7 Mar 2014

The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley. Book review and blog giveaway!


It is a long held ambition of mine to create a little cottage garden with flowers that can be gathered for indoors.  I'm limited by the tiny veg patch which is for food growing but I've introduced a few flowers over recent years, either edible or to attract beneficial insects. I get so much pleasure from these few flowers that I want more - but which are the best to choose from the vast selection of seeds out there? With perfect timing for the seed sowing season, Louise Curley (aka Wellywoman) has provided the answers in her newly published book 'The Cut Flower Patch'.

Louise, a trained horticulturist, has spent the past two years putting together her first book about growing flowers on her allotment and in her garden in Monmouthshire, UK. (Read Louise's posts about writing the book here and here.) Louise writes a jolly good blog so I was confident that her book would be equally good. Having now read it, and actually used her advice, I'm pleased to say I was right.


First off, the book is beautiful to look at. The front cover is very striking; the rest is gob-smackingly gorgeous. Photos are by the very talented Jason Ingram and the layout is also very pleasing. Everything has a very fresh, natural feel so you want to keep rifling through the pages.


The text is accurate and well researched with excellent practical advice - just what you'd expect from an experienced gardener - and with a warm, helpful tone.  We've all been overwhelmed by the vast range of seeds available today; in the past, I've chosen seeds on looks only to find that they're tricky to grow.  Louise writes of just 23 annuals plus bulbs, corms, tubers and filler foliage, expanding within each category to name the varieties that she's found perform best, both in ease of growing and vase life. Simple and achievable.


After reading the book, I feel that anyone, whether beginner or more experienced grower, could successfully grow a few flowers for cutting, even with only the tiniest patch of land. All the information is here with helpful hints sprinkled throughout. Chapters such as 'What makes a great cut flower?', setting up and 'Caring for your patch', 'Growing from seed' and 'Why choose bulbs?' demystify the process and lead up to the grand finale, 'Showing Off', with page after page of deliciously beautiful flower arrangements. The penultimate section, 'Rich Pickings', looks creatively beyond the patch to seedheads, grasses, shrubs and hedgerows to extend interest throughout the year.



But this makes it sound like a gardener's manual and there is so much more here. I found the personal writing style made it both hugely readable and informative.  I particularly like the little bits of history and background to the plants and the 'Why grow it?' reason given for plant choices.  As far as I could tell, no small detail of successful growing has been overlooked; read diligently, this book is as complete a workshop in growing flowers from scratch as you could hope to find.  No wonder the RHS has added it to its bookshop shelves.

Giveaway!

The publishers have offered an additional copy of the book as a giveaway so that one lucky urbanvegpatch reader can have their own copy.  (UK entries only, sorry.) To enter, just leave a comment and tell me your favourite flower to be in with a chance. The closing date is midnight on 21st March.

Important! Please ensure your comment links back to a means of contacting you! Your Twitter name, blog, google+, email (all words eg 'at' 'dot') or Facebook page.

My thanks go to Frances Lincoln for supplying me with a copy of the book for review.

UPDATE: The giveaway has now closed.  The winning entry was Susiesae - please get in touch before Wednesday 26th. If I don't hear from the winner, I will redraw from the remaining commenters on Thursday 27th.

PS.  As recommended in the book, if you're starting a cut flower patch from scratch, check out the website of Cornwall based Higgledy Garden for a seed collection of the best flowers for cutting … and support our British flower growers at the same time!


Blog readers may know that Louise (Wellywoman) is married to Ian, the writer of Piano Learner blog.  Read his brilliant post about the background to writing the book with links to newspapers reviews and other blog reviews here.



To order The Cut Flower Patch at the discounted price of £16.00 including p+p* (RRP: £20.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG101.

Alternatively, send a cheque made payable to: LBS Mail Order Department, Littlehampton Book Services, PO Box 4264, Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 3RB.

Please quote the offer code APG101 and include your name and address details.

*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

74 comments:

  1. I want this book so, so much, I've entered countless giveaways to try & win a copy as I am not allowed to buy any more books. I have been promised a copy for Mothers day anyway but that is ages away! It is lovely isn't it. I like them all but my current favourite are Sweet Williams.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm rather envious that you got to review such an interesting sounding book.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It looks such a lovely book. I'm planning on growing some flowers for cutting this year, and I've been inspired by Louise's blog. A really great review, it does sound like an excellent read with beautiful pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh would so love this book.I have always loved growing flowers but my favourite flowers for cutting are alstromerias x

    ReplyDelete
  5. Actually I really love cottage garden style, with the colorful flowers inside, especially cosmos and dahlias my favorite. It's look so natural looking. But this style need a wide space, and I haven't anymore in my home garden. I think its an interesting book.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It looks a lovely book. My favourite flowers for growing, cutting and happily smiling at are Cosmos.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm in the process of reading my copy which arrived a week ago and thoroughly enjoying it! Louise has converted me, I don't usually pick flowers for the house, but will give over one of the beds in the fruit and veg garden for them. It is a beautiful book and would recommend it to everyone who is interested in growing flowers for cutting.

