A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of Plants

A Garden of Marvels How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex Leaves Eat Air and Other Secrets of Plants In the tradition of The Botany of Desire and Wicked Plants a witty and engaging history of the first botanists interwoven with stories of today s extraordinary plants found in the garden and the lab

  • Title: A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of Plants
  • Author: Ruth Kassinger
  • ISBN: 9780062048998
  • Page: 263
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In the tradition of The Botany of Desire and Wicked Plants, a witty and engaging history of the first botanists interwoven with stories of today s extraordinary plants found in the garden and the lab.In Paradise Under Glass, Ruth Kassinger recounted with grace and humor her journey from brown thumb to green, sharing lessons she learned from building a home conservatory inIn the tradition of The Botany of Desire and Wicked Plants, a witty and engaging history of the first botanists interwoven with stories of today s extraordinary plants found in the garden and the lab.In Paradise Under Glass, Ruth Kassinger recounted with grace and humor her journey from brown thumb to green, sharing lessons she learned from building a home conservatory in the wake of a devastating personal crisis In A Garden of Marvels, she extends the story Frustrated by plants that fail to thrive, she sets out to understand the basics of botany in order to become a better gardener She retraces the progress of the first botanists who banished myths and misunderstandings and discovered that flowers have sex, leaves eat air, roots choose their food, and hormones make morning glories climb fence posts She also visits modern gardens, farms, and labs to discover the science behind extraordinary plants like one ton pumpkins, a truly black petunia, a biofuel grass that grows twelve feet tall, and the world s only photosynthesizing animal Transferring her insights to her own garden, she nurtures a cocktail tree that bears five kinds of fruit, cures a Buddha s Hand plant with beneficial fungi, and gets a tree to text her when it s thirsty Intertwining personal anecdote, accessible science, and untold history, the ever engaging author takes us on an eye opening journey into her garden and yours.

    One thought on “A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of Plants”

    1. Onvan : A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of Plants - Nevisande : Ruth Kassinger - ISBN : 62048996 - ISBN13 : 9780062048998 - Dar 416 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2014

    2. I love this book. She teaches while writing in engaging manner:1. More than 85% native plants in the US are perennials.2. KNOX genes orientates stems to grow straight.3. The canopy IOC a tulip poplar will hoist 100 gallons per day4. A sinker root goes straight down.5. Few trees have taproots.6. Brake fern pulls out arsenic .7. Alyssum bertoloni pulls put nickel and can be processed to release nickel for processing and use.

    3. Ruth Kassinger's lovely book about the plants in our lives starts with a murder: she describes, in heartbreaking detail, the death of a kumquat tree that she had lovingly cared for. From the beginning, I knew I had found a kindred spirit in Kassinger. I love plants: one of my favorite activities is photographing flowers at the botanic gardens, and I dream about someday having a garden full of food that I can take from the ground to my dinner table. Unfortunately, I'm most adept at killing plants [...]

    4. This astonishing book opened my eyes about the possibilities that exist for our future.The biomass grass that produces so much wood [or wood substitute] that you can heat your house all winter by devoting just an acre and a half to growing it. The next Spring, it regrows from the roots. I mentioned this to an aunt, who was disdainful because it was only carbon-neutral, drawing CO2 from the air in the Summer but returning it in the Winter. Nevertheless, that is still better than pulling fossil fu [...]

    5. Well kind of boring.The theme is interesting but the overall concept was a bit to "blah blah blah" I admire all the work, investigation and reading necessary to write the book but why does the author write about something she doesn't know and smetimes it looks like she doesn't care much?It's too much about anythind!Bem, achei o livro aborrecido.O tema é interessante mas é muita conversa com pouco conteúdo. Admiro todo o trabalho de investigação necessário para escrever um livro deste tipo [...]

