Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Watch 'Botany'

What would you do for a plant you love? In the fall, the Rose Garden in Duluth becomes a series of trenches as the roses are tipped and buried for the winter. Sort of looks like gravediggers gone crazy, doesn't it?

Program note for plant geeks: "The Botany of Desire" airs at 7 tonight on PBS. Based on the book by Michael Pollan, the public broadcasters describe it this way: "The human-plant relationship is explored via the stories of the apple, the tulip, marijuana and the potato. Included: how the apple came to be sweet; "tulip mania" in the Netherlands circa the 1630s, when tulips were traded for large sums of money; the history and physiology of marijuana; the genetically modified (and no longer available) New Leaf potato, which featured a microorganism that repelled potato beetles. Michael Pollan ("The Botany of Desire") hosts. Frances McDormand narrates.'' Find a preview here.

The relationships between people and plants are always fascinating. Take, for example, the Rose Garden in Duluth. Every fall, volunteers dig trenches (Minnesota Tip Method) for protecting the roses too delicate to take northern winters. And every spring, volunteers uncover them and set them out for another season. When you love something that much, the work involved is worth it. But does this mean the roses really are the ones in control? Hmmm.

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