5 Books with Immersive Cultural Settings
by Emerian Rich
5 books that immerse the reader into interesting cultural settings.
- 1. The Feast of All Saints by Anne Rice
I read this book in college over spring break, and I have to say, it changed my life. Marcel is a gent de couleur libre (a free person of color) born from a slave mother and her French master in 1840’s New Orleans. The gens did not fit in either the black slave community or the French white community, and were often sent abroad to study, but when Marcel finds his father will not send him, he has to find his own way in a community that no longer wants him. In this coming-of-age story, Marcel must come to grips with his heritage. Brought up to treat his half- sister as a slave and after being slammed into reality by an abusive and heart-breaking scene where his French father beats him and throws him off his property, Marcel struggles with the harsh reality of racism in its cruelest form. Where will he fit now that he is grown? Will he stay put—part of the problem—and continue his split life, or will he fight the system and become a complete outcast?
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I have to admit, I’m not usually one for cyborg sort of stuff, but I absolutely fell in love with Cinder. In a modern retelling of Cinderella, Cinder is a cyborg, living with the most irritating adopted mother ever…. continue reading in the Fall 2018 issue of SEARCH.
by Kay Tracy
When you think of spring, what jumps into your head? For me, in addition to new plants and flowers, it’s the birds.
Even in the smallest patio garden one can find avian visitors. All you have to do is invite them. Food and water will do the trick. For some birds that is as simple as having plants that bloom. For others, try an invitation to dine with you.
Hummingbirds, unless you live near the Arctic Circle, will join you for an offering of sugar water. Colorful finches abound when seeds are on the menu. Do avoid bread. Look to quality mixed seeds for wild birds. You can use some of the resources listed at the end to help you determine what your goal with birds might be.
Add a source of water, like a glazed planting pot base or even an old clean dented frying pan, and you will delight them not only with a drink of water, but a spot for bathing. With the urbanization of the world, our small creatures have… continue reading in the Spring 2018 issue.
Bartram’s House & Garden
by Murdo Morrison
Philadelphia’s role in the history of the United States is well known. In 2016, 41 million people visited the city, and many surely visited the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the other historical sites and museums located throughout the downtown area.
However, the visitor willing to make a short trip away from the city center will be amply rewarded with the opportunity to see an amazing survival from the 18th century, the Bartram House and Garden.
John Bartram (1699-1777), often described as ‘the father of American botany’, established his house and garden in 1728 after purchasing land bordering the Schuylkill River. In addition to his important role in the early history of botany in North America, Bartram and his friend Benjamin Franklin were among those who founded the American Philosophical Society in 1743… continue reading in the Spring 2018 issue.
5 Gardening Favorites
by Heather Roulo
With the return of spring comes the promise of a luxurious garden. Knowledge and planning can make your outdoor garden a pleasure rather than a chore. The right reference books will step you through preparing your garden for success.
Whether you have many questions or a few, these books will inspire you with new ideas and lead you to select plants that will thrive in your garden’s conditions. Avoid the pitfalls of planting the familiar and branch out into the ecstatic. These five books will change your garden for the better.
1. The New Western Garden Book: The Ultimate Gardening Guide by The Editors of Sunset
This book is an indispensable resource for beginning and knowledgeable gardeners. Providing steps to setting up a garden, plant, and maintain, this perpetual favorite’s newest edition is the perfect resource for your gardening questions. Check out details on specific plants or skim for general ideas for your zone. It contains excellent pictures and maps to show where plants will grow best. This classic is in its 9th edition, and it’s still going strong. Some reviews claim the organization of this edition made it difficult to navigate, so you may want to keep your eyes open for an earlier edition.
2. Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs by Michael A. Dirr
Considered by many to be an essential garden book, and used in university landscape architecture classes, this book explores the breadth and scope of trees and shrubs. It combines two previously published titles… continue reading in the Spring 2018 magazine.
Ruth Bancroft Garden is a tranquil garden in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Walnut Creek. Nestled behind a fence line, it’s an oasis full of succulents. The garden is a place where you can view exotic and endangered plant life year around, meditate in nature, or view local artist sculptures at one of the many annual events they host each year. Most residents of Contra Costa County have never heard of Ruth Bancroft Garden or what she accomplished with her collection of exotic succulents. Bancroft is not just a street tying Concord, Walnut Creek, and Pleasant Hill together. It’s a landmark dedicated to a great woman who was fascinated by succulents.
Ruth had a passion for plants even as a child living in Berkeley. She explored the undeveloped hills of Berkeley, examining wildflowers and digging up small plants to replant in her own yard. Her early garden included a collection of irises, which she received from Sydney B. Mitchell, the founder of the American Iris Association, and Carl Salbach, an iris breeder.
Graduating from UC Berkeley with a teaching degree, she taught at a school in Merced for a few years before meeting her husband, Philip Bancroft, Jr. and moving to the family farm in Walnut Creek. Her plant enthusiasm only flourished when surrounded by the 400-acre walnut and pear farm, but she was most fascinated with water-conserving plants and collected hundreds of potted succulents, all kept in greenhouses. When Ruth was given approximately 3.5 acres of the farm to plant a new garden, she enlisted the help of Lester Hawkins, co-founder of Western Hills Nursery, to help create the pathways and beds where she transplanted her potted succulent species collection which counted…READ MORE. Get your copy today!