The best books for flower lovers

Who am I?

As a farmer and a writer, I have devoted my career to organic vegetable and flower production. I founded Growing for Market, a national magazine for market farmers, and published a monthly column about cut flowers. I also grew flowers commercially for 25 years for florists, supermarkets, CSAs, and farmer's markets. I am obsessed with all things in the garden, but especially with the flowering plants, and I’m delighted to share my love of flowers with anyone who wants to learn more.

I wrote...

The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower's Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers

By Lynn Byczynski,

Book cover of The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower's Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers

What is my book about?

The Flower Farmer is an overview of growing cut flowers as a business or passionate hobby. It’s the first book most people read when starting a cut-flower business. It has also proven to be a great gift book — the ideal statement of solidarity for that person who longs to quit their job and start a career in gardening.

The Flower Farmer provides a solid foundation in the horticultural aspects of growing cut flowers, from variety selection to seed starting to cultivation. It offers detailed advice about the business of small-scale flower farming, including insider tips on potential markets such as florists, supermarkets, and farmer's markets. Finally, it provides essential information on growing, harvesting, and post-harvest handling of 100 types of flowers.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Cool Flowers: How to Grow and Enjoy Long-Blooming Hardy Annual Flowers Using Cool Weather Techniques

Why did I love this book?

Lisa Ziegler is a grower in Virginia who has branched out into all kinds of flower-related endeavors including online classes. This, Lisa’s first book, is a deep dive into one category of cut flowers: the hardy annuals. Planted in cool conditions (fall or late winter), this group of flowers is the first to bloom in spring. Think delphinium, larkspur, sweet William, bells of Ireland, snapdragons, sweet peas, and about two dozen others. Many growers are astounded to learn the simple techniques that bring the garden into bloom months earlier than usual. It’s all about timing, with a few other tricks, all explained clearly in Lisa’s friendly style.

By Lisa Mason Ziegler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cool Flowers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everyone longs for fragrant early spring blossoms - Snapdragons, Bells of Ireland, Sweet Peas, Sweet Williams and other beauties. But few grow them successfully in their own gardens because they haven't learned the simple cool-weather techniques that make it possible. Expert flower grower Lisa Zeigler profiles 30 long-blooming stars of the spring garden, the "hardy annuals" that thrive when they are planted during cool conditions (instead of waiting until the warmth of spring and losing much of the season). Give them a cool start, plant them in the right spot at the right time, and stand back. In no time…

Book cover of Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms

Why did I love this book?

Erin Benzakein stormed the gardening world a decade ago with an ambitious social media presence featuring gorgeous images and valuable information about her flower business in Washington State. This, her first book, pulls together her best tips about growing and arranging flowers in the new natural style. It’s lavishly illustrated with dreamy photos — backlit flower fields, individual stems laid on a rustic workbench, exuberant arrangements. In all, an inspiring and useful book. Erin has followed up with two more books, equally wonderful.

By Erin Benzakein, Julie Chai,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Cut Flower Garden: Erin Benzakein is a florist-farmer, leader in the locaflor farm-to-centerpiece movement, and owner of internationally renowned Floret Flower Farm in Washington's lush Skagit Valley.

A stunning flower book: This beautiful gardening book and guide to growing, harvesting, and arranging gorgeous blooms year-round provides readers with vital tools to nurture a stunning flower garden and use their blossoms and cut flowers to create show-stopping arrangements. It makes a beautiful gift for any occasion, for friends, loved ones and gardening lovers alike!

Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden: Cut Flower Garden is equal parts instruction and inspiration-a flower gardening…

Book cover of Taming Wildflowers: Bringing the Beauty and Splendor of Nature's Blooms Into Your Own Backyard

Why did I love this book?

Cut flower varieties have come to us from all over the world, yet many of the best are North American natives. Recent research (especially the books by Doug Tallamy) has shown the importance of growing native plants to support pollinators and birds. We should all commit to growing more native plants in our gardens, and Taming Wildflowers will lead the way. Miriam has produced an exquisite little book about growing native flowers in the landscape and using them in design work, especially wildflower weddings. You can find a list of plants native to your area on National Audubon Society’s Plants for Birds database, then consult Miriam’s book for detailed instructions on how to grow and use them in floral design.

By Miriam Goldberger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Taming Wildflowers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Garden Writers Association has recognized Taming Wildflowers with a Silver Award of Achievement Wildflowers are the jewels of spring and summer everywhere. Families drive miles to witness their beauty in wild landscapes. Now, gardeners are discovering that they can easily and successfully cultivate these hardy native wonders right at home, for year-after-year enjoyment. Wildflower farmer and floral designer Miriam Goldberger believes that wildflowers belong as an essential part of North American gardens. Taming Wildflowers is the ultimate DIY book on wildflower gardening: part wildflower history ("How Wildflowers Changed the World"), part upbeat, informative how-to, and a little basic plant…

Book cover of The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers

Why did I love this book?

Debra Prinzing founded the Slow Flowers Society, which promotes American-grown flowers through a directory, annual conference, and most recently a book imprint called Bloom. This is the book that launched the movement. It is filled with inspiring profiles of the people who have changed the floral industry. Keep your eye on Slow Flowers and Bloom for new titles now in the works.

By Debra Prinzing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 50 Mile Bouquet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most flowers on the market today are imported, mass-produced and chemical-laden. The 50 Mile Bouquet introduces some of the innovative voices of the dynamic new Slow Flower movement: the organic flower farmers, the sustainably-motivated floral designers...and the flower enthusiasts who are increasingly asking, Where and how were my flowers grown, and who grew them?

With documentary-feature reporting and full color photographs, this visually elegant book takes us into the farms and design studios of these slow-flower folks to follow the green journey of the 50 mile bouquet. This is the first book to spotlight this major transformation in how cut…

Book cover of The Complete Gardener: A Practical, Imaginative Guide to Every Aspect of Gardening

Why did I love this book?

My garden will never look like Longmeadow, Monty Don’s quintessential English garden with bucolic vistas, garden rooms enclosed by tall hedges, and a tidy vegetable garden complete with a glass greenhouse. But I can dream, can’t I? This book by the star of the BBC’s Gardeners’ World is full of practical information about gardening organically. I’m amazed at how many plants Monty grows in pots. Let’s just say his show and books have opened my eyes to new possibilities for my own gardens.

By Monty Don,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Gardener as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Sunday Times bestseller

Even great gardeners like Monty Don are always learning and always experimenting.

The Complete Gardener brings you right up to date on how Monty gardens today.

This extensively revised new edition covers what Monty believes are the most important aspects of gardening today. Whether you're a beginner or seasoned gardener, it's time to get your green-fingered hands dirty!

A comprehensive gardening guide that no gardener should be without:

- An introductory chapter that explains the essentials of organic gardening practice
- A structure chapter that shows you how to define space in your garden with hard…

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