A wild and wonderful exploration of the history of the rhododendron, a plant coveted, traded and stolen for thousands of years. / Jane Brown is a highly esteemed biographer and historian of gardens and gardening / Appeals to readers of The Tulip, Daughters of Britannia and Nathaniel's Nutmeg, as well as Jane's own fan club across Britain's horticultural associations / Competition: Tulip (Anna Pavord)
Jane Brown is the author of Gardens of a Golden Afternoon, Eminent Gardens, a biography of Lutyens, and The Pursuit of Paradise: A Social History of Gardens and Gardening.
In this scholarly and entertaining disquisition, Brown, a British garden historian, explores a variety of themes, particularly the "discovery" of rhododendrons by plant explorers in Asia and America and the commercial and social history surrounding this flower as it became enormously popular in Britain. Though some of this history has been covered by other horticultural writers-see Gerd Krussmann's Rhododendrons: Their History, Geographical Distribution, Hybridization and Culture-Brown draws widely from other fields and enriches her examination with discursive forays into such topics as the depiction of rhododendrons in the fine and decorative arts, rhododendrons in botanical medicine, and the current environmental problem of Rhododendron ponticum in the U.K. countryside. If there is any weakness here, it is the prominent omission of some significant rhododendron gardens in the appendix list of best places to see rhododendrons in the United States. Otherwise, this well-researched romp through the horticultural history of a widely grown ornamental plant is highly recommended for all libraries and for general readers and specialists alike.-Brian Lym, Hunter Coll. Lib., New York Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
'A stimulating counterblast to prevailing taste...An engaging social study - even rather a funny one' Independent on Sunday 'A learned and lively paean to the!rhododendron' Daily Telegraph 'An admirable book on several levels' Spectator 'A superbly researched and narrated celebration...Jane Brown has done the species and her readers a service in reminding us of its fabulous history' Literary Review Praise for The Pursuit of Paradise: 'A genuinely important contribution, not just to understanding gardens of the past, but to how we might get the most pleasure from the gardens of the future' Montagu Don, Observer 'If you want to be impressively well-informed about why every self-respecting home must have a patio, or why delphiniums, gladioli and larkspur are distinctly passe, then latch on to this illuminating book' Penelope Lively, Mail on Sunday 'Be warned. This is a rich brew, not to be taken in one gulp. Gardening in this book encompasses science and history, philosophy and art, literature and the military, politics and sex! it is all tremendous fun' Ruth Gorb, Guardian