Iris Webb thinks that since events in our lives are often linked with flowers, we shoud know how to grow, cut and buy them, how to care for them and how to arrange them to enjoy their full beauty.
Well is past president of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies in England, a lecturer and teacher of flower arranging and a keen, knowledgeable gardener.
Learning to arrange flowers and foliage develops one's artistic sense and induces tranquility of mind, she says.
Webb is the editor and one of the more than a dozen British contributors to a fine new book, "The Complete Guide To Flower and Foliage Arrangement," published in the United States by Doubleday, 9-by-12 inches, 256 pages, wonderfully illustrated, $19.95.
This book is devoted entirely to the artistic and practical study of foliage and flower arrangement, says Webb in the introduction. Clear and detailed information is given for the beginner, the intermediate and the advanced flower arranger.
The book aims to enable those involved or interested in flower arrangement, whether as beginners or at advanced levels, to widen their knowledge in all spheres of the art and craft.
The reader should be able to choose containers, plant materials and designs that are in harmony with a stately home or a simple cottage, as well as for a church or a modern airport lounge, says she.
The beauty and interest of the living material can be lost altogether if it wilts. This means that the arranger must develop knowledge of how to make leaves and blossoms survive, as well as how to pick, purchase or grow, how to select and treat the several plant materials.
The staying power of flowers varies dramatically, Webb says. A knowledge of which flowers and leaves will combine interest and beauty and also remain fresh five days to a week (in the right conditions) is a necessity for the flower arranger.
This kind of know-how is acquired by growing, handling, conditioning and arranging flowers and foliage, and of course learning from the experience gained by others and made available to the beginner.
It is not easy to bring together leaves and flowers from different plants and shrubs so that their grouping seems like natural growths intermixed. However, by observation of plant growth, and by avoiding clutter and too much contrivance, it can be done with increasing confidence.
Drying and preserving foliage and flowers also are included in the book. They provide interesting arrangements during the bleak months of the year, Webb says, and are virtually everlasting if they are well prepared and carefully stored when not in use.