Book Buddies

The Botanic Book Buddies reading group is open to all members, Docents, volunteers and members of staff. It meets 6 times a year – on the second Wednesday of the even months of the year, at noon, in the Lawn House. If the weather is fine you’ll find us outside on the patio. We bring a brown bag lunch and usually someone provides a delicious treat to share. The discussion is informal and generally pretty lively. If you have read a book that broadly relates to plants and would recommend to it to others, we’d like to hear from you. We try to select books that are readily available through the public library and published in paperback.

Unless otherwise noted copies of the following books are available through the City and County library systems.  In some instances only a few copies are available so it may be best to put in a request for the book to be sent to your branch well in advance of the meeting when the book will be discussed.  In addition to regular books some of these editions are available as downloadable audio/ebooks.  Copies of all of these books may also be purchased through online booksellers, with the exception of  All My Edens: A Gardener’s Memoir by Pat Welsh which is currently out of print and may be difficult to obtain.

Please email me, Sarah Clayton, with any comments or suggestions.


FEBRUARY – Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.
APRIL – Under a Wild Sky: John James Audubon and the Making of the Birds of America by William Souder.
JUNE – Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed.
AUGUST – The Garden of Invention: Luther Burbank and the Business of Breeding Plants by Jane S. Smith.
OCTOBER – The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.
DECEMBER – My Garden (Book) by Jamaica Kincaid.


This is the list of books we read and discussed in 2013:

DECEMBER: The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

Available in various formats – check online and through the public library. Also check out Kristin Kimball’s blog about “the world’s first full-diet CSA”.

OCTOBER: Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water by Marc Reisner

The original classic about Western US water usage and its problems. Revised edition 1993, original edition 1986.

AUGUST: The California Native Landscape: The Homeowner’s Design Guide to Restoring Its Beauty and Balance by Greg Rubin and Lucy Warren

JUNE: The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean

A DVD of the movie Adaptation, loosely based on the book blending fictional characters and situations with the lives of real people, is also available.

APRIL:  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A year of food life – Barbara Kingsolver

FEBRUARY  Founding Gardeners, The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation – Andrea Wulf

And in 2012:

FEBRUARY 2012 – Flower Confidential by Amy Stewart

APRIL 2012 – Second Nature – A Gardener’s Education by Michael Pollan

JUNE 2012 – The Fruit Hunters – A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce and Obsession by Adam Leith Gollner

AUGUST 2012 – Flora Mirabilis: How plants have shaped world knowledge, health, wealth and beauty by Catherine Howell

October 10, 2012 -All My Edens: A Gardener’s Memoir by Pat Welsh

December 12, 2012 -When the Killing’s Done by T.C. Boyle – Fiction