Stolen Tea

When my gardens go dormant, I turn to my books to keep me occupied. Many of my books are about plants.

For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose is an excellent account of Robert Fortune’s adventures, undercover, as he infiltrated the Chinese tea trade and stole its secrets and thousands of plants and seeds.

The secret to his success was the use of Wardian Cases to keep the seeds and seedlings alive on the long journey from China to India. These little greenhouses were crucial to his success in maintaining the health of his stolen crop.

Robert Fortune also spied on the picking and processing of the tea leaves. He even discovered that the Chinese were adding poisons to their tea to make it look green. This revelation eventually gave the new crops in India an extra advantage in the minds of the British consumers.

Robert Fortune brought back many other plants and treasures from his years in China. His espionage assignments in China left him both rich and famous.

Sarah Rose did an excellent job of covering the tale of tea. This book gets a 10!


I Wish I Was Mee

I have been too sickly to go out into the garden this week,

instead I traveled down the Amazon with Margaret Mee and her friend Rita.

I would have been terrified running the rapids in a dugout canoe,

if I had not been safely tucked in my bed while doing it.

Not only is she adventurous, she is also an artist.

Her botanical watercolors are famous for their beauty as well as accuracy.

Margaret Mee gets placed on my hero list with Marianne North and Beatrix Potter.

I was almost glad to be sick, so that I could float and forage through the jungles.



Inside a Book

It’s warm and dry inside a book.

I have a winter stash that I only allow myself to look at when the weather is bad.

It is raining again today. Hooray!

I finally get to enjoy the two books my friend Joyce gave me in June.


They are Flora Forager books. Both by the brilliant Bridget Beth Collins.


She does magic with flower and plant pieces.

Some of her art is mosaic pictures.


Some are replicas of famous paintings.


Many are mandalas made of natural materials.


The seasonal journal has plenty of room

to write that poetry I have been putting off putting down.


I plan to lose myself in these books on this dreary day.

Oh look. There I am now!




My Hero, Marianne North

My dreams are to be an artist and a plant hunter.

So, it is only fitting that I stumbled across this book in the middle of the night.

When I can’t sleep I do one of two things.

I play the app game, “Name That Bird” or I search through sample books on my Nook.

Who could resist this cover page?


After reading a sample of Marianne’s adventures, I was hooked.

She was an artistic, female version of Charles Darwin, another hero of mine.   The two knew each other!


I then ordered the Nook book Abundant Beauty.   No hard copies available on-line.

Her earlier book, Recollections of a Happy Life, is free as an e-book.


The paperback book, Marianne North: A Very Intrepid Painter, by Michelle Payne can be purchased.


Marianne traveled around the world in the 1800’s painting exotic plants, flowers, fruits, insects, birds and animals.


She also painted landscapes.


When she returned home, she donated a building in Kew Gardens to house all her paintings.


She wanted to include a snack bar (tea room) but they wouldn’t allow that.

What an adventurous and talented woman, who was way ahead of her time.








Hot Out? Stay In.

July is brutal in North Carolina.

I have been out today working on two different posts.

I  just can’t stand the thought of another shower before my afternoon appointment.

So I plan to look over a new book I discovered via my Nook.

I check out samples of e-books.  If I like them, I then order the paper version.

My latest gardening book is A Gardener’s Latin by Richard Bird.


I have learned a lot of Latin over the years as a scientist, but this one breaks it down for gardeners.

This is a lovely book that is hardback and a good size for carrying around.

It is sectioned by groupings such as prefixes and suffixes, places, textures, habitats, colors, shapes…


Did you know that roseus, ruber, rubens, rufus, russatus and sanguineus all refer to various shades of red?


The illustrations on each page are colorful and delightful.


I plan to take this little treasure with me to my appointment.

No use sitting around looking at old magazines.

Read with the FLOWER.






Rainy Day Read

I love plants. I love books. I love books about plants. I love paintings and drawings of plants.


The Plant Hunters by Carolyn Fry is the most beautiful book I have ever owned. It comes in a sleeve to protect the many lovely documents inside.


I just opened it this morning for the first time.

Every page has beautiful illustrations.


If that isn’t enough, there are envelopes throughout the book containing copies of historic maps and documents.


These explorers were like “Indiana Jones” characters hunting for green treasure instead of gold.

I am so happy to be going on an indoor adventure during this dreary, rainy day.

Read with the FLOWER.