Publishers generally hold the opinion that gardening books should be published in spring. As if gardening is a pursuit that is limited to the early months of the year! The publication of my book ‘Een tuinboeket eenjarigen’ (‘A garden bouquet of Annuals’) proved no different. It took a lot of effort to have the title ready on February 29, 1991. This meant not only reading the final proof but also preparing the colour lists and the register over Christmas.
Earlier that year Rob Leopold and I managed to take the last pictures for the book. Just before the end of the main flowering period we found ourselves in Kees Sahin’s colourful experimental fields at Tholen. There this seedsman had his collection of annuals sown and where Rob selected the species he wanted to include in his next ‘Big Seedlist’ or its annual supplement. Jumping around amidst the flowerbeds, Rob frequently cried out with excitement. ‘Please don’t forget we cannot put all of them in the book’, I told him repeatedly, for the publisher had set a strict limit of 128 pages. Meanwhile I was busy shooting as many pictures as possible of the plants Rob was shouting about and taking notes of. It was made all the more pressing since at the horizon a menacing mass of clouds had appeared, accompanied by a wind that was getting stronger while the light was going – the moment this picture was taken.
Not much later I made a first rough selection of the immense quantity of pictures. The most recent introductions found their way into the book, thus keeping ‘A garden bouquet of Annuals’ relevant for a long time.
The picture on the cover, provided by Rob, reflects the colourful contents of the book quite nicely.
The orange colour of the lettering on the cover caused a lot of discussion at Terra Publishers, but I never heard any negative comments. To me, the picture also symbolizes Rob’s multicoured life. Many species he introduced through his seedcompany Cruydt-Hoeck were here to stay, as Ammi majus and Lopezia have proven.
And then there was ‘Blauwe bloemen’ (‘Blue Flowers’), a book that was initiated and edited by Rob. My signed copy is one of the limited edition that has a hard cover, with dried flowers on rice paper and a little packet of Campanula rotundifolia seeds inside.
The contributions of a host of authors and illustrators give an impression of an exceedingly innovative period in the horticulture of the low lands, in which I took an active part. It is also a book that is precious to me, since most names have faces attached.
Their generous cooperation shows perfectly Rob Leopold’s power to inspire people, arouse passion in them and bring them together for a good cause.
His ideas are like poppy seeds, possessing a long viability. When the time is ripe they will bring forth strong plants, enabling life to continue.