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Our Favorite Books of 2020

Peruse the FLOWER editors' favorite titles on gardens, flowers, interior design, entertaining, and more
row up books with bright and colorful covers (yellow, orange, green, blue, and red), tied together with a yellow satin bow. Royalty-free stock photo ID: 323036612 Books. By Billion Photos. Shutterstock
Editors’ Bookshelf

Click the arrows on the images below (or swipe if on a mobile device) to see all 35 books featured in Flower magazine or on flowermag.com in 2020.

 

best floral design books of 2020; book cover for Floret Farms’ A Year in Flowers
Floral farmer and designer Erin Benzakein’s second book, Floret Farm’s A Year in Flowers (Chronicle Books, 2020), is chock-full of inspirational arrangements organized by season. Signed copies available. See an arrangement and excerpt from the book. 
book cover for Eden Revisited: A Garden in Northern Morocco (Rizzoli, 2019) by Umberto Pasti

Twenty years ago, Italian writer and horticulturalist Umberto Pasti was lured to the remote village of Rohuna in northern Morocco by a friend who promised a place where no nazrani, no foreigner, had ever set foot before. Pasti was enchanted and set about building a home and expansive garden there, a transformative experience he recounts in Eden Revisited: A Garden in Northern Morocco (Rizzoli, 2019). See more from this book in our story "The Mystique of Morocco."

best floral design books of 2020;Book cover for Bouquets, by Laura Dowling. Subtitle: with How-To Tutorials
Learn how to create exquisite French-style bouquets like the legendary Laura Dowling with her latest book, Bouquets with How-To Tutorials (Stichting Kunstboek, 2020). See our feature story "Flowering Paris with Laura Dowling."
best floral design books of 2020;book cover for The Art of Wearable Flowers (Chronicle Books, 2020) by Susan McLeary

In The Art of Wearable Flowers (Chronicle Books, 2020), florist Susan McLeary teaches the secrets of her craft—fashionable rings, headpieces, necklaces, and more—with step-by-step instructions.

book cover for On Flowers: Lessons from an Accidental Florist (Artisan, 2019) by florist Amy Merrick
In On Flowers: Lessons from an Accidental Florist (Artisan, 2019), New York florist Amy Merrick shares in essence a love letter to flowers, from hardworking tips to more romantic notions.
best garden books of 2020; Book cover for A Garden for All Seasons by Kate Markert (Rizzoli Electa, 2020)
In 1955, American heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post purchased Hillwood, a Washington, D.C. estate, and began transforming its gardens into an opulent haven that the public would be able to enjoy for generations. A Garden for All Seasons: Marjorie Merriweather Post's Hillwood by Kate Markert (Rizzoli Electa, 2020) tells the story of her legacy. See our feature story "Hillwood, an American Treasure."
Book Cover for “Inside Tangier: Houses and Gardens” by Nicolò Castellini Baldissera. Photography by Guido Taroni. (Vendome Press 2019).

The city of Tangier is as complex as the ancient tapestries, tile mosaics, and carved lattices that adorn its homes. Over centuries, it has been Carthaginian, Phoenician, Roman, Vandal, Berber, Arab, Portuguese, English, Spanish, and, finally, Moroccan—each era leaving its ornamental imprint. It’s fitting then, that in the pages of Inside Tangier: Houses & Gardens (Vendome, 2019), interior designer Nicolò Castellini Baldissera tells the city's story through its décor. See more from this book in our story "The Mystique of Morocco."

best cookbooks of 2020; Book cover for from You’re Invited: Classic, Elegant Entertaining © 2020 By Stephanie Booth Shafran

Author and entertaining maven Stephanie Booth Shafran, her husband, and their seven children spend their time between Los Angeles, New York, and Sun Valley. “Our blended family has brought me a life bigger than I ever could have imagined and so many occasions to celebrate,” she says. “The joy I find entertaining for my friends and family inspired my first book, You’re Invited: Classic, Elegant Entertaining (Rizzoli New York, 2020).” See an excerpt from the book.

