In Brief

Bobby J. Ward traverses the mundane to the mystical in this passionate study of eighty garden plants as they appear in literature and myth.. "Quotations from poems, novels, plays, and stories, some as recent as the nineteenth century, some dating from ancient Greece, vividly illustrate the rich histories of our favorite plants. This book traces the origins of both scientific or Latin names and common names for each plant. And Ward explains each plant's place in historical events, its connection to Greek and Roman - or other - mythologies, its use in religious ceremonies, its symbolism in the arts, or its traditional medicinal uses.


Critical Acclaim of A Contemplation Upon Flowers

"One can open this book on any page and find something very special."
—Betty Mackey, Hunt, November/December 2001

"This work besides being pleasurable reading may have particular value as a source of tales and quotations... "
—Joann Karges, Sida, Contributions to Botany, March 2000

"Altogether a pleasing book for dipping into, with charming prose and poetry that discusses beliefs about plants such as ivy and lilies, primroses and poppies, daisies and buttercups."
—Judy Glattstein, Home Monthly, September 1999

"This is a timeless book than can be picked up and enjoyed again and again, and I will."
—Marjorie Daughtridge, Pinehurst Pilot, September 13, 1999

"Rich with literary references, this book would be useful for public speakers or writers, but anyone who appreciates plants will enjoy dipping into it for simple reading pleasure."
—Marge Howard-Jones, California Garden, May/June 2000

"This book offers much information and entertainment."
Library Journal, August 28, 1999

"The book captures the historical significance of each flower."
—Marty Figley, Michigan Observer and Eccentric, March 30, 2000

"A Contemplation Upon Flowers: Garden Plants in Myth and Literature offers new terrain for a garden romp."
—Gloria Mazure, Albany Times Union, March 12, 2000

From casual flirtations to lifelong affairs, Bobby Ward probes our relationships to the flowers of gardens, fields and forests. With the relentless fervor of the paparazzi, he delves into literature past and present to unveil the joyful as well as the dark emotions that plants incite. His sumptuous commentary brings to life writers who exult the triumphs and lament the tragedies that have inextricably bound us to ornamental plants throughout history. "
—C. Colston Burrell, Horticulture, September 1999

"A Contemplation Upon Flowers is an exceptional read, full of enticing, well researched, beautifully crafted words that bring to life many of the plants we already grow in our gardens. As a lecturer and plantsman, I found myself unable to put it down – each page revealing a multi-dimensional, highly entertaining, 'take' on the plants we as horticulturists have already come to appreciate. I will find Bobby Ward's work eminently useful in my writing, lecturing and for simply embracing more exuberantly the historical interaction between the plants I grow and the human condition. A requisite adjunct to any botanical or horticultural reference book currently available! "

—Dan Hinkley, Pacific Horticulture, Fall 1999

"Ward is meticulous in identifying the particular plants referred to in the literary selections he quotes."
Library Journal, August 1, 1999

"If a gardener's curiosity about plants seems to increase the longer one plants, prunes, and propagates, this excellent meditation on plants will help appease such inquisitive tendencies."
Booklist, August 1, 1999







Photo Gallery

Travel Journal


Send Mail