cut flower patch, Frances Lincoln, homemade wreaths, inspired by nature, natural crafting, seasonal crafting, The Crafted Garden
A heavy envelope which felt like it had books in it arrived the other day with the postmark of my publisher on it. It’s funny how after nearly two years in the making, and the pulling teeth process of editing which can make even the most committed of authors fall a little out of love with their book, the excitement is still there when you see all that work come together for the first time. It’s not as if the content comes as a surprise, you spend hours in front of a computer writing the words, there’s the time coming up with the ideas, in my case growing the plants to provide the material and there’s the photo shoots. Finally there’s the editing process. Time spent working with your editor and the designer marrying the photos and text together, and the juggling of it all to fit the layout and design of the book. Weeks and weeks of looking at PDFs and going through edited text can strip you of most of the passion and excitement you had when the book first started to form as an idea.
Fortunately there is a breathing space when it all goes quiet, the emails from the publisher stop and you return to a life no longer dictated to by your book. You stop waking up early, usually with a sudden jolt, worrying about whether you’ve spelt someone’s name correctly in the acknowledgments, or whether you remembered to send that urgent email about the photo that’s in the wrong place.
Several months later the emails start again – publication date is drawing closer. Then a package, a book-shaped package, arrives and that excitement you felt all those months ago when you first starting working on the idea returns. It’s a little odd seeing all those long hours, the frustrations but also the fun times, staring back at you in book form. It’s a team effort to bring everything together and it was a delight to work with the very talented team behind my last book, editors Helen and Joanna, photographer Jason Ingram and designer Becky Clarke. Wellyman is also rather chuffed that some of his photos have made it into the book too.
The Crafted Garden brings together my love of gardening, crafting and nature. For me these three loves go hand in hand. Why buy a fake wreath to adorn your door when the natural materials to make a gorgeous seasonal wreath can be grown so easily in your garden or foraged from the hedgerows? Why buy Christmas decorations shipped in from the Far East when simple ways to festoon your house can be made from cones, lichen-covered twigs and evergreens collected on a winter woodland walk? They can be thrifty, fun to make, connect you and your home with the seasons, and they can be composted when the New Year arrives.
I think more and more people have grown tired of mass-manufactured products that have little or no charm, made in vast factories and shipped from the other side of the world in massive container ships. Many of us are rediscovering the pleasure in making our own or seeking out skilled craftspeople who make bespoke pieces. I think this is all a bit of a backlash against the homogeneity of the high street. Being creative is also good for us. Neuroscientists are looking into how creative tasks impact on the brain. It’s believed it can have an impact similar to meditation, and increasingly crafting is being used as a way to help people suffering from stress or mental health problems. Why do gardeners and florists regularly top the lists of people happiest in their jobs? Because there’s a real connection between a task and a visible outcome and in many cases the chance to be creative.
I’ve found crafting with natural ingredients has broadened my ideas about what I might grow in my garden or on my cut flower patch. I now regularly include flowers which dry well alongside those I pick fresh. I also look out for plants with great seed heads which I can save or pretty leaves for pressing.
For me it has also been a great way to beat those winter blues. Projects give the mind something to focus on as the light levels drop and by creating projects based on the seasons it has made me learn to appreciate what each season has to offer. I’ve always loved the weeks before Christmas and decorating my home but I can’t be the only one who really feels the gloom of January, the house bare after the winter festivities. But if you have some pots of paper white narcissi and flamboyant hippeastrums waiting in the wings to decorate a dining table or windowsill it’s amazing how they can lift the spirits and remind you spring isn’t far away.
The Crafted Garden is divided into the seasons with projects inspired by the plants and countryside of each. And, because I’m a gardener and plant lover, each project includes details of how to grow plants which could be used in the project with some other recommendations too. The projects range from ways to make your home look pretty, to floral fascinators perfect for a wedding or festival, with some ideas which would work as presents too. And there are ideas on how to craft and arrange flowers in a more environmentally friendly way. I’ve included a range of projects; some are very easy, others a little more complicated but still achievable. Lots of them are fantastic for crafting with children and inspiring them to appreciate nature.
