- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Headline Book Publishing; First Edition edition (6 Sept. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 074727214X
- ISBN-13: 978-0747272144
- Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 22.5 x 27.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 212,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Origin of Plants: The People and Plants That Have Shaped Britain's Garden History Since the Year 1000 Hardcover – 6 Sep 2001
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'A lot of learning with a light touch' -- Financial Times
'An impressive book in both scope and detail...a most welcome and accessible reference' -- TLS
'What a beautiful and much needed book' -- Museum of Garden History
'Whether used as a good read, as a reference of for browsing through, it is value for money' -- Plant Heritage
The people and plants that have shaped Britain's garden history since the year 1000.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Each century from the 11th to the 20th has its own chapter with significant dates listed at the beginning. The history of England is then intertwined with the history of plants and the stories of the people who discovered them. In the chapter on the Normans, for instance, Maggie Campbell-Culver tells us that the Wild Carnation or Clove Pink is thought to have been brought over from France after the Norman Conquest with the building stone brought from Caen for the construction of William's castles.
The illustrations range from engravings, through beautifully reproduced illuminated manuscripts to exquisite pen and inks and watercolours.
I have already bought two copies for friends and now intend to buy one for myself.
To put the reader more clearly in the picture the writer starts each chapter (century) with a list of significant dates so we can see how historical events influenced the arrival of plants. In the twelfth century, for example, plant introductions were influenced by the Crusades as plants were brought to Britain from the eastern Mediterranean region.
But this is not just a book about plants; it’s also about the people associated with them. Sir Thomas More, for example, who in his book Utopia envisaged a town where everyone had a garden around their home.
New plants are still arriving in England from around the world. A “living fossil” tree was discovered in Australia in 1994. Its Latin name is Wollemia nobilis (it was found by David Noble) and it is known as the Dinosaur pine. Plants have been arriving from every continent for centuries and shared back and forth especially to Europe and the US. Just as many new plants went from the New World to brighten English gardens, so seeds and plants were taken to North America by English settlers to create gardens in their new homeland.
If you enjoy reading about the background and history of plants, who found them and how they came to us, you will enjoy this book. It has a very decent bibliography and deserves a place in every plantsman’s (and woman’s) library.
What it lacks is fluid, colourful writing that weaves the facts into a compelling narrative, and where anecdote is introduced it feels very jarred - like the author isn't comfortable moving away from the facts in their driest sense.
I think it is more successful as a factual reference book than as an entertaining light read - you have to be pretty into the subject to keep turning the pages of this one.
It is probably not a book to read through in one go but is an ideal 'coffee table' book or for bedtime reading.
It has been well researched and the format makes reading easy. Overall first class.
Fascinating to learn of the trials and tribulations of early plant collectors to bring the Britain plants we now take for granted
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fascinating read. One to keep dipping into. Written in an easy reading style, not a text book. A lot of interesting facts I never knew. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
perfect for the task of dating introduction of plants to this countryPublished 11 months ago by Beekeeper
Bought for my neighbour who is a keen gardener. he said he was very pleased with it, very informative,Published on 31 Aug. 2014 by Lynda Taylor
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