Post­ed by Nat Bern­stein

One of my very favorite Jew­ish hol­i­day tra­di­tions is com­ing up: beflow­er­ing one’s home for Shavuot! Owing to a midrash that Mount Sinai spon­ta­neous­ly blos­somed into flower with the trans­mis­sion of the Torah at its top, a love­ly (but often over­looked) cus­tom emerged of dec­o­rat­ing homes and even syn­a­gogues with visu­al­ly and fra­grant­ly appeal­ing flo­ra. And what bet­ter way to declare the spring is here?

With flo­ral arrange­ments to be made, this is the per­fect week to revis­it Stephan Buch­man­n’s delight­ful book The Rea­son for Flow­ers: Their His­to­ry, Cul­ture, Biol­o­gy, and How They Change Our Lives—now avail­able in paper­back! Trust me, the con­tent is as entic­ing as the book cov­er — which is even more glo­ri­ous in tex­tured hard copy than the strik­ing image you see above. One of my favorite non­fic­tion reads in the last year and like­ly the best book on flow­ers I’ve encoun­tered yet, Buch­man­n’s approach blends beau­ty with sci­ence, soci­ol­o­gy, and good writ­ing. Beyond acces­si­ble, The Rea­son for Flow­ers is an engag­ing and enjoy­able read, packed with fas­ci­nat­ing knowl­edge about the plants around us.

Relat­ed Content:

Nat Bern­stein is the for­mer Man­ag­er of Dig­i­tal Con­tent & Media, JBC Net­work Coor­di­na­tor, and Con­tribut­ing Edi­tor at the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and a grad­u­ate of Hamp­shire College.