• Clivia, today, come in a wide range of colours and forms. Sir John Thuron is above.  ©Keith Hammett
  • A white marquee transformed into a romantic wedding venue, Old Westbury, Long Island. JBF’s pole decorations are a signature touch.
  • Sprinklers aid spring flowering. The primula ‘Old Vivid’ is well established in a border.
  • The curious Nepenthes, or pitcher plant, is widespread through Asia. It is a carnivore, consuming insects and small rodents which seek nectar and drop into its toxic reservoir.
  • The almost luminous blooms of the lotus, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

New York glitterati says

From David Rockefeller relating to Brooke Astor’s 100th birthday party.

The flowers in the Playhouse were simply beautiful and created a magical environment for Mrs Astor’s birthday party.
The floral arrangements in the living room were breath-taking. The garden around the band area also received many complements, the table arrangements were just right and the lighting was key to the overall affect.
I know you put a great deal of thought into the party, Barry, and I am most grateful to you. It was an evening that we will remember for a long time.

David Rockefeller

From the Chairman Emeritus, Old Westbury Gardens

As a special friend for a decade your past and ours are very much intertwined and Old Westenbury Gardens is all the better for the experience.
We remember many parties, balls and dinners made more special by your wonderful decorations and arrangements. Your flair for the dramatic, in which your amazing creativity is evident in everything thing from simple table pieces to the stunning paring of flowers with Harry Winston Jewells. And your tours, lectures and demonstrations have captivated everyone from first-time gardeners to horticultural experts.
You possess, to use a quote, “the creativity of the painter and the expertise of a botanist” and we would add that you have the soul of an aesthete.

With sincerest regards
Mary S Phipps
Chairman Emeritus


A pleasure to read

 I have never been able to understand how Barry has always been able to make his life simply overflow – travel, people, places and always flowers. But this book gives some idea of how it’s done and will bring great pleasure to many people. Well done, Barry!
 And after a quiet life as a critical book editor I am not one to bestow praise unearned.
  Robin Muir, ex Pegasus Press, 2015

This is a great story.

 Barry is an exuberant lover of life, an adventurer like Robert Louis Stevenson, yet he dispenses an artistry with flair and flowers. His courage is strengthened with sound attention to practicalities and detail. He had to get it right for Harry Winston, the renowned jeweller on Fifth Avenue. This man had accomplished much in his own rise to fame, giving him every right to be critical. Barry delivered.
 In New York you would need this positive but sensitive approach to reach the heights that Barry achieved. He is the stellar example of the caption, “New Zealand boy done good in New York.”
 From his flower shop in Christchurch to fulfilling the aesthetic expectations of high society New York, including David and Peggy Rockefeller, Malcolm Forbes, and Horst P Horst among others, to the successful publishing of his first book Living with Flowers and now home in New Zealand again. Hurrah! He has a new garden to test his natural horticultural enthusiasm in a dream location.
 How good it is that J Barry Ferguson has found the time to write this exciting and inspiring book.
  Beverley McConnell, Ayrlies Garden, 2015

Editor’s note

 Barry is a witty and pacey writer and when he asked me to edit his book I was delighted to take on the project. His enthusiasm for life and willingness to grasp dreams and pursue them creatively until they become a reality, has meant that he has many great stories to tell. I was obliged to cut the text because the first version of the book was too long for modern publishing. I was judicious during this process, and except for one chapter that was too fabulous to leave out, stayed with the appropriateness of the writing to the title of the book: the relevance of his love for flowers, and botany, to the path of his extremely successful and colourful life.
 I learnt lots, from this book, about flowers and botany but in a joyful, experiential way. There is nothing tedious about this romp through Barry’s life as a flower enthusiast, floral designer, event décor designer, floral art teacher and botanical tour guide.
 Besides being an engaging book to read it is visually beautiful. As you can see on the website Barry has access to some superb imagery and the book designer has made excellent use of this.
  Liz Light, editor, 2015

A great read

 In the late 1990s I spent a hectic three days with Barry Ferguson in New York when he was running his upmarket flower business. What an adventure that was, a brief insight into his amazing lifestyle. But that was nothing compared with Barry’s lifetime of adventures, in both his work and leisure pursuits. In his new book this enterprising Kiwi tells the story of that special life, including the far flung places he visited in search of flowers and gardens, and the amazing folk he met along the way. A great read.
  Julian Matthews