- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Atlantic Books; 1st edition (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: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 627,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Seven Flowers and How They Shaped Our World Hardcover – 3 Oct 2013
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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
The lotus, lily, sunflower, opium poppy, rose, tulip and orchid: one of our finest horticultural historians considers a septet of flowers that have enflamed hearts and minds in cultures around the world.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
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.
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