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Inspiration for Fall Decorating and Entertaining

Camille Styles- book image

Most people talk about “spring cleaning” but in my house, fall is when I get the urge to tackle a deep clean and move everything. I swap out the light and bright colors of summer for heavier blankets and darker colors for accessorizing. I’ve also started adding to my collection of decorating and lifestyle books and bookmarking my favorite images and tips for future contemplation. While looking at my growing list of must reads, I’m excited to see an increasing mix of titles from design bloggers alongside the traditional interior designers. Some of the traditional and popular interior designers can feel a little intimidating, but still provide beautiful aspirational ideas. The new design bloggers incorporate a little more “how” into their approach creating a terrific balance of high – low when tackling a redecorating project. I'm also loving the "lifestyle" book that mixes a few categories: cooking, decorating, fashion, and entertaining. A few I’m collecting now are:

1. Sarah Style by Sarah Richardson
Sarah style

2. Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures by Lara Spencer
Fea market fabulous


3. The Handbuilt Home: 34 Simple Stylish and Budget Friendly Woodworking Projects for Every Room by Ana White
Handbuilt home

4. Camille Styles Entertaining: Inspired Gatherings and Effortless Style by Camille Styles
Camille Styles

5. The Nesting Place: It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquilyn Smith
Nesting Place

6. Markham Roberts: Decorating the Way I See It by Markham Roberts
Markham Roberts

7. Mary McDonald: Interiors: The Allure of Style by Mary McDonald
Mary McDonald

8. Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun by Daphne Oz
Relish

9.Vintage Industrial: Licing with Machine Age Design by Misha de Potestad
Vintage industrial

10. Novel Living: Collecting, Decorating, and Crafting with Books by Lisa Occhipinti
Novel Living

 

Amy Stewart's Cocktailian Tribute to Elizabeth Gilbert's "The Signature of All Things"

Sig-coverAmy Stewart's anecdotal guide to intoxicating plants, The Drunken Botanist, includes almost every family but moss, the lush creeper that's the object of Alma Whittaker's botanical affections in Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things.

But moss's mixological unsuitability didn't deter Stewart from concocting a signature cocktail in tribute to Gilbert's novel--an ideal drink for book clubs who've joined Alma in a state of intoxicated wonder at the natural world. Below, Stewart talks about her inspiration for a drink she readily admits is weird.

The Drunken Botanist and The Signature of All Things were both selected by Amazon's editors as two of the top 100 Best Books of 2013.

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Signature of All Things cocktailAmy Stewart: I ran into Elizabeth Gilbert at a party last spring where we swapped stories about botany for the better part of an hour. The woman was glowing—glowing!—with excitement over moss, weird botanical history, and obscure plant science, all of which figured into her newest work, The Signature of All Things.

I knew at that moment that Elizabeth would appreciate a deep green, mossy libation in a completely un-ironic way, and since I had just published The Drunken Botanist, I felt compelled to create the perfect botanical cocktail in celebration of her novel.

The rest of you are free to appreciate it in an ironic way. I'll admit that it's a weird-looking drink, but then again, moss is a weird-looking plant. This cocktail has been thoroughly taste-tested by a group of discerning drinkers and pronounced delightful. I only hope it is worthy of Alma Whittaker. Oh, and don't worry—no actual moss was harmed in the making of the drink.

The Signature of All Things Cocktail

1.5 oz. Odwalla Superfood, Naked Green Machine, or another fruity green juice

1 oz. Botanist Gin

.5 oz. St-Germain elderflower liqueur

1 dash orange bitters

Lemon wedge

2 oz. sparkling wine

Fern for garnish

Combine the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Squeeze the lemon wedge into the shaker, add ice, and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a fern or another unusual leaf.

(Note: Braken ferns can be toxic if eaten in large quantity. This garnish is not intended to be eaten.)

Finding Cosmos in a Bed of Moss: Our Interview with Elizabeth Gilbert

If you know Elizabeth Gilbert from her Eat, Pray, Love reputation or her books about rough men, a birth-to-death novel about a Victorian-era woman who becomes a moss taxonimist--in spite of staying largely confined to her family's estate until she's 50--probably sounds like a surprisingly introverted turn. But The Signature of All Things is an earthy, elegant, deeply sensual novel, dazzling in its breadth and passion. Through the life of her heroine, Alma, we glimpse the whole cosmos, its infinite worlds within worlds.