    6. This book has made me seriously consider handing in my resignation and studying botany, biology and genetic engineering. It touches on the history of science, evolution, genetic modification as well as great introductions to the work and personalities of the many eccentrics and geniuses that have discovered incredible facts about plants. Like the Diversity of Life by E.O. Wilson it argues, intentionally or not, why we should care about biodiversity. Take the rare shrub, Amborella trichopoda, for [...]

    7. An excellent book about many areas of botany. Each chapter tells a story, from growing giant pumpkins, to buried arsenals (filled with arsenic). The book begins with the a murder (of a kumquat) and weaves you through growing grass as biomass, a poisoned neighborhood in Washington DC that is saved by ferns, and how grafting entire orchards is an actual possibility.As I gardener I loved her fun plant stories, and I learned alot of history. Though she claims to have been a "non science" student, sh [...]

    8. i like gardening as much as the next guy and it seemed like a good idea to find out more about what was happening beneath the soil and in between the leaves, but i found myself over my head the book is well written and at it's best, when the author talks about her everyday garden experiences, plant murdering, etc. it's pretty fun, but those passages are trapped by overwhelming science principles, scientist bios, the history of the microscope and botanical stuff that asked more from me than i co [...]

    9. A mixed bag. The history of botany and how scientists gradually figured out how plants eat, live and reproduce is fascinating (four stars). The botanical information itself is three stars simply because I already know a lot of it. The personal anecdotes Kassinger presumably thought would help connect with readers are dull and get maybe one star.

    10. Featured on Science for the People show #278 on August 15, 2014, during an interview with author Ruth Kassinger. scienceforthepeople/epi

    11. Not sure why it took me so long to read cause it was a really well written book. Informative and funny too. Good anecdotes. Definitely makes me want to learn more.

    12. This was a lovely book to get me through long, cold winter evenings. Equal parts history, hands-on technique, interviews, and personal experience, Kassinger doesn't shy away from science writing, and has a flare for making it palatable for any curious reader. I especially loved the chapters on her citrus cocktail tree and Darwin.

    13. Fun read. Good writing. Interesting insights into the plant world. From grafting trees, pollinating flowers, new bio fuels, and hybrid petunias that smell like roses, the fascinating life of plants.

    14. Loved the personal experiences woven into botany and history. I learned many things from this book. I did start to skim over some portions that went to a depth my brain just couldn't go.

    15. If NPR wrote a book, it might be like this. The most technical parts sometimes sent my brain wandering off to think of other things, but then the book would snap me back into focus with unusual or wondrous facts that I knew I could whip out at my next social gathering.Kassinger has done her research, for sure. She describes not only the methods and discoveries in the history of botany, but also the personalities and brief biographies of the researchers who made those discoveries. She also relate [...]

    16. This is one of this year's great discoveries. Kassinger expertly weaves together history, botany, and personal experience to create a book that enlivens the garden by enlightening the gardener.Kassinger starts with the Greeks, talking about the various misunderstandings that began with them (except for Theophrastus, who apparently had a pretty good idea that plants weren't just like animals) and persisted for centuries and moving on through to the present day with studies of plant genetics and c [...]

    17. Just like the author, I've always wanted to learn more about botany, but found myself bored by the usual tomes. The author's approach, the science of plants through the history of scientific discoveries about plants, was fresh and interesting. She tells about explorers and scientists as if relating, with glee, lots of juicy gossip about them and their discoveries. Her aim in her own studies was to learn how not to murder her plants. She acquired a cocktail planta tree grafted with various kinds [...]

    18. This is a quick, light read (with conveniently short chapters for bus-based reading), but weirdly structured. Much of this book is a collection of short pieces on great moments in the history of botany. Within that, some things evidently engage the author more than others, so there end up being several chapters relating to some topics where seemingly equally important topics are relegated to a quick brush-off. Meanwhile, she also periodically throws in memoiry bits about her history with plants [...]

