Mr. Mabey doesn’t want to reduce plants to utilities functioning on our behalf. A subtly expressed theme through his 29 chapters on 40-some plants, is that they don’t need us the way we need them. Their real gift to human beings, he writes, is to demonstrate 'different models of being alive.'”
...new research suggests that plants might have lives beyond our current understanding. Perhaps they are capable of taking deliberate action, just as animals do. It’s a shame that this topic occupies only the last 10 pages of Mabey’s book, because it does more to prove his point than everything that came before, however interesting and entertaining it might have been.
The Cabaret of Plants is not a plant identification book. Nor is it a treatise on ecology. Nor is it mere personal reflections. It is best described as a collection of related but not entirely integrated essays that draw from Mabey’s long career as an aficionado of the plant world, a botanical writer who does not feel constrained by the conventions of science.