the cabaret of plants forty thousand years of plant life and the human imagination

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Nature Cure

Author : Richard Mabey
ISBN : 0813926211
Genre : Nature
File Size : 85. 29 MB
Format : PDF
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"Mabey fears that he, like the swift, may be too specialized - given to an intensely specific way of life which, when threatened, leaves him with nowhere to turn. A life spent observing nature has taught him that any creature, even an entire species, might be made suddenly obsolete by the shifts of the world. Just how adaptable is he? He leaves the Chilterns with a near-complete set of the works of John Clare and an antique microscope, but without a frying pan. From now on he will have to think about a complete life, not just those bases he touched as a writer following his calling.".

The Reason For Flowers

Author : Stephen Buchmann
ISBN : 9781476755526
Genre : History
File Size : 43. 23 MB
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Cultural history at its best—the engaging, lively, and definitive story of the beauty, sexuality, ecology, myths, lore, and economics of the world’s flowers, written by a passionately devoted author and scientist, and illustrated with his stunning photographs. Flowers, and the fruits that follow, feed, clothe, sustain, and inspire all humanity. They have done so since before recorded history. Flowers are used to celebrate all-important occasions, to express love, and are also the basis of global industries. Americans buy ten million flowers a day and perfumes are a worldwide industry worth $30 billion dollars annually. Yet, we know little about flowers, their origins, bizarre sex lives, or how humans relate and depend upon them. Stephen Buchmann takes us along on an exploratory journey of the roles flowers play in the production of our foods, spices, medicines, perfumes, while simultaneously bringing joy and health. Flowering plants continue to serve as inspiration in our myths and legends, in the fine and decorative arts, and in literary works of prose and poetry. Flowers seduce us—and animals, too—through their myriad shapes, colors, textures, and scents. And because of our extraordinary appetite for more unusual and beautiful “super flowers,” plant breeders have created such unnatural blooms as blue roses and black petunias to cater to the human world of haute couture fashion. In so doing, the nectar and pollen vital to the bees, butterflies, and bats of the world, are being reduced. Buchmann explains the unfortunate consequences, and explores how to counter them by growing the right flowers. Here, he integrates fascinating stories about the many colorful personalities who populate the world of flowers, and the flowers and pollinators themselves, with a research-based narrative that illuminates just why there is, indeed, a Reason for Flowers.

Gilbert White

Author : Richard Mabey
ISBN : 0813926491
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 56. 12 MB
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With more than two hundred editions, Gilbert White’s The Natural History of Selborne is one of the most published books in the English language. An environmental study of the eighteenth-century Hampshire parish where White was born and later served as curate, the book is distinguished by the author’s meticulous observations of plant and animal life--the "minute particulars"--and his uncanny sense of their interdependence. His book is both the definitive expression of the English love for countryside and a cornerstone of all environmental writing. In this Whitbread Prize-winning biography, Richard Mabey--whom the Times has called "Britain’s foremost nature writer"--looks at the life from which the celebrated work grew. This is not an easy task. Although White’s findings did not go unnoticed in his own time (much of the Selborne book’s contents are in fact letters to Thomas Pennant, one of the era’s leading zoologists), relatively little is known about this minor clergyman, who made twenty pounds a year and rarely ventured outside his parish. Mabey visits not only the public and private records but the environs of Selborne, which survive to this day and are remarkably unchanged. A portrait of exceptional detail emerges, and we begin to see very clearly this singular man whose superb scientific eye was complemented by a patient curiosity (he valued observing over collecting) and an emotional investment in his work that still speaks to us. White typifies the eclectic but intense engagement that has nearly vanished in our era of scientific specialization. We recognize in his work a crucial shift in the human perception of nature--as something benign rather than as an adversary. The first U.S. edition of this classic biography coincides with a new BBC documentary on Gilbert White, for which Mabey is a featured commentator. These are only the latest reminders of the fascination White’s book has exercised upon readers for two centuries.


Author : Richard Mabey
ISBN : 0062065459
Genre : Gardening
File Size : 74. 26 MB
Format : PDF
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The true story—and true glories—of the plants we love to hate From dandelions to crabgrass, stinging nettles to poison ivy, weeds are familiar, pervasive, widely despised, and seemingly invincible. How did they come to be the villains of the natural world? And why can the same plant be considered beautiful in some places but be deemed a menace in others? In Weeds, renowned nature writer Richard Mabey embarks on an engaging journey with the verve and historical breadth of Michael Pollan. Weaving together the insights of botanists, gardeners, artists, and writers with his own travels and lifelong fascination, Mabey shows how these "botanical thugs" can destroy ecosystems but also can restore war zones and derelict cities; he reveals how weeds have been portrayed, from the "thorns and thistles" of Genesis to Shakespeare, Walden, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers; and he explains how kudzu overtook the American South, how poppies sprang up in First World War battlefields, and how "American weed" replaced the forests of Vietnam ravaged by Agent Orange. Hailed as "a profound and sympathetic meditation on weeds in relation to human beings" (Sunday Times), Weeds shows how useful these unloved plants can be, from serving as the first crops and medicines, to bur-dock inspiring the invention of Velcro, to cow parsley becoming the latest fashionable wedding adornment. Mabey argues that we have caused plants to become weeds through our reckless treatment of the earth, and he delivers a provocative defense of the plants we love to hate.

Food For Free

Author : Richard Mabey
ISBN : 9780007438488
Genre : Cooking
File Size : 53. 85 MB
Format : PDF, Kindle
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The classic foraging guide to over 200 types of food that can be gathered and picked in the wild, Food for Free returns in its 40th year as a sumptuous, beautifully illustrated and fully updated anniversary edition.

Flora Britannica

Author : Richard Mabey
ISBN : UCSD:31822023590367
Genre : Nature
File Size : 21. 48 MB
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This landmark guide offers a comprehensive survey of the native and naturalized wild plants of England, Scotland, and Wales. Useful and delightful, it covers 1,000 species, including trees and ferns. More than a definitive work of natural history, however, it is also a virtual encyclopedia of living folklore, recording the role of wild plants in social life, the arts, customs, and landscapes. The information has been supplied by the people themselves, creating a unique national record of the popular culture, domestic uses, and social meanings of Britain's wild plants. Splendidly written by naturalist Richard Mabey and illustrated with 500 fine color photographs, Flora Britannica is an elegant testimony to the continuing relationship between nature and man.

Lab Girl

Author : Hope Jahren
ISBN : 9781101874943
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 67. 67 MB
Format : PDF, ePub, Docs
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National Best Seller Named one of TIME magazine’s "100 Most Influential People" A TIME and Entertainment Weekly Best Book of 2016 So Far An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work. Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home. Jahren’s probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. Lab Girl opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be. From the Hardcover edition.

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