Another Source of Books – The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

The local Great Books discussion group asked me recently to recommend a novel for summer reading. The group meets just once each summer. I can’t remember what suggestions I offered, and I suspect I will be away on vacation. The selected book is All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld.

A friend offered three titles, saying they were good novels she had read for a book group sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Really?! It never occurred to me that a horticultural society would sponsor a book group.

I tracked down one of the novels she listed, and will write about it soon. The other two were not in my local library – I’ll download them from Amazon for my upcoming beach vacation.

I looked at the PHS web site, and found no mention of a reading group. Maybe it is restricted to members? But they have so much going on! I can imagine myself having a great time with the Society after I retire.

The books I DIDN’T find yet are

  • The Last Garden by Helen Humphries
  • Flora by Gail Godwin

Have you read any good garden-oriented books recently?

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3 thoughts on “Another Source of Books – The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

  1. That’s a tough one. I’ve read some novels recently with scenes in gardens, does that count? Anathem has quite a few garden scenes, I think To Kill a Mockingbird has one, and of course there are scenes in Mansfield Park and Wuthering Heights that involve gardens. Come to think of it, even the hero of The Martian has a garden. Once for an alumni seminar I had a discussion on the short story by Borges “The Garden of Forking Paths”. Except for The Martian, all these scenes seem to involve intrigue. How unrealistic! I hope you find something good!

  2. A friend sent me the following:

    I have belonged to the PHS book group for at least 5 years now. It meets at 5:45 the first Thursday of each month for two hours, and it is conducted along the Great Books guidelines.

    We pick the books in June for the next year, and they are supposed to deal with gardens, nature, or the environment. The meeting place is the PHS headquarters in Philadelphia at 21st and Cherry Streets. Even though the criteria is “garden related”, we have discussed such books as Mansfield Park (takes place in English garden setting) and Huckleberry Finn (what could be more natural than the Mississippi River?). I’m not sure if you have to be a member or not – certainly many of the participants are not gardeners. Here is the list of books for the coming year:

    Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury
    The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in our Time by Jonathan Weiner
    The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
    The Bird Artist by Howard Norman
    Serena by Ron Rash
    The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett
    The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna
    The Beekeeper’s Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America by Hannah Nordhaus

  3. I’m loving your blog! Thanks so much for sharing your reviews and book suggestions – I’ll spend some time looking around here for sure!

    Let’s see, you asked in this post for gardening-oriented books – I’ve really enjoyed two lately – I guess more about botany than gardening- I’m sure you’ve already read both: Virgin Earth, Philippa Gregory and The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert. Right now I’m reading Summer World:A Season of Bounty, Bernd Heinrich – it’s an amazing natural world we live in.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

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