Reviews

With fronds like these, who needs anemones? This old horticultural quip inspired the title Fronds and Anemones, a book of essays by William Allan Plummer. In his preface he warns, “I am an incorrigible punster, for which I make no apology.”

Fun aside, these collected essays reveal the author as a keen and skilled observer of the native birds and wildflowers around his home in upstate New York. He also reflects on his discoveries as an avid gardener, with a particular interest in ferns.

This latter interest led him to join the Hardy Fern Foundation. In the summer of 2003, this organization, along with the British Pteridological Society, sponsored a “Best of the West Fern Excursion” to explore both the gardening and natural attractions found in Washington State. The emphasis, of course, was on those sites rich in ferns.

The resulting essays, which form a significant part of this book, make an outstanding travelogue to some of the best gardens of the region. These include public gardens such as the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden and the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, but many private gardens are featured, too.

These travel stories were originally published in the Hardy Fern Foundation Quarterly, Volume 14, No. 1 and 2 (Winter and Spring 2004).  Those issues are available in the Miller Library, but I recommend reading Plummer’s writings in the context of his other fine work found in this book.

 

Reviewed by Brian Thompson
Miller Botanical Garden

Fronds and Anemones