Visiting Physic Gardens

A guest post
by Julie Bozza

I don’t have green thumbs, alas! But I do appreciate a good garden, and I’ve long been fascinated by medieval physic gardens.

Physic gardens (as we know them) date back to the time of Charlemagne (742-814). Sections of a garden would be set aside for growing plants used for medicinal purposes, and for teaching apothecaries about their trade.

This makes physic gardens sound very practical – and they were! – but there is also an element of beauty within them. Many of the medicinal plants were in themselves beautiful. For example, certain irises were grown in such gardens, as their rhizomes (known as orris root) were used in both perfume and medicine. Irises are utterly gorgeous and my favourite flower, so that decisively proves my point, at least to myself!

With all those herbs and flowers growing, you can imagine how beautiful such gardens were for the nose as well as the eye! It was common practice for a bench to be installed in a physic garden so that convalescents could sit for a while and soak up not only the sun but the healthful scents.

The idea of physic gardens evolved into our modern-day botanic gardens, which have a broader interest in all plants – though of course most botanic gardens specialise in particular areas, or are shaped by their location and climate.

Chelsea Physic Garden (photo by Julie).

The University of Oxford Botanic Garden embodies this history, as it was founded in 1621 as a physic garden, and now has a wider remit with over 8,000 different plant species across a four-and-a-half acre site. True to its origins, however, the garden includes medicinal beds growing plants used in modern medicine.

Continue reading “Visiting Physic Gardens”

Manifold Press paperbacks

The Press doesn’t issue paperback editions of all our titles, as the decision to do so is driven by the individual authors. That being said, we’re delighted with the twenty titles that have made it into print thus far! There are new ones on the way, so it seemed to be a good time to take stock of what we have so far.

A veritable rainbow of books from Manifold Press!
A veritable rainbow of books from Manifold Press!

Our current paperback titles are listed here, along with Amazon US buy links:

The Apothecary's Garden paperback coverAlways With Us by Morgan Cheshire

The Apothecary’s Garden by Julie Bozza

Between Now and Then by Adam Fitzroy

Butterfly Hunter (#1) by Julie Bozza

Of Dreams and Ceremonies (Butterfly Hunter #2) by Julie Bozza

The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring (Butterfly Hunter #3) by Julie Bozza

The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy (incorporating all three novels plus the free short story Like Leaves to a Tree) by Julie Bozza

Dear Mister President by Adam Fitzroy

Make Do and Mend paperback coverThe Definitive Albert J. Sterne (incorporating the novel and the stories published separately in the eBook Albert J. Sterne: Future Bright, Past Imperfect) by Julie Bozza

Ghost Station by Adam Fitzroy

Homosapien … a fantasy about pro wrestling by Julie Bozza

Make Do and Mend by Adam Fitzroy

Mitch Rebecki Gets a Life by Julie Bozza

A Pride of Poppies Modern LGBTQIA Fiction of the Great War – anthology including stories by Julie Bozza, Barry Brennessel, Charlie Cochrane, Sam Evans, Lou Faulkner, Adam Fitzroy, Wendy C. Fries, Z. McAspurren, Eleanor Musgrove and Jay Lewis Taylor

A Pride of Poppies - paperback coverRavages by R.A. Padmos

Solemn Contract by Morgan Cheshire

Stage Whispers by Adam Fitzroy

A Threefold Cord by Julie Bozza

The ‘True Love’ Solution by Julie Bozza

The Valley of the Shadow of Death by Julie Bozza

We hope you’ll enjoy these paperback editions and – like us! – are looking forward to more titles coming soon.


THE APOTHECARY'S GARDENQuite out of the blue, a new review of Julie’s book has appeared over on Narrelle Harris’s book blog ADVENTUROUS HEARTS – penned by feisty guest reviewer Minion Beck.

“I usually read a book of this size in a few hours, but I didn’t want it to end and managed to drag the experience out over 4 days. This story of unconventional love is whimsical and almost magical in its purity. I cried, not because of the ending, but because it ended.”

And if that wasn’t sufficient evidence of enthusiasm, the review ends with these words:

“Julie Bozza has become an author I will automatically buy and be warned, dis her, or this book, and I may just frighten you with my response.

In summary … Just wonderful and highly recommended.”

That’s quite a powerful endorsement; thank you, both Minion Beck and Narrelle Harris, for your enthusiasm and support!


random harvest banner

Welcome to the final day of our extremely random giveaway. To enter, just reply to this post with your first name, e-mail address, the title of the current Manifold Press book(s) you’d like to win, and your preferred format all replies are screened; we’ll select the winner at random at 12.00 noon on 21 April (UK time).

