Sep 1st, 2015

Read Botanical Books with Us

natural history of quiet waters book jacketThey say the Internet and e-readers will kill printed books — and libraries — but it turns out neither is true.   The Garden has a thriving book group centered in the library. Every two months, a group of book lovers get together in the reading room of the Lora Robins Library and discuss the latest title on their reading list. In September, we’ll dissect “Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees” by Roger Deakin. In July we talked about a book by Michael Pollan: “Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education.”

Where do these books come from? From group participants. We send suggestions to our volunteer selection coordinator who compiles a list for us to review. Then we vote and the top 6 titles become our list for the next year. All of this is done by e-mail. Where do members come from? All over the place, bound together by a love for well-written books on botanical topics. In addition to the two titles already mentioned, in 2015 we have read or will read: “The Old Ways” by Robert McFarlane, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert, “A Natural History of Ferns” by Robbin C. Moran and  “A Natural History of Quiet Waters: Swamps and Wetlands of the Mid-Atlantic Coast” by Curtis Badger. Because of a tie vote, we selected the first title of 2016: “Old Herbaceous” by Reginald Arkell. Soon we will begin compiling our remaining candidates for 2016.

For selection purposes, we interpret “botanical topics” broadly, to include nature study, biography of interesting people (Darwin, Muir, Beatrix Potter), plant study (“Natural History of Ferns”), and current scientific developments (“The Sixth Extinction”). Occasionally we read fiction (“The Signature of all Things“) but we lean heavily toward non-fiction. If this sounds like a fun group for you, please join us on the second Friday of odd-numbered months at 11 a.m. in the Lora Robins library reading room. If you have questions, get in touch with me at [email protected] or call 262-9887, x332.

Our next book discussion is Friday, Sept. 11, at 11 a.m. in the library reading room. Stop by the Admissions desk to get directions to the library. Garden membership is not required, but encouraged so you can receive the full benefits that come with membership.

Here’s an alphabetical list of all titles read by the Botanical Book Group — most are available in the Garden library. Garden membership is required to check out books.

A Natural History of Ferns     Moran, Robbin Craig
A Natural History of Quiet Waters: Swamps and Wetlands of the Mid-Atlantic Coast     Badger, Curtis J.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a Year of Food Life     Kingsolver, Barbara
Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: the Plants and Places that Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales     McDowell, Marta
Bringing Nature Home: How you can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants     Tallamy, Douglas W.
Darwin’s Origin of Species: A Biography     Browne, Janet
Dirt: the Erosion of Civilizations     Montgomery, David R.
Flora Mirabilis: How Plants Have Shaped World Knowledge, Health, Wealth, and Beauty     Howell, Catherine Herbert
Flower Confidential     Stewart, Amy
Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nature     Wulf, Andrea
How Carrots Won the Trojan War: Curious (but True) Stories of Common Vegetables     Rupp, Rebecca
John Muir: Nature’s Visionary     Ehrlich, Gretel
Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms     Bone, Eugenia
Old Herbaceous: A novel of the Gardens     Arkell, Reginald
On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes     Horowitz, Alexandra
Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust and Lunacy     Hansen, Eric
Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education     Pollan, Michael
Spice: The History of a Temptation     Turner, Jack
Summer World: a Season of Bounty     Heinrich, Bernd
The Backyard Parables: Lessons on Gardening and Life     Roach, Margaret
The Big thirst : The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water     Fishman, Charles
The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire, and the Birth of an Obsession     Wulf, Andrea
The Forest Unseen: a Years’ Watch in Nature     Haskell, David George
The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age     Louv, Richard
The Old Ways: a Journey on Foot     Macfarlane, Robert
The Signature of all Things: Novel     Gilbert, Elizabeth
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History     Kolbert, Elizabeth
Tree: A Life Story     Suzuki, David
Uncommon Wealth : Essays on Virginia’s Wild Places    various contributors
What a Plant Knows: a Field Guide to the Senses     Chamovitz, Daniel
Wildwood: a Journey Through Trees     Deakin, Roger

About Janet Woody

I am the librarian at Lewis Ginter and like to talk and read about plants. I also enjoying researching Lewis Ginter and our founder Grace Arents. Visit me in the library and we'll talk about plants, or history, or some other fun topic.

You May Also Like