The Cottage Garden and the Old-Fashioned Flowers: And the Old-Fashioned Flowers

Roy Genders, Author Pelham $19.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7207-1442-5
This historically resonant compendium romanticizes the vanishing cottage-garden flower. Citing Greek mythology, medieval gardening manuals, Shakespearean tragedy and a 15th century Ave Maria, Genders resurrects the long-neglected plants, tracing their odysseys and uses. A garland of Madonna lilies and red roses was the custom at weddings in Chaucer's age, the scarlet pimpernel was a weather forecaster, and time remembers when the Englishman drank primrose wine, smoked chamomile and kept a peony in his pocket to ward against evil. The book proffers many clever tricks of the gardening trade, such as growing night-scented plants on the western side of a house (so they emit a more concentrated perfume), and reveals the possibilities of thornless roses, miniature conifers sprouting in a sink and outdoor boxes of culinary herbs within arm's reach of the kitchen window. Veteran gardening writer Genders's disjointed writing style, however, encumbers the reader. Illustrations. (May)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-0-7207-0189-0
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