Non-Fiction Author Erica Hannickel Discusses and Signs ORCHID MUSE

At Knights of Columbus Joseph Barry Council 2520

Join the Long Island Orchid Society at the Knights of Columbus Joseph Barry Council for an author evening with non-fiction author Erica Hannickel as she discusses her new book, Orichid Muse: A History of Obsession in Fifteen Flowers, a kaleidoscopic journey into the world of nature’s most tantalizing flower, and the lives it has inspired.

The epitome of floral beauty, orchids have long fostered works of art, tales of adventure, and scientific discovery. Tenacious plant hunters have traversed continents to collect rare specimens; naturalists and shoguns have marveled at orchids’ seductive architecture; royalty and the smart set have adorned themselves with their allure. In Orchid Muse, historian and home grower Erica Hannickel gathers these bold tales of the orchid-smitten throughout history, while providing tips on cultivating the extraordinary flowers she features.

Consider Empress Eugenie and Queen Victoria, the two most powerful women in nineteenth-century Europe, who shared a passion for Coelogyne cristata, with its cascading, fragrant white blooms. John Roebling, builder of the Brooklyn Bridge, cultivated thousands of orchids and introduced captivating hybrids. Edmond Albius, an enslaved youth on an island off the coast of Madagascar, was the first person to hand-pollinate Vanilla planifolia, leading to vanilla’s global boom. Artist Frida Kahlo was drawn to the lavender petals of Cattleya gigas and immortalized the flower’s wilting form in a harrowing self-portrait, while more recently Margaret Mee painted the orchids she discovered in the Amazon to advocate for their conservation.

The story of orchidomania is one that spans the globe, transporting readers from the glories of the palace gardens of Chinese Empress Cixi to a seedy dime museum in Gilded Age New York’s Tenderloin, from hazardous jungles to the greenhouses and bookshelves of Victorian collectors. Lush and inviting, with radiant full-color illustrations throughout, Orchid Muse is the ultimate celebration of our enduring fascination with these beguiling flowers.

ERICA HANNICKEL is nonfiction author and professor of history at Northland College (WI). She grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas in northern California. Since then, she's lived in southern California, New York, Iowa, and Wisconsin. A master gardener, Erica has founded several community gardens across three states, and is an avid organic kitchen gardener. She loves visiting botanical gardens and orchid greenhouses all over the world. On the trip home, she pack the orchids she buys into every spare inch of her luggage. Clothes are often sacrificed for the cause.

Orchid Muse: A History of Obsession in Fifteen Flowers By Erica Hannickel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393867282
Availability: Available to order. Please call to confirm in store availabiltiy.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - December 20th, 2022

Event address: 
Knights of Columbus, Joseph Barry Council 2520
45 Heitz Place
Hicksville, NY 11801