My conversation with Gilbert in Seattle last spring was one of the highlights of my book-loving life, so I decided to post a lightly edited transpcript of our conversation, broken it out by topic, so you can listen in and jump to the topics that most intrigue you.

On the Desire to Explore, Sublimated & Indulged

Mari Malcolm: There’s a persistent theme of exploration in your books—of yearning to become the person you need to be and going in search of it. When Eat, Pray, Love came out, a lot of people had the reaction of “I want to do that, but I can’t go travel and have these profound experiences because I don’t have the money, or I don’t have the time, or I’m just not at liberty to go anywhere.” I felt like that experience of frustrated longing was really beautifully explored in this book through Alma’s life—she figured out a way to explore, despite her constraints. Was that conscious?

Elizabeth Gilbert: It was conscious, but not in the sense of being a direct answer. That’s a question I get a lot from people after reading Eat, Pray, Love: “I want to do that, but I can’t do that, so what should I do?” I completely respect the ways people are bound in the lives that they have, whether it’s because of forces outside of their control or choices that they’ve made that they want to honor with their own responsibilities and obligations—taking care of people around them or being a part of a community, or their work, or whatever keeps them in one place, and those responsibilities may be in conflict with desires that they have to get divorced and move to India.” [Laughs]

I was really interested in the idea of 19th-century botanical exploration. There were so many great male botanical explorers, and there were so many great female botanical illustrators, because they couldn’t go on the trips. But when the men would come home with their drawings and sketches of these exotic plants, it was invariably the wives and daughters of the explorers who did that work for them, especially the painting and the lithography. And of course, women like flowers, and botany was the only science that women could really participate in because it wasn’t considered unladylike.

With Alma, I really wanted to explore what would happen to a woman with a tremendous mind, with tremendous potential and curiosity, if she couldn’t leave her home. What do you do? I’m interested in how people sublimate their desire for knowledge and exploration when they can’t leave their house. Half the book is about that.

And then it’s so funny, because about halfway through the book I fling her out into the world because even I couldn’t take it anymore. [Laughs] And I was like, ahhh, hell with it, she’s going on an adventure! She’s 50 years old, and it’s time for her to see the world. And her life as an adventurer really begins at 50, which also fascinated me, because I see that happen a lot for women who can’t travel when they’re young, and then their kids grow up and they become amazing adventurers. Travel is not only for the young. Sometimes it’s wasted on the young.

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On the Books That Inspired The Signature of All Things

MM: What sparked your obsession with botanical explorers?

EG: So this whole project came out of the rediscovery of a family treasure, something I had always known about but had not touched in many years. My great-grandfather was a book collector, and he had somehow—probably around 1915—acquired this exceedingly rare, very beautiful 1784, printed-in-London edition of Captain Cook’s Three Voyages Around the World. And it’s really a spectacular book. It looks like something that should be on a magician’s bookshelf, and we had it in our house when we were kids, and it was one of the objects in our house that we could not touch, ‘cause it was really much nicer than anything that my family deserved to have [laughs] in our farmhouse, on our Christmas tree farm. And because of the fact that it was the biggest book in the house, and one that looked the most exotic, and almost talismanic and hypnotic, of course I touched it all the time, and recently discovered—or my mother discovered—that I had in fact scrawled my name in it as a child, when I was four years old, misspelled, but I’d laid claim to that book.

That book ended up in my hands because I was the person who’d destroyed its value, so my parents were like, “Ah, you might as well have it.” And I found, at the age of forty, that I was just as fascinated with the book as I was at four.  And it led me to look more closely at Captain Cook and then very quickly to make that charismatic jump to Joseph Banks, who I think is a more interesting character, and his scientific passion and botanical exploration became the basis for the entire book.

MM: Which other books were essential?

LG: I read—oh God, I read so much. For three years, all I did was read for hours and hours and hours a day. Kind of ruined my eyes on this. But there was this weird kind of 19th-century glory in that, too, because all those guys ruined their eyes. They were always writing in letters, “I’ve ruined my eyes, I’ve ruined my health from my studiousness!”—they were such scholars. So I felt a kinship, like “I’m going blind!” [Laughs] There’s such a noble history in ruining your eyes by over-reading.

