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The Looking Glass Garden: Plants and Gardens in the Southern Hemisphere

The Looking Glass Garden: Plants and Gardens in the Southern Hemisphere
Peter Thompson
Portland, Ore.: Timber Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 451 p., $39.95

This book presents a fascinating panorama of familiar and lesser-known plants of the Southern Hemispere in their natural and created landscapes. Beyond the limits of the now commonplace plants from Australia and Africa, the author takes us to a world filled with true wonders — both the unusual plants he so enticingly describes and their devoted bipedal curators and admirers.

One suspects that the author hopes his passion for the unusual will bring new waves of antipodal exotica to the Northern Hemisphere, and many of his examples are certain to infect plant people with a virulent craving for novelty. There is only one Zone 5 plant in the entire book, so gardeners in the upper Midwest will quickly think of building greenhouses for curiosities such as the Australian grass tree, or of urging their local botanic gardens to increase their population of the truly unusual. The excellent photographs and word pictures will provide readers with many pleasant fantasy voyages and encourage plant tourism that will surely bring perennial delight. An obvious side effect of enjoying this book will be a dissatisfaction with the familiar, but the risk is well worth taking and highly recommended.

— John F. Swenson, Volunteer, Plant Information Office, Chicago Botanic Garden