Planthropology: The Myths, Mysteries, and Miracles of My Garden Favorites

Planthropology: The Myths, Mysteries, and Miracles of My Garden Favorites

by Ken Druse
     
 
Ken Druse, one of today’s most acclaimed and popular garden writers, takes us on a ceaselessly fascinating stroll through the life of the garden, from the botanical marvels displayed by virtually any plant to the exploits of the plant explorers who once—and still do—race across the globe like Indiana Jones in search of rare and exotic specimens, to

Overview

Ken Druse, one of today’s most acclaimed and popular garden writers, takes us on a ceaselessly fascinating stroll through the life of the garden, from the botanical marvels displayed by virtually any plant to the exploits of the plant explorers who once—and still do—race across the globe like Indiana Jones in search of rare and exotic specimens, to the need to conserve the threatened diversity of the natural world. Ripe with facts, punctured myths, serious investigation, and practical gardening wisdom, this is a gloriously illustrated and enlightening celebration of the plants that delight and sustain us. For Ken Druse, the garden provides both a refuge from the world and an irresistible invitation to explore the wonders of nature.

In planthropology, Druse celebrates the secret stories of plants and explains their im-portance within daily life, now and since ancient times. A pleasingly random and ever delightful garden stroll of a book, it uncovers scientific facts, dispels myths, exposes controversies, tells some rollicking good anecdotes, and, along the way, casually dispenses an abundance of practical gardening wisdom.

Using many of his own favorite plants as examples, Druse reveals little-known facts about both rare and common beauties. For instance, if you like winding down on a terrace or patio after work, Druse suggests planting petunias. Why? Because they are evening fragrant—their pollinators only come out at night. Perhaps you may not have noticed the beautiful spiraling patterns on sunflower heads; Druse explains that all plants feature such spirals, and that they correspond exactly to mathematical principles that have captivated great thinkers (and artists) throughout history.

With the authority and assurance of someone who demonstrates both deep passion and uncommon ex-pertise, Druse takes us chapter by chapter through the history, biology, economics, and cultural significance of plants. We meet bumblebees who literally shake pollen free from flowers with sonic vibrations. (Druse can’t recommend petting the fuzzy little apian teddy bears as they sleep in a sheltering blossom, but he has tried it!) Here too are the adventures of the plant explorers who sailed and trekked across the world in search of new and exotic specimens, and whose exploits were far more harrowing than you might imagine. Some plants even factored into the instigation of war. But Druse then gives us a handy primer on the language of flowers (a single gardenia says, “I love you in secret,” and acacia blossoms say, “Let us be friends”). He considers the influence of plants on the history of fine and decorative arts, the way we garden now with stalwart, low-maintenance plants, and the ever more critical need for conservation.

Planthropology is a wondrous ac-knowledgment, from one plant lover to his fellow devotees, of the limitless pleasure and deep wisdom to be found in the garden.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Only time betows the mantle of classic, but I sense I hold a classic in my hands.”
— Renegade Gardener.com

“For the consumate plant lover…Reading though this book will remind a gardener of the experience when viewing a painting but, upon each return visit, making new discoveries.”
— Suite101.com

Dominique Browning
…as with any book by Druse, there's a wealth of fascinating material: descriptions of oak gall ink and bat pollination; a riff on skunk cabbage that will make you linger at the nearest swamp; a meditation on "plant blindness" that will send you out to spread the word on the pleasures of gardening.
—The New York Times
Library Journal

Award-winning gardening author Druse (The Natural Garden; Ken Druse: The Passion for Gardening) here delves into the stories and myths about plants that have intrigued humans for centuries. Throughout history, plants have been sought for both practical and aesthetic reasons, and the accounts of plant explorers in the 1700s who risked their lives on treacherous plant-hunting expeditions make fascinating reading. Druse provides obscure anecdotes about the uses of plants for both medicinal and more sinister reasons and reveals the myths and truths behind them. Even more exciting are chapters about the plants themselves, how they are pollinated, their fragrances, and the patterns and symmetry in their structure. The author uses his favorite plants as examples and illustrates them with beautiful photographs. In a world where knowledge about plants seems to be waning, Druse offers suggestions on ways to encourage children to discover plants and care for the environment. Recommended for public libraries.
—Phillip Oliver

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400097838
Publisher:
Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
Publication date:
11/04/2008
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
11.30(w) x 8.74(h) x 0.94(d)

Meet the Author

KEN DRUSE is the author of many award-winning books, including his groundbreaking title The Natural Garden, which initiated a design movement that continues to grow in popularity today. His most recent book, Ken Druse: The Passion for Gardening, was touted as “one of the five gardening books to own” by the Wall Street Journal. His podcast, Ken Druse Real Dirt, is available at www.KenDruse.com.

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