Botany

The bee orchid, by Franz Andreas Bauer. Its sex life is far beyond the dreams of most teenage boys

Will orchid mania be the next gap year phenomenon?

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Who would want to read a whole book about a teenage boy’s gap year? When most 18-year-olds take time off…

‘Spray’, by Harold Williamson (1939)

The marvels of British interwar realism

19 August 2017 9:00 am

One day, somebody will stage an exhibition of artists taught at the Slade by the formidable Henry Tonks, who considered…

Orchidelirium: Being mad about flowers can help you stay sane

1 July 2017 9:00 am

Being mad about flowers can help you stay sane

A Tommy rescues two canaries from a ruined house on the Western Front in 1915. Canaries were treasured not only as gas detectors but also in ambulance trains, where their song comforted wounded soldiers

Foreign fields forever England

26 November 2016 9:00 am

In July 1915 the poet Edward Thomas enlisted as a soldier with the Artists’ Rifles, even though, at the age…

Seeds of a mystery in a great-aunt’s will

27 June 2015 9:00 am

There is something cruelly beautiful, delightfully frustrating and filthily gorgeous about a Scarlett Thomas novel. Two family trees open and…

Raspberry and quince by Sarah Simblet

Warning: the beautiful trees in this book may very soon be extinct

31 May 2014 9:00 am

John Evelyn (1620–1706) was not only a diarist. He was one of the most learned men of his time: traveller,…

Germaine Greer's mad, passionate quest to heal Australia

8 February 2014 9:00 am

Like an old woman in a fairy story, Germaine Greer, now in her late seventies, has taken to lurking in…

Pine by Laura Mason; Lily, by Marcia Reiss - review

21 September 2013 9:00 am

After the success of their animal series of monographs, Reaktion Books have had the clever idea of doing something similar…

The meanest flowers that blow

19 November 2011 10:00 am

Sarah Raven comes of a botanising family. Her father John, a Cambridge classics don, travelled all over the British Isles…