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Medieval Flowers

Medieval Flowers
Miranda Innes and Clay Perry
London: Kyle Cathie Ltd.
Publication Date: 

distributed by Trafalgar Square, North Pomfret, Vt.
cloth, 160 p., $35.

Outstanding photographs reveal great detail of flowers that were grown during the Middle Ages, a period that Clay Perry has researched from "the time of Charlemagne" up to the "beginning of the Tudor period." The layout of the book is especially appealing with quite an array of double page spreads as well as inserts on the borders of pages. Miranda Innes provides the reader with a brief historical introduction and continues with a presentation of the garden season by season. A chapter on medieval garden design precedes a photographic plant directory that is very helpful in differentiating flowers seen earlier in groups. Descriptions of the various plants include their medicinal, nutritional, flavoring, deordorizing, cosmetic and color-enhancing qualities as well as their uses as objects of beauty in garlands, rosaries and posies. Excerpts from the Book of Hours and reproductions of tapestries help to convey the time period, but the inclusion of so many passages in Old English is a bit of a problem.

— Nancy H. McCray, Reference Librarian, June Price Reedy Horticultural Library, The School of the Chicago Botanic Garden.