When we think of the transition from nomadic cultures organized around hunting and gathering to settled farming, fields of carefully tended plants might first come to mind. But the humans who planted and tended orchards were truly making a commitment to a place, willing to spend years helping trees thrive in order to enjoy their fruits.
Bernd Brunner, a German nature writer, explores what we know about the ways and places that people began to cultivate orchards, suggesting that the impulse arose separately in different places according to climate and geography.
Brunner also makes it clear that orchards have long had cultural significance greater than their ability to produce food. Citing images from Eighteenth Dynasty Egyptian wall paintings, Roman household shrines to Pomona, the goddess of fruit, and stories of orchard paradises as old as the Garden of Eden he makes it clear that these were often places with sacred associations.
Handsomely illustrated throughout, this is an intriguing exploration of nature and human ingenuity.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.