For Nature Lovers: Books That Celebrate the Great Outdoors

Looking for a gift for the green-thumb in the family? Simply pining for spring? These books will whisk you away to pure blue seas, picture-perfect gardens and nighttime prowls in Central Park.
Plants in Garden History by Penelope Hobhouse

Plants in Garden History

336 pages; Pavilion Books
Peaceful coexistence begins in a garden. In Plants in Garden History: An Illustrated History of Plants and Their Influences on Garden Styles—from Ancient Egypt to the Present Day (Pavilion) master horticulturist Penelope Hobhouse points out "the cross-fertilization of ideas" between cultures. As early as the 16th century, Arab and European botanists, encouraged by trade, exploration in Asia and the Americas, and a spirit of political openness, began freely exchanging specimens and designs. Seeded with historical curiosities (one ancient Egyptian king kept a crocodile in the garden pool to ambush his wife's lover), paintings, plans, and photographs, this richly researched volume blooms with visions of paradise on earth.

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