An Illustrated Guide to the
Plants of the Bible
by Alflie O'Brien
reviewed by Marsh Hudson-Knapp
"Do we need another book on plants of the Bible?" I asked myself. Then I started reading Alfie O'brien's reasonably priced (8 Euros) book, full of color illustrations of Biblical Plants! At first I thought the writing style was a little bumpy.
BUT...the more I read the more I really liked this little book. Our Irish friend lays out a good explanation of the difficulties we find in actually identifying the plants of the Bible. Then he gives some helpful background about the various growing conditions in Israel, comparing them to conditions in England and Ireland.
Yet the best part comes when Alfie dives into the story of each plant and tree. I decided to read his book in comparison with Lytton Musselman's Figs, Dates, Laurels and Myrrh, and Alan Swenson's Plants of the Bible, my two favorite (in print) biblical garden books. I found that each one of these books had different discoveries to share about each plant, and they are all tremendously interesting.
I learned from Alfie that it was forbidden in the Bible to cut down fruit trees because they not only provided shade, but food when vulnerable field crops failed. (Biblical folks could not just run to the grocery if their garden dried up!) I learned that we could cut a branch from our almond tree and brig it inside in the spring and it would sprout like Aaron's rod did in the tabernacle in the wilderness!
I discovered that the famous fig tree produces its fruit BEFORE it flowers, and then the flowers are hidden within the fruit. You'd think I wold have noticed that with our own fig tree! And did you realize that the fig was one of the choice fruits brought back from the Promised Land when Moses sent out spies to check out this place of promise?
Well, I'm only on page thirty and I'm excited! I hope you will be too. Alfie has gathered interesting photos from a variety of sources, often depicting the plants of the Bible growing in the lands of the Bible. While they are not the stunning photos that Lytton Musselman has taken on his own travels through the lands of the Bible, they depict Bible plants in different settings, and are very intriguing. In conclusion, I urge you who love Bible Gardens to give yourself a treat and contact Alfie today to get you own copy and start exploring Alfie's discoveries about Plants of the Bible!
Go Alfie O'Brien!
Click here to see more about Alfie's delightful book!
Thinking of Bible Gardens and Ireland, there is a wonderful Bible Garden at St. Joseph's Church in Inch, Co. Kerry, Ireland. To take a little tour, click here.
And while you are there, why not spend a week at my parents' self-catering house on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland!
The Rev. Marsh Hudson-Knapp is the co-founder of the Biblical Gardens at the First Congregational Church of Fair Haven, VT, U.C.C., webmaster of a Biblical Garden website, and author of several publications about Biblical Gardens including the Selection Guide for Planning Your Biblical Garden. firstname.lastname@example.org