I read hundreds of books, but some of the key ones—there were some great biographies of Alfred Russel Wallace that were really important in shaping the end of the book. There were some writings of some of the wonderful 19th-century botanists. There was a woman named Mary Treat who lived in New Jersey and was a correspondent of Darwin, and she corrected him on carnivorous plants—she was an expert on them because of living in the swamps. So they had a long correspondence, and he really admired her. And there were other greats as well.

But their letters: that’s where you hear their voices. So I read so many letters, and not just letters of naturalists and scientists of the day, but there’s a great journal that a lot of historians reach for, that a late-19th-century Philadelphia housewife kept for her entire existence, and it’s become this kind of bedrock of Philadelphia history.

MM: Is that the journal you quote where she says that the weather’s backwards, during the Year Without a Summer? You reference in 1816 a housewife’s diary where she says “weather backwards.”

LG: Yes. And that’s where she says, “snowbells and bluebirds in the same day,” because there were these late snow storms. There’s all this very specific detail that comes from her. And also from Thoreau’s letters and Whitman’s letters, and Emerson’s and Dickinson’s letters—I read all of them just to get a tone, a 19th-century tone of speech and writing that would feel convincing. It was really important to me not to write a book that would pass as a 19th-century novel—I think about The Signature of All Things as a contemporary book about the 19th century. At the same time, I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a word in there that wouldn’t have existed at the time, and dialogue that felt true. And that you can only get from letters, because that’s the closest you can get to overhearing a conversation.

Continue reading "Finding Cosmos in a Bed of Moss: Our Interview with Elizabeth Gilbert" »

Omni Crush: "Lives of the Trees" by Diana Wells

I can't be certain, but it seems like Diana Wells was riffing on Lives of the Artists --that seminal work of art history by the Renaissance artist and critic, Giorgio Vasari-- when she cleverly named her new book, Lives of the Trees.  Like Vasari's sixteenth-century collection of short, but pithy artist biographies, Wells provides readers with nutshell-sized natural histories on a very diverse body of legendary figures.  What Giotto, Brunelleschi, Raphael, and Michelangelo are to Vasari, the Ginko, Baobab, Cypress, Oak, and Mahogany are to Wells' compendium.  Each of the hundred "tree bios" in this totally addictive book will have you gawking at trees (whether common or exotic) with new found appreciation.  I was totally taken in by the first lines of the chapter on the Cherry.

America's favorite cherry, the darkly sweet Bing, owes its name to the Chinese foreman who worked in the Lewelling orchards in Milwaukie, Oregon.  We don't know much about Mr. Ah Bing except that in 1889, after working for thirty-five years in the orchard, he visited China and was not permitted to reenter America.  Poor thanks for his delicious legacy.  (p.73)

Reading this anecdote on the origin of the Bing cherry's name was a bit like eating a single piece of the fruit itself--it delivered a bite-sized burst of flavor that couldn't help me from wanting more.  I devoured the next two and half pages which offered up a fascinating history of the Greek and Latin origins of the word, why George Washington is associated with chopping down the tree, and why the Japanese value cherry blossoms so highly.  What we call, how we use, and appreciate  trees (in words, images, and rituals) across cultures is fascinating.  Thanks to Diana Wells' gem of a book, we have a very handy way of accessing these life stories.

Readers looking for a fully illustrated field guide to trees won't find one in this book (although artist Heather Lovett does provide a loving sketch of each tree's leaves and fruit). For field guides, I'd suggest The Sibley Guide to Trees or just about any Audubon regional field guide on the subject. But,  Lives of the Trees belongs on your reference shelf beside them.   It's the perfect book to dip into from the comfort of your couch or while sipping a drink at the corner cafe--preferably while gazing out the window at the tree that is in full bloom.  

--Lauren

Omni Daily Crush: "Forking Fantastic! Put the Party Back in Dinner Party"


Fact: I fantasize daily about dinner parties. While taming chaos in my garden this weekend, I mentally arranged bouquets, lit candles, and welcomed guests who devoured feasts and warmed the night with stories and drunken laughter, their faces lit by a crackling fire in the imaginary outdoor fireplace.

It’s not a stretch to say that my desire for these sorts of gatherings--fed by shimmering memories of open-air feasts in places and with people I’ve loved--has been my visceral motivation for making our garden, which has consumed most of my non-work time for six years now. This summer, as so much of this sweaty work comes to fruition, we must pause in our labor to celebrate!

