Top positive review
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Our native flora and more
on 16 March 2013
Carol Klein has yet again given us a book as beautifully illustrated as it is written. The winning combination of her writing and Jonathan Buckley's photography makes for a joyous read. I always think of Carol Klein as one of our great gardening writers. She's so lyrical and enthusiastic about the plants she grows. She knows her stuff but the excitement has a newness, and an eagerness to experience all these wonderful plants have to offer. She's our modern day Vita Sackville-West, but with a rather more glorious accent.
This books concentrates on British wild flowers and their cousins. Some books on wild flowers extol their virtues and suggest their use in all garden settings, sometimes with predictably untidy results. Here Carol rightly sings the praises of our native flora and suggests where it might be used, but also looks at the "cultivated cousins" and related plants from around the world. As we would expect from Carol Klein she also explains propagation methods used for each group (though she does direct us to another Klein/Buckley masterpiece, Grow Your Own Garden, for further information).
The sections on each plant are fairly loose categories, some a particular genus of plants, at other times families. With some the same family appears several times - for example there are separate chapters on Hellebores, Clematis, Celandines and Buttercups - all part of the Buttercup family itself. All however are logically grouped and highlight the similaries and relationships between different species.
The writing is warm and effusive, at times touching and poignant and always makes us want to get and grow the plants she talks about. A lovely book.