Flowers and Their Histories
Last year when I was researching cottage gardens for my plot at Rutgers Gardens, I encountered several references to a book on the origins of the plants typically found in English cottage gardens. It is appropriately titled, Flowers and Their Histories and was written by an Englishwoman named Alice M. Coats. She was curious about the origins of garden flowers in England and when she couldn't find any books on the subject, she wrote one herself.
I love heirloom flowers. I love history. I love plucky women. So I went online to my local library consortium and requested a copy of this book. I literally couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I was sure that I would be so enthralled that I would have to hunt down a copy (it is out of print) and buy it no matter what the price.
Thank goodness for libraries! This book was a HUGE disappointment. Extremely informative. Extremely detailed. Extremely dry. Now I know what people mean when they say history is boring. I still can't get over the fact that anyone could take my two favorite topics and render them so unreadable that when the due date arrived and I still hadn't finished slogging my way through it, I was actually glad to return the book.
Don't get me wrong. This is an excellent reference book. If you are curious about the backgrounds of some of the plants in your garden, this is a great resource. But if you want a book that you can curl up with and actually enjoy reading, I can't recommend it.