Small Farm, Big Dreams by Jennifer and Adam O’Neal

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a garden-nerd for all things plant related. Indoor, outdoor, ornamental, edible. I even plan vacations around visiting gardens.

So you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I’ve read a lot of garden books. Quite frankly, they can all start to seem the same. There may be some new tips and there are often gorgeous photos, but best practices for growing plants are fairly standard. So when I come across a new book that is both beautiful and inspiring I really take notice. Even better, this one is about a flower farm in Winterset, Iowa!

Small Farm, Big Dreams by Jennifer and Adam O’Neal is based on their own experience at PepperHarrow Farm. It’s full of practical advice but doesn’t bog down with endless details. They describe best practices for their farm and because they’re in Iowa their growing conditions are the same/very similar to ours. No need to sift through the information  found in the beautiful garden books that come out of the Pacific Northwest or England with their vastly different climates – what works at PepperHarrow Farm is very probably going to work in Davenport, Iowa.

Like most garden books, the photography is beautiful and inspiring, but with a fresh perspective. There has been a trend lately for garden books to follow the “floret trend” (from Erin Benzakein’s  beautiful series of books from her flower farm, Floret) of close-ups of huge bouquets of a single color and variety of flower.  Small Farm, Big Dreams has some of those type of pictures too – it does make for a dramatic photo – but they have a looser style and more variety. The two-page photos of a massive field of pink and white cosmos in full bloom with farm buildings in the background, or of rows of lavender reaching toward a bright blue Iowa sky are breathtaking.

Check out this book for practical advice from growing flowers in your backyard to turning your passion into a floral business and lots of inspiration!


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