Recently, while searching a book on orchid culture, I came across quite an old book on orchids. Orchids – Structure, History and Culture is a classic book and was written in 1886 by Lewis Castle, who mentions on the title page itself about his association with The Royal Gardens of Kew. As time passes many times old things as well as practices get discarded, in the favour of seemingly better and easier to use newly available things and products. Slowly, we forget our old practices that makes us dependent on the newer practices and objects. Here is a book to refresh your memory and somewhat reduce your dependence.
Some interesting features of the book are:
1. The cover is beautifully designed, as it was done at that time.
2. You will find the Index at the end of the book after the Orchidist's Directory.
3. The content is preceded and followed by advertisements, which are by themselves classic and interesting to read.
4. The book even carries a section on the construction of the orchid-house and it is accompanied by illustrations that guide in construction.
1. It is written in easy and engaging English, even a non-native speaker like I could understand the contents easily. This is very different from the books written at that time. Easy language makes it is a good book for the beginners too.
2. The book contains information on practices followed in 1800's, some of these are long forgotten but have not lost their importance or use.
3. The book offers a wide range of topics concerning the orchids that can be useful both to the beginners as well as the experienced readers. Topics ranging from history to structure and then to cultural practices of orchids are given in the book.
1. The unorthodox index location and structure can be a deterrent.
2. As this book was published in late 1800's, it is understandable that there are no pictures but the illustrations given are lesser than 50 and that too in black-and-white, which is bad for a book on orchids. They are known for beautiful and colourful flowers.
3. Though particular orchids or orchid groups do find a mention, but these are not explained in detail. It is not an exhaustive list either.
The book is more like a coffee table book that provides some quite useful information on orchids. As this book is a classic can be costly- so it would be better to look for it in your local library. If you are interested in collecting classic then it can be bought. Otherwise, stick to the library option.
P.S. Checked on Amazon, the cost of this book is about $11 only.