    ReplyDelete
  8. An excellent review of what is clearly the ideal book for anyone who grows cut flowers. I always enjoy Louise's Wellywoman blog posts so I'm not surprised that you found the book so enjoyable and informative. Flighty xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. A lovely book with a lovely review! My favourite flowers change from day to day, but at the moment I am hankering for the summer when the lupins and foxgloves stand to attention in my town garden

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a lovely review of such a lovely book their just so many nice flowers to have that you can bring into the house it hard for me to choose just one

    ReplyDelete
  11. A great book review, the book sounds really interesting and informative. I think Sweet Peas are my favourite flowers for cutting because not only are they fragrant and beautiful but the more you cut them the more they grow.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for your thoughtful review Caro. It does look like a beautiful and informative book so I would appreciate it if you could put my name in the proverbial pot. Hard pushed to choose one flower but I'm leaning towards summer and sweet peas this morning :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Isn't it a wonderful book? Mine arrived just in time for my birthday, and I devoured it at a single sitting. Like you I really enjoyed the writing style (no surprise really given how beautifully written her blog is) but it is the content that delighted me, everything you could possibly need to choose good plants and do lovely things with them. The tips on pinching out (or not) and conditioning are particularly valuable.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Excellent review of what sounds a must have book. I've followed WW's blog and almost feel part of the gestation of the book. I'm starting a cut flower patch this year, so the book would be most useful. Although I live in Italy I can supply a UK address should I be lucky enough to win! Favourite flower - now that is hard; I'm going to choose something that would be my first choice for the cutting garden, Anemone Sylphide, a wonderful very long flowering anemone that looks great in the garden and in a vase.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Not sure I can get down to a single favourite flower, but I've loved lupins and dicentra since I was very young...along with quite a few others. I've not tended to grow flowers for cutting particularly, so I'd very interested to see what this book has to say.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've just done my own review of this wonderful book, it really has been a delight to read.

    ReplyDelete
  17. As you might know I don't need a copy as I live with the author. I'm really glad you liked it. I'm very proud of her, but then I was even before she wrote the book :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. This looks a fabulous book - my favourite flower is probably the sweet pea!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Caro, we have just bought a house with a proper garden, so no more balcony gardening for me! So excited! My favourite flowers are tulips. X

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have this book to review too, and I must say it looks wonderful, I just need the time to sit and read it through. So I don't need to be in the hat.xxx

    ReplyDelete
  21. My Favourite Flower Is The Rose Because They Are So Beautiful & Elegant.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love cabbage roses. They remind me of something out of Dr. Seuss. They are neither vegetable or flower!

    ReplyDelete
  23. A beautiful book! My favourite cutting flowers are stocks - pretty to look at and a wonderful fragrance.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love Gerbers as they just always seem to brighten the room up when I have them

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anthuriums are my favorites although they do look hillarious :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. wild primroses are my favourite

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love grape hyacinth. They are the first in my back garden and always mean Spring.

    ReplyDelete
  28. My favourite are bluebells, as a child I always knew it was nearly my birthday when I saw them, still have that feeling as an adult :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am new to all this, But I love 'babies breath' in bouquets, would be lovely to see how it can be put into cut flowers to make the most of a spray, But to be able to grow the flowers to bouquet standard would be even better.

    ReplyDelete
  30. This would be a great book for my mum. My fave flowers are red roses

    ReplyDelete
  31. I love sweet peas as they fill the air with a beautiful fragrance and look so delicate

    ReplyDelete
  32. Freesia & Lily of the Valley :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. I just love carnations but it would be lovely to have other ideas for a cut flower garden.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Peonies - the bigger & blousier the better !

    ReplyDelete
  35. i love snowdrops as there are a sign that spring is on its way

    ReplyDelete
  36. I absolutely adore fuchsias of all kinds.

    @jaizduck

    ReplyDelete
  37. My favourites have to be Nasturtiums. There are so many colourful combinations, they are so versatile for eating, cooking, decorating summer dishes and drinks and an absolute favourite of the bees in my garden.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love sweetpeas - beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Freesias, because they fill the house with their glorious scent

    ReplyDelete
  40. This book looks gorgeous! I love Freesia - especially white for the gorgeous scent & I love Gerberas as they are so pretty :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. My favourite flowers are pansies

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love Cornflowers - because I can grow them

    ReplyDelete
  43. Heliotropium arborescence (probably dodgy spelling) I just can't get enough of its cherry pie scent.

    ReplyDelete
  44. oooooh there's so many but loving the inoxicating scent of Jasmine right now!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I would love to win this book! Flowers are pure beauty! My all time favourite flower has to be White Lilly's I think there absolutely gorgeous. Good luck to all the ladies who want this book!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. gerberas they are just so pretty

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hellebores are my favourite flowers...would love to win this inspirational book for my new cottage : )

    ReplyDelete
  48. fab book i love gardening its a hobby anyone on any budget can enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Roses especially perfumed varieties are just perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  50. My favourite flowers are Hellebores. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I love roses for cutting, but those Sweet William on your blog pic look lovely. I can smell them (almost)!

    ReplyDelete
  52. A lovely review of what looks and sounds like a great book!

    I love wild flowers particularly the wild British orchids ... of which the Bee Orchid would be my overall favourite, they are so unusual and beautiful :-)

    email gailbennett@talk21.com or @gail_bennett on twitter

    ReplyDelete
  53. Lovely book. My favourite flower is the pansy. they look like little faces :-)

    ReplyDelete
  54. I love pansies, as they all have little faces. And snowdrops as they are so delicate.

    ReplyDelete
  55. daisy - i love them, my cat was names after them too :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. My favorite flower is the daffodil :-)

    ReplyDelete
  57. My favourite flower are white roses

    ReplyDelete
  58. cosmos are fabulous they flower for so long and till late in the year

    ReplyDelete

Comments on my posts are much appreciated and help to build an online community of blog friends. Everyone is welcome! I love to discover new blogs so please leave a comment to introduce yourself.
Caro x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...