The Curious Lives and Adventures of the John Tradescants
(London, Atlantic Books, hb 2006, pb 2007)
In seventeenth-century Britain, a new breed of ‘curious’ gardeners was pushing at the frontiers of knowledge and new plants were stealing into Europe from East and West. John Tradescant and his son were at the vanguard of this change – as gardeners, as collectors and above all as exemplars of an age that began in wonder and ended with the dawning of science. Jennifer Potter’s book vividly evokes the drama of their lives and takes its readers to the edge of an expanding universe. Strange Blooms is a magnificent pleasure for gardeners and non-gardeners alike.
‘A wonderful book … The Renaissance delight in the sheer protean variety of stuff that there is in the world has met its ideal presenter in Jennifer Potter’s open pleasure in details.’
‘A tour de force … We owe Potter a huge debt of gratitude for the tireless research and sifting of evidence that have allowed the Tradescants and their great legacy to emerge so clearly at last.’