Thursday, October 13, 2011

Two new Book Reviews

Attracting Native Pollinators Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies,
a Xeres Society Guide

We are caretakers of the Earth for those that follow behind us.  This book is a guide to assist us-gardeners, farmers, public land managers, etc. to help the pollinators so that our harvest are fruitful,our plant communities healthy, to provide food for wildlife and support the flowers that enhance our landscapes.   The book is divided into 4 sections, easily read and with numerous colorful and useful illustrations.  The illustrations enhance and add to the text.  They are an integral part of the text not just an afterthought.

Plans for action in different types of land use  from home gardens to utility easements, to industrial sites to urban greenspaces are spelled out in Part 2.  Various types of Bees are discussed in Section 3 with illustrations to help identify them.  Bees are not just bees, as I formerly thought.  Even the different genders have different functions and body structures!  Sample gardens, recommended host plants help stimulate your gardener's imagination in Section 4.

The best part to me is the Ideas for Educators and Parents because it shows how we can involve the next generation and share with them the joy, knowledge and responsibility of our Green World.  The suggested activities will create a memorable experience for our youth while expanding our horizons.  These activites are not very involved nor do they require a large cash outlay; they merely ask that we observe and interact with the world around us.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a debut novel which is optioned for a movie!  It is an easy read, available from the local library.  It would be great for a book club.  

 As gardeners and caretakers, we are nurturers, nurturing not only our gardens, our family, our friends, and most importantly ourselves.   This book speaks to that aspect of our life.   It shows the impact of neglect upon the world.

Victoria Jones has spent her life in the foster-care system.  The system has left its mark on her.  She finds herself at 18 emancipated from the system and sleeping in a public park.  The book opens at this event.  In this park is a neglected garden plot which she makes her own.  She nutures the plot, through it expressing herself in a way that she is unable to do otherwise.  She approaches a local florist and gets a job off the books.  Soon her ability with flowers comes forth.  She discovers a Victorian book about the silent messages different types of flowers convey.  She uses this vocabulary to develop a successful wedding flower business.  She uses her interpretation of the bride for the bridal flowers.  Her business flourishes as does Victoria in a fashion but the part of her that was blighted by her lack of nurturing still needs care. 

Victoria, as an adult,  reconnects with a foster mother who had wanted to adopt her but this positive action was sabotaged by Victoria's acting out..  However, Elizabeth is still willing toinclude the adult  Victoria  in her  world as much as Victoria will accept, even taking care of the child Victoria has by Elizabeth's nephew, Grant.  When Grant becomes aware he has a child by Victoria he willinglycares for his child, as much as he is permitted.  Victoria though must continues to struggle with the residual effects of the treatment she experienced in foster care.  She must first emotionally grow.  The book focuses on development and growth through of Victoria's knowledge and awareness of flowers and response of the world to plants and to her.  She learns to give herself what she did not receive.

 A Dictionary of Flowers is included so the reader has knows what is guiding Victoria in her flower world.

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