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SD HORT BOOK CLUB: Book Lovers That Love To Garden!

By Karen England, for Let's Talk Plants! November 2021.

Have you heard how much fun the SD Hort Book Club is? It's amazing, and I'm not just saying that because I'm the head muckety-muck. I have learned so much since the book club started in January of this year. The membership roll tops 20 with a few lurkers who dip in and out as the books pique their interests and their schedules allow. There is, however, plenty of room for more, so if you've been thinking that a horticulturally curated book club was just thing to do on the last Monday evening of every month at 5 pm on Zoom then, please, by all means join us! Just send me an email c/o with "Book Club" in the subject line and I will add you to the roster. It's free, and guests and members are welcome. And now, at 4:30pm come for the Happy Half Hour zoom social before the meeting begins at 5pm. Bring a beverage, water is just fine - and chat a bit with each other!


The November meeting is on 11/29/21 at 5 pm on Zoom (Zoom link is sent via email prior to the meeting) and the book selection is - Finding The Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard

". . . in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths–that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own."


But wait! Don't Forget . . .

Starting recently with the October book club meeting the SD Hort Book Club now optionally starts at 4:30pm on Zoom, right before the Book Club meeting at 5pm, when we have our Bookies Happy Half Hour. Come early to book club with a beverage of choice, water works or bring something stronger, and let’s chat a bit first.

The October book read was, American Eden, by Victoria Johnson and is a SDHBC one thumb-up winner!

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic

By Victoria Johnson.

"Plant-lovers and gardeners will savor the tales Johnson discovered about nineteenth-century botanizing and empathize with the trials of saving a garden, the most ephemeral of treasures, for posterity.... American Eden is a worthwhile read for history fans, botany and garden enthusiasts, and everyone interested in the challenge of turning a good idea into a legacy."



List of books SDHBC has read so far:

January 2021 - The Language of Flowers by V. Diffenbaugh

February 2021 - The Food Explorer by D. Stone

March 2021 - Green Mansions by W. H. Hudson

April 2021 - A Memory of Violets by H. Gaynor

May 2021 - Founding Gardeners by A. Wulf

June 2021 - Elizabeth and Her German Garden by E. von Arnim

July 2021 - In Praise of Tomatoes by S. Shepherd

August 2021 - Undaunted Courage by S. Ambrose

September 2021 - Around the World in 80 Plants/Trees both b y J. Drori

October 2021 - American Eden by V. Johnson


List of upcoming books SDHBC is reading:

November 2021 - Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard

December 2021 - Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

January 2022 - The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro


List of potential SDHBC books to read:

Voting on which books to read starting in February 2022 and beyond commences this month with the following books and more being considered -

  • In Search of Lost Roses by Thomas Christopher

  • Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

  • Uprooted by Page Dickey

  • Turn Here for Sweet Corn by Atina Diffley

  • Vanilla by Patricia Rain

  • Vanilla: Travels in Search of the Ice Cream Orchid by Tim Encott

  • The Complete Writings Of Kate Sessions In California Garden, New Edition, by San Diego Floral Association

  • How To Eat Your Christmas Tree by Julia Georgallis

  • The Backyard Parables by Margaret Roach

  • The Seed Keeper - A Novel by Diane Wilson

  • The Shaker Book of the Garden by Lorraine Harrison

  • The Arbornaut by Meg Lowman

  • The Nature of Oaks by Douglas W. Tallamy

  • A Single Rose by Muriel Barbery

  • and more book suggestions to come...


karen England
SD Hort Book Club head mucky-muck, Karen England, with a stack of her all-time favorite books.

The SD Hort Book Club was started by SDHS President Karen England in December 2020 without her having any idea if it would be well received. Karen needed to add to the SDHS offerings at a time when societies of all sorts everywhere lost the most important aspects of being a group - being able to meet together. She also needed it to be something that wouldn’t cost the SDHS money or involve the already overworked volunteers and board of directors.

Years ago, for very similar reasons, Karen ran a garden book club for the customers of Sunshine Gardens in Encinitas, her family’s business, that met monthly in the amphitheater, and it was a hit! Mostly because it didn’t cost the nursery anything and no staff (apart from myself) were involved. Taking the knowledge gained from that experience she adapted it to a pandemical digital world to rave reviews.


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