I have The Edwardians and No Signposts in the Sea on order but in the meantime I figured I’d browse through Some Flowers. I was looking for any of Sackville-West’s other books that the library might have. I was not aware that she was a gardener or had written a book on flowers and gardening, apparently she was quite the gardener and enjoyed writing on the topic. This book inlcudes her favorite flowers and her musings on them. She says in the Foreword:
“This short book is very personal and therfore very arbitrary. It represents nothing more than a couple of dozen among the plants I like to grow in my own garden and at first sight it may seem that there are no connecting links in this choice of plants at all.”
I was surprised to find that in my garden this year were some of the flowers Vita mentioned in her book. Particularly gerbera daises and dianthus that “while they are blooming and giving off that special, incomparable smell which makes people sniff inquiringly as they wander about your garden.” The daises have since departed but the dianthus are hanging on through the cooler weather. I also found flowers that I’d like to try. Though the book is written with those gardening in England in mind, I think a lot of the advice is relevant to most climates. Some I’d heard before and some were new tricks to try this spring. I think even those that don’t garden would enjoy this book as Vita incorporates stories of how she came to know these flowers and her adventures in the garden.
The Velvet Rose. What a combination of words! One almost suffocates in their soft depths, as though one sank into a bed of rose-petals, all thorns ideally stripped away. We cannot lie on a bed of roses, unless we are very decadent and also very rich, but metaphorically we can imagine ourselves doing so when we hold a single rose close to our eyes and absorb it in an intimate way into our private heart. This sounds a fanciful way of writing, the sort of way which makes me shut up most gardening books with a bang, but in this case I am trying to get as close to my true meaning as possible.
And lucky me, I just happened to have some lilies on hand to pose with the beautiful illustrations. Illustrations of each flower are done in watercolor by Graham Rust.