A Tree in the House: A Book Review


There are two kinds of garden books.

Okay, I’m sure there are more than two kinds, but here are two very important kinds:

  • the “How to Garden” books


  • the “What to do with what you grow” books

A Tree in the House: Flowers For Your Home, Special Occasions and Every Day by Annabelle Hickson is definitely the latter.


I have never been much of a “flower arranger.” I’m more of a gather-them-up-into-a-mason-jar kind of girl.

But I love this book because it makes even me want to take a little more time and care with the garden flowers I bring into my home or share with friends. I also love this book because it celebrates intricate bouquets and the ease and fun of simply plonking a few things into a jar and calling it a day.

Hickson is no flower snob.

Here are three things I love about this book:

  1. It’s inspiring! The writing and photography make me want to get outside and start making art with the raw materials of nature, whether I’ve grown them myself or found them on the side of the road.
  2. It’s practical and accessible. Unlike some books about floral design, Hickson’s instructions are easy to follow. She doesn’t make things harder than they need to be, but she’s clear about the tools and techniques that really make a difference.
  3. Hickson thinks waaaaay outside the box, which means you’ll soon be inspired to tromp around outdoors cutting branches and weeds to bring inside.


Who is this book for?

This book is great for gardeners and non-gardeners. It gives gardeners ideas for doing more with what we grow, but Hickson’s adventurous approach to bringing nature indoors can be adopted by anyone, whether they have their own garden or not.

Is this a book to buy or borrow?

I first borrowed this book from my library. By the time it was due, I had decided to buy my own copy.

Now I refer back to this book:

  • For Hickson’s recipe for homemade “flower friendly water,” using a bit of bleach, sugar, and vinegar.
  • To be reminded that I already have the materials on hand to create something beautiful and special.
  • To reconnect with the outdoors even when the weather isn’t conducive for gardening


Explore all our Black Barn Garden Library posts here.


Posted on

July 30, 2020

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