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100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names

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Illustrations by Ippy Patterson. From Baby Blue Eyes to Silver Bells, from Abelia to Zinnia, every flower tells a story. Gardening writer Diana Wells knows them all. Here she presents one hundred well-known garden favorites and the not-so-well-known stories behind their names. Not for gardeners only, this is a book for anyone interested not just in the blossoms, but in the Illustrations by Ippy Patterson. From Baby Blue Eyes to Silver Bells, from Abelia to Zinnia, every flower tells a story. Gardening writer Diana Wells knows them all. Here she presents one hundred well-known garden favorites and the not-so-well-known stories behind their names. Not for gardeners only, this is a book for anyone interested not just in the blossoms, but in the roots, too.


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Illustrations by Ippy Patterson. From Baby Blue Eyes to Silver Bells, from Abelia to Zinnia, every flower tells a story. Gardening writer Diana Wells knows them all. Here she presents one hundred well-known garden favorites and the not-so-well-known stories behind their names. Not for gardeners only, this is a book for anyone interested not just in the blossoms, but in the Illustrations by Ippy Patterson. From Baby Blue Eyes to Silver Bells, from Abelia to Zinnia, every flower tells a story. Gardening writer Diana Wells knows them all. Here she presents one hundred well-known garden favorites and the not-so-well-known stories behind their names. Not for gardeners only, this is a book for anyone interested not just in the blossoms, but in the roots, too.

30 review for 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names

  1. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names by Diana Wells This is laid out well with the name and drawing (which is so good yet simple I used to practice drawing the flowers from here), and lots of information about the flower besides where it got it's name. 100 flowers! I enjoyed the book! Got this from the library. 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names by Diana Wells This is laid out well with the name and drawing (which is so good yet simple I used to practice drawing the flowers from here), and lots of information about the flower besides where it got it's name. 100 flowers! I enjoyed the book! Got this from the library.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Crane

    I Found this book at my Local Library & It's a great book. Especially if you love history. It is a very easy book to read and gives a lot more information than just where the flower or plant got its name.I believe anyone who loves flowers will really enjoy this book. I Found this book at my Local Library & It's a great book. Especially if you love history. It is a very easy book to read and gives a lot more information than just where the flower or plant got its name.I believe anyone who loves flowers will really enjoy this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carlie

