Summary/Annotation -> A wide-ranging and delightful narrative history of the celebrated plant breeder Luther Burbank and the business of farm and garden in early twentieth-century America A century ago, Luther Burbank was the most famous gardener on the planet. His name was inseparable from a cornucopia of new and improved plants—fruits, nuts, vegetables, and flowers—for both home gardens and commercial farms and orchards. At a time when the science of genetics was in its infancy and agriculture was often a perilous combination of guess work and luck, many people wanted a piece of the man they called the Wizard of Santa Rosa. As the United States moved from a nation of farms to a nation of city dwellers, the people behind the new products that transformed daily life were admired with a fervor that is not accorded to their present-day counterparts. Everyone knew and marveled at Samuel Morse’s telegraph, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, and Thomas Edison’s electric light. And like these other great American inventors, Burbank was revered as an example of the best tradition of American originality, ingenuity, and perseverance. Burbank had learned the secret of teaching nature to perform for man, breeding and crossbreeding ordinary plants from farm and garden until they were tastier, hardier, and more productive than ever before. The Garden of Invention is neither an encyclopedia nor a biography. Rather, Jane S. Smith, a noted cultural historian, highlights significant moments in Burbank’s life (itself a fascinating story) and uses them to explore larger trends that he embodied and, in some cases, shaped. The Garden of Invention revisits the early years of bioengineering, when plant inventors were popular heroes and the public clamored for new varieties that would extend seasons, increase yields, look beautiful, or simply be wonderfully different from anything seen before. The road from the nineteenth-century farm to twenty-first-century agribusiness is full of twists and turns, of course, but a good part of it passed straight through Luther Burbank’s garden. The Garden of Invention is a colorful and engrossing examination of the intersection of gardening, science, and business in the years between the Civil War and the Great Depression.
01855nam a22003738a 4500
090324s2009 nyu b 001 0 eng
$a 9781594202094 (hbk.): $c $25.95
$a 200904130943 $b kjoe $c 200903261410 $d uafzal $y 200903241331 $z jlin
$a DNAL/DLC $c DLC
$a SB63.B9 $b S65 2009
$a B $2 22
$a B Burbank S
$a Smith, Jane S.
$a The garden of invention : $b Luther Burbank and the business of breeding plants / $c Jane S. Smith.
$a New York : $b Penguin Press, $c 2009.
$a p. cm.
$a Includes bibliographical references and index.
$a Nature in an age of invention -- The lucky spud -- The second gold rush -- Faster, better, sweeter -- A personal interlude -- Marketing the new creation -- The philosopher in the orchard, the scientist in the pea patch -- California boosters and the ivory tower -- The Carnegie Institution seal of approval -- The training of the human plant -- Learning from Luther Burbank -- The Corn Palace and the empire of the prickly pear -- The meeting of the masters -- The garden of beautiful thoughts -- Transplanting the legacy -- The creator's art -- The garden as intellectual property.
$a A Apr09
$a Burbank, Luther, $d 1849-1926.
$a Plant breeders $z United States $v Biography.
$a Plant breeding $z United States $x History.
$2 BISAC $a GARDENING / Essays^SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Botany
$a VTLSSORT0010 0080 0100 0200 0201 0400 0700 0820 0821 0920 0990 1000 2450 2600 2630 3000 5040 5050 5990 6000 6500 6501 6540 9950 9991