By Karen England, Head Muckety-Muck.
The San Diego Horticultural Society’s Book Club meets the last Monday of every month on Zoom at 5 pm and is open to everyone. In the past seven months the group has read some great horticulturally related books in several genres; fiction, biography, memoir and history.
To join, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Book Club” in the subject line. It’s as easy as that!
UPCOMING READING SCHEDULE -
AUGUST 30TH – UNDAUNTED COURAGE, STEVEN AMBROSE SEPTEMBER 27TH –AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 PLANTS, JONATHAN DRORI OCTOBER 25TH -AMERICAN EDEN, VICTORIA JOHNSON NOVEMBER 29TH –FINDING THE MOTHER TREE, SUZANNE SIMARD DECEMBER 27TH – BRAIDING SWEETGRASS, ROBIN WALL KIMMERER
August Book -
'This was much more than a bunch of guys out on an exploring and collecting expedition. This was a military expedition into hostile territory'. In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a pioneering voyage across the Great Plains and into the Rockies. It was completely uncharted territory; a wild, vast land ruled by the Indians. Charismatic and brave, Lewis was the perfect choice and he experienced the savage North American continent before any other white man. UNDAUNTED COURAGE is the tale of a hero, but it is also a tragedy. Lewis may have received a hero's welcome on his return to Washington in 1806, but his discoveries did not match the president's fantasies of sweeping, fertile plains ripe for the taking. Feeling the expedition had been a failure, Lewis took to drink and piled up debts. Full of colourful characters - Jefferson, the president obsessed with conquering the west; William Clark, the rugged frontiersman; Sacagawea, the Indian girl who accompanied the expedition; Drouillard, the French-Indian hunter - this is one of the great adventure stories of all time and it shot to the top of the US bestseller charts. Drama, suspense, danger and diplomacy combine with romance and personal tragedy making UNDAUNTED COURAGE an outstanding work of scholarship and a thrilling adventure.
In case you are wondering, here is what the club has read so far . . .
January 2021, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. We gave this book one thumb up 👍.
February 2021, The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone. We gave this book two thumbs up 👍👍!
March 2021, Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson. We gave this book one thumb up 👍.
April 2021, A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor. We gave this book one thumb up 👍. (Note: if there were a half a thumb emoji – there isn’t, not sure why 🤣 - we would have given this book one and a half thumbs up …)
May 2021, Founding Gardeners by Andrea Wulf. We gave this book two thumbs up 👍👍!
Fun Fact: While doing SDHS newsletter archival research for the most recent newsletter, I stumbled onto a review of this book by Evelyn Torre-Bueno from 2017 that never surfaced in any of my previous searches or I would have shared it before now. BOOK REVIEW: Founding Gardeners (sdhortnews.org)
June 2021, Elizabeth and Her German Garden. We gave this book one thumb up, but barely, 👍 (Note: some club readers did not like this selection at all while others loved it and the average of the opinions was barely to the positive.)
July 2021, In Praise Of Tomatoes by Steven Shepherd. We gave this book 👍👍!
Our book ratings system explained: Since we all only have two thumbs, our rating scale goes from very bad = 👎👎 two thumbs down, to bad = 👎 one thumb down, to blah = 👊 no thumbs either way, to good = 👍 one thumb up, and finally to two thumbs up = 👍👍 great!
July Book Report:
Many thanks to Linda Canada for moderating the July SD Hort Book Club meeting and providing a real sense of place for the book, which was published back in 1996, by sharing current photos of the San Diego neighborhood and house that the book lovingly describes.
Linda organized the special guests at the meeting, Sheila K., the author’s widow, and Ann M., the author’s dear friend, who both gave us all a true sense of the man behind this lyrical memoir. Both women were a joy to meet in their own rights, accomplished and interesting people themselves, and their memories and stories of Steve were riveting. It was obvious from listening to them as with reading his book that he was much loved and loved much. Our own Robin Rivet added to the evening by sharing her first-hand memories of Steven and his tomatoes since she lived in the area and walked by his house and garden at the time of the writing of this book. She had her autographed copy to show everyone.
We gave this book 👍👍!