Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast.

Flowers – Wild and Garden!  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  July 31, 2020 Lavish praise, a very generous book review, can be counter-productive for there is within us all that little streak of cynicism which says it may be too good to be true. This is my predicament with Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast, A Natural History by Carol Gracie for I […]

The Wild Food Plants of Ireland – A Review.

Dining on the Long Acre – The Wild Food Plants of Ireland  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  July 14, 2020 Reading Tom Curtis and Paul Whelan’s book, The Wild Food Plants of Ireland, has brought another layer, a greater depth of interest, to my wildflower wanderings along our road in recent days. The damsons on the boundary ditch of the […]

Britain’s Ferns – A Review

Britain’s Ferns – A Review.  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  June 11, 2020 It works! Britain’s Ferns is intended to provide a practical and functional approach to the identification of ferns, and it works! I put it to the test with a number of local ferns and one horsetail and the identification keys, which are at the heart of […]

The Pollinator Victory Garden – A Review

The Pollinator Victory Garden…A Review.  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  February 10, 2020 Small changes in our gardening can make an enormous difference to our world – The “Act locally, think globally” concept could never be applied so effectively! We can each, in our individual gardens, make small changes which will be beneficial to our environment, to the pollinators […]

Modern Plant Hunters – A Review

Modern Plant Hunters – A Review.  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  January 31, 2020 Modern Plant Hunters – Dr. Sandy Primrose. Plant hunters have given our gardens the most wonderful range of plants; we are greatly indebted to these brave, courageous and daring people and Dr. Sandy Primrose’s account of our modern plant hunters is gripping and informative reading […]

Reading Shortlist 2019

The Shortlist 2019  Paddy Tobin  General Interest  November 30, 2019 The Shortlist 2019 It is the end of the year, Christmas is approaching, and it is a time for gardeners to treat themselves and to be treated and few treats are better than a good book. Here is my selection from books published this past year, a […]

Scent Magic – A Review

Scent Magic!  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  November 3, 2019 Isabel Bannerman describes scent wonderfully: Witch hazel has a clean sanatorium smell of pure alcohol and Elastoplast. The crushed gourd-shaped seed pods of Wintersweet, if crushed, smell of dusty cloves, spiced wines and the depths of unused drawers. The rose, ‘Rosarie de l’Hay’ smells of cucumber, tea and laundered […]

A Radical Shift in Perspective

A Radical Shift in Perspective  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  October 3, 2019 Instead of engaging in a constant battle to adapt our gardens to suit plants would it not be better to search for plants that suit our gardens? This would require a radical shift in perspective which has much to recommend it and Olivier Filippi’s book, The […]

Growing Native Orchids

How to Grow Native Orchids  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  October 5, 2019 How to Grow Native Orchids in Gardens Large and Small   Enthusiasts of our native orchids might well fear that a book on growing these precious and nowadays scarce plants in the garden is simply another threat to numbers in the wild but the very first […]

Great Gardens of London

Great Gardens of London gives an insight into a selection of the horticultural jewels of the capital city of what is probably the greatest gardening country of the world. England is a treasure store of wonderful gardens and it comes as no surprise that the capital city, London, is home to a significant and most […]

A Beautiful Obsession – Jimi Blake and Noel Kingsbury

A Beautiful Obsession  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  August 6, 2019 In his seventeen years at Huntingbrook Garden, Jimi Blake has cut a dash through the traditional herbaceous border, the shrub border, the woodland garden and is leading the way in Irish horticulture with his innovative approach to gardening, with his new plant trials and introductions but, most […]

The Hidden Horticuturists

The Hidden Horticulturists  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  June 25, 2019 When historic account is populated with individual stories it becomes real, all the more interesting and more accessible to us. Should we read of a First World War battle, with deaths in the thousands, we are duly shocked but should we be told of a young Lancashire […]

Cherry Ingrim – An excellent book!

The Cherry Man – A Fabulous Story!  Some books give more than they have promised. Some books promise much and give even more and these books are to be treasured for they are rare things, giving testimony, insight and understanding to the deeper matters of our world and our lives. “Cherry Ingram” by Naoko Abe is […]

A Garden Can Be Anywhere!

A Garden Can Be Anywhere!  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  April 4, 2019 We live in an age of concern about the wholesomeness of our food, about the widespread use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers, about food miles, the use of preservatives, artificial additives and colourants. We are aware of the industrialisation of food production and processing, the erosion […]

Island Gardens – Book Review

Island Gardens  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  April 3, 2019 We attach a certain magic to islands, as we do to other remote natural areas – mountains, remote seashores and the like. We regard them as special places, places apart, places where we may be in more intimate contact with nature, places of beauty, of wildness, of ruggedness, […]

Monsters under Glass – A Review

Literally taken by the Venus Fly Trap.  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  March 7, 2019 The title was “Monsters Under Glass: A Cultural History of Hothouse Flowers, 1850 to the Present” and I misinterpreted it completely. I’m sure you, like me, might have expected something about glasshouse plants and their cultivation but I was wrong and it was nothing of the […]