Books are always the best gift if you get it right. An absolute burden to the receiver if you get it wrong. Plant books are generally right, the reason being if there are pictures it’s never a hardship to peruse them. Here are some ideas for a nice plant with art present for that special person. Check out Plant Curator’s shop window for more.
A national flora
A reference book that everyone should have in their home. Plants would be better represented if we could identify and name at least twenty growing in our own neigbourhood. This one is the most comprehensive and accessible of the UK floras, with species brought to life by the illustrations of Martine Collings, Delf Smith, R.B Davis, Lura Mason, Norman Barber and Judith Derrick.
Occasionally we see a borage or a stuffed courgette flower on the plate, now it seems that little pretty flowers garnishing food is gaining considerable momentum, but which ones to use and how. You will probably need to grow them yourself to have an accessible supply, but that’s all part of the pleasure. This is the ideal book for the person who likes to cook with organic flair.
A regional flora
If you know someone is going away on holiday and they like plants, a regional flora is a wonderful gift. Usually one is available for most parts of the world. If not, expand the region until you do find one. Search on ‘Wildflowers of X’ or ‘Flora of X’, or ‘Plants of X’, with X being the region in question. The two below are for British Columbia by Lone Pine publishing, one for the coastal region and one for inland. Both are wonderful books for anyone going to this side of Canada.
Where to see wildflowers en masse
This is somewhat arbitary as you can find stunning wildflower displays in most countries of the world, but having a botanist make a few suggestions is no bad thing. Sometimes it’s diversity you want in en masse displays, other times single flowers (like bluebells) really capture the imagination. Either way, wandering through a wildflower meadow in a remote landscape on a sunny day beats everything else hands down.
Plant families of the world
If plants are your inspiration and you are interested in the absolute diversity of their form, then researching plant families is the way to go. Working through the 400+ families of the world you will understand the range of flower structures, leaf shapes, growth patterns, colour combinations in existence and more. Once you identify a group that hold particular aesthetic intrigue for you, then move on from this book to ones that explore the genus and species in greater detail. There are not that many books by Plant Family, but this one has the lot and is reasonably up to date.
For up to date commentary on all things plant art there is Plant Curator, but there are also a few books out there that touch on this subject too. This one by Michael Petry fits into this genre more than most.
A Blossfeldt collection
Blossfeldt is the king of plant photography, making any collection of his artworks a special book. Give it to your most soulful friends or anyone who is yet to experience the forms captured by this genius.
A gift for children and adults alike, kick-start those plant art hidden talents with this book. There are apparently around 23,000 trees in the world, it’s always good to start somewhere and twenty seems like a reasonable number.