Spring!

Spring! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to put away the boots and coats and get outside and into the garden! It’s been a winter of epic porportions so let’s move on immediately! Of course, spring in Iowa is famously fickle and might be a bit slow to really settle in. That’s the perfect time to curl up with one of these new books about gardening and flowers. Each is packed with practical information but are gorgeous enough to act as coffee table books. Enjoy!

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Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening by Matt Mattus. Prepare to encounter new varieties of common plant species, learn their history and benefits, and, most of all, identify fascinating new edibles to grow in your own gardens. This book offers a wealth of new and exciting opportunities, alongside beautiful photography, lore, insight, and humor that can only come from someone who has grown each vegetable himself and truly loves gardening.

Tulips by Jane Eastoe. Tulips have more than 3,000 variations and their diverse textures mean that they can work anywhere, from vases to garden plots, from romantic bouquets to wedding boutonnieres. From the raspberry swirl of Zurel and the petticoat-like frills of Weber’s Parrot, to the crystal rim of the Mascotte and the flaming petals of the Fabio tulip, you’ll discover a stunning range of specimens to grow, including historical and contemporary varieties.

The Pottery Gardener by Arthur Parkinson.The Emma Bridgewater factory is a thriving visitor attraction and a mecca for lovers of its iconic pottery; but tucked within is a walled garden bursting with nectar-rich, jazzy-toned flowers and hen houses of rare-breed chickens. With seasonal tips on container planting, plant profiles and helpful guides to keeping fowl and flower-arranging, The Pottery Gardener is sure to delight gardeners, hen fanciers and Emma Bridgewater fans alike.

Seasonal Flower Arranging by Ariella Chezar. This lavishly photographed book from renowned floral designer Ariella Chezar provides step-by-step instructions for 39 seasonal floral arrangements and projects that celebrate the splendor of flowers, the bounty of the changing seasons, and the wild beauty of nature in your home. There are arrangements for seasonal holidays, special occasions, or just everyday life featuring tulips, roses, peonies, dahlias, and other flowers that are easily found at farmers’ markets, local shops, or grown in your own backyard.

Dahlias by Naomi Slade. Blooming late summer to the first frost of autumn, this native of Mexico provides explosions of color in home gardens. The author unearths the dahlia from its Aztec origins and imparts practical, hands-on knowledge for growing and overwintering these tropical plants in wintry climes.

Peonies by Jane Eastoe celebrates the delicate palette, sumptuous beauty and sweet perfume of one of the world’s favorite flowers. This lavishly illustrated guide shows how easy it is to grow these bountiful blooms and fill your home with spectacular cut flowers. From the strikingly beautiful Claire de Lune to the frilly, petticoat-like Bowl of Cream, you’ll discover a splendid collection of classics, as well as the best modern varieties.

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