Garden Physic


‘Garden Physic’ is a radical poetic movement through plant life. With her singular line, she journeys readers through an investigation of how we articulate our ecological surrounds in language through botanical histories. With a structure that emulates the style of classic manuscripts, Legris’s book deploys humour, deep intellect, and a fanatical obsession with the potential of language, punching through the cliches of contemporary nature writing.

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how to write about flowers without the nauseating sentimental phraseology? No quaint, no dainty, no winsome. This smells good, that smells bad, my hands rank with manure. This at least is pure.What is a plant in language? Something like a ‘morose root’, ‘cream cinquefoil’, or ‘bohemian and sozzled with nostalgia’?In Garden Physic, Sylvia Legris’s glinting studies on flora – mariner’s root, throatwort, wild rocket, cuckoo point – create an abundant and fluorescent vegetal mesh.Combining the histories of botanical manuscripts and pharmacopeias with imagined letters between garden designers Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson and playful illustrations throughout, Legris creates an idiosyncratic botanical glossolalia for her meanderings through the physical space of the garden.These luscious poems are a testament to the imbricated human relationship to plants; a radical defence of how we can utilize our ancient symbiosis with living greenery in order to live, heal, and nourish.