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Paradise Under Glass: An Amateur Creates A Conservatory Garden

Paradise Under Glass is a witty and absorbing memoir about one woman’s unlikely desire to build, stock, and tend a small conservatory in her suburban Maryland home. Ruth Kassinger’s wonderful story of the unique way she chose to cope with the profound changes in her life—a book that will delight readers of Eat, Pray, Love and I Feel Bad About My Neck—is interwoven with the fascinating history of conservatories from the Renaissance orangeries to the glass palaces of Kew.

Hardcover: 368 pages

Publisher: William Morrow; 1St Edition edition (April 20, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0061547743

ISBN-13: 978-0061547744

Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces

Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #889,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #147 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > Greenhouses #273 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > House Plants #17887 in Books > History > Americas > United States > State & Local

The publisher would have us believe that this book is a history of growing plants in glass houses. It is far more than that. This is a chronicle of one person's wade into unknown waters and returning strengthened by the experience. Richly detailed anecdotes, drawn from the world of botany, history, science, and backed by a bibliography of over 90 publications, are spun into fascinating tales that create a background to a story of personal triumph. For in the end, this book, ostensibly about botany and horticulture, is really a story about loss and letting go, about nurturing and rebirth, and about love and serenity.The story begins at a low point in the author's personal life, when a convergence of events ignites the author's desire for a conservatory of her own. Her children are away at college, a sister has recently dies of a brain tumor, and the author herself has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. A walk through Washington D.C. on a cold winter evening brings her to the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory where she is dazzled by the jungle of greenery. It was ironic that she should choose to grow plants indoors, as an affirmation of life; up until then, she had been unable to care for even one houseplant. This publication, therefore, is the chronicle of the author's personal growth from a low ebb in her life to the crest of a new found passion for horticulture.Through a talent for story telling, the author takes us on a journey through the historical evolution of residential greenhouses, the sea voyages and adventures of 18th and 19th century plant collectors, and the history of the development of Botanic scholarship.

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