For the Coffee Table

 

“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.”
Luther Burbank
 

IF ANYONE IS LIKELY TO AGREE WITH THIS SENTIMENT, it’s Carolyne Roehm. The very first book written by this designer and interior stylist was published in 1997, and entitled “A Passion for Flowers.” In the years since, she’s also explored “A Passion for Parties,” for “Interiors” and for “Blue & White,” (she’s a passionate person) but that first love shared with readers has never faded. In the introduction to the simply titled follow-up “Flowers,” Roehm explains that she undertook this labor of love – which included a great deal of education as a photographer – out of a desire “to capture my flowers at the moments in which they’re at their most vibrant and alive … to show, and share, all the joy they bring into my life, as the seasons change, on occasions great and small and especially day by day.”

Flip through “Flowers” and it will instantly be clear that “vibrant” is the perfect descriptor: the colors and detail in Roehm’s photos are astonishingly vivid, whether in wide shots of tulip-filled gardens or reverent close-ups of a single blossom against a white background (the Victoria Falls iris on page 179 is almost too lushly purple to be believed).

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”
Claude Monet
 

This tome and the coffee table are clearly a match printed in heaven: it’s huge, nearly 300 immense 11” x 17” pages bursting with blooms of every description. In praising its epic scope, HGTVGardens aptly referred to it as the “‘Lawrence of Arabia’ of flower tomes.” Sometimes adorned with one-paragraph thoughts about arrangements, sometimes with floral-themed quotes from the Koran or John Ruskin, sometimes merely with a small caption identifying the cultivars shown … the book is never less than beautiful, nor ever wavering from a tone of warm affection for the joys of gardening, even while sneaking some practical information in around the edges for those who can succeed in tearing their eyes away from the pictures.

“Flowers” is a bit of an investment, but it’s one that will last far longer than its individual subjects. And after the monochrome coma of the past few months, an oversized dose of Nature’s colorful splendor is just the ticket.

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