The 50 Mile Bouquet

The 50 Mile Bouquet
by Debra Prinzing and David Perry

144 pages
St. Lynn’s Press, 2012
List price: $17.95

I first became aware of the origins of many (most) of the cut flowers we enjoy here in the United States when reading Amy Stewart’s Flower Confidential. It was a fascinating exposé, and made me aware of some things that I’d not previously given much thought to. I simply enjoyed when the florist showed up at my door with a bouquet of nearly perfect blooms.

Prinzing and Perry have taken it one step further and challenge us to “think local” when it comes to purchasing fresh flowers. They traveled across the country and spoke with small business owners that are making a go of providing seasonal and sustainable organic flowers via their own storefronts as well as traditional venues, including grocery store floral departments. Through these stories, we are encouraged to look at floral design choices in a different and more responsible way.

I’ve long been a fan of David Perry’s photography and his images in The 50 Mile Bouquet enrich the experience of Prinzing’s expert and engaging narration. The book took four years to come to fruition and for those of us who knew it was in the works, it was worth the wait. They have put the challenge before us, and in such practical ways that now all it takes is for us to put our eco-principles to work. The choice really is ours.

Debra Prinzing is a Seattle- and Los Angeles-based outdoor living expert who writes and lectures on gardens and home design. She has a background in textiles, journalism, landscape design and horticulture. A frequent speaker for botanical garden, horticultural society and flower show audiences, Debra is also a regular radio and television guest.

Debra is a contributing garden editor for Better Homes & Gardens and her feature stories on architecture and design appear regularly in the Los Angeles Times' Home section. She is also a contributing editor to Garden Design magazine and writes for top consumer publications.

David Perry is an inspirational photographer, a willing teacher and a captivating storyteller who brings the unique insights and skills garnered in his thirty plus years of worldwide, on-location photo assignments for major corporations, ad agencies, magazines and book publishers to each new project he encounters.

As the inquisitive son of a zoologist, David began documenting his impressions of the living world around him with cameras at a very early age. His very popular A Photographer's Garden Blog, which he began publishing in January, 2007, brings thousands of readers together each week through garden tours, thoughtful essays, and seasonal imagery.

The publication being reviewed was the sole compensation for reviewing it. All opinions expressed here are mine. If I like something, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that,too.

Container Gardening for All Seasons

Container Gardening for All Seasons
Enjoy Year-Round Color with 101 Designs
by Barbara Wise

256 pages
Cool Springs Press, 2012
List price: $21.99

As one who once declared herself to be container-challenged, I welcomed Barbara Wise’s recent release, Container Gardening for All Seasons. Those for whom this talent of assembling attractive planted pots comes easily, seem to have an innate sense of what looks good with what, but if you’re like me, you need help.

Wise demystifies the process of container planting, giving us the basics and some tricks of the trade. From good plant choices to proper planting practices, it’s all laid out here in easy steps. Over 100 container recipes assure that there is no shortage of ideas for sprucing up your landscape.

I found her “Ten Commandments of Container Gardening” to be especially helpful and a nice general summary of how to be successful with your container plants, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran. And lest you think this is merely a list of what to put with what and “first do this, then that” kind of book, Wise’s charming southern personality sings throughout. She makes container planting easy and fun.

Barbara Wise is the Floriculture Director for the Southern Land Company. Dubbed by her community as “The Flower Lady,” she has a job that involves planting with her staff around 700 containers each year for the homeowners and communities where she works.  Visit her blog at

The publication being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for reviewing it. All opinions expressed here are mine. If I like something, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that,too.