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Kenneth Cox's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Kenneth Cox recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Kenneth Cox's favorite book recommendations of all time.

A hundred years ago there was a pronounced change in the direction of British gardening. The garden was transformed from a plaything for the rich to a democratic exercise, a hobby for the millions. Few figures were more central to and prominent in this transition than eccentric Reginald Farrer, whose passion for alpines would put a rockery in the backyards of countless enthusiasts and whose adventures in Tibet and China collecting elusive and exotic specimens, including the wild tree peony, a new buddleaia, and even an entire new genus called Farreria, were the stuff of legends. But Farrer... more
Recommended by Kenneth Cox, and 1 others.

Kenneth CoxShort and sweet, it says all that needs to be said about its subject and his plant hunting and writing. It’s a wonderful read about a bygone era, with lots of quotes from Farrer’s writing. (Source)

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The Botany of Desire

A Plant's-Eye View of the World

Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires—sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control—with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan... more
Recommended by David George Haskell, Kenneth Cox, and 2 others.

David George HaskellThrough the stories of four familiar plant species–apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes–he demolishes the erroneous impression that we’re in charge. (Source)

Kenneth CoxYou can’t fail to be fascinated by this exposition of the motivations of plants to cuddle up to humans. One of several excellent Michael Pollan books, it’s a fun read. (Source)

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An exquisitely written book about one particular English garden--and about the arc of life.

Nobody writes about gardens like the English. And few English writers have ever been as eloquent or astute as Katherine Swift. Some twenty years ago, she and her husband leased a house in the town of Shropshire with a garden that became her passion. Driven to uncover its history, she takes readers on a journey back through time, linking the stories of those who lived in the house and tended the same red soil with her family's own saga. Spanning hundreds of years, The...
Recommended by Kenneth Cox, and 1 others.

Kenneth CoxIt’s a melange of history, meditation, self-exploration, philosophy, autobiography and geology. And it’s one of the most ambitious gardening texts I have ever read. (Source)

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Little explored and virtually inaccessible, the Tsangpo Gorge in south-east Tibet is the world's deepest gorge. Through it twists the Yarlong Tsangpo, Tibet's great river, emerging from below on the plains of India. This is the story of its exploration and the rich plant and animal life found there. Riddle of the Tsangpo Gorges, first published in 1926, is the fascinating account of plant-hunter and explorer Frank Kingdon Ward's most important expedition. Kenneth Cox, Kenneth Storm, Jr. and Ian Baker spent over ten years retracing the route of the 1924-25 expedition and managed to reach... more
Recommended by Kenneth Cox, and 1 others.

Kenneth CoxThis is set in and around the world’s deepest gorge in Southeast Tibet and describes the plants which grow there. (Source)

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The Well-Tempered Garden

Wisdom and advice from a legendary gardener. less
Recommended by Kenneth Cox, Penelope Hobhouse, and 2 others.

Kenneth CoxThe title of his book is slightly ironic, I think because he was rather more interested in making bold and daring statements. (Source)

Penelope HobhouseHe was ahead of a lot of people in doing things – to take just one example, he experimented with wild gardening in grass. (Source)

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