best interior design books of 2020; book cover for  Soul of the Home: Designing with Antiques by Tara Shaw (Abrams, 2020)
World-class interior designer and antiquarian Tara Shaw shares her journey to a soulful home and how an open mind and heart helped her get there in Soul of the Home: Designing with Antiques (Abrams, 2020). See our Q&A with Tara as well as one of the homes featured in this book.
2020 reading list
In French Country Cottage Inspired Gatherings (Gibbs Smith, 2020), blogger, author, and photographer Courtney Allison applies her design aesthetic to entertaining. She gives advice and shares her experience on topics such as linens, lighting, place settings, and flowers. Some of her signatures include vintage silver, etched-crystal wineglasses, and rustic containers of lush blooms. “Old painted buckets, metal bins, gathering baskets, and zinc or galvanized vessels are some of my favorite picks for large arrangements,” she writes.
best interior design books of 2020; Summer to Summer: Houses by the Sea
In Summer to Summer: Houses by the Sea (Vendome, 2020), writer Jennifer Ash Rudick and photographer Tria Giovan, the talents behind Out East: Houses and Gardens of the Hamptons (Vendome, 2017) have teamed up again to deliver a collection of magical summer houses in Maine, Nantucket, Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard, and more, showcasing a bevy of styles for summertime living. We can almost feel the beachside breezes and sand under our feet while gathering decorating ideas to try.
best floral design books of 2020; book cover for Cultivated by Christin Geall
Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style (Princeton Architectural Press, 2020) by Christin Geall offers a fresh, thoughtful approach to arranging. Art and art history have influenced Geall, and she writes about how paintings can provide guidance about color, light, and movement. The chapter on creativity encourages all us to train, practice, and study in order to develop artistically. “Creatives, in my opinion, are largely made, not born,” writes Geall.
best floral design books of 2020; Slow Flowers journal
Our longtime readers will remember Debra Prinzing as a former Flower magazine columnist. Today, she uses her talents to advocate for the local, sustainable flower industry through her Slow Flowers website, podcast, and column. Slow Flowers Journal – Volume One (Wildflower Media, 2020) is a collection of her essays about the Slow Flowers Movement for Florists’ Review. Signed copies available.
best flower books of 2020: The Language of Flowers
The Language of Flowers by Odessa Begay (Harper Collins, 2020) explores an old and well-loved topic, preserving the fancy of the Victorian volumes but with a more contemporary approach. Fifty flowers are presented, drawing on a rich array of art, literature, the customs of various religions and cultures, folklore, horticulture, and more. We love reading about our favorite flowers, and the illustrations are engaging and lively.
Best photography books of 2020; Book cover for London in Bloom by Georgianna Lan

Take an enchanted tour of London's floral abundance through the lens of acclaimed photographer Georgianna Lane in London in Bloom (Abrams Image, 2020). See our feature story on this book.

best flower books of 2020; The Land Gardeners Cut Flowers book cover
From the rambling grounds of a storied English manor, Bridget Elworthy and Henrietta Courtauld of The Land Gardeners are on a mission to make gardens more fully alive. Their second book, The Land Gardeners: Cut Flowers, (Thames & Hudson, 2020) immerses us in their world. See our feature story on The Land Gardeners.
book cover Gathering: Setting the Natural Table book cover

Floral designer Kristen Caissie of Moon Canyon inspires us to bring our creativity to the table in the pages of Gathering: Setting the Natural Table (Rizzoli New York, 2020). See a how-to project from the book.

best interior design books of 2020; Wild Interiors

Hilton Carter is wild about interiors, especially when they are filled with houseplants. His second book Wild Interiors (CICO Books 2020) takes us inside beautiful, lush interiors belonging to devoted plant lovers across the U.S. and around the world. Signed copies available. See our book review.


best cookbooks of 2020; California Cooking and Southern Style: 100 Great Recipes, Inspired Menus, and Gorgeous Table Settings by Frances Schultz (Skyhorse, 2019)
Author, artist, and Flower contributing editor Frances Schultz collaborated with the talented chef Stephanie Valentine to develop the recipes for her latest book, California Cooking and Southern Style (Skyhorse 2019). That doesn’t mean it takes a chef to prepare them. Frances tells us her criteria for the book was that every recipe had to be accessible, super reliable, and “99 percent of the ingredients you can get at the Piggly Wiggly in Tarboro” (the North Carolina town where she grew up). Signed copies available. Watch our interview with Frances and find links to recipes from the book.
best garden books of 2020; book cover for Garden Design Master Class
In Garden Design Master Class, edited by Carl Dellatore (Rizzoli New York, 2020), you are front and center with some of the world’s most acclaimed gardeners, who advise in 100 essays on how to take your garden to the next level. Showcasing all types of gardens and uncovering mysteries about garden theory, structure, and process, this book will be filled with sticky notes, and your garden will be grateful for it.
best garden books of 2020; Book cover for Private Gardens of Santa Barbara by Margie Grace (Gibbs Smith, 2020)

Private Gardens of Santa Barbara (Gibbs Smith, 2020) focuses on a tiny sliver of paradise. Author Margie Grace takes readers on a romp through 18 lush Southern California oases. The enviable indoor/outdoor lifestyle, including beach-side gardens, is on full display, sprinkled with inspiring stories of transformation.

best interior design books of 2020;  Arriving Home by James Farmer
Designer James Farmer's ninth book, Arriving Home: A Gracious Southern Welcome (Gibbs Smith, 2020), is a must for fans of his signature style and flawless blend of old and new. Signed copies available. See our feature story on one of the homes featured in this book.
best interior design books of 2020; S Is for Style: The Schumacher Book of Decoration

S Is for Style: The Schumacher Book of Decoration (Rizzoli, 2020) takes readers on a deep dive into the company’s archives, featuring iconic fabrics wielded by some of America’s best designers over the last century. Part decorating guide, part inspiration, part personality profiler, it’s proof of why this 131-year-old company remains a vanguard of good taste.

best interior design books of 2020;  Glamorous Living by Jan Showers
Glamorous Living (Abrams, 2020), designer Jan Showers’ third book, illustrates the unique imprint of one person’s point of view. Jan’s particular alchemy of shine, shimmer, curves, and confidence shows that every space looks better with a little glamour.
best cookbooks of 2020; book cover for Miss Maggie’s Kitchen: Relaxed French Entertaining (Flammarion, 2020)

