Little Shop of Horrors was described as, “A cross between a butterwort and a Venus fly-trap.” If you are like me, you know what a Venus flytrap is but have no idea about butterworts. But, if you are like me, you are intrigued by the idea of plants that turn the tables on insects and other small critters.
D'Amato is in the nursery business specializing in carnivorous
plants or CPs and this revised edition is intended as a guide to the
gardening hobbyist. Carnivorous plants are hungry because they
evolved to live in places lacking essential nutrients, which makes
their cultivation more difficult and painstaking. I don't plan to
work that hard, but that didn't diminish the pleasure of this
beautifully illustrated book and its knowledgeable author's humor.
Besides the Venus flytrap, sundews, and pitcher plants, D'Amato
introduces dewy pines, rainbow plants, bladderworts, and “Other
Savage Plants from the Demented Mind of Mother Nature.” These
plants are both engineering and chemical marvels, and D'Amato takes a
certain delight in recounting the death throes of their victims.
If you think you might like to raise one of these interesting
plants, The Savage Garden will be a good starting place. Some
have lovely flowers, many have attractive foliage, and then there are
those with fangs, or blood-red lips, or the ability to move. There
are even some that D'Amato calls “crapivorous” because they have
a relationship with an animal that eats the bugs the plant catches
and then feeds the plant with feces.
While there are a slew of children's books in the catalog with fascinating
pictures, the only other book for adults on the topic
is the older Carnivorous Plants by Tony Camilleri.