Richard Mabey - Author

About the Author

Richard Mabey is the author of the bestselling, award-winning and ground-breaking FLORA BRITANNICA (which sold nearly 90,000 at -35), as well as many highly praised books about nature and the environment, including FOOD FOR FREE and THE UNOFFICIAL COUNTRYSIDE. His book about Gilbert White won the Whitbread Biography of the Year.

Featured books by Richard Mabey

Dreams of the Good Life The Life of Flora Thompson and the Creation of Lark Rise to Candleford

Dreams of the Good Life The Life of Flora Thompson and the Creation of Lark Rise to Candleford

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/03/2015

While the Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy, Flora Thompson's much-loved portrait of life in the English countryside, has inspired a hit television series, relatively little is known about the author herself. In this highly original book, bestselling biographer and nature writer Richard Mabey sympathetically retraces her life and her transformation from a post-office clerk who left school at fourteen to a sophisticated professional writer. Revealing how a formidable imagination can arise from the humblest of beginnings, Dreams of the Good Life paints a poignant, unforgettable portrait of a working-class woman writer's struggle for creative expression.

Dreams of the Good Life The Life of Flora Thompson and the Creation of Lark Rise to Candleford

Dreams of the Good Life The Life of Flora Thompson and the Creation of Lark Rise to Candleford

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/03/2015

While the Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy, Flora Thompson's much-loved portrait of life in the English countryside, has inspired a hit television series, relatively little is known about the author herself. In this highly original book, bestselling biographer and nature writer Richard Mabey sympathetically retraces her life and her transformation from a post-office clerk who left school at fourteen to a sophisticated professional writer. Revealing how a formidable imagination can arise from the humblest of beginnings, Dreams of the Good Life paints a poignant, unforgettable portrait of a working-class woman writer's struggle for creative expression.

Other books by Richard Mabey

The Cabaret of Plants Botany and the Imagination

The Cabaret of Plants Botany and the Imagination

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/10/2016

In The Cabaret of Plants, Mabey explores the plant species which have challenged our imaginations, awoken our wonder, and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty and belief. Picked from every walk of life, they encompass crops, weeds, medicines, religious gathering-places and a water lily named after a queen. Beginning with pagan cults and creation myths, the cultural significance of plants has burst upwards, sprouting into forms as diverse as the panacea (the cure-all plant ginseng, a single root of which can cost up to $10,000), Newton's apple, the African 'vegetable elephant' or boabab - and the mystical, night-flowering Amazonian cactus, the moonflower. Ranging widely across science, art and cultural history, poetry and personal experience, Mabey puts plants centre stage, and reveals a true botanical cabaret, a world of tricksters, shape-shifters and inspired problem-solvers, as well as an enthralled audience of romantics, eccentric amateur scientists and transgressive artists. The Cabaret of Plants celebrates the idea that plants are not simply 'the furniture of the planet', but vital, inventive, individual beings worthy of respect - and that to understand this may be the best way of preserving life together on Earth.

The Cabaret of Plants Forty Thousand Years of Plant Life and the Human Imagination

The Cabaret of Plants Forty Thousand Years of Plant Life and the Human Imagination

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/01/2016

The Cabaret of Plants is a masterful, globe-trotting exploration of the relationship between humans and the kingdom of plants by the renowned naturalist Richard Mabey. A rich, sweeping, and wonderfully readable work of botanical history, The Cabaret of Plants explores dozens of plant species that for millennia have challenged our imaginations, awoken our wonder, and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty, and belief. Going back to the beginnings of human history, Mabey shows how flowers, trees, and plants have been central to human experience not just as sources of food and medicine but as objects of worship, actors in creation myths, and symbols of war and peace, life and death. Writing in a celebrated style that the Economist calls delightful and casually learned, Mabey takes readers from the Himalayas to Madagascar to the Amazon to our own backyards. He ranges through the work of writers, artists, and scientists such as da Vinci, Keats, Darwin, and van Gogh and across nearly 40,000 years of human history: Ice Age images of plant life in ancient cave art and the earliest representations of the Garden of Eden; Newton's apple and gravity, Priestley's sprig of mint and photosynthesis, and Wordsworth's daffodils; the history of cultivated plants such as maize, ginseng, and cotton; and the ways the sturdy oak became the symbol of British nationhood and the giant sequoia came to epitomize the spirit of America. Complemented by dozens of full-color illustrations, The Cabaret of Plants is the magnum opus of a great naturalist and an extraordinary exploration of the deeply interwined history of humans and the natural world.

