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Book review: The Untamed Garden

A revealing look at our love affair with plants by Sonia Day


It’s time we had a little talk. You know, the one about the birds and the bees and well, oh gosh, this is awkward—all that sex going on in your garden! Award-winning gardening writer Sonia Day, gets down and quite dirty in this, her seventh book. We don’t want to give it all away—after all, this pretty little book deserves to find its way under many a tree this Christmas—but we will say this much; Day’s life long love affair with plants started when she was 19, witnessing her father’s passion for the elusive, seductive, night-blooming cereus flower. Fast forward to present day Toronto when a rather cheeky squash, endowed with sexy curves, re-ignites Day’s fascination with what goes on between two consenting flowers.

Historically, flowers and plants had been ascribed a purity; a sexless existence that made them more perfect, cleaner, closer to the divine than humans and animals who must couple to reproduce. Early botanists seemed happy to remain in the dark about plant reproduction, but now, it simply can’t be denied. The plant world is a veritable red light district and Day is taking us on a shameless tour.

Her luscious chapters entice with such titles as: Deception, Desire, Lust and Seduction, revealing history, lore, poems, love potions, and anti-love potions, as well as the most intimate details of the sex lives of plants.

What makes this book unique: Day takes a refreshing, unabashedly lusty approach to the subject. She digs up fascinating nuggets of history, that are accompanied by beautifully suggestive illustrations and juicy love stories. We suspect this is the only book of flowers that could make a grown man blush.

Price: $26.99
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart


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