All throughout the spring and summer several years ago, I’d receive an email from Melissa with dozens of gorgeous images filled with flowers. That was a beautiful year. I’d come home from work as see a flower blooming at random in the yard, so I’d take it inside and put it in a vase in the center of the table. Even that one meager flower brightened the house and added a freshness to life.

Today’s Southerners celebrate their ingrained love of the land by welcoming fresh, homegrown flowers into their houses year-round. Step inside a Southern home and you’ll find bountiful bouquets gracing both parlor corners of stately manors and the chipped-paint porches of shotgun shacks alike.

Southern Bouquets showcases these arrangements-large or small, humble or sophisticated-with sumptuous, inspiring photography in sometimes breathtaking, sometimes cozy, but always quintessential Southern settings. Want to re-create the simple and elegant looks yourself, no matter your zip code? Charleston, South Carolina locals Bigner and Barrie make it a breeze.

Browse these pages to see how a tabletop spread of perky daffodils can sweep out the winter doldrums; how floating a few camellia blossoms adds a touch of easy elegance in any setting; how zinnias are the no-brainer summertime flower for zesting up a party; and more. Flower tips, flower trivia, and Southern tales abound here. So enjoy! Down-to-earth blooms (not a one came from a florist), down-to-earth arranging advice, and heavenly photos await. Southern Bouquets brings the simple goodness of Southern gardens to your bookshelf . . . and to your home.

Writer/Producer/Stylist
North Carolina native Melissa Bigner is editor of Charleston Weddings magazine and senior editor at its sister titles, Charleston and Charleston Home. She has written for Southern Living, Southern Accents, Better Homes & Gardens Decorating, Coastal Living, and Cottage Living magazines, among others, and also authored home and decor books for Better Homes & Gardens, HGTV, and TLC. She lives in a small cottage in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, where confederate jasmine takes over her picket fence and porch. www.melissabigner.com

Floral Designer/Stylist
Heather Barrie, owner of Charleston, South Carolina’s, Gathering: Floral + Event Design has been featured in Charleston Weddings, Elegant Bride, Inside Weddings, Modern Bride, and Wedding Style magazines. Born and raised in Atlanta, she draws her inspiration from what’s blooming around her Hampton Park neighborhood. www.gatheringevents.com

Photographer
Peter Frank Edwards’ photography has appeared in the New York Times, Garden & Gun, Gourmet, Men’s Journal, and elsewhere. A Charleston local, former fish monger and sous chef, he lives amid his own minor camellia forest on James Island.

Finally, a flower-arranging guide that gets it right. In Southern Bouquets, Charleston Stylists Melissa Bigner and Heather Barrie bypass the usual fussy centerpieces in favor of loose, natural-looking displays that mere mortals can actually replicate. Plus, Bigner and Barrie start from the ground up, offering growing tips for all the blooms featured.

~Country Living

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