independent

Monday 18 December 2017

Wildflower hunters guide really worth checking out

By Jim Hurley - Nature trail

Front cover of Zoë Devlin's new book.
Front cover of Zoë Devlin's new book.

Zoë Devlin's new book 'Blooming Marvellous - A Wildflower Hunter's Year' is in bookshops now and is something that should certainly be checked out by anyone interested in wild flowers in particular and in nature and the outdoors in general.

How a book is presented is important. I have books on my shelves that have wonderful content but are off-putting to consult because of the poor way in which they are presented and how they feel. 'Blooming Marvellous' is not one of these; it is beautifully presented. It is a perfect size, weighty enough to sit well in the hand and its hardback cover has an unusual velvety feel.

Design, paper, typesetting, layout and print are all top class so before the content is savoured or enjoyed, the presentation gets top marks for publishers The Collins Press in Cork and the printers in Poland.

For those who don't know her, Zoë Devlin is a naturalist and photographer with a particular interest in, and knowledge of, wild flowers. Her enduring passion and driving force is to find new plants, to photograph them and to share her love of nature with a wide audience.

Her two earlier books and her website focus on botanical sides of wild flowers and their identification. Her new book is a departure in that it contains far less technical stuff and much more personal commentary.

She shares stories about the family, her hunting for wildflowers, her exploits in the field, how she found certain species and the people she met along the way. Most of the book's 300 pages are divided into twelve chapters, one for each month of the year. Each chapter captures the joy of that particular month interwoven with Zoë's personal narrative.

And she doesn't just deal with plants. Some mammals are thrown into the mix, several wild birds and lots of butterflies together with snippets of poetry and recipes using nettles, blackberries, sloes and other wayside and hedgerow bounty.

One of the most striking and memorable things about this welcome and attractive new book is its stunning collection of the author's photographs. It is very richly illustrated with very high-quality images of plants, butterflies and landscapes.

Published by The Collins Press, the new book by Zoë Devlin is titled 'Blooming Marvellous - A Wildflower Hunter's Year'. It retails in hardback for €16.99 and is on sale now in the natural history section of all good book shops.

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