Do You Read up on the History of Plants / Flowers?

Discussion in 'Books' started by Sydney Smith, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Sydney Smith

    Sydney Smith In Flower

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    676
    Likes Received:
    582
    Location:
    Suffolk
    Hi. As well as enjoying gardening generally and growing all our plants does anyone else like to read up on the history of the different plants - their places of origin, dates of introduction and relevant details, also the popular names and little fables that they have aquired over many many years - this started back in the days of the old cottage gardens etc. It is all very interesting reading, not heavy and provides very good talking points.
     
  2. Loading...


  3. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Messages:
    8,268
    Likes Received:
    5,469
    Location:
    Central Texas, zone 8
    Syd, as a history buff and gardener, I do have a couple of books about the history of plants. I have Peter Coats' Flowers in History, and a book on the origin and breeding of roses by David Austin.
    Women who moved west with their families seeking better land and lives often carried cuttings of roses and other plants with them to remind them of "home." That is why we have so many antique roses growing on old homestead sites. Driving down country roads you occasionally see a Marie Pavie or Old Blush happily blooming out in the middle of nowhere!
     
  4. Sydney Smith

    Sydney Smith In Flower

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    676
    Likes Received:
    582
    Location:
    Suffolk
    Hi Jane. I find it so very interesting to look into the history of plants generally. You mention Peter Coats whom I know of but by coincidence and there may be a connection (I have not been able to discover) one of my favourite books is written by Alice M Coats and it is called "Flowers and Their Histories" - really informative and interesting. I have a reprint (extract) of Gerards Herbal (17th cent originally "Of The Historie Of Plants") which is written in "olde" English - really goes right back to early gardening. Another is "100 Plants and How They Got Their Names" by Diana Wells. Amongst all the many very good garden books I have read my over all favourite authoress was/is Margery Fish who wrote quite a few all of which I (happily) have a copy - she was a great grower of a wide range of all plants from humble cottage garden to choice and rare - had a beautiful garden in Somerset. I had plants from there way back and for sure there will still be some in my garden now which originated from that source. She had a wonderful relaxed and very informative style of writing I thought and I always felt as if I was actually walking in her garden with her as I was reading. Hope you keep well. Syd.
     
  5. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Messages:
    8,268
    Likes Received:
    5,469
    Location:
    Central Texas, zone 8
    Syd, I was reading some flower history, and found that tulips were not known in the west before the reign of Elizabeth I. A founder of the Holland bulb industry, Clusisus, brought bulbs from Vienna, which had been sent from Turkey by the Viennese ambassador to Turkey. Turkey was the native land of many tulip species, and the word "tulip" is derived from the Turkish word for "turban" which the tulip resembles.
    There was a tulip "bubble" which lasted for three years. Single bulbs sold for vast sums, people gambled their entire fortunes on tulip speculation. The craze lasted only three years, but many people lost all they owned, even estates, on speculating on tulips.
     



    Advertisement
  6. toni

    toni Mistress of Garden Junque Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Messages:
    18,779
    Likes Received:
    3,966
    Location:
    North Central Texas, Zone 8a
    Jane, if your PBS station ever includes this program in it's lineup be sure to watch it. The author covers the history of four desires/plants.... Sweetness- Apples, Beauty- Tulips, Intoxication - Cannibis and Control - Potatoes.
    http://www.pbs.org/thebotanyofdesire/about.php

    I have Legends and Lore of Texas Wildflowers by Elizabeth Silverthorne that is interesting. I would much rather read up on flowers I can actually grow ;)
    Legend of the Blue Bonnet and Legend of the Indian Paintbrush are both for children but were taken from Native American legends, the Blue Bonnet is from the Comanche but I am not sure where the Indian Paint brush legend comes from.
     
    Cayuga Morning likes this.
  7. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Messages:
    8,268
    Likes Received:
    5,469
    Location:
    Central Texas, zone 8
    Yes Toni, I have Silverthorne's book also. It is a good read, and I've even used it when doing childrens' library readings.
     
  8. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Messages:
    4,039
    Likes Received:
    1,908
    Location:
    New England
    I just read a fiction book, The Language of Flowers (Vanessa Diffenbaugh) in which the 2 main characters communicate through flowers. While obviously not a historical account, the author draws from Victorian accounts of the meanings/ language of flowers and includes a dictionary at the end. So, with this, I will leave you Bellflower/campanula (gratitude) because I enjoy this site, celandine (joys to come) in your gardening efforts & finally chamomile (energy in adversity) because we gardeners do need heaps of energy to do what we do!
     
    marlingardener likes this.
  9. Petronius

    Petronius In Flower

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2018
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    153
    I have read up on how Empress Josephine of France was able to acquire roses for her property of Malmaison.
     
  10. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Messages:
    8,268
    Likes Received:
    5,469
    Location:
    Central Texas, zone 8
    Souvenir de la Malmaison is a rose that was acquired by the Grand Duke of Russia from the Malmaison garden. He took it to Russia, and from there it escaped into the garden around the world. A lovely rose, and one that does well here in Texas.
    Please tell us how the Empress acquired roses (not that I'll be able to replicate her methods, but . . . .)
     
  11. Petronius

    Petronius In Flower

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2018
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    153
    Marlingardener, In 1804 the year in which Napoleon was crowned Emperor of the French, Josephine conceived her horticultural project. She decided to assemble in her garden a sample of every living rose. As Empress, she also had advantages no other collector could match. Josephine ordered many of her roses from English nurseries, principally Lee & Kennedy of Hammersmith, where she spent 2,600 pounds in 1803 alone. Josephine collected 197 different roses.
     
  12. marlingardener

    marlingardener Strong Ash

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Messages:
    8,268
    Likes Received:
    5,469
    Location:
    Central Texas, zone 8
    Ah, to be an Empress with unlimited funds and lots of gardeners to dig holes, plant, and dead-head.
    Guess I'll have to settle for the roses I have and can care for myself. Doggone:setc_088:.
     

Share This Page