I have a great weakness for beautiful flowers. Yes, I realize that such a statement probably seems obvious coming from someone who spends her days designing, tending and writing about gardens. But in my line of work, I tend to focus on the practical side of gardening. I do a great deal of trouble-shooting; how to make compost and improve soil, how to create structure and four-season interest, how to spot and manage pests and diseases organically, and so on. In fact, I spend so much time problem-solving in other people's gardens, you'd think "what's wrong" is the first thing I notice. But it isn't. When I enter a garden, the first thing I see is beauty.
My eyes ---hungry for beauty and inspiration--- drew me to flowers. And in time, flowers drew me to gardening. The allure of a silken, dewy blossom ---glistening in the morning light--- is impossible for me to resist. Of course flowers developed to attract living things, and in this they are quite successful. Fragrance, color, texture and form; some flowers tempt one or two senses, and others pull out all the stops. Like most gardeners, I am often asked to name my favorite flower. It's an impossible question. For fragrance, what would I choose: the rose, the peony, or perhaps the elusive and ethereal perfume of the violet? I simply can't decide. But when it comes to form and color, one flower does seem to stand above all others. The tulip, in all of its glorious variety ---from blushingly shy and innocent, to formally folded and elegant, all the way to outrageously bold and flamboyant--- is the ultimate seductress.
For flower-lovers like myself, The Tulip Anthology ---with gorgeous, swoon-inducing photography by Ron Van Dongen--- is an irresistible feast for the eyes. If your garden library were a menu, then Van Dongen and Pavord's delicious celebration of the delightful tulip genus would be the mouth-watering tiramisu. Let's just start with the physical size of this treasure. Measuring in at a generous 14 1/4" x 11 1/4", The Tulip Anthology is the kind of book that literally pulls you in. And then there is the introduction ---artfully composed by noted author and bulb expert, Anna Pavord--- a glimpse of the rich detail, historic notes and literary tidbits that continue throughout the book's silken pages. Of course ---much like the seductive tulip itself--- what makes this book an object of such exquisite desire ---drawing you back again and again for more--- is its undeniable beauty. Page after page of full-color images ---from paintings and tapestries to jewelry and photographs--- all designed to delight and inspire. If you have been searching for the perfect gift-book for a flower lover near and dear to your heart, search no more. The Tulip Anthology is the ultimate in artful, literary seduction.
Can you name but one favorite flower?