Because flowers are an elixir for happiness and perspective, and scientifically boost people’s joy and oxytocin levels, bouquets are the go-to purchases for Mother’s Day gifts. In 2021, it is expected that U.S. consumers plan to spend $2.66 billion on flowers for Mother’s Day.
While I always recommend flowers, I also suggest an accompanying gift. A book that gives your mother the delight of bouquets and appreciation of flowers all year long. Consider giving mom a book that will remind her not only how nature has cycles to embrace and accept just like life, but one that is a welcome accessory on a coffee table or nightstand.
Flower: Exploring the World in Bloom by Phaidon Editors | Phaidon
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, you can. This is the book I have on my coffee table and look at every day. Without opening a page, you can see that you are in for a treat by just its cover. Created by the editorial team at Phaidon, this book shows how flowers intersect in all parts of life. Gathering 300 spectacular images from artists including the great garden photographer Clive Nichols and designers including Nobuyoshi Araki, Cecil Beaton, Robert Mapplethorpe, Georgia O’Keefe, Pierre-Joseph Redoute, David Hockney and Yayoi Kusama, it looks at how different flowers can inspire artists in different eras of history.
This book is a conversation starter and so perfect to have anywhere nearby since it shows how flowers irresistibly play a major role in humanity and the creative arts, century after century.
Where We Bloom: Thirty-Seven Intimate, Inventive and Artistic Studio Spaces Where Floral Passions Find a Place to Blossom by Debra Prinzing | BLOOM Imprint
The Seattle-based Debra Prinzing, founder of the Slow Flowers movement, is a goddess of the garden; a sage who has spoken, written, taught and talked about the blessing that comes from slowing down and finding solace in gardens as well as sourcing local flowers. In this book, she examines the “romance of devoting space to the pursuit of one’s art.”
Creating a sense of space to create is her latest focus. And don’t think these ateliers have to be big or pricey – au contraire. Any of us can be inspired by converting a truck, a small closet or parsing a garage space to reimagine a place of our own.
Just devote “square-footage to contain our passions,” say Prinzig. Great advice, and could inspire your mom too.
Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style by Christin Geall | Princeton Architectural Press
Gardener, floral designer, teacher and author Christin Geall, who is based in Canada, has a huge following for sharing ideas on nature, culture and of course, flowers. The arrangements in this book seem very traditionally classic with Dutch influences, but have the perfect dash of daring. Furthermore, each of her arrangements are clearly rooted in a love of history, design and horticulture since she finds such interesting elements to elevate the work to such magnificence. The book offers lessons and reflections on matching color and creativity which is exactly what you want from a book as well as perspectives on new ways to see flowers linking the past to the present.
For example, while showing lessons on using color effectively, she invokes Goethe and his theories on color, the contrasts of using dark and light. All these meditations and knowledge coalesce to make this a book worthy of any library.
A Year at Clove Brook Farm – Gardening, Tending Flocks, Keeping Bees, Antiques and Entertaining Friends by Christopher Spitzmiller | Rizzoli
This book by Christopher Spitzmiller, written with Clinton Smith and a forward by Martha Stewart, shows the popularity of Spitzmiller and his sensibilities. Best known as a creator of lamps, tableware and prized ceramics, he has become the ultimate weekend farmer and takes readers on a journey to discover how one can happily entertain themselves by being on a farm.
The book purposely shows what happens on a farm for spring, summer, fall and winter and is written in a relatable way so you feel that you are along for the ride. He also sprinkles garden-planning tips and creates seasonal flower arrangements for all to enjoy.
Adventures in Eden: An Intimate Tour of the Private Gardens of Europe by Carolyn Mullet | Timber Press
Considering none of us can travel this Mother’s Day, Carolyn Mullet gives mom a peek at some of the best private European gardens in the world. This book has gotten some buzz and is definitely eye candy. There are 50 gardens showcased here including white-blooming garden rooms on the island of Mallorca, a seven-tiered wonder of stone, plants, and water above Germany’s Rhine River, and The Garden of Cosmic Speculation in a quiet Scottish valley. Brand name landscape designers such as Tom Stuart-Smith, Andy Malengier, and Louis Benech are also included in what really is a fantasy experience.
Charlotte Moss Flowers by Charlotte Moss | Rizzoli
Renowned interior designer Charlotte Moss has exquisite taste as well as a discerning curious mind. Because of her luxurious lifestyle and ability to purchase the truly most special flowers in the world – fluttering airy anemones, plump perfect roses cascading in baskets or elegant vases, daring, confident taupe dahlias – this book is one that your mom will just look at constantly to derive joy and a sense of how beautiful life can be.
A proponent of collecting vases as your frames for floral art, Moss shares many examples of how particular themes can be used effectively. I particularly liked the section on how one can use just one type of flower effectively for many different looks, depending on the vase. In a section on arranging garden flowers in baskets, Moss advises collecting water bottles we may think of discarding and use them to arrange the flowers.
When your last name is Moss, you are destined to have wonderful connections to flowers. Of the many books I have by Charlotte Moss, this one is my favorite.
Garden Design Master Class: 100 Lessons from the World’s Finest Designers on the Art of the Garden edited by C. Dellatore | Rizzoli
Another option if mom is a gardener and wants practical tips, is this book by Carl Dellatore. This book truly showcases the varieties of gardens people have, including what to do with borders, how to create steps in grass, how to grow a successful vegetable garden and examining sunlight and soil conditions for more glorious flowers. Master Class came out last year and is already considered a gardening classic.
Flowers by Carolyne Roehm | Clarkson Potter
Style icon Carolyne Roehm is a perfectionist whose taste and lust for knowledge have created some of the best flower books of our time. This book came out years ago but is always worth revisiting because the pictures are just so sensational and dreamily beautiful that it never goes out of style. Moms always ooh and ah when seeing it. Furthemore, on Roehm’s website are prints of some of her paintings that one can buy as well.
The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature by Sue Stuart-Smith | Scribner
This book is written by Sue Stuart-Smith, a prominent psychiatrist, who is married to Tom Stuart-Smith, the celebrated garden designer. The book explores the scientific data to prove what we intuitively already know – gardening is good for your mental health and has been for centuries. There are some very interesting chapters of how gardens helped soldiers heal from trauma following World War I as well as more contemporary explorations of how hospitals are using gardens to speed up recoveries following surgery. There are no extravagant claims here – just facts – and a 30-year knowledge of how gardens heal.
Any of these books will make mom feel appreciated. It’s a gift that keeps on giving and a reminder of how much you care for her. As the singer, Stevie Wonder said, “if love is as sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.”
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FlowerPowerDaily.com, and a contributing digital editor of aspire design and home magazine. For more from Jill, be sure to check out her tips for spectacular holiday wreaths here.
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