Herbaceous is the fist of a new series of books celebrating the very best in contemporary nature writing. A cross between New Naturalist and King Penguin, the series invites a wide range of authors and artists to choose a particular building, plant, animal, person or landscape, and through this object of their fascination tell us wider stories about the British Isles.
Climate change is eroding the familiar pattern of the seasons, so we turn instinctively to the life cycle of herbaceous plants to guide us through the year. The growing, flowering, seeding and dying back to earth of wild flowers, weeds, herbs and garden perennials sustain and enrich our everyday lives with food, metaphor, joy, anxiety, medicine, stories, beauty and enchantment. Above all, by enabling us to read the changing seasons, plants help us navigate our way in the world.
Herbaceous is a journey which follows the colour pulse of plants throughout the year, searching for new rhythms in a changing world. It begins with yellow: the pulse of early insects and the symbol of the returning sun. It is followed by spring’s vernal whites and the hedonist, spirited pinks of summer. Gradually, the strange and melancholy blues of early autumn are replaced by the ripple of seed-setting and a return to the browns of our subterranean winter dreams.
Herbaceous is gardening with words. It is a book of audacious botany and poetic vision which asks us to look anew at our relationship with plants and celebrates their power to nourish the human spirit.
PAUL EVANS spent many years as a gardener working in rose nurseries, graveyards, historic gardens in Wales and a botanical garden in New York. He is a writer, broadcaster and award-winning playwright, best known for his ‘Country Diary’ in The Guardian and various natural history programmes and drama- documentaries for BBC Radio 4. Paul has also been a performance poet, a nature conservationist, holds a PhD in philosophy, and is currently a lecturer at Bath Spa University. He lives in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, with his family.
Further information at
a Little Toller Monograph @LittleToller
written by PAUL EVANS @DrPaulEvans1
illustrated by Kurt Jackson @KurtJackson