Friday 20 January 2012

One of my Garden Books

Here in the Blogger Community it is common practice to start so-called memes. Now, you might not be familiar with the term, even if you have seen and perhaps even participated in memes in the past; you might even have started your own meme at some point. Anyway, I am joining another meme today, and I thought I would spend a few moments explaining what a meme is, and where the word comes from.

If you look up the word meme on the Internet you might find hundreds of different explanations, some of them very lengthy, technical and with lots of examples, I prefer this one: “a meme is an idea that, like a gene, can replicate and evolve.” The term and concept of meme is from the 1976 book by Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene. Though Dawkins defined the meme as “a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation,” memeticists vary in their definitions of meme. The lack of a consistent, rigorous definition of what precisely a meme is remains one of the principal criticisms levelled at memetics, the study of memes. (from the Wikipedia)

I am already posting on one meme, the Garden Blogger Bloom Day, every 15th of the month, where gardeners all over the world can show what flowers in their garden. Today I am joining another meme; Holleys meme called Garden Book Review, on her Roses and Other Gardening Joys.

Now I just need to find a book to review! Not that I should have a problem with finding one, I have lots and lots of books within the very wide category Holley has given: “Any book about gardening, gardens, or has a garden influence in it is fine.” Well, ehhh, I have so many gardening books that fit that description, so…eeny-meeny…. OK, I have decided! I am going to review a garden book which is a typical ‘Coffee table book’, a book with mostly pictures. The only text is the preface by the author on page 3, and a short introduction before each chapter. The book is called Kew Gardens - Kew, as seen through my camera lens, 104 pages, published in 2010.

In the preface the author writes how the book came about and gives an insight into the relationship with Kew Gardens in London, where all the photos are taken. It is a lovely book, but don’t take my word for it, here are a few photos from the book.

OK, if you are now slightly indignant over the fact that I have used the photos from the book, probably breached the copyright law etc, etc….let me hurry up and give you a piece of information that I omitted in the beginning of my post; the name of the author. Her name is Helene U. Taylor; yours sincerely, and I own the copyright to all material so it’s perfectly fine to share it here with you :-)

If you would like to see the whole book YOU CAN SEE IT HERE, at the company Blurb, who is printing all my books. Click on the book, wait for it to load, then click on the ‘View Fullscreen’ in the bottom right corner for a better view of the pictures. Depending on your screen size you might be able to read the text too.

Here is the back cover of the book, you might just about be able to read what it says? (Click on each photo to see a larger version of them). I have always wanted to make a book, I think I was less than 10 years old when I started thinking about writing a book, but my ideas never made it out of my desk drawer until Internet, digital cameras and computers made it possible to do things like this.  I am currently working on book number 5 and 6, two very different books, number 5 is made to order and 6 is just something I am doing for myself because I enjoy it – working title on number 6 is ‘Roses in my garden’. I have no idea when it will be published, but that’s one of the big advantages of being author, agent, editor and publisher all in the same person, it’s all up to me!! I have absolutely no deadlines, this is my hobby and I am not expecting it to put money in my purse or bread on my table, – if so, I would have been a very hungry gardener/author :-)

Roses and Other Gardening Joys
So that was my contribution to January 2012 Garden Book Review, hope you enjoyed the book, and if it gave you inspiration to make your own books all I can say; give it a go! The feeling of getting your own books in the post, fresh from the printer, with your name on it - after all the hard work you have put in to create it, well, I won’t compare it to having a baby, but it’s definitely pretty close! Take care :-)


  1. Oh, Helene! I am so impressed! I went to your book and looked through it. It is really gorgeous. Since I will probably never see the beautiful Kew gardens in person, I would think having a book like this might be almost as wonderful. Thank you for joining in the meme.

  2. Holley and Christine: thank you for your kind words :-)
    Holley, I so wish you could get the opportunity to visit Kew Gardens, it is a magical place and a pilgrimage for any gardener and horticultural photographer.

  3. having always wanted to visit Kew Gardens, this seems like the next best thing...beautiful photos!