    This is a little book that's kind of an interesting foray into plant collecting history for the garden lover. The author has picked 100 flowers to enlighten us about. She tells where they were discovered and by whom and any interesting medicinal tidbits about them before leaving you with the history of how they each got their Latin and/or common names. I think the biggest thing I got out of this book was a relieving feeling of finally getting over the intimidating world that is botanical Latin. I This is a little book that's kind of an interesting foray into plant collecting history for the garden lover. The author has picked 100 flowers to enlighten us about. She tells where they were discovered and by whom and any interesting medicinal tidbits about them before leaving you with the history of how they each got their Latin and/or common names. I think the biggest thing I got out of this book was a relieving feeling of finally getting over the intimidating world that is botanical Latin. I know some of my Latin names but, I've never really put my nose to the grindstone and memorized them all or given up the lower class world of common names like a "real" botanist would. Yeah. Whatever. I'm totally over that. Learning Latin names is fine but, its pretty much exactly like learning common names, its just in Latin. Linnaeus was kind of a screw off, he meant well and he did come up with a system but, its not particularly scientific or horribly logical. Most of the plants he named are called after friends of his or people he thought were cool and often have nothing to do with the plant at all. The words are invented "Latin" based on these people's names and sometimes he even misspelled them. There aren't standard, perfectly organized names either. Latin names change all the time, sometimes the changes "take" and sometimes they never really catch on in public use. So, really, truly, the whole plan is a bit of a muddled mess and I'm not intimidated anymore at all. Learn Latin if you like but, don't lord it over those who like their common names. For what its worth, I think the best part of this book is the little snatches of stories about the great plant collectors of history. Explorer botanists are a really wild bunch. Wish I lived back then. I'd have liked these off-color, crazy-as-loons, push-till-your-feet-blister-folks. There are some amazing stories in here and I think I'll take down some of the names and see if there are biographies out there.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    This book by Diana Wells reveals the man behind the man behind the flower. While the common names of our most beloved flowering plants are more often based on myths and legends, as well as their resemblance of female anatomy and other objects, the corresponding botanical names are usually dedicated to the botanists who risked their lives and fortunes in search of new plants and uses for them. It should come as no surprise that physicians often doubled as botanists, eager to discover plants with This book by Diana Wells reveals the man behind the man behind the flower. While the common names of our most beloved flowering plants are more often based on myths and legends, as well as their resemblance of female anatomy and other objects, the corresponding botanical names are usually dedicated to the botanists who risked their lives and fortunes in search of new plants and uses for them. It should come as no surprise that physicians often doubled as botanists, eager to discover plants with medicinal potential. Some may find it surprising, however, to learn that members of the clergy are also credited with making significant contributions to botanical research. This association is understandable when we consider that while medicine and religion are currently purported (by some) to be in conflict with one another, in times past, the line between spiritual and physical healing was blurred. Another incentive for the clergy to dabble in botany was the opportunity to study plant sexuality and reproduction, thus making botany one of the few suitable outlets for their own sexual curiosity. Filled with accounts of triumph and tragedy, the book might just as well have been called “100 Adventures in Botany,” but the author reminds us that while flowers may be named after adventurers, their adventures were incidental to the quest for flowers.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    Here's another book that doesn't require reading one page followed by the next page. I enjoy just randomly selecting and reading about that particular flower. "Not for gardeners only, these flower stories tell of human striving -stories of ambitious explorers, clever hucksters, arbitrary monarchs, and patient scientists." My big disappointment was that there were no color representation of each flower. Instead, all flowers were penned in black and white. Here's another book that doesn't require reading one page followed by the next page. I enjoy just randomly selecting and reading about that particular flower. "Not for gardeners only, these flower stories tell of human striving -stories of ambitious explorers, clever hucksters, arbitrary monarchs, and patient scientists." My big disappointment was that there were no color representation of each flower. Instead, all flowers were penned in black and white.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Funny, informative, and a good introduction to Botany. I had no idea Botany could be so dangerous or scandalous. That being said, I wish the illustrations were in color. The drawings are nice, but why the lack of color? I get descriptions of the flowers, but no bright pops of color on the page.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nd

    This is a lovely little book - a gift from a friend - published in U.S. but purchased at a used book store in England. It includes 100 well-known flowers, where their names likely came from, and most fascinating, brief histories of their discoveries and proliferations. Botanists traveled throughout the world on trips that took years of their lives in search of various plants. A quote about the Begonia pearcei (South America, 19th century) is a good example: "[Richard] Pearce sometimes climbed ov This is a lovely little book - a gift from a friend - published in U.S. but purchased at a used book store in England. It includes 100 well-known flowers, where their names likely came from, and most fascinating, brief histories of their discoveries and proliferations. Botanists traveled throughout the world on trips that took years of their lives in search of various plants. A quote about the Begonia pearcei (South America, 19th century) is a good example: "[Richard] Pearce sometimes climbed over twelve thousand feet, with no sort of equipment, to get botanical specimens. #The kind of hardships that early botanists had to undergo seem unimaginable now. They had no equipment, as we know it today, and they had to carry everything with them -- this included large quantities of paper for pressing plants, and ink to make notes. They were constantly in danger and suffered from the unremitting attacks of insects." It's an interesting and fascinating read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    A wonderful little book on how 100 flowers got their names, the people who searched for them and how hard it was to hold onto some, some even stolen out of rectory gardens at night. Which ones are poisonous food sources, almost as good as my Botanical Bible. Lots of history. Enjoyed it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charleigh

