09-28-2009 11:45 AM
09-28-2009 04:58 PM
09-29-2009 12:24 PM
In this back-to-school season, I hope everyone is supporting school-yard gardens, an old idea that is coming back into popularity.
Here's a passage from Luther Burbank I quote in THE GARDEN OF INVENTION (along with lots of his other thoughts on what he called "the human plant").
"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud-turtles, elderberies, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnus, trees to climb, brooks to wade in, water-lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, buterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets; and any child who has been derprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education."
Burbank wanted to take children out of the classroom and into the woods. Are gardens a start?
visit me at www.thegardenofinvention.com
09-30-2009 01:35 AM
Wow, I wish you'd been here when we were talking about Richard Louv's book, LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS. The discussion got a little heated -- if you type his name in the search field on the right, you can still add your comments.
Speaking of comments, my new blog is up at B&N's Garden Variety, and I'm writing about heirlooms and hybrids. I've posted a link to this discussion, but you may want to put in your two cents worth over there, too: http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Garden-Vari
09-30-2009 02:15 PM
As September comes to an end, I thought I'd post a passage from the closing chapter of THE GARDEN OF INVENTION.
from Epilogueearching for Luther Burbank
"By contemporary standards, Burbank’s famous grafts and hybrids, once so miraculous, seem almost quaint. It’s hard to be amazed by a winter-bearing rhubarb or a dahlia that has been bred to lose its unpleasant smell when molecular biologists have learned how to move genetic material between animals and plants, breed crops to resist specific herbicides, or guarantee the sterility of that profligate of pollen, corn.
"And yet Burbank’s work and his inventions are all around us. His daisies and gladioli have so changed our image of these flowers that we might not even recognize the varieties that preceded his improvements. The pluot, a hybrid fruit derived in part from Burbank’s plumcot, is patented and trademark protected but often sold interchangeable with plumcots in the grocery aisles. The small, dark berry that created so much controversy when it was marketed as the Wonderberry in 1908 is being grown again as the Sunberry, the name Burbank preferred. Moving far beyond jams and jellies, the restaurant chefs who frequent today’s urban greenmarkets use it as a garnish for summer cocktails and even a chutney to accompany fois gras.
"Outside a market stall, a child plays air guitar with a fresh head of elephant garlic, the cloves as big as his hands, the stalk a crisp green shaft that rises four feet into the air and ends in a white turban of a flower bud that Burbank spent years cross-pollinating. Wickson plums, their yellow skins showing a pink blush when they are ready to eat, are too fragile for long distance shipping, but they still ripen in home gardens and the orchards of smaller farms. The Burbank potato (usually without the Bt gene) continues to dominate the global potato patch. And the Burbank tomato, introduced in 1915, is now offered as an heirloom variety, even though it hasn’t quite reached the century mark that some say is a defining requirement for heirloom status."
Thanks for joining me in Luther Burbank's garden!
visit me at www.thegardenofinvention.com
09-30-2009 05:57 PM
Jane - Thanks so much for posting this excerpt! It's a wonderful book -- I knew the minute I saw it that I'd want to feature it here. It gives us some fascinating insights into Luther Burbank, but more than that, it makes us consider how we've come to take for granted all the advances that have been made in the past 100 years.
Click here to order Jane's book:
10-04-2009 03:03 AM
Jane - Even though the participants were quiet this month,over 1,000 of them viewed this discussion. Hopefully, many of them will be interested enough to read your book. Thank you so much for joining us - I really enjoyed learning about Luther Burbank and his impact on the plants we know today!