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Thoreau's Garden: Native Plants for the American Landscape

Thoreau's Garden: Native Plants for the American Landscape
Peter Loewer
Stackpole Books
Publication Date: 

paper, 248 p., $15.95

During his frequent lengthy walks, writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau studied plants. He recorded and discussed his observations in his journal, which dates from October 22, 1837, to November 3, 1861. Peter Loewer continues the discussion, beginning with an excellent black-and-white drawing of each plant. He then identifies the common and scientific names and describes growing style, leaf shape and pattern, flowers, USDA zone, uses and culture. He includes one or more quotes from Thoreau's journal about that plant, and continues by describing the meaning of the scientific name, the derivation of the common name and changes in nomenclature. He also includes information from a wide variety of other sources in his lively work.

Thoreau's Garden is written in a style that allows the reader to enjoy the plants, learn their history, recognize their uses and appreciate their charms. "Thoreau's garden," as Mr. Loewer describes it, is a garden that thrives in the imagination — a garden of the mind. This is a thoroughly enjoyable book, perhaps best enjoyed under the shade of a tree in the summer or in front of a fireplace in the winter.

— John Beeftink, Master Gardener and Volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden