A COUNTRYMAN'S FLOWERS by Hal Borland

A COUNTRYMAN'S FLOWERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

No showy horticultural specimens quite touch the heart like the commonplace wild blooms--the daisy, the dandelion, cattails, bloodroot--also known, when inconvenient, as weeds. Here are 85--denizens of dooryard, of roadside, of meadow, of brookside and bog--presented by the late Hal Borland (with his customary throwaway ease) and photographed by Audubon magazine editor Les Lines (with his usual expertise). Most, Borland notes, came from Europe as garden flowers; even the black-eyed Susan, though a native of the prairies, migrated east only in the wake of white settlement. His one-page essays touch upon the plants' common and botanical names, their growing habits, habitats, medicinal and gustatory properties (with a warning, however, against random sampling). We learn, incidentally, that the clover failed to take hold in Australia until bumblebees were imported too: ""Only the big, burly bumblebee can open the florets, get the nectar, and at the same time cross-pollinate the flowers."" Or, that wild ginger is no relative of the common spice, the dogtooth violet no relation to the common violet. But mostly we are invited to notice, and to look. With Lines' superb photos as an added prod, it's an invitation that's hard to refuse.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1981
Publisher: Knopf