Narrative Non-Fiction Gardening Books

The botany of desire : a plant's-eye view of the world

Michael Pollan.


Seasoned garden writer Michael Pollan explores the histories of apples, tulips, potatoes, and marijuana, showing in the process how humanity and plants intersect and affect each other.

The brother gardeners : botany, empire and the birth of an obsession

Andrea Wulf.


"The Brother Gardeners" follows the lives of six 18th-century naturalists whose shared passion for plants gave rise to the English love affair with gardens. The text paints a vivid portrait of an emerging world of knowledge and of gardening as it is known today.

Orchid fever : a horticultural tale of love, lust, and lunacy

Eric Hansen.


A seductive journey into the obsessive, outrageous, and mesmerizing world of orchids. From the steaming jungles of Borneo to the hallowed hallways of Kew Gardens, from the clandestine orchid nurseries of Europe to the peat bogs of northern Minnesota, here are luscious, sexy flowers, orchid smugglers, fist-fighting botanists, moths with twelve-inch-long tongues, and government officials who raid orchid nurseries with attack dogs and automatic weap...

The orchid thief

Susan Orlean.


In Susan Orlean's mesmerizing true story of beauty and obsession is John Laroche, a renegade plant dealer and sharply handsome guy, in spite of the fact that he is missing his front teeth and has the posture of al dente spaghetti. In 1994, Laroche and three Seminole Indians were arrested with rare orchids they had stolen from a wild swamp in south Florida that is filled with some of the world's most extraordinary plants and trees. Laroche had pla...

Otherwise normal people : inside the thorny world of competitive rose gardening

Aurelia C. Scott.


Scott trails self-professed Roseaholics as they plan, prepare, and compete in the annual national rose show, documenting how they celebrate the singular satisfaction of cultivating beauty--and, of course, the thrill of victory.

Wicked plants : the weed that killed Lincoln's mother & other botanical atrocities

Amy Stewart ; etchings by Briony Morrow-Cribbs ; illustrations by Jonathon Rosen.


A tree that sheds poison daggers; a glistening red seed that stops the heart; a shrub that causes paralysis; a vine that strangles; and a leaf that triggered a war. In "Wicked Plants," Stewart takes on over two hundred of Mother Nature's most appalling creations. It's an A to Z of plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend. You'll learn which plants to avoid (like exploding shrubs), which plants make themselves exceedingly unwelcome...

Farm City : The Education of an Urban Farmer

Novella Carpenter.

Biography, Nonfiction

FOR: Gardeners and urbanites alike.

Urban and rural collide in this wry, inspiring memoir of a woman who turned a vacant lot in downtown Oakland into a thriving farm.  Novella Carpenter loves cities - the culture, the crowds, the energy. At the same time, she can't shake the fact that she is the daughter of two back-to-the-land hippies who taught her to love nature and eat vegetables. Ambivalent about repeating her parents' disastrous mist...