Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Veranda: The Romance of Flowers
"The Amen! of Nature is always a flower." So said Oliver Wendell Holmes, whose inspired quotation is just one of many that appear in Clinton Smith's charming new book, Veranda: The Romance of Flowers. And the word "romance" in the book's title is appropriate, for Smith's book could be described as a sophisticated and thoroughly researched love-letter to flowers of all kinds.
Culled from the Veranda archives, the book's photos showing an array of both flowers and interiors are testament to the central role flowers have played in the magazine's history. But the heart of the book is Smith's prose, which never once veers into saccharine sentimentality, something that has been known to bedevil books about flowers. Instead, Smith writes in an engaging, witty, and down-to-earth style, which, if you know Clinton, you could say is very much in keeping with his personality. The book- organized by flowers' myriad personalities- is chock-full of anecdotes, remembrances, and reflections on the influence flowers have had in such areas as film, literature, and fashion. If you're anything like me, you'll be delighted by the author's references to the likes of Constance Spry, Diana Vreeland, Christian Dior, and Sybil Connolly, whose mention might have thrilled me more than any other.
I must also call attention to the book's layout, which is as inspired as the book's text. Quotations about flowers are given full pages, with each quotation artistically enhanced by delightful drawings of birds and bees. And just as it does in nature, color figures prominently in the book, with special sections devoted to the symbolism of floral colors. All in all, Smith's book is a real gem, one which I look forward to dipping into time and time again.
(Slated to be released on October 6, Smith's book is available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.)
Photo Credit: © Veranda: The Romance of Flowers by Clinton Smith, Sterling Publishing Co., 2015