Book Review: Flowers are my Passport, by J. Barry Ferguson

Available in selected bookshops nationwide.

J. Barry Ferguson grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand, and got his travel bug as a 17-year-old going to Australia for his very first overseas trip, to attend a Scout Jamboree.
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Barry trained as a florist, opening Barry’s Flower shop in Christchurch in 1953. Later on, he sold this shop and bought an around-the-world ticket, which was good for a year. He could fly anywhere on TEAL, BOAC, Air Canada and Qantas, provided he kept moving in the right direction. He took with him his portable typewriter, a camera, a basic wardrobe, and dreams of the Himalayas. Barry was thirty-one years old, still impressionable, curious and optimistic, and eager for new adventures. What lay ahead was the future.

He made a name for himself as a gardener, décor and floral designer over 40 years in New York, with a very impressive list of Manhattan clients.

Barry’s first book Living with Flowers sold 35,000 copies, and was honoured with the Quill and Trowel Award by the Garden Writers Association of America.

Health problems in later life forced Barry to re-evaluate his life, and he decided in the end to sell his much-loved Cove House in Long Island, Manhattan, and move back to New Zealand. He now lives in Mahurangi with his sister Nancy, an arrangement which seems to suit them both.

I loved this book as I am a gardener and have done a considerable amount of travelling around the world, always gravitating towards gardens in whatever city I happen to be in whether it is Florence, Cornwall, Rome or even Vietnam. This is a beautiful book, which would make a wonderful gift.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Flowers are my Passport
by J. Barry Ferguson
Published by J. Barry Ferguson
Distributed by Bookreps/PDL
ISBN 9780473336769

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