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A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of Plants Paperback – April 28, 2015
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Whether debunking the myth of the “vegetable lamb” borametz plant or cooing over the rippling lettuce-like appearance of the green sea slug, Kassinger proves that it truly is a jungle out there. A self-taught, infectiously enthusiastic home gardener, Kassinger nevertheless realized that a more formal understanding of botany would be necessary if she were to prevent turning her horticultural hits into misses. But who said such a pursuit had to be boring? There were all manner of great stories hidden in the cabbage patch, from the daredevil biographies of botanists of yore to the mysterious manifestations of plant sex. An intrepid journalist and indefatigable plants woman, Kassinger ferrets out the most entertaining and educational aspects of plant science with a researcher’s fervor and a collector’s zeal. From instructions on how to grow a giant pumpkin and then convert it into a regatta-worthy sailing vessel (along with discovering why someone would even want to), Kassinger has a knack for uncovering horticulture’s quirky side. --Carol Haggas --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“A sumptuously written history of greenhouse horticulture.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Ms. Kassinger’s writing is chatty and intimate, but she has clearly done her library research.” (International Herald Tribune on Paradise Under Glass)
“The book [PARADISE UNDER GLASS] vividly chronicles her [Kassinger’s] initiation into the world of indoor gardening as well as the fascinating and unlikely histories of greenhouses and the flamboyant gardens they have housed…Kassinger’s lush writing and exotic stories will delight the armchair gardener and historian.” (Publishers Weekly)
“[M]y favorite gardening book of the year...But be warned... you might feel a need to start acquiring houseplants, or even a greenhouse.” (Boston Globe)
“Ms. Kassinger’s writing is chatty and intimate, but she has clearly done her library research.” (New York Times Book Review on PARADISE UNDER GLASS)
“[A] pleasant ramble through the world of plants . . . Kassinger weaves a huge amount of information into what still feels like a personal memoir, and by the end of this effortless afternoon stroll with her, readers will be startled to realize how much they have learned.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) on A GARDEN OF MARVELS)
“A self-taught, infectiously enthusiastic home gardener… intrepid journalist and indefatigable plants woman, Kassinger ferrets out the most entertaining and educational aspects of plant science with a researcher’s fervor and a collector’s zeal… Kassinger has a knack for uncovering horticulture’s quirky side.” (Booklist on A GARDEN OF MARVELS)
“A delightful book, fun to read and share…” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on A GARDEN OF MARVELS)
“Kassinger has a knack for explaining without oversimplifying, so that xylem and phloem finally make sense, and the discovery of photosynthesis becomes an exciting event.” (Columbus Dispatch on A GARDEN OF MARVELS)
“Garden is a lively alternative to traditional botany books…” (Discover magazine on A GARDEN OF MARVELS)
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I enjoyed learning about the evolution of the first flowering plants
Much closer to home, I found interesting the techniques used in Ontario greenhouses that grow the vegetables I eat all winter.
Of greater importance for us and our children, are plants being developed for biofuels that may well change our future.
I don't know any other volume on the subject as wide ranging as this and for that reason it's worth the slog.
From the primordial seas to plants that can harvest nickel from poor soils, plants are way more interesting than you ever thought. Without them, none of us would be here.