My Favorite Plant: Writers and Gardeners on the Plants They Love

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9780374281939: My Favorite Plant: Writers and Gardeners on the Plants They Love

A delightful compendium of writing on plants.

The passion for gardening and the passion for words come together in this inspired anthology, a collection of essays on topics as diverse as beans and roses, by writers who garden and by gardeners who write. Among the contributors are Christopher Lloyd, on poppies; Marina Warner, who remembers the Guinée rose; and Henri Cole, who offers poems on the bearded iris and on peonies. There is also an explanation of the sexiness of castor beans from Michael Pollan and an essay from Maxine Kumin on how, as Henry David Thoreau put it, one "[makes] the earth say beans instead of grass." Most of the essays are new in print, but Colette, Katharine S. White, D. H. Lawrence, and several other old favorites make appearances. Jamaica Kincaid, the much-admired writer and a passionate gardener herself, rounds up this diverse crew. A wonderful gift for green thumbs, My Favorite Plant is a happy collection of fresh takes on old friends.

Other contributors include:
Hilton Als
Mary Keen
Ken Druse
Duane Michals
Michael Fox
David Raffeld
Ian Frazier
Graham Stuart Thomas
Daniel Hinkley
Wayne Winterrowd

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Review:

This anthology edited by novelist Jamaica Kincaid is a fascinatingly quirky compilation of writings about plants by the people who love them. Some are exceedingly practical--Ken Druse's essay "Desire Under the Jacks" gives you all the information you need to grow Arisaema triphyllum from seed--while others are more lyrical, such as Colette's writings on lilies and hellebores, and the poetry scattered among the essays.

Like a magazine, there are pages you may skip over because you find the subject or style doesn't appeal to you, only to find yourself riveted by the next piece of writing, which awakens in you a lust to own a plant, the existence of which you were unaware of a few minutes earlier. The very best writing opens your eyes to something new: an experience, an object, a place, or in this instance, a plant. Every type of gardener, novice, expert, or dreamer will find such writings within these pages.

With its compact format, this is a book that can be slipped into the pocket and dipped into in those moments that become available between life's many activities, or put next to a guest bed for the enjoyment of visitors. The idiosyncratic typeface may not appeal at first, but you will get used to it. --Stephanie Donaldson

About the Author:

Jamaica Kincaid's books include At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, A Small Place, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, and, most recently, My Brother. She lives in Vermont.

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