If the history of plants and how they came to end up in your local nursery, or even your garden, is of interest to you – which I have an inkling that it might be – then Judith M. Taylor’s latest offering The Global Migrations of Ornamental Plants: How the World Got into your Garden (aff.) is definite coffee table fodder.
This exquisite book roams around the international countryside on the heels of those blotanical pioneers keen to make their mark on history. Teams would head to distant lands in Asia, the Americas and even Australia in search of the next plant craze – does anything ever change?
Taylor’s book gives the history of Blotanists such as George Forrest and how more than 300 rhododendrons are attributed to him. Reginald Farrer was another nomadic blotanist who bought back many gentians and several clematis while Frank Ward introduced Meconopsis betonicifolia to the Mother country where it created quite a stir at the 1927 Chelsea Flower Show.
What I find most encapsulating about this book is that it’s a historical reference. Yet rather than being weighed down with monotonous detail it involves the reader and inspires them to chase after these brazen pioneers. The detail is embellished and you can almost sense the excitement as if you were there with them hunting down some brand new horticultural acquisition.
The migration of plants around the world, now overly regulated with quarantine laws, makes for a very interesting topic. We often attribute the historical origins of a plant back to its native country but, if I’m like most gardeners, we would have very little knowledge of the journey that plant made to now be something we cherish in our yards.
This is not the first book written by Taylor having successfully penned “Tangible Memories. Californians and Their Gardens 1800-1950″ and “The olive in California: History of an immigrant tree and the industries it generated”. The titles alone beckoned a further study of the subject and it seems almost expected that Taylor would write this fantastic book.