The Cabaret of Plants Botany and the Imagination

The Cabaret of Plants Botany and the Imagination

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/10/2015

In Richard Mabey's characteristically lyrical and informative tone, The Cabaret of Plants explores plant species which have challenged our imaginations, awoken that cliched but real human emotion of wonder, and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty and belief. Picked from every walk of life, they encompass crops, weeds, medicines, religious gathering-places and a water lily named after a queen. Beginning with pagan cults and creation myths, the cultural significance of plants has burst upwards, sprouting into forms as diverse as the panacea (the cure-all plant ginseng, a single root of which can cost up to $10,000), Newton's apple, the African 'vegetable elephant' or boabab, whose swollen trunks store thousands of litres of water - and the mystical, night-flowering Amazonian cactus, the moonflower. From Ice Age artists, to the Romantic poets, via colonialism and the nineteenth century botanical mania of empire, Mabey concludes his magnum opus with the latest revelations of possible 'plant intelligence' in this extraordinary collection of encounters between plants and people.

Dreams of the Good Life The Life of Flora Thompson and the Creation of Lark Rise to Candleford

Dreams of the Good Life The Life of Flora Thompson and the Creation of Lark Rise to Candleford

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/03/2015

While the Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy, Flora Thompson's much-loved portrait of life in the English countryside, has inspired a hit television series, relatively little is known about the author herself. In this highly original book, bestselling biographer and nature writer Richard Mabey sympathetically retraces her life and her transformation from a post-office clerk who left school at fourteen to a sophisticated professional writer. Revealing how a formidable imagination can arise from the humblest of beginnings, Dreams of the Good Life paints a poignant, unforgettable portrait of a working-class woman writer's struggle for creative expression.

Gilbert White

Gilbert White

Author: Richard Mabey Format: eBook Release Date: 01/03/2015

When the pioneering naturalist Gilbert White (1720-93) wrote The Natural History of Selborne (1789), he created one of the greatest and most influential natural history works of all time, his detailed observations about birds and animals providing the cornerstones of modern ecology. In this award-winning biography, Richard Mabey tells the wonderful story of the clergyman - England's first ecologist - whose inspirational naturalist's handbook has become an English classic.

A Brush With Nature Reflections on the Natural World

A Brush With Nature Reflections on the Natural World

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/07/2014

Described as 'Britain's greatest living nature writer', Richard Mabey has revealed his passion for the natural world in eloquent stories for BBC Wildlife Magazine. This volume features his favourite pieces and presents a fascinating and inspiring view of the changing natural landscape in which we live. Peppered throughout with references to the heritage of nature writing, and great writers from Richard Jefferies and John Clare to Roger Deakin and Robert MacFarlane, A Brush With Nature is part memoir, part nature journal, part social history, giving us a unique insight into a nature lover's reflections over a quarter of a century.

Home Country

Home Country

Author: Richard Mabey, Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/06/2014

The Ash and The Beech The Drama of Woodland Change

The Ash and The Beech The Drama of Woodland Change

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/06/2013

From ash die-back to the Great Storm of 1987 to Dutch elm disease, our much-loved woodlands seem to be under constant threat from a procession of natural challenges. Just when we need trees most, to help combat global warming and to provide places of retreat for us and our wildlife, they seem at greatest peril. But these dangers force us to reconsider the narrative we construct about trees and the roles we press on them. In this now classic book, Richard Mabey looks at how, for more than a thousand years, we have appropriated and humanised trees, turning them into arboreal pets, status symbols, expressions of fashionable beauty - anything rather than allow them lives of their own. And in the poetic and provocative style he has made his signature, Mabey argues that respecting trees' independence and ancient powers of survival may be the wisest response to their current crises. Originally published with the title Beechcombings, this updated edition includes a new foreword and afterword by the author.

