You have to love a book that starts with the chapter "Why are Some Places So Flowery?" In contrast to so many books that warn of what we are destroying in nature, writer/photographer Bob Gibbons created Wildflower Wonders: The 50 Best Wildflower Sites in the World to celebrate the "...beautiful and flowery places that are still left in the world." A photographic homage to nature's serendipity.
There are a generous 200 photos in this book and most look like the kind of wildflower meadow we all envision creating, but never achieve, because these meadows, woodlands, screes, are simply allowed to happen. The rare areas left relatively untouched are wonderful reminders of what our native habitats used to be and Gibbons focuses on the areas where the display is so vast and lovely, it becomes spectacle. We can't live entirely without disrupting nature, but thank goodness there are still a few places left to revel in it.
The 50 featured sites were chosen by Gibbons. Each has a brief, but intense period of beauty. The Lady's Slipper Orchids in the woodlands of Estonia, the combination of golden Gorse and blue rosemary on a cliff top of Portugal's Cape St. Vincent, the rusts and golds of the shrubby landscape between Cape Town and Hermanus, South Africa and the blazing fields of Liatris, laceflowers and daisies covering Carrizo Plain National Monument in Southern California Although the climates vary, Gibbons notes that in each locations "...you can feel the rush to complete flowering, pollination and fruiting, and this is matched by the frantic activity of animals and birds in the habitat."
The book is divided by continents and then countries. Sidebars tell us the exact location, reasons to go (as if the photos aren't enough) and peak times. Within the text, Gibbons talks about what you'll see and featured plants, some general background about the area and what makes each pick so special - what features come together to create this particular spectacle.
The resources section at the back of the book has a useful list of web sites for further information on preserves and parks around the world, travel sites and tour operators, for some of the more remote, protected sites.
- Princeton University Press, 2011
- Hardcover, 192 pages
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