Stars and Flowers: Informative Talks with Celebrities about Plants, by Evelyn Klahre Anderson

stars_flowersStars and Flowers: Informative Talks with Celebrities about Plants ($22.95, 508 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-242-9), by Evelyn Klahre Anderson, is a collection of interviews that took place in the late ’70s, ’80s and ’90s with famous people from many different professions and walks of life.

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“A great read for any gardener or nature lover.” Read more ….

–Sue Scholz, Erie Times-News

Evelyn Klahre Anderson grew up in the company of nature. At a young age, she received gifts of small field guides of wildflowers and birds from her parents, who introduced her to the species growing in their flower garden and Victory garden, as well as those spotted on their many field trips and outings together. In those early years, she and her young friends enjoyed playing with some of the wild plants that they found growing nearby.

In 1975, Evelyn began writing feature articles for the Erie Weekender. In September, 1984, she started a nature column, “Nature’s Way,” for the Erie Morning News, which branched out into the Erie Times-News and ran for twenty-eight years. During those years, she had articles printed in many other publications.

In 1978, Evelyn began interviewing celebrities on the lecture circuit in Erie and nearby Chautauqua, New York, asking them for their personal memories and thoughts relating to plants, flowers, and the out-of-doors. These celebrities included a vast cross-section of American people of interest: Broadway stars, scientists, astronauts, even presidents and first ladies. The result, Stars and Flowers, is a delightful treasury of humorous and fascinating anecdotes and homey insights from the gracious stars whose names and faces dominated the media in the 1980s and ’90s.

While in the area, many of these celebrities, especially those with expertise in horticulture, mentioned in particular the plants and flowers they encountered while visiting the area, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Chautauqua and Salamanca, New York.

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Says the author, “In the late 1970s, when it became possible for me to join reporters at press conferences, it seemed only natural to begin asking the celebrities about plants and flowers. But what a shock it must have been for them to find themselves facing a tape recorder and being expected to respond to questions that had nothing to do with their profession. Amazingly, even though they were totally unprepared and already had much to do that day and much more to do that night, they were gracious.”

Keep reading for an excerpt:

I told the pilot—at least, I presumed he was the pilot—why I wanted to see John Denver, and said that perhaps he, too, could tell me something about plants or flowers. He smiled and said, “I just sent my wife a bouquet of roses, so she knows I still love her.”

What happened next, happened so fast I can’t be sure, but the door opened and, as it did, three men—possibly four—breezed through the door, across the room, and out the opposite door. In a split second, they were gone. So, too, was the man who had been in the room with me.

I jumped up and ran after them. As I paused in front of the nose of the plane I could see men starting to get in the on the left side. John Denver was off to my right, ready to get in on that side. They all froze when they saw me. Quickly, I explained why I was there, and held up my tape recorder, so I could catch John Denver’s answer.

He answered: “So, I love plants. My home is full of plants. I always have plants with me on stage whenever I perform. I just like having that little touch of the earth there.”

What about when you were a boy? Did you grow up in the out-of-doors?

“My father was a farmer, so I was raised on a farm. And so I got a little bit closer to the earth, I think, through my experiences with them—the family. But I always loved being outdoors when I was a kid. I prefer being out in the country as opposed to the city. I love to be out in mountains, especially and—”

Just then, the engine roared, and the rest of his words were drowned out.


“That is where my home is now,” he repeated. By then, he was turning, ready to climb into the plane.

Do you know the wildflowers?

“Yes, I know all of them,” he said as he started to climb in.

What’s your favorite?

“I think the columbine, the Colorado columbine,” he called down to me.

Thank you.

“Okay,” he said and added something else, but the engine drowned him out. Then they taxied and took off.


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