cloth, 214 pp., $54.95
Distinguished botanist E. Charles Nelson has gathered together a collection of his most amusing and interesting previously published essays that are related to Irish gardening, its history, and people. His stories are filled with special insight into the gardeners and plant hunters’ lives, making these tales personally intriguing; the major themes are the Irish garden, home-grown plants, plant hunters, plant aristocrats of the garden, and interesting people in the gardening world. He opens his work with a review of a medieval manuscript on herbs, written by a monk who reveals his daily activities in a small herbal garden. Other essays take a look at the introduction of citrus fruit into western Europe; the beginnings of botanical gardens in the British isles; the impetus for the vogue of fern collecting in the nineteenth century; and the adventures of plant hunters, to name a few. Lavishly illustrated with archival materials and contemporary photographs, this volume covers a much broader gardening world than the Emerald Isle.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden