New! Fireside Book Club – FULL
PLEASE NOTE: The book club has reached the limit for sign-ups. We hope you’ll check back often to see what other exciting programs are coming up – and you may want to read these wonderful books on your own.
Your garden is put to bed – and now is the perfect time to get cozy by the wood fire with books. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Director of Education Melissa Cullina has chosen four diverse books that blend the botanical and the literary – specially chosen for plant and nature enthusiasts like us! Gather around the Gardens’ fireside in the Visitor Center one Tuesday per month to discuss the designated book and enjoy tea and treats. Please sign up, and then simply read and come to the Visitor Center on the discussion date to share what you’ve experienced through reading each book.
The fee to attend all sessions is $10 for CMBG, Boothbay Region Land Trust, or local garden club members or $12 for nonmembers.
November book: The Brother Gardeners by Andrea Wulf
Discussion Tuesday, November 19, 3:00 pm
Bringing to life the science and adventure of eighteenth-century plant collecting, The Brother Gardeners is the story of how six men created the modern garden and changed the horticultural world in the process. It is a story of a garden revolution that began in America.
In 1733, colonial farmer John Bartram shipped two boxes of precious American plants and seeds to Peter Collinson in London. Around these men formed the nucleus of a botany movement, which included famous Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus; Philip Miller, bestselling author of The Gardeners Dictionary; and Joseph Banks and David Solander, two botanist explorers, who scoured the globe for plant life aboard Captain Cook’s Endeavor. As they cultivated exotic blooms from around the world, they helped make Britain an epicenter of horticultural and botanical expertise. The Brother Gardeners paints a vivid portrait of an emerging world of knowledge and gardening as we know it today.
December book: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
Discussion Tuesday, December 17, 3:00 pm
Winner of the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (2012)
Winner of the 2011 John Burroughs Medal
In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, Elisabeth Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her uncommon encounter with a Neohelix albolabris -a common woodland snail.
While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of her own confined place in the world.
Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, providing a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this underappreciated small animal.
Told with wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence and provides an appreciation of what it means to be fully alive.
January book: Emily Dickinson’s Gardens by Marta McDowell
Discussion Tuesday, January. 21, 3:00 pm
A woman who found great solace in gardens, Emily Dickinson filled her poetry with references to her flowers. Now, in Emily Dickinson’s Gardens, author Marta McDowell invites poetry and gardening lovers alike to explore the words and wildflowers of one of America’s best-loved poets.
Each chapter of this illustrated book follows a different season in the gardens, conservatories, and Amherst environs where the poet tended, collected, and drew inspiration from flowers.
“Here is a brighter garden” where you will discover:
- Excerpts from Dickinson’s poetry and letters
- Historical details about the poet’s life, emphasizing her horticultural interests
- Instructions on how to create an Emily Dickinson garden of your own, including plans, design ideas, plant sources, and growing tips
February book: Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Discussion Tuesday, February 25, 3:00 p.m.
Winner of the 2005 John Burroughs Medal
Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. Gathering Moss is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses.
In this series of linked personal essays, Robin Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us.
Drawing on her experiences as a scientist, a mother, and a Native American, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.