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100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names [Hardcover]

Diana Wells , Ippy Patterson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2, 1997 1565121384 978-1565121386 1
Illustrations by Ippy Patterson. From Baby Blue Eyes to Silver Bells, from Abelia to Zinnia, every flower tells a story. Gardening writer Diana Wells knows them all. Here she presents one hundred well-known garden favorites and the not-so-well-known stories behind their names. Not for gardeners only, this is a book for anyone interested not just in the blossoms, but in the roots, too.

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100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names + 100 Birds and How They Got Their Names + Language and Sentiment of Flowers
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The title of this book is somewhat misleading, as Wells (contributing editor of the gardening magazine Greenprints) does not focus strictly on the simple derivation of plant names. (Another recent book on plant names, Martha Barnette's A Garden of Words, Times Bks., 1992, provides much more etymological detail.) Wells instead describes the mythology and history behind 100 favorite garden plants, emphasizing the exploits of botanists and plant explorers who brought them out of their native habitats. Their exploits make for engrossing reading, though it is sobering to learn how many of them suffered from disease and assault, lost their hard-earned collections, or were killed outright just trying to bring back plants for our gardens. Not an essential purchase but definitely worth a place in most horticultural or botanical collections.?Beth Clewis Crim, Prince William P.L., Va.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

From abelia to zinnia, here is a short history--and illustrations--of 100 common flowers. Take the poppy, for example; the botanical name Papaver is from the Latin, possibly going back to pap, a milky food that could have associations with the opium poppy's milky juice. The field or corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas, takes its botanical name from the Greek rhoeas, possibly from the root rho, meaning red. Wells, who keeps a six-acre garden on a farm near Philadelphia, reminds us that corn poppies thrive in soil that has been freshly turned, because the seeds need light to germinate; and this is the sad reason they flourished in the battlefields of France during World War I--the ground had been churned up by guns and soldiers. This is a delightful book for browsing when it's too cold to be out in the garden. George Cohen

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1 edition (January 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565121384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565121386
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Diana Wells is the author of 100 flowers and How They Got Their Names and contributing editor to the journal Greenprints. Born in Jerusalem, she has lived in England and Italy and holds an honors degree in history from Oxford University. She now lives with her husband, an artist, on a farm in Pennsylvania.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Gives the origins, migration, hybridization and folklore with fascinating obscure stories that some of us have not read before. Explanations of how folklore began and how some of these flowers were discovered and migrated to where they are now in the world. Interesting observations of reasons why flowers were carried to, named and accepted in various countries.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rose is not just a rose! November 13, 2000
If you are interested in the origins of names, you will thrive on the information in this book. The pages are illustrated by Ippy Patterson and the cover itself it just beautiful. If you love flowers, you will enjoy learning about abelias, zinnias, roses, etc. The fascinating stories behind the flowers names will intrigue you.

You will learn about the origins, hybridizations, and migrations of your favorite floral beauties. This is a horticulture history and a journey into myths and folklore. If you love gardening, this will open your eyes to the history behind all the plants in your garden. Now you will not only know the names, the flowers will now each have a story to tell. Some helpful gardening advice is also included. You will also learn why Empress Josephine carried a rose, which flower Thomas Jefferson was afraid to plant at Monticello and what the connection is between Queen Victoria, the Amazons and water lilies.

This delightfully illustrated hardcover book presents 100 well-known garden favorites. I hope that they will keep expanding this book to include even more stories of all our favorite flowers. Look for essential oil of rose for emotional healing.

~The Rebecca Review
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful little book! March 15, 2001
I got this on a lark because (1) I adore plants and (2) as a linguistics major, I adore words. This book turned out to be a tasty treat on both counts.
The author promises word origins & faithfully provides with every entry, along with a sketch rendering of the plant. But --though it pains me to admit it-- not EVERY plant is blessed with a thrill-packed tale of linguistic derivation, so Ms. Wells wisely digresses, peppering her descriptions with attributed stories of interesting events and rumors associated with each plant. The overall effect is a gossipy piece with enough hard information to keep most armchair "researchers" happy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, charming book April 26, 2006
This is a wonderful, charming book. Each section provides an interesting anecdotal essay about the flower it covers. However, do not expect completeness (of course, there are many more than 100 flowers out there, and more than could be said about each than is possible in a page or two).

