Witch's Garden describes over 50 of the world's most powerful, harmful, legendary and storied plants - from the screaming mandrake to calming St John's Wort, to predicting the weather with seaweed, the creation of salves for broken hearts, sore heads, protection from evil spirits and to even induce immortality.
Wise women, apothecaries, witches, herbalists: whatever you like to call them, those who cultivate plants for their apparent mystical properties have existed for thousands of years. Witch's Garden tells the story of our folkloric fascination with these magical specimens, documenting the beliefs and rituals surrounding the natural world. Illustrated with pages from herbals held within Kew's archives, along with botanical illustrations and archival images depicting magic and mayhem, Witch's Garden beautifully evokes the bewitching nature and of plants.
By Sandra Lawrence, 208 pages, 200 illustrations, 210 x 510 mm. Hardback, ISBN 978 178739 436 0, Welbeck in association with RBG Kew, 2020.
Sandra Lawrence is a journalist and author. She writes for the Evening Standard, Guardian, Financial Times, Times, Londonist.com and the English Garden. She is the London columnist for British Heritage magazine and is on the Q&A panel of experts for History Revealed magazine.