Book Club: Springtime Color

I can't stop thinking about color these days. It's been on my mind ever since the beginning of the year. As someone who was always — and still is — drawn to neutral, subdued, earthy tones when it comes to plants (and pretty much everything else), I'm more than a bit surprised to find myself yearning for rich hues and splashes of bold shades. These three books are feeding my fixation for springtime color in the garden and at home.


Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style by Christin Geall

Image courtesy Christin Geall.
Image courtesy Christin Geall.

In Cultivated, Geall explores a number of floral styles from sculptural ikebana to Baroque abundance. Her interpretation of the Dutch Master's style is what really drew me in. My experience in floral styling doesn't go beyond grabbing what's at the grocery store and plunking it into a vase, so I'm excited to begin learning more about the craft of arrangement.


Floratopia: 110 Flower Garden Ideas for Your Yard, Patio or Balcony by Jan Johnsen

Image courtesy Pro Landscaper  USA
Image courtesy Pro Landscaper USA

Jan Johnsen is one of my all-time favorite landscape designers. I admire her as much for her thought leadership in the garden space as I do for her designs. That's why anything she publishes immediately goes to the top of my must-read list. Floratopia is a new favorite. It showcases her masterful craftsmanship for garden spaces, her successful (i.e. healthy) plant combinations, and her often exuberant use of color. One of the things I love best about this book is the way it reminds us to take advantage of the juicy all-season blossoms that annuals can provide.


100 Plants to Feed to Monarch: Create a Healthy Habitat to Sustain North America's Most Beloved Butterfly by The Xerxes Society

Image courtesy The Xerxes Society.
Image courtesy The Xerxes Society.

Over the last five years or so, the plight of the Monarch butterfly has garnered the attention of the horticultural industry and national news alike. The problem is essentially that new construction efforts around the country have destroyed vital habitats used by the Monarchs for feeding and breeding. The landscape elements in these projects do not incorporate the kinds of plants that are essential for the butterflies' survival. To combat the habitat loss and encourage Monarchs to multiply, garden designers and organizations within the industry are encouraging home gardeners to incorporate Monarch-friendly plantings into their own gardens. This newest book by The Xerxes Society offers an informative and inspiring guide for how to do so. Bonus: Many of these plantings offer dazzling splashes of color to your garden as well.