From Seed to Bloom
From Seed to Bloom: A Year of Growing and Designing with Seasonal Flowers
by Milli Proust
The layout and content of this beautiful book reflects the author’s enormously popular social media content: from the Hansel and Gretel cottage to the dream greenhouse, from the exquisite light in all the photographs, to the grid layout images on the how-to pages, these dreamy images are recognisable, and therefore intuitively useful, to a highly visually literate readership.
The practicalities of plot layout, tool kit, and general notes on growing and floristry are dealt with quickly at the beginning of the book, after which Proust takes you through a year divided into eight mini seasons.
Each section starts with a kind of meditative journal entry in which she considers the mood, the light, the dew or the sunshine, before she moves on to jobs to remember and seasonal floral projects. Her growing favourites get their own spreads.
If I were a newbie grower I would possibly find the captionless photographs frustrating – what kind of seeds are these? Which cultivar of cosmos? However, I can see people using the space on the pages for their own notes and treating the book as though it were an inspiring friend.
The book is dedicated to Proust’s grandmother, GJ, who helped to lay out her patch, carrying woodchip to make paths dustpanful by dustpanful, and the whole story is peopled by Proust’s partner, family and neighbours. Proust is wary of calling herself a flower farmer, though I’d say that once you’ve taken on the rental of the neighbour’s field and planted it up with flowers for cutting, you’re pretty committed to your project.
She also says she’s untrained, either as a horticulturist or florist, and yet her knowledge is good – perhaps a bibliography would have been a useful addition.
In a post-pandemic world many love the idea of growing flowers and creating with them and this fairy-tale inspiration, with step-by-step projects, shows exactly what you’ll need to grow to make them.