Friday, October 21st, 2011...6:35 am

Book Review: The Brother Gardeners

I believe TheGardenLady can make the statement that Everyone Loves English Gardens! And who is it who doesn’t love floral arrangements? Or are you allergic and love artificial flower arrangements or silk flower arrangements?

But have you ever wondered how this love started? And who started all this interest in flowers and plants, whether real or artificial?

An excellent, exciting book that tells the story of gardening and gardens and all the people involved in their creation, that you must read is “The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire & The Birth of an Obsession” by Andrea Wulf.

This book tells about the relationship and interrelationships of all the big characters who were involved in early plant history. These are people like the Ameican, John Bartram, who collected the plants from the American colonies that were sent to English plant lovers. And Bartram’s relationship with Ben Franklin and what Franklin had to do with plants in America that is an additional facet of an amazing multi-interest life.

Then there was Carl Linne, most commonly known today as Linnaeus, the Swede who changed the way plants and animals were named so that everyone knows exactly which plant or animal we are talking about wherever we live in the world. His personality and his methods of naming are clearly described in this book.

Then there was the English side of the plant lovers and garden growers; those who were buying the plants from the American colonies and later from all the English colonies. These may be collectors/gardeners known in England, but I wonder if Americans and people from other countries know of their importance. There are people like Peter Collinson, Thomas Fairchild, Philip Miller, Joseph Banks and others who were all so important to horticulture and gardens as we today know gardens.

If you want to know the fascinating tale of the history of plants and gardens and hot/green houses, you don’t want to miss reading “The Brother Gardeners.” If you have read this book or read it on this Garden Lady’s recommendation, please let us know what you think of the book. Or if readers can recommend other books that garden and plant lovers would enjoy, don’t hesitate to let us know about them. Send your comments to

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