naturalistic garden landscape

A flower parterre in a reimagined Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll garden features plants that attract butterflies and bees. Photo by Allan Pollok-Morris, © Garden Design Master Class by Carl Dellatore, Rizzoli New York, 2020

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.

Two garden-related titles to inspire and instruct: Garden Design Master Class (Rizzoli New York, 2020) and Private Gardens of Santa Barbara (Gibbs Smith, 2020)

While Garden Design Master Class takes the lens wide, 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.

A blue-and-white living room featuring bold patterns and deep coral accents

A scene from ‘Summer to Summer’ by Jennifer Ash Rudick. Photo by Tria Giovan

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.

2020 reading list

‘Summer to Summer: Houses by the Sea’ by Jennifer Ash Rudick, Photography by Tria Giovan (Vendome, 2020), $75

2020 reading list

‘Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style’ by Christin Geall (Princeton Architectural Press, 2020), $28

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.

Tulip flower arrangement

Floral design and photo by Christin Geall

In French Country Cottage Inspired Gatherings (Gibbs Smith, 2020), blogger, author, and photographer Courtney Allison’s second book, 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.

2020 reading list

‘French Country Cottage Inspired Gatherings’ by Courtney Allison (Gibbs Smith, 2020), $35

A cafe table and chairs, with blue tablecloth and flowers, on a dock by the water.

Photo by Courtney Allison

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.

2020 reading list

‘The Language of Flowers’ by Odessa Begay (HarperCollins, 2020), $28

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. 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. 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 covers for On Flowers: Lessons from an Accidental Florist (Artisan, 2019) by Amy Merrick; Floret Farm’s A Year in Flowers (Chronicle Books, 2020) by Erin Benzakein; The Art of Wearable Flowers (Chronicle Books, 2020) by Susan McLeary

From left: Illustration by Giulia Garbin, photo by Chris Benzakein, photo by Amanda Dumouchelle

The mystique of Morocco: Two books entice readers to a country where history, nature, art, and design combine to create a feast for the senses. Read our review of Eden Revisited: A Garden in Northern Morocco by Umberto Pasti (Rizzoli, 2019) and  Inside Tangier: Houses & Gardens by Nicolò Castellini Baldissera (Vendome, 2019), plus, peruse our market finds featuring Moroccan-inspired decor and jewelry.

Book covers for Inside Tangier: Houses & Gardens by Niccolò Castellini Baldissera with photography by Guido Taroni (Vendome, 2019); and Eden Revisited: A Garden in Northern Morocco by Umberto Pasti and Ngoc Minh Ngo (Rizzoli New York, 2019)


By Alice Welsh Doyle

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