Complicating Fact: Dinner parties stress the hell out of me (or rather, they have in the past). The need to keep guests not only occupied, but entertained; the pressure for the food not just to be good, but all hot at the same time. I don’t enough time and energy to recreate anything Martha would endorse, but that hasn't stopped me from trying--and then wondering why I wasn't enjoying my own party.

Everyone deserves the happiness of sharing home-made dinner with friends--and relaxing enough to be truly present. In parties past, I’ve transcended the stress for some wonderful, wine-soaked moments, but I never actually had a blast at my own party until last New Year’s Eve. Seized by the spirit of Zora O’Neill and Tamara Reynolds’s Forking Fantastic! Put the Party Back in Dinner Party, I invited a few friends over for dinner, and when they all accepted, I suddenly realized I had 18 people (OK, one was a baby) coming, and I couldn’t get off work to start cooking until 3:30. Oh, and some were staying the weekend. And the bathrooms weren’t clean, because Amazon’s a busy place during the holidays.

I panicked briefly, then drew courage from Zora and Tamara’s down-to-earth, salty-tongued stories about parties gone wrong but still awesome, and drew from their genius strategies for whipping up not just amazing food, but actual fun for all involved. Infused with their spirit, I put my guests to work in the kitchen, and we got three courses plus dessert on the table by 8:00. We all felt proud of the results, and even more fantastic was the forking amazing feeling we got from participating in that essential human ritual of sharing food and time together.

For a taste of Zora and Tamara’s style, watch this montage of their Sunday Night Dinners (and don’t miss the Naked Chef cameo).

Omni Daily Crush: "Succulent Container Gardens"

When my 5-year-old nephew came by my garden last summer, the otherworldly plants snaking out of my patio containers fascinated him. He wanted to feel them, but when I told him they were succulents, he drew his hand back fast and asked gravely, "What do they suck?" (Cuuuuuute.)

Succulents--a plant gang that includes cacti, the tender and showy echeverias, and cold-hardy sempervivum commonly known as hen and chicks, among others--so do not suck that I'm always amazed when I realize so many people I know and love haven't really noticed them before. For my money, succulents are the most exciting plants for new gardeners. As Debra Lee Baldwin says in her gorgeous new Succulent Container Gardens, "these are plants that allow you to be lazy" and still look amazing--just give them sun, drainage, and a little water every week or two, and they'll reward you by looking plump and happy.

Succulent leaves come in colors rarely found in the natural world (like frosty robin's egg blue and inky purple, pink, and red), in amazing geometric shapes that spiral or drape in green beads or fish hooks. Some look like candy, or have intricate patterns on their leaves. Some look like coral, and when the sun hits them, they seem to glow from the inside so your undersea scene looks surreal and sci-fi. The texture and color combinations you can mix up offer endless creative variety. They're so fun to play with! They're also among the easiest plants to propagate, so you small collection will be fruitful and multiply. And they're amazingly versatile, suiting style from minimalist to quirky to lusciously exuberant, as Succulent Container Gardens so gorgeously illustrates.

Designing with Succulents, Baldwin's previous book, is a seductive guide to integrating succulents into your larger landscape. But beginners seeking the satisfaction of starting small, apartment dwellers, and anyone in a climate that could kill the more tender varieties if they were left outside will be wowed by the planting possibilities (in pots and on walls) on display in Succulent Container Gardens.

It also offers ample inspiration for more seasoned gardeners, from design advice to info on rare varieties. The playfulness of Baldwin's prose is matched by her knowledge, making this both an accessible introduction and a valuable resource.

I've been obsessed with succulents for years, and as I paged through this book for the first time, I think I shouted some obscene expression of admiration every few pages. (Thank God I wasn't in public.) --Mari Malcolm

Omni Daily Crush: "McGee & Stuckey's The Bountiful Container"

This past weekend I decided to make a salad for dinner.  So, I stepped outside, and picked a bowl full of sweet-as-sugar cherry tomatoes from two plastic pots on my terrace.  I can't take all the credit for this moment of late summer bliss--even though I watered the heck out of those scraggly vines during Seattle's record-breaking heat wave in July.  They grew to fruition thanks to Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey.  To them I say:  "Thank you , thank you, horticultural goddesses. You've made me one very happy novice gardener." This green-thumbed duo's container gardening manual, McGee & Stuckey's The Bountiful Container, is essential reading for city rats eager to grow their own delish fruits and veggies, herbs and edible flowers in pots.  I'm not alone in my thanks; the book has 65 rave customer reviews, and counting.

