Books & More Seeds

17 Jan

On receiving a cheque from my Stepmum at Christmas, I decided to spend it on books. They’ve all arrived in the post now. 

My wishlist is kept at Amazon because it’s a handy aide memoire for books, film and music, although I always spend with AbeBooks because unlike Amazon, they aren’t a predatory, world straddling colossus. I bought eleven titles with my £30. There’s exciting mountaineering by Stephen Venables and Gaston Rebuffat; French fictioneering with Emile Zola, Honore de Balzac and Anatole France; historical recipes for cooking pets, endangered species and vermin with the authors of The Decadent Cookbook; Renaissance nonsense with Hypnerotomachia Poliphili; smackhead Anna Kavan; Spinoza’s Ethics; Lafcadio Hearn’s rendering of Japanese horror stories and a biography of Derek Jarman.

With all that, I couldn’t leave out gardening. A few years ago, Robert Lee Riffle’s The Tropical Look helped me out hugely by giving me weird ideas such as trying to grow Monstera deliciosa (still the best plant name I know of) outside. Therefore, I spent £17 of my own money on a copy. Thank goodness I did: I was wondering if I could make a decent fist of growing Cananga odorata in the atrium. Well, wonder no more, I said to myself on reading about growing it. Ylang-ylang “grows quickly into a rather narrow headed tree” which “blooms when young and on new growth. The bright green glossy leaves . . . 10 or more inches long”. Sold! I’ve got the seeds on order from Plant World Seeds.

The thing about this book is (aside from the focus on flamboyance) the enthusiasm its author has for the subject. For a reference book, you can tell it’s authored, if you know what I mean. The entry for  Delonix regia, which is another tree i’ve ordered seeds of, states “this is the world’s most beautiful flowering tree.” That isn’t necessary comment in a reference book, but i’m glad he wrote it.


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