The Star-Nosed Mole

The Star-Nosed Mole

An Anthology of Scented Garden Writing

Scent Magic author Isabel Bannerman's selection of favourite pieces evoking the scent of plants, stunningly illustrated with her unique botanical photographs

After publishing Scent Magican acclaimed memoir of plants, gardens and scent, Isabel Bannerman couldn’t leave the subject alone. ‘I came across the star-nosed mole, an adorable and preposterous creature with a highly specialized sensory-motor organ, while writing about the riches of the soil kingdom … and, somewhat mole-like … as I was trying to write about the impossibility of writing effectively about smell, I began to nose around for great writers’ solutions to this problem. How and how much have writers considered the lilies of the field and how they smell. I began grazing on literature and gathering in my stores of quotes.’

In reviews of Scent Magic, Isabel was lauded for ‘putting into words what so much escapes language. With a wonderful range of reference and allusion, it's nothing less than poetry... (Evening Standard)’. And in this anthology, with her beautifully written linking passages bringing carefully chosen quotations together with her dramatic, powerful and mysterious plant images, she evokes the scented garden through poetry and prose spanning millennia, from Ovid to Proust, Milton to George Eliot, and Emily Dickinson to Alice Oswald.

Garden designer Isabel Bannerman and her husband, Julian, have won Gold Medals at Chelsea and designed gardens for a wide range of people, including HRH The Prince of Wales and many clients from the worlds of fashion and film. They also designed the British 9/11 Memorial Garden in New York. Isabel has always taken photographs and she began making her particular style of botanical scans in 2003. She has had four solo shows of her work, which is in collections including those of of Jasper Conran and Richard E. Grant. She wrote and photographed Landscape Of Dreams (Pimpernel Press, 2016), describing fourteen of the many gardens the Bannermans have created. Her second book, Scent Magic, was published by Pimpernel Press in 2019.

"Looking for a present for a bookish garden-lover? The Star-Nosed Mole evokes the joys of a scented garden through exquisite poetry, prose and pictures."

Country Living

"It's the author's own nose for telling detail that brings alive what might at first appear a straightforward anthology, but turns out to be anything but...This is, in the author's own words, a 'commonplace book of smelly thoughts' that will set the reader on a tantalising path of exploration...led by the capricious mind of one of our best garden makers."

Country Life
The Pimpernel Press Ltd
The Pimpernel Press Ltd
Product Format
230 x 170
Publication Date
Sep 23, 2021
Country of Manufacture
Number of Pages