We opened this book for a quick flick through; 2 hours later we were still wedged on the sofa engrossed in a world of bluebells and iris and decorative windows. We were perhaps predisposed to like it, already being huge fans of JamJar Flowers, the South London florist run by Melissa Richardson and Amy Fielding. Their book, The Modern Flower Press was conceived in lockdown. It tells not only the story of how to press flowers, but it is full of the most wonderful tales of nature and myth and magic and all of the things that make an English flower garden so precious that we want to pick and press the flowers in the first place. Who knew, for example that ferns have been living on planet Earth for more than 360 million years? Or that violets might help cure a broken heart? Or that snowdrops were once planted to light the way from the back door to the outside privy, being so white they can be seen even on a moonless night?
These stories are punctuated with practical ideas – how about making a pressed flower tile splashback for behind your bathroom taps, or decorating a paper lampshade with dicentra, or pasting buttercups onto an old cabinet found at Kempton market for £40? The brilliantly named Mod Podge glue seems to come into nearly all of these projects, and specific tips like these make the ideas seem do-able. Of course, being JamJar there are some excellent stories of life behind-the-scenes at one of London’s top florists too. There’s the Jam Van, all-nighters spent installing a sky of dried flowers at Sketch and the need to press thousands of stems of ammi majus in a matter of weeks for a Mulberry fashion show. These helter-skelter jobs led not only to immense installations and creations, but to the formation of the JamJar Edit shop and finally to this beautiful book. The Modern Flower Press will appeal to anyone who loves flowers, and would make a perfect present. We have a copy to give away to one of our lucky readers, enter using the form below before midnight on 31 May 2022. Good luck!
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The Modern Flower Press, Preserving the Beauty of Nature by Melissa Richardson and Amy Fielding, published by William Collins on 12 May 2022. £30, available here.