Listed below are our most recent book reviews.
WHAT A PLANT KNOWS by Daniel Chamovitz. Published by Scientific American/Farrar. Strauss and Giroux. Copyright 2012.
Does a plant smell, taste, move, hears and feels? These topics are explored scientifically highlighting the latest research in genetics. The author shows how plants have some of these senses within their cell structures. He discusses how the chemicals and other factors help a plant know it’s place and to deal with its surroundings. A must read for all gardeners.
FLORA MIRABILIS by Catherine Herbert Howell. Published by National Geographic. Forward by Dr. Peter Raven, President of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Though humans have been on earth for 2 million years, about 10,500 years ago our ancestors began cultivating plants as crops. With a more secure food supply, humans were able to develop villages, towns and cities. Just over a hundred cultivated plants supply more than 90% of the calories we consume. Three plants, maize, rice and wheat alone supply more than 60% of the calories for humans.
The Missouri Botanical Gardens houses a world-class herbarium and library and together with the National Geographic Society collaborated to trace plants through history. The following plants have their origins and uses described in this well illustrated book: Date Palm, Wheat, Rice, Olive, Black Pepper, sugarcane, Maize, Citrus, Tulip, Tobacco, Rubber, Potato, Opium Poppy, Orchids, Bamboo, Yam and Cacao.
For example, the common potato originates in South America and was in cultivation at least 5,000 years ago. Milk with potatoes result in a nutritionally complete diet. The book describes why the potato famine took place.
by Lynn M. Steiner
Voyageur Press, 380 Jackson St., St. Paul, MN 55101-3885.2007 $24.95
The author defines Native Plants and explains those that are found in Wisconsin. Classifying native plants, benefits of native plants,misconceptions of native plants are also discussed in the beginning of the book. I found that the chapter on Wisconsin’ Natural plant life includes Wisconsin’s geography and climate, maps of vegetative regions and includes plant lists for each of the major geographic landscapes found in Wisconsin. Half of the book describes many native plants and their cultural requirements.This book is very worthwhile for Wisconsin gardeners.
- Carol Catlin
by Diana Grenfell & Michael Shadrack
Timber Press, Inc. The Haseltine Building, 133 S. W. 2nd AVe., Suite 450, Portland, OR 97204-3527.www.timberpress.com 2004.$49.95.
The first 3 chapters describe the Hosta species, their origin, how they were brought to the West, where they grow wild, and identification. All gardeners will love these chapters for their clarity.Then, how to garden with hostas describe the soils, sites, water, and shade requirements. The remainder of the book pages 50- 387 group popular hostas by color. Size, origin, clump size and habit, description and comments are featured for each hosta. Many pictures accompany the text.Hardiness Zone Maps, sources for hostas, glossary and index conclude this fine book on Hostas. Every hosta lover needs this book!
- Carol Catlin