This 96-page book is the result of a collaboration by Jean-Christophe Villon, who did the illustrations, layout, and editing, and Jean-Jacques Segalen, who wrote the text, and is a trained botanist as well a seed specialist and webmaster for the Barbadine web site. There were several objectives behind creating this work: to provide a botanically accurate presentation of the diverse flora of these islands that was informed by the author's personal experiences in tropical gardening; to combine this with lavish colour illustrations by an artist with a keen eye and appreciation of local flora; and to offer this unique book at an affordable price. Based on the enthusiastic responses we have received from the first buyers of this book, we believe we have succeeded in accomplishing what we set out to do!
The book is written in French, but a complete translation into English of the data and growing tips is provided, so you will not miss anything…and you may learn some French in the process! Despite the modest price tag of this book (10 Euros or 13.50 US$), this is a high quality work that is the result of years of work. The artist wanted to provide pictures of the various plants at different stages (growth, flowers, fruit) and it has required a lot of time, patience, and skill to take the hundreds of photos that were used as the basis for the illustrations. These photos were taken in a wide variety of conditions and locations…in forests, in gardens, and even indoors. In all, over 500 illustrations were created in order to showcase the 214 species covered in this book. The concept behind the layout is to make the reader feel as if he is strolling through a tropical garden where he will encounter plants he may already know and meet new ones.
Our book describes the plants we have found to be most interesting on both Reunion Island (where we live) and Mauritius. These islands are botanically diverse and we have not attempted to deal with much of the more familiar and widely distributed flora here -- such as palm trees, orchids, etc. -- for which many specialized books already exist. The text aims to introduce the reader in both a concise and informative manner to the plants we have focused on, and to provide basic advice on how to successfully grow them. For those who want to pursue actually growing such plants, we refer you to the Barbadine web site, which is dedicated to the marketing of tropical seeds produced on Reunion Island. There you can order seeds for some of the species depicted in this work. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org concerning what plants you are interested in and whether you are in the tropics or in a temperate area. As some of the plants depicted in the book are rare or very difficult to grow, we cannot provide seeds for all of the species covered in the book. However, we do have a large selection of seeds available and think you will be pleased with what we can provide.
We have tried to make our book as accurate as possible, but, if you encounter something that you think is in error, we would appreciate your feedback so that we may use this information in any future reprinting.