Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Magic of Plants

As I showed in last post, my rooftop garden has been a so-so proposition this year. When mold, mildew, wilt and blight show up my interest in gardening drops.

I haven't read Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire, but I found this lecture he gave in support of the book a bit of tonic for my bruised (garden) ego.

The complexity of plants--rice has up to 50,000 genes, humans have roughly 25,000--is another one of those things that I never paid much attention to. The connection between plant evolution and human culture, in particular how plants are intertwined with memory and consciousness, is fascinating.

Unhealthy tomato plants don't seem so important anymore.

And it might be time to read the book.


mmpaints said...

Do not feel like the lone ranger Bruce. This has been a pitiful season for lots of gardens across the country. Here in southern Illinois you'd think it's October already from the way the crops are behaving. Your rooftop garden is impressive as it is, all things considered. As I used to live in Chicago, I know what you must battle just to get set up and planted. Well done sir, your efforts are appreciated.

Bruce said...

Thanks for the kind words, mmp.

I agree it's been a tough year for plenty of gardeners; in Chicago the weather hasn't helped at all.

H2 said...

mmpaints--what a heartfelt comment. Thank you from all of us who read it during this summer's weather struggles.

I just reserved Botany of Desire at our library branch, Bruce, for whenever it's available. Maybe you're on the list ahead of me. Cant believe I've never read it. Thanks for this post.

Sun said...

Hopefully it'll get better! We're in the middle of the worst drought here in central Texas since 1950. That one lasted 6 years.

Anonymous said...

We got almost zero tomatoes last summer (and a bumper crop this summer). It's hit and miss.

The Botany of Desire is great. Especially the chapter on apples I thought. Definitely worth the time to read, and fun to read out loud too!

Bruce said...

Hi Zane,

Last year I was moaning about too many tomatoes. Maybe next year will be a good one.

BoD was a 'buzzy' book when it came out, and I didn't pay any attention to it for predictably petty reasons. After seeing Pollan talk about it, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.