Even the most skeptical apartment dweller can conquer  "plotless" gardening thanks to McGee and Stuckey's manual.  The writing and layout are logical, clear, and encouraging to the inexperienced. As soon as I flipped to the tomato section, I knew I was in good hands.  There are no super glossy, intimidating photos of someone's to-die-for penthouse apartment garden.  Rather, one finds pages mapped out in two neat columns with clearly marked and succinct sections like "Choosing at the Garden Center" and "Tomato Basics."  The hand-drawn illustrations manage to charm and instruct.   Did I mention that this paperback is about the same size and shape as your average novel?  You'll be compelled to read during the morning commute and pencil-in notes.  I'm already envisioning that "winter harvest bowl" of lettuces. 

For do-it-yourself's who've liked: You Grow Girl by Gayla Trail, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, and just about anything by Michael Pollan.   

--Lauren

Omni Daily Crush: "The Big Orange Splot"

As a kid, I was blessed with a marvelous picture-book library (mostly due to the generosity of my children's librarian aunt). My best-loved volumes live on in my living room, where I enjoy sharing them with wee guests. But I recently became aware of a gap in my collection--I had a serious hankering for The Big Orange Splot, which arrived on my scene in the late '70s and somehow got lost in my shuffle to adulthood. Happily, an Amazon package landed on the porch yesterday, reuniting me with Mr. Plumbean.

This particular splot was the work of a seagull, who--out of malice? carelessness? exhaustion? it's not clear--dropped a can of orange paint on Mr. Plumbean's house, blighting his "neat street" and drawing sympathy from his neighbors. But the splot snapped something in Mr. Plumbean, and rather than repaint his house back to drab, he painted--under cover of night--until his house was "like a rainbow. It was like a jungle. It was like an explosion. There was the big orange splot.... And there were pictures of elephants and lions and pretty girls and steamshovels." Then come the palm trees, boababs, and prangipani. Then a hammock and an alligator (chained and lounging).

When the neighbors' shouting doesn't faze him and an appointed representative arrives to talk sense, they sip lemonade all night, while Mr. Plumbean says things like, "My house is me and I am it. My house is where I like to be, and it looks like all my dreams." As his neighbors (one by one) experience his place, they return home to transform their own space into manifestations of their own weird, wonderful imaginations.

This is not a beautiful book--the drawings look like they were done with those nicely smelly markers, possibly by a skilled 8-year-old. The idea that Mr. Plumbean could transform his home (complete with clock tower) and plant an entire garden in under a week is clearly preposterous. But I missed this story so much I had to have it back--in the durable School & Library Binding format, no less--because my husband and I have spent the last five or so years giving ourselves pep talks and spending all our "free" moments building, painting, and planting. Because our house is us and we are it. Our house is where we like to be, and it looks like all our dreams. (See what they look like on HGTV's Gardening by the Yard on August 16, if you don't mind getting up at 7:30 a.m.) --Mari

Omni Daily Crush: "The Jewel Box Garden"

In my very first Omnivoracious post (“Best Way to Make a Garden? Make a Garden Library”), I talked about how I'd populated my garden with plants I'd fallen in love with in books. Truthfully, it was more lust than love that drove me to plant a lot of what now greets me at home, and many of them first gave me sweaty palms in Thomas Hobbs's Jewel Box Garden, his follow-up to Shocking Beauty. (In fact, I'd wager a lot of gardeners first gasped over echeverias--those dazzlingly architectural tender succulents that come in a rainbow of pastels--when they got a look at his Vancouver, B.C., garden's exquisite succulent wall).

Hobbs is a hoot. He characterizes his relationship with plants thus: "Unknowingly, I allowed plants to enslave me as their spokesperson, caretaker and pimp." When I ran into him at a gardening conference last year and mentioned--not quite as casually as I'd planned--that I considered The Jewel Box Garden to be the single biggest influence on my gardening style, he laughed, slung his arm over my shoulders, and declared, "We should live together!"

