The Untamed Garden

The Untamed Garden Cover

The Untamed Garden

A Revealing Look at Our Love Affair with Plants

By Sonia Day

McClelland & Stewart, Hardcover, 9780771025051, 240pp.

Publication Date: November 8, 2011


Which suggestive plant caused a queen to faint when it was presented to her at court? What was the original French name for the Great Maiden's Blush rose that had the Victorians blushing? Why are figs and pomegranates thought to be the real forbidden fruit that led Adam and Eve into temptation?

In this delightful gift book, master gardener Sonia Day brings together delicious tidbits from myth, history, botany, and plant lore to reveal how plants have seduced our hearts, minds, and bodies throughout the ages. Organized in thematic chapters that loosely follow the arc of a love affair, the book journeys from "Innocence" (the notion of a virgin being "deflowered" originated with the belief that flowers were pure and sexless), through such stages as "Flirtation," "Seduction," "Lust," "Deception," and "Rapture." Scattered throughout are love potions, examples from the Victorian "language of flowers," and charming anecdotes, all told in Day's delightfully irreverent and conversational voice. Gorgeously designed and featuring full-colour photos and illustrations throughout, this is a sumptuous tribute to our enduring fascination with plants that is sure to seduce readers everywhere.

About the Author
Sonia Day writes a feisty weekly column, The Real Dirt, for the Toronto Star and is the author of seven non-fiction books. Two are best-sellers. Three have won substantial awards. Deer Eyes, her latest, is her first attempt at fiction. Her previous book, The Untamed Garden, a cheeky expose about our sexy relationship with plants, nabbed Best Book of the Year from the Garden Writers Association. She lives on 48 acres in rural Ontario, Canada. Battles interminable winters. Grows garlic, globe artichokes and lots of tomatoes during the short but sensational summers. Has a funny-looking pooch called Ollie. Paints sometimes. Writes a lot. Welcomes comments about her books at her website: or at

Praise For The Untamed Garden

Winner of the Garden Writers Association Gold Award for Best Overall Product
Winner of a Garden Writers Association Award for Best Book

The Untamed Garden takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to romantic and erotic plants. . . .This compact hardcover is beautifully printed and illustrated, making it perfect for the bedside table in anyone’s boudoir. . . . It’s an entertaining and informative read any time of year.”
—Ottawa Citizen
“A delightfully lusty look at many plants that we innocents assumed were just sitting there soaking up the sun. . . . A must-read.”
—National Post
“This is one of those rare crossovers that will appeal as much to gardeners as to those who prefer their nature more in the human line. . . . Gorgeous graphics, illustrations and photographs make The Untamed Garden a pleasure to look at. . . . Day’s lively, lusty prose gives us peep inside the botanical boudoir. Chapter by chapter, she takes us from Innocence and Flirtation through Rapture and Devotion, illustrating the ingenious wiles plants use to seduce bugs and beasts into joining their procreative action. Along the way, this well-researched little book also lets us glimpse the passions, obsessions and titillations that plants have inspired in humankind throughout history. Never mind fig leaves; you might never view a fig the same way again.”
—Toronto Gardens
“[A] charming book of botanical tales. . . . You don’t have to be a gardener, expert or otherwise, to delight in The Untamed Garden. . . . Scattered throughout the lavishly illustrated little book are tidbits of plant lore that are fascinating and alluring. . . . Forget the chocolates and the wilted hothouse flowers this Valentine’s day. Give this charming, fiery and joyous book of floral lore to your beloved instead. Scatter a few rose petals around the boudoir and read to each other. We won’t peek.”
—Halifax Chronicle Herald