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October 28, 2009

The Botany of Desire

The Botany of DesireAnd we thought we were in charge in the garden.

PBS's luminous production of Michael Pollan's best-selling book, "The Botany of Desire" premiers Wednesday at 8 p.m. on a public television station near you, and it is worth every single minute of its two hours.

With Pollan's narration and vivid film and photos, the program seeks to illustrate Pollan's theory that four plants - the tulip, the apple, the marijuana plant and the potato - manipulated mankind into worldwide propagation by appealing to man's need for beauty, sweetness, control and our search for our own consciousness.

"They have been shaping us," says Pollan on camera. "They have been using us for their own success."

Tulips have such power that their bulbs have been the equivalent of currency.

Marijuana so satisfied our need to look inside ourselves that man has risked his live and his freedom to propagate it.

The apple so satisfies our need for sweetness that we have made it the universal fruit.

And the potato, satisfying our need to feed ourselves, has emerged from the jungles of South America to be a diet staple for humans.

"These plants are the great winners in the dance of domestication," says Pollan.

This lush program will be rebroadcast throughout the weekend. Check local listings.

Or better yet, buy a copy of the DVD and a portion of the sales will benefit PBS.

Rembrandt tulip photo courtesy of PBS

Posted by Susan Reimer at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Gardening on television

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About Susan Reimer
Susan Reimer has spent 16 years writing about raising kids - among other topics - in her column for The Baltimore Sun. And every time son Joseph or daughter Jessie passed another milestone - driver's license, college, wedding or a move to a new military duty station - she has planted another garden. Now she will be writing about those gardens - and yours - here on Garden Variety.

Susan isn't an expert gardener, but she wasn't an expert mother, either. Both - the kids and the gardens - seem to be doing well in spite of her.

She lives in Annapolis with her husband, Gary Mihoces, who loves to cut his grass but has noticed that there seems to be less of it every time the kids pass another milestone.

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