The Crafted Garden is published on 3rd September by Frances Lincoln and is available to preorder now from Frances Lincoln, Waterstones and Amazon.
Anne Wareham said:
Want a review from thinkingardens?
I’ll let the lady at Frances Lincoln who is doing the marketing know. 🙂
Congratulations Louise! The new book looks just as beautiful and sounds just as inspiring as your first one. I look forward to reading it.
Thank you Kate. That’s very kind of you to say. I do hope it’ll be inspiring and fun. Hope you’ll like it. x
Sounds lovely. I have your cut flower book, so I think your latest will be going on my birthday list
Hi Margaret. Thank you! I hope it makes a good birthday present. 🙂
It looks a lovely book Louise, a great follow on from your last book about growing cut flowers. I love the idea of using material from the garden to produce seasonal decorations.
Thank you Christina. I’ve had lots of people saying they like making natural decorations so hopefully it’ll prove to be popular. Fingers crossed. 🙂
Matt @ Garden59 said:
It looks brilliant – congratulations! I can’t wait to have a read of it.
Thank you! I do love the photo that was chosen for the cover. Hope you enjoy it. 🙂
Diana Studer said:
I drifted away from the flower club. Too much oasis and plastic. I prefer to use glass pebbles and twiggy garden bits to ‘arrange’
There’s no oasis in this book. Lots of ideas on how to make things in as natural a way as possible. 🙂
David Marsden said:
Congratulations Lou. I wish you every success with your new book. Now you need to start thinking about the next one! (Though you probably already are). Dave
Thank you Dave. I’ve had some really lovely comments so hopefully it’ll prove to be popular. Ha ha! The next one! It took 9 months to come up with The Crafted Garden idea with lots of ideas that didn’t make it along the way. It’s like the difficult second album. As for the third, well, the thinking cap is on. Lou
Awesome and well done
Congratulations on your new book, it looks fantastic, very well done you! I’m totally with you on making things from home grown flowers and leaves rather than shipping bits of plastic from China. We’re running out of landfill room for all the rubbish that’s being imported. Lovely to see such a beautiful and inspiring book with some alternative ideas. I hope it does really well. CJ xx
Thank you CJ, that’s very kind of you to say. I so agree about landfill and most of the plastic stuff isn’t attractive anyway. Natural is the way to go. Fingers crossed. 🙂 Lou xx
Well done, it’s looks to be a another really excellent book which I look forward to seeing. xx
Thank you Flighty. That’s kind of you to say. 🙂 xx
Backlane Notebook said:
I’m already inspired by the image on the cover. Well done and you must be feeling wonderfully relieved that it’s finished and looking so good.
The cover photo is one of my favourites. I’m so pleased to hear it’s inspiring – that’s a good sign. 😉 Yes, relieved. This stage is always a bit scary, wondering how it will be received but I’ve had some lovely comments and feedback so I’m hoping that it’ll prove to be popular. Lou x
Mizz Winkens said:
Looks fabulous – congratulations! No doubt this will be on my Christmas list 🙂
Thank you! I hope Father Christmas delivers a copy. 😉
Many congratulations on what I know will be another beautiful book. I loved The Cut Flower Patch and I’m sure this new book will be just as fabulous. Also, well done to Wellyman on getting some of his photos in the book, a real joint effort.
Hi Jo. Thank you! It’s so lovely to hear that you enjoyed The Cut Flower Patch. I hope this one can match it. Wellyman is rather happy to have his photos in print. It’s nice that he can be a part of it too. Lou x
I’ll have to keep a lookout for your book!
I hope you manage to find a copy. 🙂
Well done, it looks and sounds lovely x
Thank you! That’s very kind of you to say. Lou x
Your new book looks lovely and as inspiring as your first one, must be so exciting getting the final copy. Congratulations!
Thank you Annie, that’s very kind of you to say. It is exciting. 🙂
Looks fantastic. Will definitely be getting a copy for me and the daughter to share and happy to review on the blog too.
