Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Garden Book Review

This book is one of my treasures.  I don't think you can pick this one up at your local bookstore.  If however, you like to collect vintage garden books, this one is a gem!  How to Know the Wild  Flowers was written by Mrs. Wm. Starr Dana in 1897.   It is illustrated by Marion Satterlee.  Mrs. Dana was a friend of John Burroughs.  It's likely that it was this friendship that made it possible for her to get this book published.  As it was, she had it published using her husband's name.  It was Burroughs' idea to write a wildflower book dividing the flowers by color and  then listing them in the order of their bloom time.  The illustrations are black and white drawings that are exact enough to make good identifications of unknown wild flowers.  It is especially useful and interesting to me because the book covers wildflowers  known in 1897.

It was some years back when I discovered this unknown wildflower at the Stone Wall Garden.  I searched for some time to identify it.   I have a number of wildflower books, but it was in Mrs. Dana's book that I found this description.

 Robin's Plantain. Blue Spring Daisy,  Erigeron bellidifolius. Composite family.

"This is one of the earliest members of the Composite family to make its appearance, that great tribe being usually associated with the late summer months.  The flower might easily be taken for a purple aster which had mistaken the season..."

A link to this post and to other reviews of gardening books can be found at Roses and Other Gardening Joys.  There is little time to read  now, but it's nice to have a wish list of  books to be ready for those long winter nights when reading about gardening is great entertainment.


HolleyGarden said...

Oh, I bet this really is a treasure of a book! And I love how they have divided the sections into flower colors, then order of bloom time. Doubtful I'll ever run across this book, but if by chance I ever see a copy, I'll snatch it up! Thanks so much for joining in, even if you originally meant to just comment! :)

dorothy said...

Becky, I can see why you treasure that book. I just looked on my local library's website, and they have a copy! So I have put in my request to borrow it. Thank you for the great review.