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Auriculas through the Ages Bear's Ears, Ricklers and Painted Ladies by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

Auriculas through the Ages Bear's Ears, Ricklers and Painted Ladies


Auriculas through the Ages Bear's Ears, Ricklers and Painted Ladies by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

In this unique book established garden writer Patricia Cleveland-Peck tells the story of the auricula's journey from its native Alpine habitat into the gardens of Europe and beyond. She introduces the reader to some of the interesting characters who felt passionately about the auricula and discovers the important social role it played as it was transformed by skilled florists from the simple Bear's Ear to one of today's most refined and exquisite cultivars.


'The outrageously beautiful auricula - whether in its simple, 'primitive'
form seen lodged in Alpine turf, or bred to the highest refinement for the urban show bench

- captivates the hearts of gardeners and non-gadeners alike. But this tiny plant is more than an object of desire: it brings in its wake a spellbinding history that stretches back more than four hundred years. Roses apart, no other ornamental plant has such an intimate association with mankind. The saga is intriguing, and supreme among the tales of splendour and disappointment are the growers, breeders and exhibitors who have dedicated themselves to that seemingly impossible task: to improve on Nature itself. Many have succeeded, and Patricia Cleveland-Peck's energetic and revealing investigation [illuminated by Elisabeth Dowle's beautiful paintings] makes for an informative page-turning experience that no lover of these highly desirable plants will want to miss.
David Wheeler

* Hortus * 'Elisabeth Dowle's style perfectly suits the delicate and exquisite auriculas she paints so beautifully. Her subtle, immaculate touch for the velvety flowers, with their intricate rims, really harks back to the past and masters like Ehret and Redoute and to the contemporary artist Rory McEwen. Her execution of the leaves ranges from mossy greens to silky greys, faithfully recording the idiosyncrasies of each hybrid. Her treatment of buds and flowering stems is amazingly accurate, making each study a true plant portrait. She has clearly been captivated by her subject. Each portrait urges the viewer to do what I intend to do - start growing auriculas again!
Dr Shirley Sherwood, author, curator and collector of botanical art

About the Author

Patricia Cleveland-Peck is an established freelance garden writer who was educated at the Sorbonne and Trinity College Dublin. She has contributed to The Garden, Gardens Illustrated, Hortus, The English Garden, History Today and many other publications. Her travels have taken her to historic gardens in Europe, jungles of Borneo, temple gardens in Japan and on a botanical safari in Kenya. She has also compiled programmes for BBC radios 3 & 4. Elisabeth Dowle is a botanical illustrator working in watercolour on paper and vellum. She has received seven gold medals from the RHS including one for a selection of plates from this book. She has had two solo exhibitions at the Hortus Gallery in London. Her work is in many private collections including The Shirley Sherwood Collection, The RHS Lindley Library, The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in the United States and The Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. She has illustrated fifteen books including The New Oxford Book of Food Plants.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st March 2011


Patricia Cleveland-Peck

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The Crowood Press Ltd


184 pages


Gardening: flowers



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