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Origin & Spreading of the Cultivated Chrysanthemum

Articles: Origin & Spreading of the Cultivated Chrysanthemum

Reading this book made me feel very small. It is the definitive reference book on chrysanthemums for the foreseeable future. Even better, it is not particularly long and organized into helpful sections. It is written with a commendable clarity and parsimony. Minor lapses in English are completely unimportant.

The first half deals with floriculture and floral commerce in the modern world. The second half takes care of the long and complex history of this beautiful flower in both Asia and the Western hemisphere.

The only problem is that Menheer Spaargaren is so modest one needs a microscope to see his name at the bottom of the title page. His website indicates that has a very strong background in horticulture, history and plant genetics.

The history and background of modern cut flowers and how they appeared in all their dazzling variety has interested me for many years. One can walk into an ordinary American supermarket and find six different cultivars of a flower like the chrysanthemum. This seems unremarkable but is in fact extraordinary. Like the wallpaper no one even thinks about it.

One of the late Richard Gorer’s books first drew my attention to this topic. In “The ...

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