184 pages, 60 col paintings, col illus
In this unique book established garden writer Patricia Cleveland-Peck tells the story of the auricula's journey from its native Alpine habitat into the gardens of Europe and beyond. She introduces the reader to some of the interesting characters who felt passionately about the auricula and discovers the important social role it played as it was transformed by skilled florists from the simple Bear's Ear to one of today's most refined and exquisite cultivars.
'The outrageously beautiful auricula - whether in its simple, 'primitive' form seen lodged in Alpine turf, or bred to the highest refinement for the urban show bench - captivates the hearts of gardeners and non-gadeners alike. But this tiny plant is more than an object of desire: it brings in its wake a spellbinding history that stretches back more than four hundred years. Roses apart, no other ornamental plant has such an intimate association with mankind. The saga is intriguing, and supreme among the tales of splendour and disappointment are the growers, breeders and exhibitors who have dedicated themselves to that seemingly impossible task: to improve on Nature itself. Many have succeeded, and Patricia Cleveland-Peck's energetic and revealing investigation [illuminated by Elisabeth Dowle's beautiful paintings] makes for an informative page-turning experience that no lover of these highly desirable plants will want to miss.' -- David Wheeler Hortus 'Elisabeth Dowle's style perfectly suits the delicate and exquisite auriculas she paints so beautifully. Her subtle, immaculate touch for the velvety flowers, with their intricate rims, really harks back to the past and masters like Ehret and Redoute and to the contemporary artist Rory McEwen. Her execution of the leaves ranges from mossy greens to silky greys, faithfully recording the idiosyncrasies of each hybrid. Her treatment of buds and flowering stems is amazingly accurate, making each study a true plant portrait. She has clearly been captivated by her subject. Each portrait urges the viewer to do what I intend to do - start growing auriculas again!' -- Dr Shirley Sherwood, author, curator and collector of botanical art
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