Jane Packer’s book, At Home with Flowers: Beautifully Simple Arrangements for Every Room in the House, is a blooming smash. One of Britain’s premier florists, Packer offers flower schools in her distinctive shops in London, New York, and Tokyo. Packer has written 13 books that have been translated into numerous languages for her eager readers. Her latest book is modern, fresh, and filled with a combination of innovative ideas and solid floral common sense. While producing this book Packer suffered a stroke, and she confides that this was the most difficult book she has ever written. Her amazing floral talent is vividly apparent in what must have been a Herculean effort.
At Home with Flowers is just that—beautiful, simple arrangements for every room in the house, providing flowers for loveliness, fragrance, and private moments—abundant fresh style for a life well lived. More than 200 color photographs provide inspiration and a sense of scale for resplendent flowers in domestic interiors. In the opening chapters, Packer addresses buying, conditioning, and reviving flowers. Her design philosophy and wise remarks on her favorite flowers make for interesting reading. The book is divided by interior rooms, with chapters on hallways, living rooms, kitchens and dining spaces, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
Packer’s container ideas range from funky colored, mod ceramic vases, to streamlined white shapes, to silver trophies and antique lusterware tea sets. Packer engages punchy red pitchers on a simple kitchen table while showing that a white ceramic toothbrush holder is the perfect vessel to present a few stems in the bathroom. In short, Packer relies on containers that are appropriate for the particular flowers and the chosen space.
A really successful idea from this book is the combination of seven to 10 vases of the same material interspersed with one type of flower (or varying types in a common palette) in half of the containers. The eye perceives the composition as a harmonious whole, while in fact the designer manages to use a minimum number of flowers to maximum effect. Packer creates this display with white contemporary ceramic vases mingled with white pillar candles. Massed on a hall table beneath a large mirror, less than a handful of all white sweet peas, zinnias, peonies, and dahlias make a dramatic, cohesive design.
At Home with Flowers is a superb addition to the libraries of those with a penchant for using flowers to make their surroundings more beautiful.
By Susan S. Elliott | Photography courtesy of Ryland Peters & Small
At Home with Flowers: Beautifully Simple Arrangements for Every Room in the House by Jane Packer (Ryland Peters & Small 2011)