Category Archives: Gardening books

Can daffodils ever be modern?

As I’ve mentioned before, daffodils aren’t my favourite flower. In fact, for me they really only belong in cottage gardens. They are cheery though, and zillions spring up in our garden every year. I religiously go around cutting them all, preferring them in a big arrangement in the house than peppering our garden.

This year I got to asking myself, can daffodils ever be modern? To meet that challenge I turned to one of my favourite flower arrangement books, Flowers By Design by Jeff Leatham, who arranges for the fabulous George V hotel in Paris.

I was very lucky to receive this signed copy from my dear friends Arabella and Kouky, and it provides me with regular inspiration. Here was the image I needed to get me excited about my daffodils:

And here is my interpretation below. Okay, so I may have cheated a little by not using fully opened daffs, but I think I have achieved my goal – they look smart and crisp, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing them open.


Phaidon contemporary garden book

Phaidon, perhaps my favourite publisher, has recently come out with a great little modern garden design book, aptly named The Contemporary Garden.

It catalogues 100 gardens from the 1920’s to the present day, moves through early works such as David Hosack’s Rockefeller Center Roof Garden (1933) to today’s conceptual creations such as Tony Heywood’s Split (2003), and spans the globe covering leading designers such as Roberto Burle-Marx (Brazil), Tadao Ando (Japan), Adriaan Geuze (Netherlands), and Fernando Caruncho (Spain).


Vintage gardening book

It was my birthday this week and I was over the moon to receive a surprise fedex package from my grandmother in California. I only wish I had photographed the gift wrap, which in itself was a present to receive.

Marcela is an artist and more recently a professional small tree pruner, so she knows what she’s doing in the garden. Her artistic eye and love for gardening make her a model modern gardener. Part of her gift was this super book:


We have a healthy collection of glossy books about gardening, but this out-of-print gem is simple and wonderful. The illustrations throughout show you what to do, and ‘cut here’ is exactly the way I need to be told. I will be keeping my eye out for more books like this.


I’ll never forget when as a child Marcela pulled the car over onto the side of a motorway and picked a bunch of wild fennel and had me try it – an early lesson of appreciation for what nature can give you. Thank you Marcela!