Nicole's Reviews > Virgin Earth

Virgin Earth by Philippa Gregory
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's review
Oct 23, 2008

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bookshelves: gardening-theme, historic-novel

Sequel to Earthly Joys.
Living in the time of civil war when the goals are so confused is reflected in Tradescant the Younger's life. In 1633, Tradescant acquired Scarlet Runner Beans sent from Virginia, and started growing them at Oatlands as an ornamental plant for their flowers.
His own travels to America began with Charles I sending him in 1637 "to gather all rarities of flowers, plants, and shells." He made two more trips to the Virginian colony in 1642 and 1654. Around these three trips the author created a connection to a native wife and a personal anguish over what was being done to the endemic people by the British colonials.
Tradescant had a virtual monopoly on plants introduced from the colonies since he brought back or bought up seeds from travelers for 90 new plants.

The book ends with Tradescant & his English wife anguishing over bequeathing their collection to Elias Ashmole. Why they are upset with sellers remorse I do not know since the Ashmolean collection in Oxford still retains Tradescant's collections nearly intact.

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