Also, don't look for consistent information about flower naming or morphology. Rather, these are very personal essays on each flower. The essays usually include some historical information that has to do with how the flower was named. At times, this format feel forced--I would have liked the author to be able to paint with a broader brush, as I sense she wanted to. And I also think that of the 100 flowers there are a few she doesn't really like that much. (Well, me too!).

These minor objections to the form of the book aside, it's really incredibly sweet, and very educational. 5 Stars plus.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 100 Flowers book April 2, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was a little dissapointed with this book. It was a lot smaller in size than I was expecting, and the illustrations are just black and white outlines, not color photos of each flower like I was expecting. They should call it "How 100 flowers got their names" instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful reference for flower lovers... August 30, 2007
What a great reference book for all who love flowers. As a professional Florist, Event & Party planner in Seattle, WA, we use this book on a daily basis for customers asking quesion of flowers.

A must have...

Magnolia Village Florist, Inc.
Seattle, WA
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AS BEAUTIFUL TO READ AS THE BLOOM ARE TO SEE February 22, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a delight for flower gardeners, and especially those who like to sit outside and read among the flowers. Now, without a lot of over-the-head scientific language, you can get the fun of flowers, and enjoy the reading and the flowers together. It's not the definitive book for the scientifically serious grower, but one of the best for the backyard gardener. You'll find the book as fun as your flowers. Reading about flowers is better than weeding them.

I found this book AFTER reading Diana Wells newer book, "Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History". That book does to trees that 100 Flowers does to blooms. Each chapter (go ahead look at the list inside on this listing) offers information, a drawing and fun facts about the flower while not bogging the reader down with more than 2 or 3 pages. If you need more, there are other book. This book offers a FUN first look at what kinds of flowers may be growing in your backyard, and what you might want to add. The same treatment exists in Wells' book about trees and a third one, "100 Birds and How They Got Their Name." I give them all 5-stars for FUN reading. Take them outside in nature, the perfect place to read them.

These books are perfect for homeschool students and others doing basic research on trees, flowers, and birds. I'm sorry I passed age 60 before I found them, but they would be a delight to other retired nature lovers. Simple, fun reading that can be taken in in short bursts. I gained new bits of knowledge with every chapter, in every one of the 3 books.

I'm glad I ordered them all. I'd suggest the same for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book
This is a gem of a book. You can pick it up and read a chapter here and there. The text is delightful to read and the history is intriguing. Kudos. Read more
Published 9 days ago by I read to relax
3.0 out of 5 stars 101 Flowers..... a disappointment
The lack of quality paper and illustratons diminished the feel and look of this book. The copy is okay, but this was a gift and I was not a happer giver.
Published 3 months ago by Jay Burn
1.0 out of 5 stars Do Not Recommend
Very disappointed in this book! The flowers are in black and white! I went to the book store and bought a book with colorful flowers and my mom with Alzheimers looks through the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cynthia D. Peveto
5.0 out of 5 stars Precious Book.
100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names. by Diana Wells. 1997.

I have read this book again recently. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Kohtaro Hayashi
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for flower research.
I work with flowers almost every day and found it to be a great help with researching flowers for names and origins.
Published 11 months ago by Martha CH Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars What a find!
Looking for an early birthday gift for my sister. She'll surely enjoy this book about the origin of flower's names. Great price and fast delivery.
Published 11 months ago by Pat Fogarty
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names
Excellent book of reference, and every Kindle Fire should have this book.
I recommend it to anyone who has children using the Kindle.
Published 12 months ago by Nancy
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift for a gardener
I bought this as a birthday gift for a co-workers who loves to garden. She was thrilled with it - each page a different flower with illustrations and interesting information on... Read more
Published 13 months ago by M. O'Donnell
5.0 out of 5 stars Flower history
I found this book extremely interesting and informative. Although I grew hollyhocks for years I learned more about them in 5 minutes than I ever knew. Read more
Published 15 months ago by MJB
5.0 out of 5 stars happy customer
We are happy with this book and would purchase it again if we could find it as a gift for others.
Published 16 months ago by Jan M Rauk
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