Required Reading: Bringing Nature Home
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In her new book, Bringing Nature Home , photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo reminds us of the transformative power of a single draped vine or a bucket of spring flowers next to the kitchen sink. Other, more public rooms have no trouble getting their fair share of floral arrangements (gracing a mantelpiece, for example, or scenting an entryway); the kitchen, however, has been overlooked. This beautifully photographed book, filled with lush arrangements by Brooklyn floral designer Nicolette Owen of the Little Flower School, shares ideas for enlivening every room in the house with botanical accents and includes useful practical tips ("Add wispy elements, such as feathery flowers... give the arrangement a sense of movement, spontaneity, and flourish"). N.B.: To celebrate, West Elm is hosting a pop-up flower shop from 10 am to 3 pm Saturday, April 14, in its lower Manhattan store at 1870 Broadway; go to West Elm for information. Photography by Ngoc Minh Ngo . Above: A passionflower vine caresses a faucet. Above: Ngoc offers a few simple rules for caring for cut flowers. In your garden, cut flowers early in the morning or in the evening. Cut stems on the diagonal to allow maximum exposure to water. And condition flowers to drink more by standing them in lukewarm water for a few hours before arranging them. Above: Mix daffodils with Solomon's seal, mint, pansies, and bleeding heart foliage to make what Ngoc calls "a sweet and cheery bouquet." Above: Gather a couple of different varieties of daffodils—there are, after all, more than 25,000 cultivars—and arrange them simply in juice glasses on the breakfast table. Above: Bringing Nature Home is $29.70 at Amazon.