Niki Irving is on a mission to get us all to experience the joy of growing flowers, as she tells Kristianna Engbrecht
What drove you to bring your love of flowers into print?
I have always loved sharing about flowers and my farm through my blog. Last year – right as the world was shutting down due to COVID – I was approached by an editor at Mango Publishing with an opportunity to write a book. The timing was absolutely perfect because I suddenly had more time on my hands with 2020 weddings being postponed, and there was also a huge resurgence in gardening with everyone being stuck at home. It was an ambitious project to write and photograph an entire book in less than year, but I am so grateful for the opportunity and so pleased with how it came together.
Who, would you say, is your book aimed at?
My hope is that the book gives beginners a road map for how to get started with a flower garden, while providing seasoned gardeners with deep dives into tricky plants like how to grow ranunculus and dahlias. I also have a chapter on floral design with recipes on how to make several different arrangements. There is something for everyone!
Do you have a favourite part of the flower growing process?
I love every stage of the process, but harvesting is my favourite. It feels like the ultimate reward to be picking the flowers that we so carefully nurtured for many months.
Of everything you grow, are there any personal standouts or do you have any favorite flower combinations?
My absolute favourite flowers are ranunculus. They are just so romantic and beautiful with their layers of petals, and they have a lovely soft citrus scent. A close second favorite are dahlias. If I could grow ranunculus and dahlias year round, I would be a happy lady! But I suppose part of what makes them so special is that they are only blooming for a few months each year.
Do you have any quick tips or advice for people who are just getting into gardening or flower growing?
My advice is to just start small! Each year brings new challenges and successes in the garden, so I always encourage people to keep trying and learning. That is the joy of growing flowers!
Growing Flowers: Everything You Need to Know About Planting, Tending, Harvesting and Arranging Beautiful Blooms by Niki Irving is out now