review: The RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants

The RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants

The Royal Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants (4th edition)

If you are looking for a garden book to keep you busy for awhile, this one may hit that target. It is a tome, and at over 1000 pages, it has information galore. In addition to the individual plant entries, it also includes a guide to using the book as well as some botany information that will make reading the book easier (as well as understanding the relationships between plants and how they grow). Color photographs are included throughout (though not for every single entry) and show either a close-up of the leaf, fruit, or blossom, or a full photo for larger plants like some trees. With over 15,000 entries, this book includes a really large number of the plants you might want to know about.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the University of Michigan via the MeLCat interlibrary loan system


David Sedaris live in A2

David Sedaris-4
David Sedaris-4 originally uploaded by mhuang

As an early birthday present for me, we went to see David Sedaris speak in Ann Arbor last night. As usual, he was awesome. We’ve seen him before (actually he was in Canton almost exactly a year ago) but I think that last night’s reading was the best I’ve heard him do. The event was sponsored by Michigan Radio and Christina Shockley provided the introduction, letting us know that (as advertised) Sedaris would be reading from his most recent book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames. We heard him read pieces from that last fall, but that was before it was officially published, so I figured that a repeat might actually be slightly different. Plus, hearing him read his work is always satisfying whether it’s a repeat or not.

However, when he came out on stage, he replied to Shockley’s introduction, saying, “actually, I won’t be. I’m sick to death of it, so I’m going to read some new things.”*  The crowd got very excited and rightfully so, as the material he read was hilarious, touching, and insightful in the way his writing usually is. Sedaris read a piece that will be published in the New Yorker next week which was beyond funny. It’s a piece about the upcoming election and since I won’t do it justice trying to sum it up, I’ll just say this: in the telling of it, we learned that the New Yorker will happily publish the phrase “platter of shit” but they will not print the words “human shit.”

He also read from his diary (including a bit he wrote the night he spoke in Canton last year – something a flight attendant told him about walking the aisles of airplanes while farting out loud under the cover of the engine noise, a practice they call crop dusting, LOL) and some other pieces that may make it into his next book or other venues.

I’m so glad we got the tickets to see him speak. It was a perfect pre-birthday treat.

*quote from memory, probably not actually accurate