Wildflowers of Maine by Kate Furbish

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 I wish I’d read Wildflowers of Maine by Kate Furbish many years ago. Of course, that would have been impossible, because the book was published in 2016 by Downeast Books.


I love to walk in the woods and enjoy the flowers and trees, but I can only identify a few of those gorgeous wild flowers. My plan now is to carry Kate’s book with me, to identify other wildflowers. I had no idea there are so many in Maine.


This book is actually a work of art, featuring a selection of color paintings of wildflowers by Kate Furbish who is an artist. She also had a lifelong passion to record all of Maine’s plants and flowers in her watercolor paintings.


Furbish traveled the state in the late 1800s and early 1900s, collecting and illustrating our native plants and flowers, devoting 60 years of her life to this work and producing thousands of illustrations, most of which are now at the Bowdoin College Library.


I am so grateful to Downeast Books for publishing this collection of amazing paintings and illustrations. In addition to the stunning works of art, the book tells us where Furbish observed the flowers. The book also includes her story, which is inspiring. I particularly enjoyed the story of her long trip and visit to Aroostook County, taken by train, stage, and carriage, which produced lots of flowers and other plants she’d never seen before.


For example, “the interesting plants she’d observed in Fort Kent, situated at the confluence of the Fish and St. John Rivers, were too numerous to list, but she delved into the forested swamps in search of orchids where she was ‘amply rewarded.”


Been there. But did I see orchids? Regrettably, I don’t remember. I do, however, remember catching fish there!




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