Book Review! _Seeds_ by Peter Loewer

Bob Batson bob at
Thu Aug 15 11:10:19 EST 1996

Following's a review of what IMHO is a very interesting book.  This review
is from the July 1996 _HortIdeas_. I've no financial interest in this
publication, just a very satisfied subscriber. 

_Seeds: The Definitive Guide to Growing, History, and Lore_, by Peter
Loewer, Macmillan, New York, 1996, 230 pp., $25.00, ISBN 0-02-574042-3.

  We've previously confessed our fondness for Peter Loewer's books, not
least because of his exquisite pen-and-ink drawings. This volume
contains some of his best work yet -- words as well as illustrations.
Gardeners with any interest at all in botanical matters will be
fascinated by Loewer's tales and pictures detailing the how and why of
the workings of seeds. And anyone who'd like to try a some simple
NOTE [emphasis by bob at]) will find plenty of suggestions .
Despite its coverage of complicated subjects such as seed physiology,
genetics, and seed dispersal ecology, _Seeds_ is anything but boring.
Loewer produces anecdote after anecdote, all delightful.
  Following an introductory chapter on plant classification, anatomy, and
physiology, there are individual chapters on pollination, genetics
(including an introduction to Mendel's laws of heredity), seed chemistry,
germination physiology, seed longevity (absolutely packed with
fascinating facts), seed dispersal mechanisms, chemist Norman Deno's
novel ideas about seed dormancy and chemical inhibition of germination
(and Deno's novel technique of planting -- well, so to speak -- seeds in
paper towels), the seed business, storage of seeds, international trade
in seeds, vignettes of individuals at American seed companies, sources of
seeds (including exchanges associated with plant societies), seed
collectors, basic methods for success with various kinds of seeds,
propagation of ferns, and gathering one's own seeds. Seeds provides a
much-needed bridge across the chasm between the technical and the
humanistic sides of gardening. We hope that Peter Loewer will go on to
construct more of these bridges. Titles such as _Soil_, _Irrigation_,
and perhaps something more general like _How Plants Work_ would be most
Reprinted with permission from the July 1996 _HortIdeas_. Copyright 1996
by Greg and Pat Williams. _HortIdeas_ (ISSN 0742-8219) is published
monthly. Annual subscription rates: U.S., $20 second class or $22 first
class; Canada and Mexico, $26; Overseas, $30 surface mail or $35 air
mail. Single issues: North America, $2.00 each; Overseas, $3.00 each,
surface mail, or $3.50 each, air mail. For more information or a
subscription, write: HortIdeas, 460 Black Lick Road, Gravel Switch, KY
40328, USA.

Bob Batson                              L 39 12 14 N  94 33 16 W
bob at                             Kansas City
TCS - Mystic Fire Priest                USDA zone 5b
Under the most controlled conditions, the experimental apparatus will
do exactly as it pleases.

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