Martha Stewart's lifelong love of flowers began at a young age, as she dug in and planted alongside her father in their family garden, growing healthy, beautiful blooms, every year. The indispensable lessons she learned then--and those she has since picked up from master gardeners--form the best practices she applies to her voluminous flower gardens today. For the first time, she compiles the wisdom of a lifetime spent gardening into a practical yet inspired book. Learn how and when to plant, nurture, and at the perfect time, cut from your garden. With lush blooms in hand, discover how to build stunning arrangements. Accompanied by beautiful photographs of displays in Martha's home, bursting with ideas, and covering every step from seed to vase, Martha's Flowers is a must-have handbook for flower gardeners and enthusiasts of all skill levels.
MARTHA STEWART is America's most trusted lifestyle expert and teacher and the author of more than 80 books on cooking, entertaining, crafts, homekeeping, gardening, weddings, and decorating.
KEVIN SHARKEY, Executive Director of Design at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, helped found the decorating and floral design voice of Martha Stewart Living magazine, working alongside Martha for 22 years.
The essential resource from Martha Stewart, with expert advice and lessons on gardening and making the most of your spectacular blooms.
Introduction AS I WRITE THIS, I AM IN THE PROCESS OF planning my next garden. It will be my seventh garden, and I''ve been collecting images in my head, tear sheets in folders, and names of varieties of trees, shrubs, plants, and flowers that I think will be appropriate in this new and exciting landscape. And I''ve tried to imagine if this time will be any different from when I designed and dug (and double dug), then planted my very first, and very modest, garden in front of our tiny, white clapboard single-story cottage in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. It was my very own garden, where I was free from my father''s beautifully modulated instructor''s voice telling me what to do, and how to do it, in his backyard garden. Here, I was relaxed and confident that I could plant a noteworthy, productive garden. At that time, my guidance came from my father, of course, but also from some wonderful books and places that influenced me profoundly: the writings of Vita Sackville-West, Gertrude Jekyll, and Helena Rutherfurd Ely, and the historic gardens that I loved visiting, including Monticello, Mount Vernon, the Mission House in nearby Stockbridge, and Old Sturbridge Village. Using a simple geometric plan, I laid out a front-path garden, which captured the sunlight for most of the day. Recycled bricks, carefully cleaned of all old rubble and cement, were laid in walks of stone dust and edged in more bricks laid on the diagonal. I discovered early on the beauty and efficacy of perennial planting, and most of the flowers there, in that small, pretty garden, were indeed perennials, interspersed with some herbs and very few annuals. My most vivid memories of that garden were the hours spent tending the beds, singing to my young child, Alexis, making up fairy-tale-like stories about the flowers, reiterating the common as well as Latin names so that they are still ingrained not only in my head but also in hers. I was so proud when she could recite the flower names to my friends, pointing out her favorite campanula, digitalis, or Papaver orientalis. The second, and the one that has been so instrumental in my subsequent development as a serious gardener, was the two-acre garden I designed and planted in Westport, Connecticut, on a perfect plot of south-facing land, and known as Turkey Hill. What began as two acres grew to four, and then in an orderly fashion to six as neighboring properties became available for purchase. Surrounding at first the 1805 farmhouse, which also played an important part in my entrepreneurial development, these gardens were my true testing ground, my "college education" for growing and experimenting, and my inspiration for putting pen to paper and writing books about subjects I loved. My first gardening book, Martha Stewart''s Gardening: Month by Month, appeared in 1991. In that book, I described the challenges and rewards of planting and growing not only flowers but also trees and vegetables and shrubs. In the beginning, I did most of the gardening myself, choosing the plant material, planning the layouts of the beds, placing the young trees in appropriate places, and weeding, fertilizing, watering, and grooming. I found that a half acre was doable, an acre not, and I hired my first two gardeners. They were not trained horticulturists, but they were very hardworking and each had a wonderful affinity for plants and their care. As my vision for the place expanded, they scurried to keep up, sometimes enlisting a brother or cousin to help. During this time, I traveled quite frequently to Europe and Asia, where I visited as many gardens as I could. My husband was a publisher, and he was working on Visions of Paradise, an extraordinary volume about Europe''s most beautiful gardens. We traveled to England, France, and Italy to see with our own eyes the gardens so faithfully displayed in the photographs. It was on this trip that I started to understand the true nature of a real gardener, and the true worth of great garden and landscape design. I discovered the most famous landscape architects--in England, the Humphry Reptons, the William Kents, the Capability Browns; and in France, the Ren
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