Plant: Ex­plor­ing the Botan­i­cal World

NZ House & Garden - - EXTRA HELPING -

If you need a doorstop, this is it. But what a doorstop! This beau­ti­ful book scans botan­i­cal art through the ages. An in­tro­duc­tion by em­i­nent botanist Dr James Comp­ton out­lines the his­tory of this fas­ci­nat­ing sub­ject, then more than 300 botan­i­cal works are de­picted in full colour, sourced “from an­cient stone carv­ings, me­dieval manuscripts and wa­ter­colours, to pho­to­graphs and sculp­tures”. A con­clud­ing chap­ter details bi­ogra­phies of some whose work is fea­tured – Leonardo Da Vinci to Dar­win and Red­outé. This is a lav­ish book; heavy, yes, but won­der­ful – each page a fas­ci­nat­ing work of art. There is a full de­scrip­tion at the foot of each page, botan­i­cally fo­cused, but writ­ten in read­able prose, although the font used is rather small. Gor­don Col­lier writes about gar­dens for NZ House & Gar­den made of sticks for an el­e­gant Asian-in­spired ar­range­ment), the pro­jects are de­signed to en­cour­age lovers of all things green to ex­per­i­ment and have fun with fo­liage. Make black­berry wreaths (you’ll need gloves), sweet lit­tle nests, a woven grass ar­range­ment or a loose bou­quet of road­side flow­ers. I sus­pect it might not be as easy as it looks to cre­ate some­thing that ap­pears so ef­fort­lessly arty, but you could have fun try­ing. Rose­mary Bar­r­a­clough is NZ House & Gar­den’s as­so­ciate editor their favourites, in­for­ma­tion on where to grow, and al­ter­na­tives if the spec­i­fied va­ri­ety is un­avail­able. Un­for­tu­nately, you won’t be able to get some of the listed plants here – which could be a bless­ing, oth­er­wise this book might need to be reti­tled 1001 Plants to Grow Be­fore You Get a Di­vorce. Rose­mary Bar­r­a­clough

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