A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 1 scene 1:
And in the wood where often you and I
Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie,
Henry V, Act 1 scene 1:
The strawberry grows underneath the nettle,
And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best
Neighboured by fruit of baser quality;
Romeo & Juliet, Act 2 scene 1:
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet
This year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, and Bennett's book is a welcome addition to the many on his life and works. Bennett chronicles the story of Shakespeare's familiarity with plants and gardens from his boyhood through his adult life. As Bennett notes, "His upbringing in the town garden and orchard of his birthplace, on his mother's farm and in the fields of Shottery and Wilmcote goes some way to explain how flowers and plants became such an effortless part of his language."
She also notes that Shakespeare often performed his plays at court at a time when gardens were very fastionable, roses became symbols of royalty and new plants from other parts of the world were making their way into the country.
Bennett explores the gardens that Shakespeare knew, notes how they've changed over the years, and which ones survive today. Beautiful photographs by Andrew Lawson bring Shakespear's gardens to life. If you're a fan of Shakespeare's works, it's a book you'll want in your library and that you'll treasure forever.