“Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening: A Gardener’s Guide to Growing Flowers, from Today’s Favorites to Unusual Varieties,” by Matt Mattus, is a flower-lover’s dream. Full of vibrant photos of more than 85 different species, it covers everything from common flowers such as amaryllis and zinnias, to the unusual and rarely grown, like larkspur. I received “cc” for my birthday this year, as I just became interested in gardening toward the end of the last growing season. This book includes information for many flowers that I want to grow, and it’s already proved a valuable reference book while I started seeds this year.
“Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening” has an interesting and effective format. It starts with the author’s introduction and opinion on flower growing. Then, Mattus provides information on starting seedlings. When he jumps into the flowers, they are organized by season. Each seasonal section starts with many photos of assorted flowers that are covered later on. The spring and summer sections have many “at-a-glance” flowers, which include ideal temperatures for the species, soil preferences and more. All this information is included in a single page per flower, and each flower has at least one photo on its assigned page. Mattus also provides a more in-depth look at some flowers. In spring, for example, he has several pages each on the primrose, iris and lilac. The fall and winter chapters solely consist of these longer pieces of information. I think this is a very useful format to organize the many flowers.
I love how you can read “Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening” from beginning to end like I did, or just find the flower you want in the index. I’ve already done this several times as I started seeds and after picking up plants at a greenhouse. My family is undertaking a large garden expansion this year, and we love a lot of the plants covered in the book. It’s extremely useful to have this book as a quick reference.
I think most people who pick this book up are going to be less experienced, like me, and could benefit from a better explanation of techniques, such as pinching a plant. I also wish that the author included a few more common flowers, such as pansies and calendula (two of my favorites), but I also don’t necessarily miss some of those flowers while reading. Mattus includes less common varieties too, along with well-known flowers that we just don’t see that often. There is a nice overall variety.
The first thing I look for in a gardening book is photos: the bigger and more colorful, the better. I love to be able to see what I’m reading about, just like how young children would rather read a book with pictures than one without. This book definitely checks that box, and many of the flower descriptions are short and concise.
Overall, I believe that Matt Mattus’s “Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening’s” greatest gift is its format. A structure perfect for reference and long reads and big, vibrant photos make this book one of my favorites to look through. Gardeners of all ages won’t be disappointed with this guide to flower growing.
Find “Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening: A Gardener’s Guide to Growing Flowers, from Today’s Favorites to Unusual Varieties,” by Matt Mattus on Amazon here.
Amazon price: $19.55