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Book Review: Expert Advice From Lucy Hunter's "The Flower Hunter: Seasonal Flowers Inspired by Nature and Gathered From the Garden"

The wonder of the seasons and the wild beauty of nature is at the heart of this visual diary by the self-titled Flower Hunter, Lucy Hunter. In "The Flower Hunter: Seasonal Flowers Inspired by Nature and Gathered From the Garden," Lucy takes readers on an immersive journey through a year in her studio and garden in North Wales, where she shares her floral passions and the places behind her greatest inspirations. By embracing the bounty of the seasons and capturing nature's fleeting moments in her design projects, Lucy encourages readers to look for extraordinary in the ordinary, find their own unique voice, and let their creativity blossom from within.

THE BOOK. Overflowing with captivating imagery, personal anecdotes, and an assortment of DIY projects, "The Flower Hunter" caters to flower folk of all skill levels. The seasonal flowers and foliage grown in (and foraged from) Lucy's garden serve as the protagonists of her sublime creations, which pay homage to the British landscape and the intricate cycles of the natural world. With sections on growing, selecting varieties, finding inspiration, step-by-step design instructions, and much more, Lucy gives readers expert advice on every phase of growing and working with cut flowers—from bud to bloom.

LUCY'S TOP 10 TIPS. Given her comprehensive knowledge of the floral and garden arts, Lucy offers brilliant suggestions and fascinating tidbits to assist seasoned flower pros and novice enthusiasts with their own creative endeavors. Find a few of our favorite tips below.

1. On Arranging - "When choosing your flowers for an arrangement, it is easiest to start with a focal flower that you can't take your eyes off, and then base your further selection around that."

2. On Finding Your Voice - "Explore those things that truly fascinate you rather than whatever is deemed to be the trend of the moment."

3. On Trial and Error - "When it comes to arranging flowers, give yourself time to experiment and learn from your mistakes. Be open to changing your ideas and original intentions."

4. On Finding Inspiration - "Let the atmosphere of a place inspire you to create a moment of make-believe."

5. On Growing in Raised Beds - "There are a few things that just don't grow well in pots. As hard as I water and feed, they sulk and take on a look of misery. When this is the case, it's best not to try and fight nature. Don't drive yourself demented trying to grow plants that don't like your soil or aspect. There are other possibilities out there that will work for you."

6. On Drying Flowers - "You can dry most flowers given the right conditions. Somewhere dry and dark, to avoid bleaching of colours by the sun—although to be honest, I rather favour the muted look. When you cut blooms, keep the stems as long as possible. Tie them into bunches, hang them upside down in a well-ventilated place and watch. It can be addictive after a while, and some of the most fascinating results are achieved by accident."

7. On Containers - "Your container is the supporting cast for your precious flowers, so plays an important role. I tend to choose old 19th-century cast iron urns with simple yet graceful shapes that will support flowers in an artless, relaxed way...If they have a coat of old, chipped paint, so much the better—it gives them a time-worn character and a rich sense of individuality."

8. On Backdrops - "Use props if they feel right for your personal style. Experiment with backdrops if you want to create interesting texture or just to transport yourself to a fantasy world for a little while. But don’t feel that you have to. It might be that a tall glass vase or a single beautiful ribbon is all that your perfect bouquet needs."

9. On Personal Branding - "If you're taking images for a social media feed or a website, have a think about what you want your work to say about you and your personal brand. Do you want to capture a calm, clean, fresh feel? Something sparse, paired-back and minimal? Or are you in search of an image that is nostalgic and reflective of yesteryear? Whichever one it is, it's important to be consistent, stay true to yourself and, above all, create work that makes you happy."

10. On Selective Minimalism - "You don’t need a huge bunch of different flowers to put together a joyous, mood-lifting little vase…A tiny vase will force you to choose your flowers with care, and every stem has to earn her moment in the limelight."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Award-winning designer and self-taught photographer, Lucy Hunter, inspires international audiences with her 20-plus years of experience in floral and garden design. A visual storyteller passionate about locally-grown flowers and the natural landscape, Lucy explores ways to meld the boundaries between inside and out, capturing the fine and transitory shifts in nature and the seasons. She lives in North Wales with her husband, teenager and dogs; and when she isn’t traveling or hosting design workshops across the globe, Lucy retreats to her garden and studio in the mountains. Here, she teaches, creates, has a constant, ongoing dialogue with the weeds in the garden, and walks with her dogs and camera.

“The Flower Hunter: Seasonal Flowers Inspired by Nature and Gathered from the Garden” can be purchased in the U.S.A. via the following online retailers: Amazon | TargetBarnes and Noble | Books-A-Million | Simon & Schuster |

The Flower Hunter: Seasonal Flowers Inspired by Nature and Gathered from the Garden: Text and Photography: Lucy Hunter | Photography Contributors: Max Gill and Ben Wall | Publisher: Cindy Richards, Ryland Peters & Small | Art Director: Leslie Harrington | Senior Commissioning Editor: Annabel Morgan | Head of Production: Patricia Harrington | Indexer: Hilary Bird