Puķu draugi by Aivars Irbe
"Flower Friends", the feeling of joy, which you do not buy with money"
Published by Sol Vita (Latvian Publishing House), 239 pages, more than 450 illustrations, language Latvian with a 4 page English summary, hardback, 304 mm × 215 mm, ISBN: 978-9984-894-43-0
Reviewed by Fiona Woolfenden
The first meeting of the "Flower Friends" was in 1978. To date they have met some 37 times, and the initially small group has expanded to over 2000 people.
They get together to swap stories, renew friendships, make new friends, pass on expertise, ask and answer questions, in fact share every aspect of their love of flowers. This book celebrates the history of the Flower Friends, documenting it through stories and photos.
For a small country (population just over 2 million) Latvian culture is surprisingly rich in arts and crafts, including horticulture and love of gardens and plants. The International Clematis Society saw this on our visit to Latvia in 1992. I can still remember being amazed at the number of new clematis cultivars we were shown, all bred in Latvia.
Whilst the language of this book is Latvian, it does contain a 4 page summary in English, giving a brief explanation of the history of Flower Friends and its activities. It contains a 4 page chapter dedicated to Clematis and Aivars kindly provided a translation, along with some suitable images. This is reproduced in this issue, starting on page 154.
Other than a few illustrations which are probably taken from old 35 mm slides, they are very good. And anyone who has visited Latvia will surely recognize many of the locations, and will be reminded of good times.
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