    19. If you are looking for a strictly scientific or historical book, this is not it. The author writes a lot about her own gardening and plant experiences (successes and failures). There are also some chapters that are just plain fun with little to no science or history. There are also chapters that have a great deal of detail on the science behind and inner workings of plants, and how people discovered it. I found this to be a very enjoyable book. Like most books that I really enjoy, I was disappoi [...]

    20. Bookseller: LindaWe usually "marvel" at the extraordinary blooms and colors in our gardens. But we don't consider all the histroy and science behind how each plant got to be so special.Kassinger takes us down the garden path and there we have encounters with various elements of life- plant, animal, and others. From early science experiments (1700s) concerning water and plants to the geologic past with the beginnings of branches of evolution to toxic remediation using our common ___ to how plants [...]

    21. This has been a delight to read. The title doesn't do this book justice. Kassinger has taken botanical history and current science and made it completely enjoyable. Wish I'd had this before Botany 101 in college. Very approachable writing, using the structure of her own uneven experience with plants and shares her pursuit of information with us. Written in 2014, the state of current hybridizing is provided. But, Kassinger has delivered on her mission, increasing my awe and understanding of the i [...]

    22. this was a very interesting book to read. Ms. Kassinger has a backyard gardner point of view about things, but is able to furnish some of the background of how black petunias came to be, why sun coleus is one of my favorite flowers and why I need a cocktail tree. some of the chapters seem too long when talking about some of the earliest pioneer scientists. I never realized the circular route botanists took to discover something I think of as so simple.looking at plants in a whole new light. stop [...]

    23. Nice blend of botany and history of botany. I actually knew much of this but I'm a little more well read than most on the subject. I was less interested the author's stories of her current life and explorations than I was when the figures in the history of botany and I ended up just skimming them on my way to the meat of the matter - so to speak.Kind of recommended - more to folks not really looking for an overview of Botany with a capital B but looking more for an enhanced and somewhat eclectic [...]

    24. 3.5 stars. Too much meandering musings about how the author wanted to be a poet but then worked in DC, but then went to a pumpkin boat competition, or something, and then decided to be a writer but was clumsy at experiments but good at nodding sagely to the teacher in school, so she doesn't know the difference between mitosis and meiosis, I'm not sure; I skipped large portions. BUT, the parts that I did read were fascinating! Plants are great!

    25. I wanted to learn about plants and flowers in an interesting way, and this was one of the books I got for that purpose. Unfortunately, I found it boring. I'm going to look for other books to do the job. (The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature has been fascinating so far.)

    26. This book very much reminds me of a Mary Roach book. Microhistory mixed in with the author's personal stories. All told with a sense of humor. Since the subtitle explains the book so perfectly, I won't go into to much more detail except to say that, even as a layperson who liked biology well-enough but wasn't super-good at it, I still felt like I could follow along and enjoyed this book quite a bit.

    27. Very interesting, accessible book on the history of botany as a science. From the mystery of the barometz to understanding how a plant (from a bush to a redwood) actually grows, the author covers every step along the way, highlighting interesting personalities and how often (too often), scientific progress was just overlooked or censored in favor of "conventional" wisdom.

    28. What a great book for those of us who never really took (or paid attention) in botany classes. The framing, with the author looking for and finding someone to make her a cocktail tree, immediately draws the reader in and keeps the interest level high, while the factual information given is done so engagingly (and without such a huge amount of science) that it doesn't feel like a science book.

    29. I'm a sucker for this kind of book. The author deftly leads us through the history of how we discovered plants work. I was amazed at how recently (less than 200 years) we were debating issues such as how plants reproduce. She is pro-genetic modification, which will drive some zealots nuts. But overall this is just a fun book; you will learn a lot and you will never again take plants for granted.

    30. I couldn't always follow the biology in this book. The author may assert that science wasn't her thing when she was off to college but I'm not so sure that is true! I really loved the parts related to her own experience rather than historical - the black petunias and the cocktail tree spring to mind. And the illustrations are lovely.

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