Read Botanical Books with Us
They 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