C. L. Fornari’s The Cocktail Hour Garden : Creating Evening Landscapes for Relaxation and Entertaining by St. Lynn’s Press is more than just a book about creating landscaping for happy hours (although true gardeners might say that all landscaping is made with “happy” hours in mind because the garden is a happy place!)
St. Lynn’s Press kindly provided this book for my review, but of course my opinion is my own.
Fornari would agree that her book was written not just as a “how to ” for creating spaces for entertainment. Indeed, there are chapters about bringing fragrance into the garden, about attracting butterflies and about planting for the birds and about bringing the four elements of earth, air, water and sky (specifically the sunset vista) into the garden.
In addition to the chapter on the four elements, there is a whole chapter on Sunset : After-Twilight Plants and Lightning. In this chapter, Fornari discusses plants with white and silver foliage, garden lighting and the moon garden.
A note here. Every chapter has a plant list. I am not sure if this is becoming a new trend but I am seeing it more often in gardening books. It makes great sense. I much prefer this format to the few chapters of introduction and then an encyclopedia of plants!
Fornari’s other chapters include Fragrance, Illumination, The Green Hour Vegetable Garden and Herbs, Flowers and Other Beverage Ingredients.
While the theme of cocktails is maintained throughout, the many lovely photographs of herbs planters, for example, and perennial borders, are inspiring for all gardeners.
Fornari consistently asks about plants, “what do they bring to the party?” She also suggests that we, as gardeners, ask ourselves to take a break every day –whether it be for cocktails, coffee, or just a quiet moment when we untether from our technology –and that we create a space in our gardens where we can enjoy being there and with nature.
For inspiration, The Cocktail Hour Garden is just what we need. There are even garden inspired cocktail recipes using what you grow. It doesn’t get any better than that.