A Good Parcel of English Soil The Metropolitan Line

A Good Parcel of English Soil The Metropolitan Line

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/03/2013

Richard Mabey, one of Britain's leading nature writers, looks in A Good Parcel of English Soil at the relationship between city and country, and how this brings out the power of nature - part of a series of twelve books tied to the twelve lines of the London Underground, as Tfl celebrates 150 years of the Tube with Penguin Also available in a boxset Richard Mabey's A Good Parcel of English Soil, his essay on the Metropolitan line, is one of the most compelling segments of Penguin's Underground Lines ... eclectic and broad-minded ... elegantly written' Observer 'Authors include the masterly John Lanchester, the children of Kids Company, comic John O'Farrell and social geographer Danny Dorling. Ranging from the polemical to the fantastical, the personal to the societal, they offer something for every taste. All experience the city as a cultural phenomenon and notice its nature and its people. Read individually they're delightful small reads, pulled together they offer a particular portrait of a global city' Evening Standard 'Exquisitely diverse' The Times 'Eclectic and broad-minded ... beautifully designed' Tom Cox, Observer 'A fascinating collection with a wide range of styles and themes. The design qualities are excellent, as you might expect from Penguin with a consistent look and feel while allowing distinctive covers for each book. This is a very pleasing set of books' A Common Reader blog 'The contrasts and transitions between books are as stirring as the books themselves ... A multidimensional literary jigsaw' Londonist 'A series of short, sharp, city-based vignettes - some personal, some political and some pictorial ... each inimitable author finds that our city is complicated but ultimately connected, full of wit, and just the right amount of grit' Fabric Magazine 'A collection of beautiful books' Grazia [Praise for Richard Mabey]: 'Radiant, tingle-making prose has earned Mabey literary prizes and a multitude of fans', Daily Mail 'Richard Mabey is a man for all seasons, most regions and every kind of landscape', Andrew Motion Financial Times 'Refreshing, droll, politically alert, occasionally self-mocking, he has the enviable ability both to write historical overview and also to slip into the woods like a dryad, bringing us back to the trees themselves, their colours and lights and textures', Guardian Richard Mabey has been described as 'Britain's greatest living nature writer' and is a frequent contributor to the BBC.

Turned Out Nice Again On Living With the Weather

Turned Out Nice Again On Living With the Weather

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/02/2013

In his trademark style, Richard Mabey weaves together science, art and memoirs (including his own) to show the weather's impact on our culture and national psyche. He rambles through the myths of Golden Summers and our persistent state of denial about the winter; the Impressionists' love affair with London smog, seasonal affective disorder (SAD - do we all get it?) and the mysteries of storm migraines; herrings falling like hail in Norfolk and Saharan dust reddening south-coast cars; moonbows, dog-suns, fog-mirages and Constable's clouds; the fact that English has more words for rain than Inuit has for snow; the curious eccentricity of country clothing and the mathematical behaviour of umbrella sales. We should never apologise for our obsession with the weather. It is one of the most profound influences on the way we live, and something we all experience in common. No wonder it's the natural subject for a greeting between total strangers: 'Turned out nice again.'

Food for Free

Food for Free

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2012

The classic foraging guide to over 200 types of food that can be gathered and picked in the wild, Food for Free returns in its 40th year as a sumptuous, beautifully illustrated and fully updated anniversary edition. Originally published in 1972, Richard Mabey's classic foraging guide has never been out of print since. Food for Free is a complete guide to help you safely identify edible species that grow around us, together with detailed artwork, field identification notes and recipes. In this stunning 40th anniversary edition, Richard Mabey's fully-revised text is accompanied by photographs, new recipes and a wealth of practical information on identifying, collecting, cooking and preparing, history and folklore. Informatively written, beautifully illustrated and produced in a new, larger format, Food for Free will inspire us to be more self-sufficient and make use of the natural resources around us to enhance our lives.

