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    A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered That Flowers Have Sex, Leaves EatAir, and Other Secrets of Plants

    By: Ruth Kassinger

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    In the tradition of <I>The Botany of Desire</I> and <I>Wicked Plants</I>, the author of <I>Paradise Under Glass</I> gives us a witty and engaging history of the first botanists interwoven with stories of today's extraordinary plants found in the garden and the lab. In her 2010 book, <I>Paradise Under Glass</I>, Ruth Kassinger recounted with grace and humor her journey from brown thumb to green, sharing the lessons she learned from building a home conservatory in the wake of a devastating personal crisis. In A GARDEN OF MARVELS, she extends the story. Frustrated by her plants that fail to thrive, she sets out to understand the basics of botany in order to become a better gardener. She learns by retracing the progress of the first proto-botanists who banished myths and misunderstandings and discovered that flowers have sex, leaves eat air, roots choose their food, and hormones make morning glories climb fence posts. Her quest also takes her to modern gardens, farms, and labs to discover the science behind extraordinary plants like one-ton pumpkins, a truly black petunia, a biofuel grass that grows twelve feet tall, and the world's only photosynthesizing animal. Taking her insights into her own garden, she nurtures a "cocktail" tree that bears five kinds of fruit, cures a Buddha's Hand plant with beneficial fungi, and gets a tree to text her when it's thirsty. Intertwining personal anecdote, accessible science, and untold history, the ever-engaging author takes us on a fascinating and eye-opening journey into her garden-and yours.

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