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Vertigo

Richard Rudgley: Plant obsessions

15 July 1999
The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession 
by Susan Orlean.
Heinemann, 348 pp., £12.99, April 1999, 0 434 00783 8
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The Tulip 
by Anna Pavord.
Bloomsbury, 438 pp., £30, January 1999, 0 7475 4296 1
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Plants of Life, Plants of Death 
by Frederick Simoons.
Wisconsin, 568 pp., £27.95, September 1998, 0 299 15904 3
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... She is quick to pass on orchids given to her by addicts in case she, too, comes under their spell. Anna Pavord has no such reservations: she is a self-confessed tulipomaniac. ‘There must be one or two people in the world that choose not to like tulips,’ she remarks disdainfully, ‘but such an aberration is barely credible.’ Why people avoid some ...

A View of a View

Marina Warner: Melchior Lorck

27 May 2010
Melchior Lorck 
edited by Erik Fischer, Ernst Jonas Bencard and Mikael Bøgh Rasmussen.
Royal Library Vandkunsten, 808 pp., €300, August 2009, 978 87 91393 61 7
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... plants, seeds and bulbs back to Ferdinand I, including the first tulips and lilac to reach Europe. Anna Pavord, in The Tulip, thinks the first bulbs might have arrived in Venice and the botanical gardens of Renaissance princes before Busbecq’s journey; but he gave the flower its name. In spring, Turks would tuck a single stem into a fold of their ...

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