Sadly, it didn't work out (seems he was kidding--drat!), but I still love to virtually visit his world, particularly the Jewel Box, which hasn't left my bedside bookshelf since the book arrived in early '06. Sometimes--especially if I'm drifting off to sleep and trying to trade visions of spreadsheets and XML for some fantastic plantiness--I just soak in the pictures. Hobbs's flair for garden drama still gives this failed actress shivers. He's passionate about the value of making our wildest imagined worlds real, and his Jewel Box opens with a chapter called "Life, as we dream it could be."

He approaches the entire act of garden-making from the point of view of an artist ("Think of your garden, no matter how small, as an exhibition space"). But for Hobbs, it's not about just decorating. It even goes beyond creating gardens as a restorative oasis from the craziness of our larger lives. He dares us to "look deeper and find the door to your well of creativity. Access the scary side of your personality." He delivers his most practical advice on setting the stage through hardscaping, livening up your soil, and keeping your plants healthy with an aura of magic ("Stop thinking of yourself as a gardener and become an artistic, psychic liaison between plant and animal"). This sentence in particular resonated in my gut like a gong: "As I putter around in the garden, I like to envision one current going out of me and a different current coming in. I deliberately try to connect to something, and that is why my garden stops traffic."

Rereading this marvelous book last night, I realized that Hobbs had not only had a profound influence on my gardening style, but on my entire philosophy of gardening as creative, spiritually significant play with plants. When I'm grooving in the garden, I'm in that state of flow, and I can feel the plants flowing right back. (I have no doubt that's major factor for why my garden not only feels wonderful and keeps me sane, but has started to attract some exciting attention from some of the very authors and photographers whose work has inspired me.)

The Jewel Box Garden is published by Timber Press, a jewel of a publisher based in Portland, Oregon, devoted entirely to marvelous, information-rich books about plants. In the coming weeks, you're going to be hearing a lot more about Timber from me, as I revive my garden library series with a slew of profiles from many of my favorite Timber authors. Lots more fodder for those leafy dreams. --Mari Malcolm

Omni Daily Crush: "Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities"

I'm a plant geek, so I took a little vacation last week to Vancouver Island, where I spent three days at a gardening conference, immersed in spectacular slide shows (hortporn, as we plant geeks cheekily call it), taking diligent notes on the choicest garden specimens, and visiting the most beautiful private gardens around Victoria. And when I got back to my room after a full day of oohing and aahing over roses and clematis and the latest verigated whatever, I invariably indulged in my latest botanical bookcrush, Wicked Plants, Amy Stewart's guide to the plant kingdom's most vicious, roguish members.

I'd had my eye on it ever since I saw this chilling trailer. When I held a finished copy in my hands and examined its elegant, playful botanical etchings from Briony Morrow-Cribbs, I knew we'd be spending more than a little time together. But the more we see of each other, the more I find it one of the most fascinating, funny volumes I've come across in ages. With her characteristic wit, Stewart relates the misdeeds of these vile specimens, which she has culled meticulously (as audiences at her readings learn) from obscure historical documents. And while a handful of plants made the cut more for their intoxicating qualities, illegality, or ill manners than for genuine evilness, most of them will make you extremely uncomfortable--usually dead (Stewart picked plants largely for the "body count" they'd racked up). "There are no good ways to die in this book," she told those of us assembled for the reading I attended when she came through Seattle earlier this month. And as she showed us her vials of deadly seeds and pods, Stewart gave us this hot tip: "you can get a lot of bad things on eBay."

As she's researched the book, Stewart has also been cultivating about 30 wicked plants in her home garden in Northern California, which was featured in this New York Times article. They also mentioned that she "plants" moldy old books with wicked titles in her poison-plant beds, and when I told her I thought that was a delightful idea, I got a little story that didn't make it into the Times piece: while planting a decrepit copy of Caleb Carr's Angel of Darkness next to some foxgloves, Stewart opened the book and randomly scanned a passage that described a plot to kill someone with digitalis (commonly known as foxglove). Wicked cool coincidence.

--Mari

Recommended for fans of Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, any of Amy's previous, marvelous books, for gardeners of all stripes, anyone who wants to avoid being poisoned, and anyone who likes the creepy and weird.

Omnivoracious™ Contributors

December 2014

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