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"Most people look at flowers inside the home as just decoration," says New York–based photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo. "I love them as a gardener would, to connect me to what's going on in nature." In these images excerpted from her new book, "Bringing Nature Home: Floral Arrangements Inspired by Nature" (Rizzoli), Ngo further explores her love of plants by collaborating with floral designer Nicolette Owen and prop stylist Amy Wilson to coax the great outdoors into a variety of distinctive interior settings.
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"It's like a posy you'd gather from the garden for the pleasure of it, without thinking too hard," Ngo says of this herbal collection of lamb's ear, astrantia, and lavender in a ceramic drinking cup.
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Ngo cut a few sprigs of bleeding heart from her front yard for a simple arrangement that honors the fernlike leaves as much as the blossoms.
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Dark and Stormy
"Smoke bushes are so dramatic in the landscape," Ngo says. "I cut big branches to re-create that feeling indoors." The dark walls accentuate the mysterious fogginess of the silhouette.
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Late in the summer, days shorten and tones deepen with a stylishly disparate group of 'Cafe au Lait' dahlias, crab apples, and brown amaranth in a brown glass vase.
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Abundant handfuls of pink and yellow foxglove, Queen Anne's lace, and plectranthus straight from the flower bed grace a chinoiserie tin.
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Spring's abundance gives Ngo the permission to cut blooming branches without guilt. "I wanted this to feel like I was looking up through the branches of a dogwood tree," she says.
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"This arrangement is inspired by that time in June when there are so many fragrant things coming out outside and flowers are turning into fruit," Ngo says of the peonies, roses, blueberries, and honeysuckle draped over a low, footed urn.
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Pale on Pale
"You don't have to have one single arrangement on the dining table," Ngo says. A collection of vases, drinking cups, and old bottles showcase each stem of pale hydrangea, peony, scabiosa, and columbine.