Thank you Cally. That’s what an author likes to hear. 😉 A review would be lovely. xx
Congratulations! It looks and sounds like a fun book and the photos are beautiful. I’ll be on the lookout!
Thank you! That’s kind of you to say. 🙂
Congratulations, I somehow missed that you were writing another book. Looks very interesting and inspiring. I’m totally with you on the importance of having something that keeps one busy during those after-Christmas gloomy months. My, our, lifesaver has become birdwatching, there is so much going on during those months and in February the early ones already start singing again. Ever since we discovered that it has become so much easier dealing with that time of year.
Hi Helle, Thank you! We like a spot of birdwatching too. Although I’m not so good with the sitting in a hide bit, especially in winter when it’s cold. I prefer to be walking about and try to spot them that way. I’ve always loved crafting projects so I’ve loved being able to combine the gardening and crafting together. Hopefully it’ll prove a popular idea. Have a lovely weekend. 🙂
Here there is not much sitting in hides, there hardly are any anywhere. We often go up to the forest. I forgot to congratulate Wellyman for getting some of his photos in the book, as a fellow photographer I can imagine what a great feeling that must be. And he does take very good photos, judging from the ones we see on your blog. A lovely weekend to you too.
Ooo! Wellyman will be chuffed. I will pass your lovely comments on to him. Do you work as a photographer or is it a hobby?
Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread said:
It must be a deep sense of personal satisfaction to see your words and ideas in print. Congratulations and much success. 🙂
Thank you! Fingers crossed. 🙂
Teresa / TheGardenDiary.com said:
Looks amazing. Congratulations!
Thank you! 🙂
I’ve just borrowed your cutting patch book from the library. Like you I aim to have fresh flowers from the allotment February through to November and the winter gap filled with dried flowers, posies of snowdrops and other greenery. I do hope this one helps to stem the tide of all those ”nice things’ shops selling fake stuff made in dubious conditions in China, although it seems to me (if my local Waitrose is anything to go by) that the supermarkets are now joining in with gusto. And hear hear to seasonal decorating efforts being composted rather than ending up in landfill. Your arrangements and the photos are beautifully inspirational and uncomplicated. Good luck with your new book, I’m sure it will do really well.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the cut flower book. I’m not sure my new book will make much of a dint in the sheer volume of cheap, throwaway stuff that is sold in most places. It would be nice if it could make a little difference, especially in terms of how people use moss. Thank you! Fingers crossed! 🙂
Oooh, looking forward to this one, Lou! I’m so with you on this – I gave up buying decorations years ago, preferring to make things with scraps of fabric, felt, old buttons, twigs, etc. And yes I do have a system of storing all these treasures carefully out of the way! The nice thing about natural crafting is that you have to go outside to find the stuff – beachcombing, forest walks, etc, which is a win:win for me. I’m forever coming home with my pockets stuffed!
Thank you! Well it sounds like the book is the perfect fit. Yes, nature crafting is fantastic. Hopefully the book will encourage others to join in. Have a lovely weekend, Lou x
Oh well done to both you and Wellyman Lou! It must be so exciting to see the final product after all that hard work you’ve put in to the process of writing it. I’m sure that your new book is going to full of imaginative and creative ideas. I look forward to reading it and butter- fingered though I am, being inspired to try out some of your suggestions .
Hi Anna. Thank you! It is exciting. I really hope it’s something people like. I’m pretty butter-fingered too, especially when I’m having to recreate the project in front of a camera for the photos, so there are plenty of ideas which are simple and easy to do – there had to be! 😉 Often the plants do the hard work by simply looking so pretty you can just tie a bit of lovely string to them and hang them for Christmas decorations. The fun bit is growing them and storing them like a squirrel for winter. 🙂
Congratulations. Sounds a super book – definitely one to add to my Christmas list!
Thank you! Hope Father Christmas brings it for you. 😉
I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing this soon 🙂 x
Hope you enjoy it. 🙂 x