Visions of Loveliness: Great Flower Breeders of the Past


Visions of Loveliness: Great Flower Breeders of the Past Author: Format: Paperback First Published: Published By: Swallow Press
string(3) "424"
Pages: 424 ISBN: 9780804011570 Category:

While there are many books about plant collectors and explorers, there are none about plant breeders. Drawing from libraries, archives, and the recollections of family members, horticultural historian Judith M. Taylor traces the lives of prominent cultivators in the context of the scientific discoveries and changing tastes of their times. Visions of Loveliness is international in scope, profiling plant breeders from many countries—for example, China and the former East Germany—whose work may be unknown to the Anglophone reader.

In addition to chronicling the lives of breeders, the author also includes chapters on the history behind the plants by genus, from shrubs and flowering trees to herbaceous plants.

Weight1.1 kg



"Taylor, a 'snapper-up of unconsidered trifles,' discusses plantsmen and women as if they were fascinating neighbors (her vignettes of the Hemus sisters and their sweet pea cultivars are delicious), and although her anecdotes are blessedly breezy, her encyclopedia is exhaustive." "After reading Taylor, I will embark with new eyes on the glorious weeks which are now beginning, the season of lilacs and rhododendrons, lupins, delphiniums, roses and sweet peas. Many of the best have been bred for us, but their breeders were never saddled with a loathsome student loan. They learned by observation and were impelled by what Taylor calls a 'vision of loveliness.'" -- Robin Lane Fox "Many gardeners enjoy the floral products of plant breeding, such as Narcissus 'King Alfred' or the old-fashioned Dorothy Perkins rose, without giving a thought to their origins. In Visions of Loveliness, Judith M. Taylor brings to life the 'creators' of these ornamental plants and many others in a way that will give you new appreciation for flowers of all kinds." -- Denise Wiles Adams "...For a gardener who likes a little history with their blooms, it's fascinating." "Family feuds, wily businessmen, obsessions with form and color - the history of flower breeding is a veritable botanical soap opera....After you've read these engrossing tales, you'll look wonderingly at the sweet peas, lilies and other traditional favorites that gardeners admire today." "Visions of Loveliness is a fascinating compilation of the history of some of America's most beloved garden plants, celebrating the work of key gardeners and plant breeders in many parts of the world. This work fills an important gap in our understanding of early ornamental plant breeding and selection." -- Scot Medbury, President, Brooklyn Botanic Garden "Behind each cultivar there is both a story and a breeder. Unfortunately, all too often, these stories remain untold and remarkable efforts and achievements are forgotten. Judith Taylor...brings alive the stories of breeders who, in the past, have made a contribution to the cultivated plants we have today." -- Keith Hammett, president of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture "Visions of Loveliness is a great and original work that will be enjoyed all over the world for years to come." -- Jinshuan Ma, vice director of the Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences "Judith Taylor has written an amazing account of the origin of all our plant forms, featuring the exciting work of the intrepid plant hunters, but going much further.... This is a fascinating account that is a must, for any serious gardener." -- Roger Phillips, MBE

Author Biography

Judith M. Taylor is the author of The Olive in California: History of an Immigrant Tree; Tangible Memories: Californians and Their Gardens, 1800 to 1950; The Global Migrations of Ornamental Plants: How the World Got into Your Garden, and Visions of Loveliness: Great Flower Breeders of the Past. She lives in San Francisco.