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May Flowers

by Brandon Priddy, Public Services Librarian

Our Library has had a wonderful partnership with the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy for years and I’m pleased to announce a new program titled “Is Spring Out of Sync?” presented by Mason Heberling, Curator of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, on Thursday, May 21st at 7:00PM via Zoom.  Heberling will address the importance of changing seasonal timing and what this means for understory wildflowers.  He’ll also share how climate change, along with introduced invasive plants, are impacting ecological timing and interactions.  You can register for this virtual program here.  

If you’re looking for some wonderful books on flowers, free library ebook service Hoopla has Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail by Leonard M. Adkins, which features 94 different flowers in fully illustrated entries including “bloom season, leaves and stem description, geographic range of growth, and location of the flower along the AT.” After exploring the National Park Service’s website on the Appalachian Trail, hiking along the AT is a new life goal of mine.  

I also recommend The Complete Language of Flowers by S. Theresa Dietz, which is “a comprehensive dictionary for over 1,001 flower species…each entry provides the flower's name, characteristics, and historic meanings from mythology, medieval legends, folklore, and flower poetry… For centuries, symbolic flower meanings have fascinated readers, writers, poets…these floriographies flourished and versed the public on the hidden meaning of popular flowers like peonies (bashfulness) and tulips (passion).”  It’s also available for free on Hoopla.    

I’m fascinated with the Victorian era and their floral language is such a unique and distinct part of their culture.  I read the novel The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, that incorporates this language into its plot, a few years ago and really enjoyed it.  It’s a feel good novel with a happy ending, which I think a lot of us would appreciate nowadays. The protagonist ages out of the foster-care system and “she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.  Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them.”  It’s currently available on OverDrive.  

If you’d like to watch a documentary on plants, free library streaming service Kanopy has the wonderful Great Courses series Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany, which contains 24 videos on the joy of botany.  Plants, Earth’s Quiet Rulers, part of the History of Life series, is another pick.  If you want a shorter documentary, the PBS Nature series episode: What Plants Talk About explores "how plants eavesdrop on each other, talk to their allies, call in insect mercenaries and nurture their young.”  I hope you find something to your liking and are able to join us on May 21st for Heberling’s lecture! 

If you missed our recent Citizen Soldiers lecture, here is the link for that program:

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Mt. Lebanon Public Library
16 Castle Shannon Blvd
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15228
(412) 531-1912

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