Event Report: Labour of Love Book Signing

Nature calling: a book signing report by Labour of Love author Hannah de Groot

Was it the tropical plants, hanging from the ceiling, draped between the books? Was it the live cello music – Bach’s notes – that filled up the complete store? Or maybe it was the delicious raw finger food and beautiful saffron tea…

It’s hard to say what was the reason so many lovely people came to the booksigning of Labour of Love: Portrait of a Botanic Garden on Saturday, the 25th of August. But that day in the American Book Center came very close to the magical atmosphere of the VU Hortus, the botanical gardens of the VU University Amsterdam.

Making the book Labour of Love, photographer Elsbeth Tijssen and I wanted to bring the botanic gardens to life with stories and pictures. Not with scientific language and dry annotations, but with picturing the magical quietness of plants, with stories that show the concentrated love of people for nature. It was our goal to let the book be as the gardens: time stands still and you become immersed in what you see and read, creating the ideal circumstances to just fall in love with the gardens.

Isn’t it wonderful that what we wanted for our book also happened the 25th of August in the American Book Center, during the 2 hour book signing? Labour of Love brought people together, smiling, enjoying the multisensory event: wonderful raw finger food, beautiful saffron tea served by saffron trader Çaglar Özer, music played by cellist Christina Kellenberger, surrounded by VU Hortus people, answering any questions about plants and gardens. Was it the magic of the plants? I don’t know. May be it was just nature calling.

ABC’s Femke Wijdekop and Rick Lightstone: thank you, it was amazing.