Weeds The Story of Outlaw Plants

Weeds The Story of Outlaw Plants

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/03/2012

Ever since the first human settlements 10,000 years ago, weeds have dogged our footsteps. They are there as the punishment of 'thorns and thistles' in Genesis and , two millennia later, as a symbol of Flanders Field. They are civilisations' familiars, invading farmland and building-sites, war-zones and flower-beds across the globe. Yet living so intimately with us, they have been a blessing too. Weeds were the first crops, the first medicines. Burdock was the inspiration for Velcro. Cow parsley has become the fashionable adornment of Spring weddings. Weaving together the insights of botanists, gardeners, artists and poets with his own life-long fascination, Richard Mabey examines how we have tried to define them, explain their persistence, and draw moral lessons from them. One persons weed is another's wild beauty.

The Perfumier and the Stinkhorn

The Perfumier and the Stinkhorn

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/04/2011

In these elegant, short essays, revered nature writer Richard Mabey attempts to marry a Romantic's view of the natural world with that of the meticulous observations of the scientist. By Romanticism, he refers to the view that nature isn't a machine to be dissected, but a community of which we, the observers, are inextricably part. And that our feelings about that community are a perfectly proper subject for reflection, because they shape our relationship with it. Scientists eshew such a subjective response, wanting to witness the natural world exactly, whatever feelings subsequently follow. Our feelings are an extension of our senses - sight, taste, smell, touch and sound - and here, in a sextet of inspiring meditations, Mabey explores each sensory response in what it means to interact with nature. From birdsong to poetry, from Petri-dish to microscope, this is a joyful union of meandering thoughts and intimate memories.

The Barley Bird Notes on a Suffolk Nightingale

The Barley Bird Notes on a Suffolk Nightingale

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/04/2010

Wild Cooking Recipes, Tips and Other Improvisations in the Kitchen

Wild Cooking Recipes, Tips and Other Improvisations in the Kitchen

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2009

Richard Mabey's sparky, offbeat book is about canny and inventive making-do, or 'busking in the kitchen'. Whether creating a cassoulet which uses English ingredients, making bread from chestnuts or slow-cooking a Peking duck in front of an ancient fan heater, he encourages us to be daring and imaginative in our cooking and our approach to food. Although it contains wonderful, mouth-watering recipes like broad bean hummus, pumpkin soup and fillet-steak hearts this is more than a recipe book - it is a guide to a whole new way of thinking that embraces scrumping, celebrates picnics, and revels in saving energy wherever it can, whether that's by one-pot feasts or cooling on car radiators. After all, if you care about food 'life's too short not to stuff a mushroom'. Previously published in hardback as The Full English Cassoulet.

The Full English Cassoulet Making Do In The Kitchen

The Full English Cassoulet Making Do In The Kitchen

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/10/2008

Richard Mabey began experimenting with cooking as soon as he was big enough to clamber to the cupboard where the powdered chocolate was kept. At scout camp he learned how to cook a Sussex Pond Pudding in a billy-can, and thirty years ago he permanently broadened the nation's palate with his guide to edible wild plants, Food For Free. His new book is a joyous exploration of local ingredients, broadening your horizons by travelling, vernacular heritage, and making use of everything except, as the saying goes, 'the pig's squeal'. It includes: *Collecting Corsican chestnut receipes and American mushroom ideas, and meditating on what a forest-food culture would have been like; * Cooking eggs in nothing but the sun; * Making bread the prehistoric way - with old beer; * Exploring the outer limits of apple cusine (i.e. the outer limit is making leather out of apples); * 'Cooking against the grain' - if we didn't have access to wheat, what could we make with nuts? * How to deal with gluts - those autumn mountains of beans and courgettes; * Making-do the wartime way - canny tricks his mother taught him; re-introducing his father's passion for offals.

Nature Cure

Nature Cure

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/06/2008

In the last year of the old millennium, Richard Mabey, Britain's foremost nature writer, fell into a severe depression. The natural world - which since childhood had been a source of joy and inspiration for him - became meaningless. Then, cared for by friends, he moved to East Anglia and he started to write again. Having left the cosseting woods of the Chiltern hills for the open flatlands of Norfolk, Richard Mabey found exhilaration in discovering a whole new landscape and gained fresh insights into our place in nature. Structured as intricately as a novel, a joy to read, truthful, exquisite and questing, Nature Cure is a book of hope, not just for individuals, but for our species.