    Similarly to her Lives of the Trees, the names of the plants are a litany of European men who explored, colonized, and named what they discovered after themselves and their friends. This book is different for having an undercurrent of death and grief running through many of the descriptions.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    What I enjoyed about this is reading about some of the botanists who discovered plants. I thought it would be fun to watch movies about Botanists. Interesting lives. Plants are fascinating and botanists are too.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Weeding my library. Book 3 of 4 on the origin of flower names. While it only has basic 2-color illustrations, this seems well researched and worth keeping as a reference. Verdict: Keep

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    Excellent little handbook--delivers on its title. Nice writing, as well as a truly useful bibliography for further reading.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    This delightful little book tells the historical and scientific stories of 100 flowers from abelia to zinnia. You learn that african violets were sent to Europe in 1892 whereas begonias did not become an important garden flower until the nineteenth century. Chrysanthemums symbolized a scholar in retirement and were considered a "noble plant." The short stories tell of the struggles of the botanists, herbalists and rulers that saved, propagated and found new homes for many of the flowers we know This delightful little book tells the historical and scientific stories of 100 flowers from abelia to zinnia. You learn that african violets were sent to Europe in 1892 whereas begonias did not become an important garden flower until the nineteenth century. Chrysanthemums symbolized a scholar in retirement and were considered a "noble plant." The short stories tell of the struggles of the botanists, herbalists and rulers that saved, propagated and found new homes for many of the flowers we know today. There is only a simple drawing of each flower but the information is full of words that paint the stories in full color. A small gem of a book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    While the stories related about the discoveries and popularization of the flowers listed are sometimes interesting, I found that the book needed to be read in small doses. If I read about more than five or six flowers at a time, all the stories began to be "This one guy went to this place and risked life and limb to find a plant that he named after one of his buddies." I find that I am more interested in what people thought the plants were good for and the myths explaining where the plants came While the stories related about the discoveries and popularization of the flowers listed are sometimes interesting, I found that the book needed to be read in small doses. If I read about more than five or six flowers at a time, all the stories began to be "This one guy went to this place and risked life and limb to find a plant that he named after one of his buddies." I find that I am more interested in what people thought the plants were good for and the myths explaining where the plants came from.

  15. 5 out of 5

    HM

    This author researches really well and writes beautifully. But a lot of the joy and beauty that one would associate with flowers is missing in her stories. It seems that a lot of the early botanical explorers died horrible deaths, often because they were trying to smuggle plants out of their native habitat. But their names live on in the scientific names of the flowers, frequently not the ones that they discovered!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Saresse Fortman

    I thought it would be more about how the flowers got their common names (although there is some of that) than how they got their botanical names (mostly named after botanists,their friends, or royalty they wanted to impress). That being said, the information about early botanists and the lengths they went to was quite interesting, and left me wanting more.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I read this book many years ago, it was a gift from my Mom. I still refer to certain sections of it. It is a delightful book for those who like flowers and for those who like to collect random facts.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen O'Mara

    Lovely book. I use it for reference.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    Very interesting reading. Also helpful for identifying flowers.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    An interesting, very quick read. I enjoyed being able to look up some of the flowers in my garden and learn a very brief history of their names/discovery.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Johno

    A fun read for springtime!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This is a great book. It is charming and informative and really lets you get to know your garden friends.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Meredith Sessions

    Surprisingly delightful. Loved the dramatic accounts of early traders, pirates, thieves, and their adventures getting plants from all over the world.

  24. 4 out of 5

    MaryAnn

  25. 5 out of 5

    Megan Hodgkin

  26. 5 out of 5

    Therese Van Wiele

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Jackson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  29. 4 out of 5

    Harlynne Geisler

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Witt

    A good little book, with only 2-3 pages of basic description of each flower's history and how it came to be named. A good little book, with only 2-3 pages of basic description of each flower's history and how it came to be named.

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