IMA Horticultural Society Book Discussion Group
You do not have to be a member of the museum or the horticultural society to participate. Discussion Group meets at the IMA Cafe, in the IMA main museum building, at 11 a.m., Friday on the dates indicated. All discussion books are available in the Horticultural Society Library, and may be borrowed by Hort Soc members. Library hours are Thursdays, 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm, September through May, and all other times by appointment. (317) 923-1331 x 429 and leave a message. For more information, please contact Discussion Leader Oren Cooley, firstname.lastname@example.org
2018 Book List
11 a.m., March 9
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart (Algonquin Books)
Sake began with a grain of rice. Scotch emerged from barley, tequila from agave, rum from sugarcane, bourbon from corn. Thirsty yet? In The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart explores the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits, and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol over the centuries. Of all the extraordinary and obscure plants that have been fermented and distilled, a few are dangerous, some are downright bizarre, and one is as ancient as dinosaurs–but each represents a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history.
11 a.m., May 11
A Thing in Disguise: The Visionary Life of Joseph Paxton by Kate Colquhoun (Fourth Estate Ltd.)
This is a biography of Joseph Paxton, horticulturist to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, architect of the Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and a great unsung hero of the Victorian Age. In the 19th century, which witnessed a revolution in horticulture and urban planning and architecture, Joseph Paxton, a man with no formal education, strode like a colossus. Head gardener at Chatsworth by the age of 23 and encouraged by the sixth Duke of Devonshire, whose patronage soon flourished into the defining friendship of his life, Paxton set about transforming this Derbyshire estate into the greatest garden in England. Visitors there were astonished by the enormous glasshouses and ambitious waterworks he built, the collection of orchids, the largest in all England, the dwarf bananas and the gargantuan lily, the trees and plants brought back from all over the world. It was the Crystal Palace, home of the Great Exhibition in 1851, though, that secured Paxton’s fame. His design, initially doodled on a piece of blotting paper, was the architectural triumph of its time. By the time of his death, “the busiest man in England” (according to Dickens), was in constant demand to design public parks and gardens.
11 a.m., August 10
American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation by Eric Rutkow (Scribner)
Eric Rutkow’s “deeply fascinating” (The Boston Globe) work shows how trees were essential to the early years of the republic and indivisible from the country’s rise as both an empire and a civilization. Among American Canopy’s many captivating stories: the Liberty Trees, where colonists gathered to plot rebellion against the British; Henry David Thoreau’s famous retreat into the woods; the creation of New York City’s Central Park; the great fire of 1871 that killed a thousand people in the lumber town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin; the fevered attempts to save the American chestnut and the American elm from extinction; and the controversy over spotted owls and the old-growth forests they inhabited. Never before has anyone treated our country’s trees and forests as the subject of a broad historical study, and the result is an accessible, informative, and thoroughly entertaining read. Audacious in its four-hundred-year scope, authoritative in its detail, and elegant in its execution, American Canopy is perfect for history buffs and nature lovers alike.
11 a.m., November 16
Jens Jensen: Maker of Natural Parks and Gardens by Robert Grese (Johns Hopkins University Press)
Jens Jensen was one of America’s greatest landscape designers and conservationists. Using native plants and “fitting” designs, he advocated that our gardens, parks, roads, playgrounds, and cities should be harmonious with nature and its ecological processes―a belief that was to become a major theme of modern American landscape design. In Jens Jensen: Maker of Natural Parks and Gardens, Robert E. Grese draws on Jensen’s writings and plans, interviews with people who knew him, and analyses of his projects to present a clear picture of Jensen’s efforts to enhance and preserve “native” landscapes.
Special Session TBA
The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer by R. William Thomas (Timber Press)
Chanticleer has been called the most romantic, imaginative, and exciting public garden in America. It is a place of pleasure and learning, relaxing yet filled with ideas to take home. You’ll learn techniques specific to different conditions and plant palettes; how to use hardscape materials in a fresh way; and how to achieve the perfect union between plant and site. And Rob Cardillo’s exquisite photographs of exciting combinations will be sure to stimulate your own creativity. Whether you’re already under Chanticleer’s spell or have yet to visit, The Art of Gardening will enable you to bring the special magic that pervades this most artful of gardens into your own home landscape.