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How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do (Science for Gardeners) Paperback – April 22, 2015
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“From water and fertilizer to light and soil, this is the most accessible (and accurate) guide to the inner workings of a plant available today.” —Jeff Gillman, author of The Truth About Organic Gardening and The Truth About Garden Remedies
“If you've ever wondered, ‘Why did my plant do that?,’ look no further. Linda Chalker-Scott lays out the science behind garden plants in a buoyant, readable guide that you'll be turning to for years to come.” —Billy Goodnick, landscape architect, author, and educator
“How Plants Work by Linda Chalker-Scott should ease our minds and lighten our workloads. She does a terrific job with the science of cell structure and explains why sunflowers turn to the sun, why tulips close up at night and loads of other fascinating tidbits.” —New York Times Book Review
“In her engaging, myth-busting book, Chalker-Scott opens up the wonders and curiosities of plant physiology. She not only makes us care about cell membranes, mitochondria and root stress, but leaves us eager to learn more.” —Seattle Times
“Using real-life situtations and a conversational style, Chalker-Scott makes the science of growing things simple for home gardeners. Readers of this book will be able to make more informed choices in gardening practices.” —Houston Herald
“This book by Linda Chalker-Scott arms gardeners with hard science while relating information in an accessible and entertaining voice. . . . I can’t think of a better way to pass the winter months.” —The Star Press
“Linda Chalker-Scott has become a champion for evidence-based horticulture by citing scientific studies to debunk gardening practices and products that simply don’t work. In her new book. . . . she uses real-life situations, explanatory color photographs and drawings, and her signature colloquial style to make the science of plant processes accessible to home gardeners.” —The American Gardener
“Loads of tips on planting, watering, fertilizers, weeds, what causes plant problems and much more. Yes, it will help you change the way you garden.” —Garden Design Online
“The author presents a holistic view of the anatomy and physiology of plants. . . . This would be an excellent resource for gardeners, science projects for students, and in a botany class.”—National Science Teachers Association
“This 235-page, easy-to-understand guide presents information on plant physiology. . . . in a clear and logical way for gardeners.” —The Oregonian
“One of the most engrossing and useful books on gardening I’ve found in a very long time.” —Forest Garden Blog
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This book is divided into 9 sections covering the following topics: 1) Plant anatomy, 2) Roots, 3) Soil, 4) Photosynthesis, 5) Anthocyanins - or why plants suddenly turn red, 6) How plants tell time, 7) How plants move, 8) Pruning and garden care, 9) Plant reproduction. Each topic is given a general overview, with examples given so you can understand how these concepts are at work in the garden. Finally, Linda also comments on what the science says about a variety of gardening advice - spoiler alert, most of it is bunk and some even harmful to your plants.
This book is not a plant encyclopedia. If you are expecting a list of 300 common plants (none of which you seem to own) with bullet points about how to care for them, you won't find it here. Instead, the information in this book applies to all kinds of plants, indoor plants, outdoor plants, trees, grasses, herbs and vegetables, container gardens, orchids, etc.
If you have a background in the life sciences (non-botany), this book may seem a bit simplistic and you'll be itching for more in depth explanations about each of the topics.
Bottom line - unless you have a degree in botany or horticulture, you should read this book if you are at all interested in plants and gardening.