The wonders of creation around us

Mary Litton

Here is a book which anyone interested in flowers and plants will enjoy and learn from. But it is a large scholarly work, and though written in an attractive and lively style, it still runs to nearly 800 pages and its price is commensurately high.

Peter Wyse Jackson was formerly the director of the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, and is now the President and Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis.

In this magnificent book Wyse Jackson deals with some 925 plants – in themselves only a fraction, of course, of the extraordinary abundance of plant life that this much harassed planet of ours still supports.

Though he provides a formidable, slightly awesome list of the poisonous ones – making the reader wonder why there are not more poisonings in Ireland than there are – his real concern after providing the scientific details of the plants is to give some account of the multifarious uses to which they have been put, both practically and imaginatively.

The present generation is well placed to record the traditional lore about plants, for this knowledge is already dying away with the passing of the often ageing rural custodians of our ancient lore.

As an amateur gardener, this is the kind of book, a marvellous combination of up-to-the- minute science and ageless traditional lore, which will fill the winter evenings when I cannot get out there with fork and trowel.

Ireland’s Generous Nature is distributed by Argosy Libraries,; information from A leather-bound limited edition is also available from Zozimus Books, 86 Main Street Gorey, Wexford;