“[A] delightful mix of memoir and field study.” — Publishers Weekly STARRED review
Award-winning and beloved author Helen Humphreys discovers her local herbarium and realizes we need to look for beauty in whatever nature we have left — no matter how diminished
Award-winning poet and novelist Helen Humphreys returns to her series of nature meditations in this gorgeously written and illustrated book that takes a deep look at the forgotten world of herbariums and the people who amassed collections of plant specimens in the 19th and 20th centuries. From Emily Dickinson’s and Henry David Thoreau’s collections to the amateur naturalists whose names are forgotten but whose collections still grace our world, herbariums are the records of the often-humble plants that are still with us and those that are lost. Over the course of a year, Humphreys considers life and loss and the importance of finding solace in nature.
Illustrated throughout with images of herbarium specimens, Humphreys’s own botanical drawings, and archival photographs, this will be the perfect gift for Humphreys’s many fans, nature enthusiasts, and for all who loved Birds Art Life.
Helen Humphreys is the author of 19 works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, including Rabbit Foot Bill and The Frozen Thames. She has won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, a Lambda Literary Award for Fiction, and the Toronto Book Award, and has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Book Award, and CBC’s Canada Reads. She is the recipient of the Harbourfront Festival Prize for literary excellence. Humphreys lives in Kingston, Ontario.
“[A] delightful mix of memoir and field study … In beautiful prose, Humphreys describes her experience acquainting herself with plants … Readers who appreciated Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s World of Wonders will revel in these gorgeous explorations.” — Publishers Weekly starred review
“Her pages glow with plant samples, lichen as lacy-bright as the day they were found, orchids sadly faded to brown.” — Toronto Star
“A beautiful volume to appeal to the armchair gardener and historian alike. Based on a year studying plant samples collected over decades, she connects plant lovers from over the centuries and offers insight into nature’s tenacity.” — Toronto Star
“Beautifully illustrated, it will be a perfect companion when you slouch in your armchair next to the Christmas tree for an evening read. A meticulously researched story of plants collected and people behind them; all based on herbarium labels, margin notes, scribbles, sketches, drawings and old photographs, but mostly the plant specimens themselves.” — Field Botanists of Ontario
“This book changed my perspective on herbaria … Humphreys sees the space as one where people and plants come together very intimately.” — Herbarium World