ISBN 10: 1906506191 / ISBN 13: 9781906506193
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  • Tales of 100 plants recounted that will transform how we view and value plants
  • The author Chris Beardshaw is one of the leading lights in the world of gardening

A tapestry of musings, rambles and 'I didn't know that' facts that document some of the diverse, fantastic and entertaining relationships that humans have forged with plants throughout the ages.
These pithy stories span species celebrated as tribal fodder to delicacies elevated as some of our most valued possessions. From the ultimate symbols of devotion and love to campaigns that resulted in genocide, revolt and the shaping of the global political landscape the thousands of plant species that are irrevocably intertwined with our existence have been deployed in warfare, espionage and even space travel. Never again will a carrot on a dinner plate, the seductive scent of a woman's perfume, or a pineapple in a fruit bowl be viewed with indifference.
The relations forged reveal details of miscellaneous human traits, from our instinct for survival to decadent aesthetic expression, from ingenuity and inventiveness to stupidity and greed encapsulating superstition, fear and the absurd. Perhaps surprisingly many associations, no matter how historic and apparently disconnected, still have huge significance in our lives. Some of course were, and remain still, simple folly. What persists is our unquenched curiosity to unravel and unlock the secrets of the plant kingdom for our own ends resulting occasionally in absurdity but sometimes in mind-boggling technological advances.
Includes fascinating chapters like "The Tomato Ketchup Fraud", "Devil of a Hangover", "Castor Oil and the KGB, "Spicy Footwear", "Sweet Beet", "Nettle Wig or Nettle Shampoo", "Morris Men and the Walnut Tree", "Meadows that Give Honey Bees Headaches", "Victory Wreaths and Cyanide", and many, many more.

About the Author: Fresh, dynamic and hugely creative, Chris Beardshaw is one of the leading lights in the world of gardening. On screen and on air, Chris is loved by millions for his ability to communicate and share his rich vein of knowledge with warmth and enthusiasm. Off screen he is equally admired for his huge variety of work in design and education, where he is recognized as a real ambassador for the industry. As a young adult Chris trained and worked in horticulture but it was his love of art and design that led him to a degree and post graduate studies in Landscape Architecture, making him one of the few presenters who combines both disciplines. His connection with people and ability to communicate have been picked up by horticultural colleges and he teaches around the country. He is particularly associated with The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Duchy College and Birmingham City University; he is a Trustee of Capel Manor College. Chris heads up a private design practice and has undertaken commissions for a number of high profile projects for clients such as English Heritage, The RSPB, RNLI and Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre. He is a regular columnist for The English Garden and Garden News, and is the author of three books. Chris's broadcasting experience spans 14 years; notable programmes include: Apples: British to the Core (BBC4), Wild About Your Garden (BBC1), The Flying Gardener (BBC2), Gardeners' World (BBC2), Hidden Gardens (BBC2), and many more. He is also a long-standing, regular panellist on BBC Radio 4's popular Gardeners' Question Time.

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