Food for Free

Food for Free

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/04/2007

A complete guide to help you safely identify edible species that grow around us, together with detailed artworks, field identification notes and recipes. First published in 1972, this updated edition of Richard Mabey's cult bestseller has been revised to reflect the ever-increasing eco-awareness and popular interest in finding different, and more natural, sources of food. Each of the 240 types of fruit, nut, flower, seaweed, fungi and shellfish featured has its own identification field notes and artwork. Understand and learn about the fascinating edible species that you may come across and, with the help of the numerous recipes also included, find out the best way to pick and enjoy them. Beautifully illustrated and written, `Food for Free' will inspire you to take more notice of the natural harvest that surrounds us, learn how to make use of it and conserve it for future generations.

Gilbert White A Biography of the Author of The Natural History of Selborne

Gilbert White A Biography of the Author of The Natural History of Selborne

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/03/2007

With more than two hundred editions, Gilbert White's The Natural History of Selborne is one of the most published books in the English language. An environmental study of the eighteenth-century Hampshire parish where White was born and later served as curate, the book is distinguished by the author's meticulous observations of plant and animal life-the minute particulars -and his uncanny sense of their interdependence. His book is both the definitive expression of the English love for countryside and a cornerstone of all environmental writing.In this Whitbread Prize-winning biography, Richard Mabey-whom the Times has called Britain's foremost nature writer -looks at the life from which the celebrated work grew. This is not an easy task. Although White's findings did not go unnoticed in his own time (much of the Selborne book's contents are in fact letters to Thomas Pennant, one of the era's leading zoologists), relatively little is known about this minor clergyman, who made twenty pounds a year and rarely ventured outside his parish. Mabey visits not only the public and private records but the environs of Selborne, which survive to this day and are remarkably unchanged. A portrait of exceptional detail emerges, and we begin to see very clearly this singular man whose superb scientific eye was complemented by a patient curiosity (he valued observing over collecting) and an emotional investment in his work that still speaks to us. White typifies the eclectic but intense engagement that has nearly vanished in our era of scientific specialization. We recognize in his work a crucial shift in the human perception of nature-as something benign rather than as an adversary.The first U.S. edition of this classic biography coincides with a new BBC documentary on Gilbert White, for which Mabey is a featured commentator. These are only the latest reminders of the fascination White's book has exercised upon readers for two centuries.

Nature Cure

Nature Cure

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/02/2007

Early in Nature Cure Richard Mabey returns continually to the swift, who in its spectacular migration may not touch down for well over a year. In Ted Hughes's phrase, the reappearance of the swifts tells us that the globe's still working. When we encounter the author in the opening pages of this powerful memoir, his corner of the globe is decidedly not working. A deep depression has left him alienated from his work and his family, financially insecure, and has cost him the Chiltern home in which he has lived his entire life. The open flatlands of his new home in East Anglia-an area now dominated by agriculture, and once so desolate that it harbored an inland lighthouse-could not be more different from the dense Chiltern woods he is leaving behind. Mabey wonders frankly if this move is a crucial part of his becoming, finally, a true adult, or if it is just the latest step in the wrong direction his life has mysteriously taken. Mabey fears that he, like the swift, may be too specialized-given to an intensely specific way of life which, when threatened, leaves him with nowhere to turn. A life spent observing nature has taught him that any creature, even an entire species, might be made suddenly obsolete by the shifts of the world. Just how adaptable is he? He leaves the Chilterns with a near-complete set of the works of John Clare and an antique microscope, but without a frying pan. From now on he will have to think about a complete life, not just those bases he touched as a writer following his calling. It is through this escape to another life, this flitting, that his healing begins, in often unexpected ways. Mabey's despair stems from an inability to connect with his writing and with the nature that inspires it; the book's power lies in the way he relates this distance from nature to a larger problem in modern life-and in the remarkable process by which his reengagement with nature leads Mabey out of his depression and back to passion and wonder.

