I did not want to start a new blog, but Blogger quit working. I couldn’t even contact them to complain. I’ve gotten behind in my book reviews, so I’m going to use this initial post to review The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan.
The first remarkable thing about The Botany of Desire is that is written by a man named Pollan. How did he resist changing the spelling to Pollen? That aside, there is a great deal of pollen dusting these pages. Mr. Pollan focuses on four plants: the apple, the tulip, cannabis, and the potato. Who knew that something as commonplace as an apple had a fascinating history? Apples originated in Kazakhstan. Edible apples cannot be raised from seed, therefore, the apple trees planted by Johnny Appleseed, were grown for making hard cider. Tulips drove normally staid Dutchmen insane. Modern pot cultivation has been refined to a science that relies completely on clones. Genetically modified potatoes are treated like software, and farmers must accept the terms of a licensing agreement to grow them.
The Botany of Desire is an in depth journey into arcane history, and at the same time exploring the often symbiotic relationship between plants and humans. Michael Pollan, in addition to being a journalist, is a dyed in the wool gardener who draws on his own experience to bring this book to life. That experience, coupled with profound research, makes this book an intriguing read.