- Paperback: 252 pages
- Publisher: Athena University Press (July 26, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1414702310
- ISBN-13: 978-1414702315
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,613,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Life and Works of Luther Burbank Paperback – July 26, 2004
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
About the Author
'Luther Burbank (1849-1926) was a friend of Jack London, Helen Keller, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. During his working lifetime he probably contributed or introduced more plants than any other single American in our history. Many of his productions have been of great importance to horticulture, past and present. Besides the Burbank potato, he produced new tomato, corn, squash, pea, and asparagus forms; a spineless cactus useful in cattle feeding; and many new flowers, especially lilies and the famous Shasta daisy. Burbank was not connected with a learned institution and indeed had little scientific training. Starting his professional life as a market gardener in Massachusetts about 1870, he attempted to improve his vegetables by crossing varieties.
Showing 1-1 of 1 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Added to the short text, almost every other page is a photograph of Luther from childhood through his older years, of his homes, his nurseries & gardens, the tools with which he began, and the adored mother who guided his life and who lived with him in her later years.
THE STORY: Burbank was born in Massachusetts in 1849 to his father's third wife, the 13th child (cumulatively) of the family. Fascinated with flowers, fruits, and veggies from his hard-working childhood, he hybridized his first plant---the Burbank potato---and on the $150 proceeds, went to California for a longer growing season. His poverty combined with travel hazards made for an indelibly miserable journey.
Almost penniless and not physically robust, young Luther eked out a living as a carpenter when he failed as a drover. After years of struggle, Burbank saved enough to buy some land. There he immediately put to use his knowledge of growing plants to appeal to local buyers. Later, he applied his constant observations & thoughts of those fallow years, bringing together plants whose traits he wanted to combine---hundreds and thousands of trials until he'd created magnificent versions of old faithfuls and scores of new creations. Among them are the Shasta Daisy, the Plucot, and the Burbank Tomato.
The five chapters deal with Burbank's boyhood on a Massachusetts farm, his early years in Santa Rosa, the rewards of his patience & the period of greatest achievement, the sum of his work with plant life & what it has meant to science & agriculture, and "the bearing of his work on human life."
COMMENTS: All of this makes for interesting reading, in part because of Burbank's remarkably contemporary writing style: straight-forward and often telling a heckuva a story, like the time when he got an order in spring for twenty-thousand prune seedlings to be produced in time for a fall planting---this in his fourth year in the nursery business in 1881! As soon as he could, however, he sold the nursery business and started his experimental farm, hybridizing new and sometimes wild plants such as a potato-tomato, changing species more rapidly than thought possible at the time. He considered this educating plants to reveal their hidden possibilities.
To me, among the most interesting chapter discusses Burbank's application of his thoughts about plants to people. He was an eloquent, ardent, and almost relentless advocate of first-rate early childhood education. He writes,
"It is quite useless to produce varieties of the most splendid possibilities --- unless the plants of the newest generation are given proper soil and nourishment and sunshine, they will come to nothing."
The children of the slums in the cramped cities, he wrote, need fresh air and sunlight and they should have time and space to romp and play---or he warns, we will live to regret what these children have been denied.
OVERALL: Many of us enjoy the fruits of Burpee's seeds (a business offshoot)as well as Burbank's hybrids and the results of the methods he pioneered. This book can help readers enjoy one of the happier endings of the American stories of the turn of the century...or mostly enjoy.
READER ALERT: Over-modesty was not among Burbank's frailties nor was he free of some attitudes of his times on matters such as eugenics. Also, the photographs in this edition perhaps are as good as they can be, but can seem blurred & dim.Readers should expect a selective self-report, rather than an objective in-depth biography. The book would be a good value only if priced appropriately for the short text (about 100 text pages in all, the rest being photographs).