Search our site
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron Read the opening extract of the brand new Sophie Cameron book before its publication on 22/03/2018

Geranium by Kasia Boddy


Geranium by Kasia Boddy

Reaktion's new 'Botanical' series is the first of its kind, integrating horticultural and botanical writing with a broader account of the cultural and social impact of plants. In that sense, the South African geranium (the enduring, if confusing, common name for the genus Pelargonium) is perhaps the perfect plant to inaugurate the series. The story of the geranium's inexorable rise encompasses many other historical narratives: from plant hunting to commercial cultivation; from the role of plants in alternative medicine and the philanthropic imagination to changing styles in horticultural fashion. Geraniums were first collected by seventeenth-century Dutch plant hunters on the sandy flats near present-day Cape Town, and before long wealthy collectors and enterprising nurserymen were competing for this latest rarity to grace their hothouses. But the geranium was not destined to be a fashionable exotic for long: scarlet hybrids were soon to be found on every cottage windowsill and in every park bedding display, and the horticultural backlash began. Today geraniums can be found throughout the world, their widespread use in food and perfume manufacture as well as floral display exemplifying the global industrialization of plant production. In Geranium, Kasia Boddy details how the cheerful and amenable geranium remains a plant that many love and others love to hate, but above all it is a flower that is seldom ignored. Featuring numerous fine illustrations, Geranium explores the ever-changing image of the plant as portrayed in painting, literature, film and popular culture worldwide.

About the Author

Kasia Boddy is lecturer in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge and has published widely on British and American literature and film. She is the author of Boxing: A Cultural History (Reaktion, 2008) and The American Short Story Since 1950 (2010), and is editor of The New Penguin Book of American Short Stories (2011).

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

31st December 2012


Kasia Boddy

More books by Kasia Boddy
Author 'Like for Like'


Reaktion Books


224 pages


Trees, wildflowers & plants



I love 'try before you buy' extracts. I love the wide range of authors & genres. I love the author info. I love books!

Judi Davies

Why I love @lovereadinguk? It's in the name - as dedicated lovers of reading, they are perfect matchmakers for helping me find my next read!

Catherine Jenkins

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart

Lovereading tells me about new books before they hit the shelves, lets me find other authors I may like and has great prize draws!

Sheila Dale

I love the 'like for like' author recommendations, it's like an old friend whispering in your ear.

Emma Caddick

I love that Lovereading handpicks very special debut reads.

Magda North

For me, to read is to learn, to reflect, to escape, to think, to contemplate and my time for space and calm.

Sally Ellsmore

Love books. Love reading. Love reading books. And, here's the trick. Here's a website which caters for people like me.

Ian Harvey-brown