, romantic and naturalistic. It looks like the bouquets are lightly thrown together, but in fact, they have a consistent structure to them. In this book, Benzakein shares the secrets of creating these bouquets, including which supplies she uses, the types of floral materials that each arrangement features and the process for creating them.

Benzakein has been teaching workshops on her farm and online for several years, and her skill as a teacher is evident in A Year in Flowers‘ easy-to-follow structure. After explaining her background as a grower and florist, she takes readers through the basics of setting up a workspace for creating arrangements, the tools that make the process easier and more enjoyable, how to source or cut flowers, and what you need to hold arrangements together mechanically. Benzakein does not use floral foam for artistic and environmental reasons, but relies on various floral frogs and chicken wire structures to hold things together.

The key to her lovely arrangements is that each of them contains elements that serve six key functions from providing structural foliage to focal flowers to airy accents. The elements are all present and arranged in the same order in every bouquet. There is a method to her floral madness!

After explaining the basics of arranging, Benzakein then takes readers through a year in flower arrangements, providing seven arrangement inspirations for each of the four seasons. The examples are whimsical and fun as well as beautiful. One late summer arrangement calls for parsley, nasturtiums, two types of tomato branches and zinnias for a lovely pink and apricot posy.

Photography throughout this coffee-table-sized book is stunning, and you can’t help but get lost in the images of flowers in the field and in the vase. If you are thinking about a cutting garden for next year, or just want to create arrangements for your home, A Year in Flowers is a helpful guide.


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