Published by Merrell, the book originally started life as a series in House & Garden magazine, with a plant a month being published over the course of a year.
Clare spent many hours in the RHS Lindley Library researching the articles and realised that there was so much more to say than the 1,000 words she had for each piece. So she worked with Sabina to turn the articles into a book.
For each of the fourteen chapters, Clare focuses on a particular flower and takes you through its history, including its artistic history.
As she explains, throughout the centuries, flowers have inspired artists and the development of many varieties can be traced through drawings and paintings.
These images are sometimes the first tangible documentation of a plant and can show us which flowers were fashionable in a particular era.
Roses, nerines, peonies and narcissi are all covered in the book and Clare starts each chapter with a botanical illustration of the flower, as you can see below.
Then within each chapter, there are absolutely stunning close-up photographs of the different flower varieties by Sabina. In fact, her images are like works of art themselves…
Every chapter also includes practical tips on how to grow the plants and recommends particular varieties.
When buying flowers, it’s often easy to forget about how long people have been growing them in their gardens and using them to decorate their homes. Tulips, for example, arrived in Europe from Turkey in the mid-sixteenth century.
And what I love about Clare’s book is her wonderful insight into how these flowers have evolved through the years and how their changes have been captured by paintings and drawings.
(Images : Sabina Rüber)