As a child Héloïse Brion shuttled from her American life in Florida to summers at her French grandmother’s home in the Pyrenees. Her memories of those summers are the stuff of fairy-tales—days spent in the service and rhythm of preparing meals over the wood-fired oven. After a stint in fashion, Héloïse and her husband bought an old hunting lodge in Normandy they named Miss Maggie and settled in with their young family. In Miss Maggie’s Kitchen: Relaxed French Entertaining (Flammarion, 2020), Héloïse shares the rustic cuisine of her ancestral home and the casually chic way of entertaining in the French country style. Try Héloïse's recipe for Butternut Squash, Asparagus, and Pea Lasagna.

 

Aerin Lauder’s Entertaining Beautifully (Rizzoli, 2020)
Aerin Lauder’s Entertaining Beautifully (Rizzoli, 2020) offers a more panoramic look at putting on a party. Featuring a year’s worth of gatherings, from a Halloween children’s party to a Hamptons garden lunch, it’s clear Aerin treats entertaining as a form of creative expression.
best garden books of 2020; book cover for Garden Portraits: Experiences of Natural Beauty

Most consider the portrait and the landscape to be opposing visual expressions. In Garden Portraits: Experiences of Natural Beauty (Monacelli Press, 2020), photographer Larry Lederman turns that thinking on its head, capturing gardens with the tenderness and familiarity often reserved for a sitting subject. The book’s 16 private gardens present the garden as a space itself; in Larry’s words, “a portal to the natural world.”

 

best garden books of 2020; book cover for The Graphic Garden
The Graphic Garden by landscape designer Keith Williams (Pointed Leaf Press, 2020) is like a one-way ticket to the tropics. His gardens, a powerful balance of linear and lush, bring the banyan trees, bougainvillea, and beach breeze to you, wherever your armchair may be.
best cookbooks of 2020; An Entertaining Story by India Hicks
India Hicks charms us with her storytelling, style, and delicious recipes in her fourth book, An Entertaining Story (Rizzoli New York, 2020). See an excerpt from the book or try her recipe for Chocolate Brownies with Fresh Raspberries.
best interior design books of 2020; Through a Designer's Eye: A Focus on Interiors by Matthew Patrick Smyth
Matthew Patrick Smyth’s new book, Through a Designer’s Eye: A Focus on Interiors (The Monacelli Press, 2020), features beloved design projects along with some of his favorite Instagram shots. “The book is a combination of rooms and spaces I’ve designed along with photos and details that have inspired me,” he says. See our feature story on one of the homes featured in this book.
best floral design books of 2020;book cover from  Life in the Studio: Inspiration and Lessons on Creativity (Artisan, 2020)
To-die-for gorgeous florals fill the pages of Life in the Studio: Inspiration and Lessons on Creativity by Frances Palmer (Artisan, 2020). The ceramics artist, gardener, and photographer inspires us to find the creative within. Signed copies available. See our book review.
best cookbooks of 2020;  Be My Guest by Pierre Sauvage and Olivia Roland, Flammarion, 2020. Images © Ambroise Tézenas

In Be My Guest: At Home with the Tastemakers (Flammarion, 2020), Pierre Sauvage of bespoke decorative accessories firm Casa Lopez delivers on three fronts—we step into the interiors of 20 tastemakers, see how they entertain, and learn about their favorite recipes, tried and true and often handed down. See our book review and excerpt. 

Best photography books of 2020: Dior in bloom

Dior in Bloom (Flammarion, 2020), the newest book about the legendary couture genius Christian Dior, explores in detail the designer’s passion for flowers and gardens. See our book review.

best interior design books of 2020; book cover for Expressive Interiors: Designing an Inviting Home by Sandra Lucas and Sarah Eilers, principal photography by Stephen Karlisch (Rizzoli, 2020)
Sandra Lucas and Sarah Eilers, founders of Lucas/Eilers Design Associates, celebrate 25 years in partnership with Expressive Interiors: Designing an Inviting Home (Rizzoli, 2020). The book explores their design philosophy and how they put together elegant, comfortable rooms in their native Houston, Texas, and beyond. See our Q&A with this designing duo.
best garden books of 2020; book cover for Gardens of the North Shore of Chicago by Benjamin F. Lenhardt Jr. with photographs by Scott Shigley (The Monacelli Press, 2020)
Avid gardener, preservationist, and author Benjamin F. Lenhardt Jr. fills our winter days with beauty in Gardens of the North Shore of Chicago (The Monacelli Press, 2020). Illustrated by the photography of Scott Shigley, this book immerses us in the rich histories and designs of 25 beautiful private gardens that we have never before had the privilege to explore. See our feature story on this book.

More Books We Love

12 Books for Living Large at Home: Bored, restless, tired of streaming? Try a new activity, recipe, gardening idea, or delve into the curious histories of everyday items in your home—these titles spark engagement in our current lifestyles during Covid-19. See story.