Peter Parker - A Little Book of Latin for Gardeners - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9781408706152
    • Publication date:01 Nov 2018

A Little Book of Latin for Gardeners

By Peter Parker

  • Hardback
  • £12.99

The book, beautifully illustrated with old woodcuts, explains how and why plants have been named, includes handy lists of identifying adjectives, and takes the reader down some of the stranger byways of human endeavour and eccentricity.

How did the delphinium get its name? Which parts of the body lend their names to auriculas and orchids? Who are the gentian, lobelia and heuchera named after? Why are nasturtiums and antirrhinums connected? What does an everlasting pea have to do with Indian miniature paintings?

These are some of the questions answered in Peter Parker's adventurous exploration of the mysteries of Botanical Latin.

Evolved over many centuries and often thought to belong to the rarefied world of scholars and scientists, this invented language is in fact a very useful tool for everyday gardening. It allows us to find our way around nurseries; it sorts out confusions when two plants have the same English name; and it gives us all kinds of information about how big or small a plant will grow, what shape or colour it will develop, and what habitat it prefers.

In his lively survey, Parker agues that Botanical Latin is not merely useful, but fun. The naming of plants draws upon geography, social and medical history, folklore, mythology, language, literature, the human body, the animal kingdom and all manner of ancient beliefs and superstitions.

The book, beautifully illustrated with old woodcuts, explains how and why plants have been named, includes handy lists of identifying adjectives, and takes the reader down some of the stranger byways of human endeavour and eccentricity.

Biographical Notes

Peter Parker was born in Herefordshire and now lives and gardens in London's East End. He is the author of two books about the First World War, The Old Lie and The Last Veteran, biographies of J. R. Ackerley and Christopher Isherwood, and Housman Country: Into the Heart of England. He has written about plants and gardens for HORTUS and the Daily Telegraph, and is a former Chair of the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Library Advisory Committee.

He can be found online at www.instagram.com/prnparker and www.twitter.com/PParkerWriting

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781408706169
  • Publication date: 01 Nov 2018
  • Page count: 336
  • Imprint: Little, Brown
Parker makes a convincing case that a little bit of Latin goes a long way towards enhancing gardeners' knowledge and enjoyment of what they grow . . . an entertaining and invaluable resource — Ian Critchley, Sunday Times
Offers something memorable on every page . . . Parker's book is filled with piquant little facts . . . It should be on every gardener's bedside table — Jane Powers, Sunday Times (Ireland)
A snip at the price for an elegant, and not so little, hardback . . . Witty, comprehensive and uncondescending . . . will become classic — Victoria Glendinning, Literary Review
Lively and informative . . . This is a book to delight any gardener kept indoors by dark winter days — Church Times
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