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On The Bookshelf: Foraged Flora by Louesa Roebuck and Sarah Lonsdale

Written by Aly Comingore Images © 2016 by Laurie Frankel

In Foraged Flora: A Year of Gathering and Arranging Wild Plants and Flowers, co-writers floral designer Louesa Roebuck and design editor Sarah Lonsdale connect the ethos of seasonality with the art of floral arranging. Their 264-page hardcover, filled with stunning photos by Laurie Frankel, tells the story of a year-long journey around California, during which Roebuck and Lonsdale created a site-specific floral installation a month with blooms, branches, herbs, and fruits gathered from places close to each location.

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The book is divided into 12 chapters—one for every season—which include photos, as well as a brief Q&A between Lonsdale and Roebuck about the flowers, techniques, challenges, and rewards of the project at hand. In this way, Foraged Flora also offers a look into the homes and workspaces of numerous farmers, artists, chefs, and authors, whose stories and occupations help inform Roebuck’s naturalistic designs. In an apartment in Los Angeles’ Koreatown in mid-July, she pairs foraged Solandra blooms and an imperfect branch of kumquats with draping passion flower vines; in February at San Francisco restaurant Rintaro, she places cascading edible nasturtium and flowering magnolia branches in squat vessels alongside the bar.

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While sustainability plays a big part in Foraged Flora’s narrative, it’s thoughtfully balanced by Roebuck’s romantic approach to floral arranging. Throughout the book she revels in the beauty of things that are “abundantly growing, blooming, fruiting, and even elegantly dying”; she celebrates the use of flora in their natural state, pairing flowers and fruits with the things they grow near in the wild; and she champions instinctual trial and error over formulaic how-to’s for the budding florist. Most importantly, though, Roebuck and Lonsdale encourage readers to open their eyes a little wider to life’s simple beauty, and embrace the “miracles of the natural world [that exist] around us daily.”

Get your hands on a copy here.

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Reprinted with permission from Foraged Flora by Louesa Roebuck and Sarah Lonsdale, © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.

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