Hemulen’s Herbarium is a picturesque book for current and future nature lovers. The book is made and illustrated with Hemulen’s precision and introduces about a hundred common plants in the Nordic countries.
“A strange and nice smell filled the air and my snout with expectation. I didn’t know yet that it was the wood’s perfume of moss, bracken, and wet leaves.”
From Tove Jansson’s book The Exploits of Moominpappa
Finland’s wonderful nature, flourishing despite the harsh weather conditions, deserves to be studied and understood. Hemulen’s Herbarium encourages everyone to marvel and get inspired by the world of the plants.
”The book was made so that children – as well as adults! – would get to know the incredibly beautiful nature around us better,” says author and editor Päivi Kaataja from WSOY.
Previously, children in Finland were assigned the collection of a herbarium as homework over the summer to help them recognise, name and respect plants. According to Kaataja, Hemulen’s Herbarium serves a slightly different purpose: ”It is by no means important to learn the names of the plants and remember their latin names! It is far more important to get to know the plants themselves: what the plant looks and smells like, what animals eat it, whether it is poisonous – and if so, why… Each plant has its own interesting story!”
Thus, Hemulen’s Herbarium is not a handbook in biology, but according to Kaataja ”it approaches plants curiously by exploring, describing and story-telling. It is an inspirational book, that hopefully inspires as many as possible to head to the nearby forest, beaches, paths and meadows. The herbarium is illustrated and folded so beautifully that reading it feels like jumping straight into the forest! The book is for everyone,” she adds.
Hemulen’s Herbarium is full of interesting, easy-to-read information about plants, instructions and space for pressing and storing these, as well as beautiful drawings of up to 170 plants that are common in Finland.
Hemulen’s Herbarium sheds a new light on the Moomin stories: ”In Tove Jansson’s Moomin illustrations, the attention is usually focused on the Moomins and the other characters. But this time, the plants in the background get all of the attention!”, Kaataja rejoices.
”Tove has drawn with precision an incredible variety of flowers, trees, mosses and lichens. It was a pleasure to find a fern, a rowan with berries, a horse chestnut and gloomy fir trees among the Moomin illustrations. There are also a lot of very beautiful nature descriptions in the books.”
The book also contains instructions on how to press plants as well as empty spreads for your own finds.
The picturesque book is sealed with beautiful ribbons that will hold your plants in place.
The wonderful book has been written and edited by Päivi Kaataja. The drawings in color have been created by graphic designer Anni Pöyhtäri, and behind the graphic design of the book itself is Riikka Turkulainen. The remaining pictures in the book are Tove Jansson’s original drawings.
The book is currently available in Finnish, published by WSOY and in Swedish, published by Förlaget M.