The Florida MGV Book Club

Are you looking for a good read? Or interested in connecting with gardeners around the state? You are invited to join us for a community reading.

What’s the current book club title?

Cover of the book The Scent of Scandal by Craig Pittman featuring a photo of a magenta orchid flower

For the summer of 2022, the Florida MGV Book Club will be reading "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid" by Craig Pittman, investigative journalist and native Floridian.

After its Peruvian discovery in 2002, Phragmipedium kovachii became the rarest and most sought-after orchid in the world. Prices soared to $10,000 on the black market. Then one showed up at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, where every year more than 100,000 people visit.

The collision between Selby's scientists and the smugglers of this rare ladyslipper orchid led to search warrants, a grand jury investigation, and criminal charges. It made headlines around the country, cost the gardens hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, and led to tremendous internal turmoil.

How do I join the book club?

Simply purchase the book, directly from the UF/IFAS Extension bookstore or from another online bookseller, and you're in. Currently the UF/IFAS bookstore is offering our summer title at a 20% discount. It's available in hardback and paperback and as both a Kindle e-book and an audiobook. A note to our readers who prefer large print, we suggest purchasing the e-book so the text size can be adjusted.

To share your thoughts and discuss with readers around the state, follow us on social media. We'll be posting frequently on Instagram (@Florida.Master.Gardeners) and Facebook (@florida.mastergardeners). There we will share discussion questions, quotes, pictures, and video discussions with our State Master Gardener Volunteer Program Coordinator, Wendy Wilber.

Will we meet to discuss the book?

Yes! Mark your calendars for Friday, August 26th at 1:00 p.m. for a live meeting with author Craig Pittman. Check the next issue of the Neighborhood Gardener newsletter or our social media accounts for registration instructions for this live event.

But you don't have to wait for our live event to gather with other book club members. Local Master Gardener Volunteers, naturalists, friends, and neighbors may enjoy reading the book and discussing together. We encourage local groups of readers to meet up virtually when meeting in person is difficult. Consider using social media platforms, Zoom, Skype, or making a phone call.

However you decide to connect, we're excited to read and grow with you. Thank you for being a part of our community.

Book List

Interested in what we've previously read? See the MGV Book List.

You can watch recordings of previous live meetings with authors and Extension experts on the UF/IFAS Center for Land Use Efficiency's YouTube channel.