My Book of Flowers by Princess Grace of Monaco with Gwen Robyns

book of flowers

a nutshell: published in 1980, this wide-ranging book draws on the Princess’s love of all things flower-related – from garden clubs to poetry about flowers, from floral ingredients for potions to bridal bouquets (and much more)

a line: “For flowers have a language of their own that transcends international barriers. As with music, there is also a timelessness about flowers and a sense of communication”

an image: the Princess’s portfolio of pressed flowers were beautiful to flick through – I had no idea it could be so intricate & creative

a thought: I learned a great deal in the chapter on fragrant gardens and among those singled out was the boronia bush’s exquisite scent, which apparently I need to seek out specifically while living in Australia

a fact: in detailing the etymology of ‘rose’, the Princess recounts the story of how famed Corinthian Rhodanthe took refuge from her suitors in the Temple of Diana only for them to break in, leading to the goddess turning Rhodanthe into a rose and the suitors into thorns

want to read My Book of Flowers? visit here


pressed flowers

The Greenhouse by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (tr. Brian FitzGibbon)

a nutshell: this meditative, beautiful novel follows a young man’s journey from his native Iceland to a monastery rose garden in need of loving care, following the death of his mother and the birth of his daughter

a line: “I think it’s important that a person who is brought up in the middle of a forest should understand this, that a flower can grow in isolation, all on its own out of black sand and sometimes in a canyon, too.”

an image: the colour violet seemed to appear at least thirty times in the book, most movingly (in my opinion) through the curtains when dawn breaks on a day the narrator does not want to come, the same shade as a skinned boar at his local butchers

a thought: this slow, quiet novel took me a little while to get immersed in (which I eventually was) but in the meantime I was inspired by the protagonist’s passion for gardening and ended up spending hours weeding my flowerbeds, hands in the soil

a fact: I learned what a ptarmigan was

want to read The Greenhouse? visit here