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The Plant Hunter's Garden: The New Explorers and Their Discoveries

By Bobby J. Ward

Foreword by Brian Mathew

Ward is a knowledgeable plantsman, and here he proves himself an accomplished hunter of plant hunters.

Horticulture

Many gardeners are vaguely aware of the "greats" of plant exploration, such as E. H. Wilson, George Forrest, or John Tradescant. Fewer may know the names of today's plant explorers or recognize the makings of a new golden age of plant discovery. Nonetheless, a quick visit to almost any nursery will reveal the bounty of these intrepid plant collectors, whose handiwork enriches gardens everywhere. The Plant Hunter's Garden profiles 32 of today's more prolific plant hunters. From the Czech Republic to the Rocky Mountains, Bobby Ward has sought out those explorers in the private sphere who are collecting plants specifically for horticultural introduction. While providing interesting details on the lives and careers of these new explorers, the real focus of the book is on the plants themselves. Ward asked each of the hunters to choose the very best treasures from their years of collecting, and has sumptuously illustrated these jewels in stunning photos. Many plants in these pages became bestsellers quickly after introduction from the wild, but hundreds more underappreciated gems are sure to entice and surprise any reader of this book. From the comfort of the armchair or the potting-shed table, readers of The Plant Hunter's Garden can embark on their own voyages of discovery in these delightful pages.

Media reviews

"An engaging account of the travels and travails of thirty-two modern-day plant collectors."

Pacific Horticulture

"Ward is a knowledgeable plantsman, and here he proves himself an accomplished hunter of plant hunters."

—Michael Cunningham, Horticulture

"This book on new plant explorers and their discoveries offers exciting information for the gardeners of the world."

—Joanne S. Carpender, National Gardener

"This handsome volume is a wonderful surprise."

—Lili Singer, Los Angeles Times

"If you are a gardener or horticulturalist who thrills at the anticipation of new species and varieties of plants, you will thoroughly enjoy reading this book. ... Travel with these plant hunters to exotic locales to share the thrill of discovery, excitement of their plant finds and cultivation experiences."

—Lee Luckeydoo, Sida, Contributions to Botany

"Ward had a simple formula for his new book: Each chapter begins with an introduction to the person, provides brief biographical information, then reviews the many plants he or she has introduced to the market."

—Anton Zuiker, Perspectives

"In the end three things make this book such a delight–the people, the plants and the pictures. Irresistible!"

—Malcolm McGregor, Journal of the Scottish Rock Garden Club

"The Plant Hunter's Garden is reading exciting enough to be a novel, beautiful as a travelog and absorbing as a seed catalog. I couldn't put it down."

—Ruth Moose, Pinehurst Pilot

"The book has enough plants to keep a gardener's wish list full for a long time, and the plants are made all the more fascinating by Ward's stories about the people who introduced them."

—David Bare, Winston-Salem Journal

"This is a fasctinating book on many levels ... Spectacular photographs and descriptions of an amazing spectrum of new plants are covered with insightful individual essays."

—Ann Bartlett, American Penstemon Society Bulletin

"A great winter time adventure story."

—Jean Starr, Northwest Indiana Times

"His book is a mastery mix of scientific explanation and personal profile, based on his acquaintance with his subjects. Color photos of many new plants and portraits of the folks who found them make this handsome volume even more interesting."

—Carolyn Ulrich, Chicagoland Gardening

"This is a great book to read for any plant enthusiast."

—Linda Cobb, "In the Garden", WSPA-TV

"Here is the backstage story of the avid plant-people whose passion takes them all over the world to collect seeds and plants for the commercial nursery market."

—Marge Howard-Jones, California Garden

"It's good to see a portrait of the people whose travel, adventures and plant introductions we're sharing, even if from the comfort of our own backyard."

—Jeff Stevens, Southeastern Palms

"All 32 plant hunters profiled are worthy of attention. Homebodies who love to garden will savor reading about vast realms of uncommon plants, the unique people who set out to find them, and the magical places where plants do, in fact, reign supreme."

—Alice Joyce, Booklist

"The book is full of stories about their adventures, and features startling photographs of the plants they have found. It's a great temptation to want them all. Ward's book will change the way you look at plants when you shop at the local nursery."

—Pat Rubin, Sacramento Bee

"This handsome volume is a wonderful surprise."

—Lili Singer, Los Angeles Times

"A fascinating and gossipy compendium of stories about the lives and careers of the new plant explorers; includes much intriguing plant lore."

—Madeleine Wilde, Kirkland Courier

"From the comfort of the armchair or the potting-shed table, readers of The Plant Hunters Garden can embark on their own voyages of discovery in these delightful pages."

Eden Project Magazine

"In the end three things make this book such a delight-the people, the plants and the pictures. Irresistible!"

—Malcolm McGregor, Journal of the Scottish Rock Garden Club

"Take your Christmas money and run out this minute to buy this book. It's more than hyacinths for your soul. It's meat, bread and wine."

—Ruth Moose, Pinehurst Pilot

"What is truly appealing about this book is that there are more than 200 mouthwatering, full-color pictures of these plants. And then there are hundreds of irresistible (at least to the plant obsessed like me) text descriptions of other plants."

—Patricia A. Taylor, Trenton Times

"A great gift idea for plant enthusiasts."

—Leah Chester-Davis, Extension's Successful Gardener

"This treasure trove of new and exciting plants will delight any gardener who likes to know what's new in the horticultural world and is eager to go beyond the tried and true offerings found at local garden centers."

—Ethel Fried, Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer

"I recommend this book to anyone who has a hunger for the how and why of plants, or plant history, or who wants to know more about the process of horticultural introductions."

—Susi Torre-Bueno, Let's Talk Plants

"The plant descriptions are mouth-watering and the book’s photography sumptuous. Together they are guaranteed to produce plant lust."

—Pam Beck, Trillium

"Ward has once again proven his mastery of the written word and shared the scope of his extensive plant knowledge through The Plant Hunter’s Garden."

—Pam Beck, Trillium

"In every chapter, the best of each plant hunter's treasures are described in the well-crafted text."

—Jeff Stevens, Southeastern Palms

About the author

Bobby J. Ward

Bobby J. Ward travels extensively in order to interview modern plant explorers and see the landscape and locations where they do their species collecting. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and a sweet, peaceful dedication to his private gardens.

Read more about Bobby J. Ward

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