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Seven Flowers: and How They Shaped Our World Hardcover – 3 Oct 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (3 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857891642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857891648
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.9 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 233,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This literary delight will surely become compulsory reading for flower enthusiasts everywhere... Accompanied by magnificent colour plates and botanical etchings, this book is a voyage of discovery. A thoroughly rewarding read. --The Lady Jennifer Potter is a wonderful writer on the history and culture of plants, plantsmen, and gardens... Any gardener, of the practical or armchair variety, will love this beautifully written survey. --Good Book Guide Endlessly beguiling... Potter's range of reference is huge, from Dante to Ginsberg, from the flower-and-bird paintings of the Song dynasty to Manet and from early Christianity to Hindu creation myths... Every page yields up some delicious nuggets --Gardens Illustrated Fascinating and highly readable --The Garden Anyone who has ever planted a seed or loved a flower can appreciate the author's knowledge and devotion --Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Also a published novelist, Jennifer Potter writes about the history and culture of plants, plantsmen and gardens. She reviews regularly for the Times Literary Supplement, and has been variously a Royal Literary Fund Fellow, a Hawthornden Fellow and an Honorary Teaching Fellow on the Warwick Writing Programme. Her most recent books include Strange Blooms and The Rose, A True History, both published by Atlantic Books.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a passionate Sunflower lover, I was disappointed with the Sunflower Section, which was not up to date. There was no inclusion of the healing power of Sunflowers at Chernobyl and Fukushima in connection with radiation. I found this a serious omission.

On many days, the book just put me to sleep - very botanical in parts and lacking the passion and enthusiasm in the writing that I was hoping for.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Saw a review of this book in a magazine. Thought it would make a perfect gift for my green fingered friend. Slightly smaller and thicker than I was expecting, but the content is fabulous. The history and detail is amazing. Very heavy book thigh and as I was sending to Australia it cost almost as much to post it, so beware if you are posting it on to someone. Arrived very quickly in perfect condition and packaging. Great price too compared to the retail cost.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought it for a friend, a gardener, and she was absolutely delighted. Yes, I would recommend it to others
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9acd7a74) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9acf1744) out of 5 stars Flowers, art and life 14 Aug. 2015
By Martina A. Nicolls - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Seven Flowers is a reference-informational non-fiction book about seven flowers: the lotus, lily, sunflower, opium poppy, rose, tulip, and orchid. These are the flowers that the author has chosen to explore and to determine how they have exerted power and influence ‘of one kind or another, whether religious, spiritual, political, social, economic, aesthetic or pharmacological’ – for better or worse.

For example, Potter writes of the lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) – white, pink, and blue, from Egypt and Tutankhamen’s burial chamber to Napoleon’s scientists to the Indus Valley of the Punjab to China. ‘Their appeal is timeless,’ she concludes. The lily (Lilieum candidum) from Europe to the Asiatic is described as ‘Europe’s answer to the lotus.’ Potter discusses its ‘scurrilous heritage’ and that the early Christian Church tried to ban it. The sunflower (Helianthus annuluus) is ‘the brute’ of the flowers for its size. She follows it from the Americas to the subject of William Blake’s, Vincent van Gogh’s and Paul Gauguin’s works, and how some states in America tried to have it classified as a ‘noxious weed.’

Potter writes of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) from the western Mediterranean to Mongolia’s Kublai Khan and to Afghanistan. The rose is the author’s favourite flower, having written about it extensively on its own in her 2010 book, The Rose: A True History. The rose – ‘the chameleon of a flower’ is a native of the northern hemisphere only, from Europe to the Arctic Circle, and appears in Middle Eastern poetry to the recipe for rosewater. The tulip (family Tulipa) is described as having ‘no utility whatsoever’ – unlike the other flowers in the book, yet it is a popular emblem. She finishes with the orchid (family Orchidaceae) from Confucius to Kew Gardens as ‘one of the strangest flowers’ in the world.

Potter adds that she would have like to have included the carnation, peonies, and chrysanthemums, as well as banksias, proteas, and waratahs – but time and space did not permit their inclusion.

Mostly Potter explores the origins of the flowers and how they became part of art and literature, and beyond. She writes of their descriptions, cultural meanings and influences, literature and life, poetry and scents, to myths and legends. While it is not a comprehensive coverage for each flower, it does give readers a sense of their intrigue and fascination over the years - for both males and females.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9acf1b4c) out of 5 stars Seven Flowers - a historical journey! 7 Oct. 2014
By Blair Bowler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This 288 page book details precisely the history of seven flowers, namely: the Lotus, Lily, Sunflower, Opium Poppy, Rose, Tulip and Orchid. It’s a wonderful study which takes the reader on a therapeutic journey through time, even documenting the associated biblical history of the Lily and the rose in particular. No doubt, every flower has its own profound true-life story. I can only agree with the author, whose exceptional research reveals that flowers are continually full of surprises, with compelling secrets and healing beauty, all of which affects the sensory perception of humans in a subtle and meaningful way. Indeed, these flowers do possess the enduring ability to trigger warm memories and to speak metaphorically of renewal and survival. I appreciate the extensive index, the illustrations, reference pages, and select bibliography contained in this lovely book: Seven flowers, and how they shaped our world.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9acf1954) out of 5 stars Most of us have knowledge of Tulips and Poppies but ... 11 May 2015
By Martha Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of us have knowledge of Tulips and Poppies but the other flowers in this book are an interesting surprise. An informative read for any gardener or for someone interested in world history.
HASH(0x9acf1b88) out of 5 stars One Star 16 July 2015
By Donna J. Russo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Toooo technical, not an enjoyable read.....D/ Russo
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9acf1f78) out of 5 stars Five Stars 26 Jan. 2015
By pmjro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My sister loves this book!
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