  4. Thank you, Helene, for defining "meme" for me! I am fairly new to blogging so I appreciate the information.
    And thank you for sharing the beautiful photos in your book. My husband and I visited Kew almost twenty years ago in August. I took a photo of the Palm House and have always thought of having it framed. Thank you for bringing back memories of that beautiful place!

  5. Helene: Wow! How wonderful to have published your own book--and such a gorgeous one at that! You should be so proud! Your photos are amazing and deserving of publication. Simply lovely!

  6. Now isn't that something! you are simply amazing!!
    I am looking through the PDF version of your book, thank you for making this possible :-)

  7. The Glass art on the lake, a few years ago I visited 'our' National Botanical Garden in Washington DC, there was that glass art as well. I wonder if it is the same artist :-)

  8. Dorothy: I don’t think you were the only one who wasn’t sure what a meme was, you were in good company! The Palm House is just a magical as it always has been :-)

    PlantPostings: thank you so much for your kind words; self publishing makes anything possible these days.

    Gone Tropical: the PDF version is much easier to read than Blurb’s version, you can enlarge the text as big as you want. Did you read that Kew got the world’s largest compost heap?! I have seen it !!!
    As for the glass art, you are probably right in that it might have been the same artist as you saw in Washington DC, the name of the artist that had the exhibition in Kew Gardens is Dale Chihuly, an American glass sculptor and entrepreneur, and he is actually from Washington DC, although he has permanent exhibitions all over US.

  9. I read with interest all the information about publishing your beautiful book as I have been thinking about doing this. Have you considered the eBook route or eBook and print book? How have your sales been?

  10. Nitty Gritty Dirt Man26 January 2012 at 13:02

    Helene -- so many reasons why you deserve this nomination:


  11. Greetings Helene! I learned something today and it's all thanks to you. Meme is a word I will never forget. I too recently joined Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Keep blogging!

  12. Carolyn: I haven’t considered eBooks, but that’s an option at Blurb, and I think many other similar companies – perhaps more for books with a lot of text? I don’t have an e-reader myself, and my books are mainly about my pictures so I am not sure they would be as good on a small e-reader as they are if you look at the PDF version on my web-site. Besides, nothing beats sitting with a printed book in your lap, looking at the pictures! Blurb has amazing paper if you choose their expensive option, called Lustre Finish, really brings out your photos. About sales…hmmm, you have to do all the advertising yourself, Blurb prints millions of books, and they don’t promote individual books; all I have done in terms of advertising is writing about my books on my web-site and on my Blog, so I don’t expect people I don’t know to buy them. Friends and family yes, and I have bought a few for presents, as they have been a great way of making a personal present, but if you want to be rich by self publishing you will need to put a lot of effort into advertising. But don’t let that put you off making one! You only need to buy one book once you have published it, that’s it, and then it’s there for everyone to see and visit online. Go for it, you can make as much or as little out of it as you want, Blurb has lots of templates you can use and all you do is putting your own photos in, or you can do everything yourself from scratch as I have done with all my books, or you can go somewhere in the middle, it’s up to you. If you want some tips on the way, feel free to contact me via email, you will find my contact details on the contact page on my web-site, link straight under Followers to the left. Good luck!

    Kevin: I am so honoured, thank you so much, I will pass it on as soon as I am able to write another post. Thank you!

    Mario: You’re welcome! My mother reads my blog, and when I write about different things related to computers and the Internet I often think to myself “will my mother understand this, or will she want an explanation?” Over the years she has needed fewer explanations than in the beginning, but I still think that what might be obvious to me might not necessarily be to everyone, and that’s not really got anything to do with age, just what you might have heard, read or been interested in :-)

  13. Helene, beautiful photos of the Kew, also one of my favorite gardens as you know! Congrats on the book!

  14. Thank you Jeannine, I have lost count of how many times I went to Kew, back in 2004-2006, but there were still many things I had not seen, and I guess there are many new things to see by now! I can’t go there these days, too much walking for my legs to cope with, but I treasure my memories :-)


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