Gilbert White A biography of the author of The Natural History of Selborne

Gilbert White A biography of the author of The Natural History of Selborne

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/06/2006

When the pioneering naturalist Gilbert White (1720-93) wrote The Natural History of Selborne (1789), he created one of the greatest and most influential natural history works of all time, his detailed observations about birds and animals providing the cornerstones of modern ecology. In this award-winning biography, Richard Mabey tells the wonderful story of the clergyman - England's first ecologist - whose inspirational naturalist's handbook has become an English classic.

Food For Free

Food For Free

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/08/2004

The ideal portable companion, the world-renowned Collins Gem series returns with a fresh new look and updated material. This is the perfect pocket guide for aspiring foragers. Over 100 edible plants are listed, fully illustrated and described, together with recipes and other fascinating details on their use throughout the ages. Practical advice on how to pick along with information on countryside laws and regulations on picking wild plants helps you to plan your foray with a feast in mind. This is the ideal book for both nature lovers and cooks keen to enjoy what the countryside has to offer.

Beechcombings

Beechcombings

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/11/1999

Beech trees reached Britain about 8,000 years ago, and they were workhorses, not ornaments - fuel for Rome's glassworks; firewood for London; oars for the ships of Venice; raw material for furniture, cut and turned by 'bodgers' who lived like nomads among the trees in huts made of beechwood shavings. Mabey covers Europe as well as Britain, and autobiography as well as history and natural history. His beeches are characterful - 'hectic, gale-sculpted, gnomic' - and he writes about the bluebells, orchids, fungi, deer and badgers associated with them, as well as the narratives we tell about trees and the images we make of them. Many other kinds of tree are featured, and the portraits and celebrations of the beech always point to the larger story. More than all this, Beechcombings is a personal investigation of the ambivalent, engimatic relationship that humans have with trees.

Selected Writings 1974-1999

Selected Writings 1974-1999

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/02/1999

Selected Writings includes the bext of Richard Mabey's important and wide-ranging journalism, from nature diaries to writings on travel and environmental art, to full-blown investigations of forestry, farmi ng and developmental scandals. We meet flamingos in the Camargue flamenco singers in Extremaduran cork-oak forest; the sculptor David Nash's 'Wooden Boulder' and the biologist James Lovelock's theory of Gaia; the grim environmental imagery of the Gulf War and the inspiration of the recovery of our woodland from the devastation of the great storms of 1987 and 1990: an archetypal village in Middle England, and the teeming cosmopolitan wildlife of London's East End. Through the many disparate pieces run the common threads of creativity and autonomy of nature, the importance of the sense of locality, and our thraldom to the seasons. And as the national debate about the future of the coutnryside moves ever more centre stage, so the themes which have been explored in Mabey's writings take on a new relevance.

Concise Flora Britannica

Concise Flora Britannica

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/10/1998

Illustrated throughout in colour, this is a concise edition of Flora Britannica. It is organised thematically, rather than botanically and includes the personal anecdotes, observations and regional knowledge of people from all over Britain.

Flora Britannica

Flora Britannica

Author: Richard Mabey Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/10/1996

Flora Britannica covers the native and naturalised plants of England, Scotland and Wales, and, while full of fascinating history, is topical and modern. Indeed, Flora Britannica is the definitive contemporary flora, an encyclopaedia of living folklore, a register - a sort of Domesday Book. It is unique in that it is not a botanical flora but a cultural one - an account of the role of wild plants in social life, arts, custom and landscape. It is also unique in that information has been supplied by the people themselves. Five years of intensive original research have aroused popular interest and `grassroots' involvement on an exceptional scale. People all over Britain - both rural and urban - have been encouraged to record and celebrate the cultural dimensions of their own flora, and to send their memories and anecdotes, observations and regional knowledge to Flora Britannica. The result is a nationwide record of the popular culture, domestic uses and social meanings of our wild plants. It is both useful and delightful - superbly written by one of the most outstanding English authors on natural history and illustrated with nearly 500 photographs. Including trees and ferns, it covers 1,000 species, many of them in considerable detail. A new flora for the people, Flora Britannica is a testimony to the continuing relationship between nature and human beings, and a celebration that the seasons and the landscape, local character and identity, still matter in Britain.

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