If you could have only one gardening book (perish the thought!), hands down it would be Hugh Johnson’s classic Principles Of Gardening. In it, among many tantalizing subjects, are brief discussions of where our garden plants came from and who went out and got them. If you, too, felt hungry for more hard data on that aspect of the plant world, then The Global Migrations of Ornamental Plants is the book you have been waiting for.
Author of several books on the history of plants and gardens, Taylor has completed an exhaustive body of research in compiling this effort for the rest of us. Fully one-fourth of the book is given over to useful lists of what we have acquired from beyond our political borders; who introduced them and when; an eye-opening look at our most planted species; and statistics on which parts of the world contributed the most plants to our gardens (in descending order, China —no surprise!—Europe, North America, Africa, South America, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand).
If you, too, are a geography and history geek, you will find this an extremely informative and useful reference to add to your library.
Ted Kipping, arborist
San Francisco, California