A Contemplation upon Flowers: Garden Plants in Myth and Literature

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9780881927276: A Contemplation upon Flowers: Garden Plants in Myth and Literature
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This is a perfect bedside book for the literate gardener and makes a terrific gardener's gift book. It is an entertaining survey of 80 plant genera, with a multitude of references to, and extracts from, myth and literature from Shakespeare to the Victorian language of flowers. Based on prodigious research, it includes much literature that has fallen into undeserved obscurity, as well as selections from the great poets. It is a delightful study of the influence of the world's flora on humanity, from the mundane to the mystical.

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"The snowdrop, in purest white arraie,
First rears her hedde on Candlemas daie;"
From an early church calendar of English flowers, ca. 1500

As you pick up spade and shovel and head out into the garden, you might want to offer up a prayer for sunny days and rainy nights to one of the patron saints of gardening described by Bobby Ward in this fascinating compilation of horticultural wit and whimsy.

Have you ever wondered how flowers get their names, both common and scientific, or what Shakespeare or Milton had to say about roses or honeysuckle? Collected in this fat, satisfying volume are quotations from poetry, plays, and stories written by the ancient Greeks up through the Victorians that trace the rich history of the natural world as captured in myth and literature. Symbolism, traditional medicinal uses, and most of all lyrical tributes to favorite plants from acanthus to zinnia fill the pages of this book, to be read for sheer pleasure or dipped into for information about specific flowers. The book is easy to use compared to many such compilations, in part because it is arranged by type of plant, and because Ward has masterfully woven it all together with a blend of historical and botanical commentary for context.

You won't learn from this book how to plant a bulb or grow a tomato, but there are more than enough books on the practical matters of gardening. Rather, folk tales, myths, legends, and lore of the flowers, in the words of sages, saints, herbalists, and poets provide inspiration, humor, and fine reading. --Valerie Easton

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From Shakepeare's The Tempest to the Victorian language of flowers, from Mohammed to Milton, this book entertains and informs us with references to plants in myth and literature.

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9780881924695: A Contemplation upon Flowers: Garden Plants in Myth and Literature

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