John Suskewich is Book Manager for Shop in the Garden.
At Shop in the Garden we celebrate the 2010 edition of The Orchid Show with two
marvelous books that show the fascination these charismatic plants have had on artists, horticulturists, and botanists over the years.
Surely one of the most useful orchid books to come down the pike in a long while is Bloom-Again Orchids by judywhite (sic. for that is indeed the way to spell her name, all lowercase, like a specific epithet).
Here is a book designed to correct an all-too-common condition: orchids that sit on windowsills and sulk without either growing or dying. By emphasizing plants that normal human beings can cajole into bloom and are likely to encounter in the marketplace, i.e., big-box stores, supermarket shelves, mall kiosks, florist windows, and of course, botanical garden gift shops, Bloom-Again Orchids is accessible and unique. It demystifies home orchid-growing in a very concise way, with an A-to-Z of 50 beautiful varieties, each one annotated with an easy-to-understand, 12-point checklist.
The second book is one that is good to have available again: Volume 17 of The Works of Charles Darwin: The Various Contrivances by Which Orchids are Fertilized by Insects. In this work the controversial naturalist continues his investigation of adaptations in the natural world. His astonishing powers of detailed observation combined with his sense of something larger at work are conveyed with an ease and naturalness that is pure poetry.
Both books, of course, are available at Shop in the Garden.