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?

 

 

About Garden Variety: The BN Gardening Blog
Welcome to Garden Variety, a common ground for gardening enthusiasts in the B&N community. Each day, our resident experts, guest bloggers, and B&N staff produce articles on evergreen topics and growing trends in the realm of landscaping. From seasonal plants and edible gardens to book suggestions and landscape innovations, this is the place where ideas flourish.

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