This is a great chance to experiment with a book or an author you haven’t yet tried, or to complete the backlist of a favourite; whatever your tastes, we’re sure to have something that will appeal to you – so what have you got to lose? Come on in and join us – the more, the merrier!

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Thank you all for your tolerance of our Day Five screw-up. The Day Five/Six winners have just been drawn and are Andrea, who wanted Julie Bozza’s THE APOTHECARY’S GARDEN, and Barbra, who asked for Chris Quinton’s FOX HUNT. We’ll be e-mailing them to you as soon as humanly possible, and we hope you will both enjoy your prizes; thank you for entering!


Elisa, of Reviews and Ramblings, has very kindly taken time out from her many other responsibilities to read and comment on Julie’s book THE APOTHECARY’S GARDEN.

I liked how respectful the author was of these two men, and how she didn’t deprive them of the sexual nature of their relationship. Tom is 23 years old and it would be unbelievable if he hadn’t desires; sure their love making is different from that of two twenty something fellows, but nevertheless is satisfying for the both of them.

It’s always gratifying when an author’s obvious affection for her characters transmits itself to the reader, and we’re glad to know that Tom and Hilary are still making new friends out there in the big wide world! Thank you for your comments, Elisa!


Reviewer Mandy, who had previously given her opinion of Julie’s THE APOTHECARY’S GARDEN on Goodreads, has now also posted it to the Hearts on Fire review website:

I bought the paperback of this book and took it with me to all my appointments and read it while I was waiting, which took a bit, but honestly, this book deserves the slow approach. It deserves to be savored and enjoyed, like a good cup of tea. Not rushed through.

Honestly, we couldn’t agree more; a good book is one you can become absorbed in and spend a lot of time with, and if takes the boredom out of waiting for appointments it’s more than served its purpose. Thank you, Mandy, we’re very glad to know that this one worked for you!


It’s been a very quiet time for reviews lately, but we’re pleased to say that our books are still making new friends out there in the world – and from time to time those friends feel strongly enough to put their responses into words and publish them online.

Julie’s ever-popular THE APOTHECARY’S GARDEN has just been reviewed by Runell on the the website Bachelors and Bombshells, prompting some lovely comments about Julie’s qualities as a writer as well as about the book itself.

This was my first book by Julie Bozza so I can’t compare this work to any of her others, and I don’t want to compare it to any other author’s work because that’s like comparing apples and oranges (cliché, I know, but it’s true). All I know is that if her other work is anything like The Apothecary’s Garden, I’ll give it a go.

Thank you, Runell! Really, what author – and what publisher – could ever ask for more than that?


What we can say? It’s embarrassing, but from time to time a review of one of our books slips through the net and we don’t find out about it until weeks or months after it’s appeared. This has just happened again; we’ve recently learned of a review of Julie Bozza’s THE APOTHECARY’S GARDEN which appeared on The Novel Approach review blog. It’s a real shame we didn’t see it sooner, as reviewer Lisa Horan was clearly enchanted by the book (as so many were!) and we can only apologise to both her and Julie for not being aware of this review when it was originally published.

There were some lovely metaphors in the story, illuminating the love that grew from the seeds of friendship for these two men, and the way in which a garden, much like that love, cannot survive until all the detritus that chokes the new and fragile blossoms of that love, which keeps it from thriving and growing into something lush and beautiful, has been removed to allow a new life to begin.


A reviewer named Sue over at Boys In Our Books has been reading Julie Bozza’s very popular THE APOTHECARY’S GARDEN. We think it’s fair to say that she wasn’t exactly overwhelmed by it, but the main objection seems to be that the characters didn’t behave like people they weren’t. Well, not all books will please all readers – a sad fact, but true. However we hope to be able to come up with something more to her taste on a future occasion.

Obviously The Apothecary’s Garden is not meant to be any of the things I was looking for, so the joke is on me – but I was so bored, I wanted to cry. I can see why everyone adores it because it’s lovely and gentle and very sweet, but yeah not for me.

That’s a shame, but we understand completely!

Sixth Day winner

Thank you once again to everyone who entered; today’s winner is Louise, who has asked for Julie Bozza’s THE APOTHECARY’S GARDEN – it’ll be on its way to you soon, Louise.

The Seventh Day of Christmas draw will be opening shortly, and we look forward to seeing many of you over there. Meanwhile, this would seem like a very good moment to wish all our friends, new and old, a very happy, peaceful and prosperous 2014 – during which we hope to bring you many more new titles for your entertainment!