Red Room's first book for its staff book club was Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart and I absolutely loved it. It was a pleasure to read this book. There was so much fun information in the book and the presentation of it was charming, as well. One element of the design that I particularly liked was that the paper is an aged off-white, almost a light brown, which made it look like you could take it into the garden with you to check if a plant was safe, even with dirty hands from gardening, without having to worry about the pages getting smudged. The book cover has a look of Victoriana, and it even has a little ribbon placeholder.
There is a long tradition of gardening in my family. I had my hands in the dirt at a very young age. My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother all made sure that I gardened with them, and they all loved taking me for walks in nature. During those walks they told me stories about which plants were safe and which plants to avoid. This connection to the earth and to plants has always made me feel safe in nature.
When I walk down the front steps of our home each morning I'm greeted by the mint, oregano, anise, and rosemary that I planted about a year ago, with my mom. She made a special trip over to San Francisco to garden with me now that I have my own garden. I tend to cultivate plants that are, well, friendly and delicious. These are definitely not wicked plants. At least I was sure of that until a recent visit to the health food store a few blocks between our home and our office. One of the owners, without prompting, informed me that in his culture, mint is thought to be bad "for men, you know, for...you know," if a man eats too much of it. My wife and I were very amused. Maybe Amy should include mint in the next edition of the book.