Weekend Reading – Plants

A Good Read:

Why you can’t live without them
by B.C. Wolverton and Kozaburo Takenaka

As readers interested in food and remaining close to the land, I’m assuming that no one needs to convince you that we can’t live without plants.

Though as I watch friends decorate new homes and offices, it does appear that sometimes plants are an afterthought if thought of at all. This data packed read gives no shortage of information about why they are essential to our existence. The incorporation of plants into our indoor environments doesn’t just create a more cheerful appearance.Β The mere presence of plants has been proved to lessen environmental irritants, increase productivity in an office setting and reduce the cost of healthcare. Yet, often we shun them as being too difficult to care for.

Sure I’ve sent more than my share of philodendron to the compost pile, but this book produced after years of Wolverton and Takenaka’s scientific research is enough to cause the blackest of thumbs to quiver.

I received this lovely book from a regular reader, Joe Zazzera. Joe is the founder of Plant Solutions and known as a Guru of Green. His work to create healthy interiors with plants extends far beyond the interior design to the interior health of the building. And some of his creations such as living walls and cubicle overlays are absolutely amazing.

Good Food Blogs:

In food news, one of my favorite hometown bloggers, Modern Day Forager really dishes it up with this amazing salad. It’s easily converted to vegetarian. Browse the site and check out their staging and photos. Truly works of art.

Did you love the idea of the beet fritters from the pop-up dinner I attended? Kumi from Ruchikala tells all and shares her recipe here. This is a must for anyone who thinks they do not like beets.

And finally, a recipe that I am very excited about from Love/Hate Veggies; a new way to eat purslane. Many refer to it as a weed but this treat is packed with Omega 3s and worthy of your dinner table.

In Other Plant News:

If you take a cutting from a plant in a public place, is it wrong? That’s the horticulture ethics question being explored here.

During a time when genetic engineering is being so hotly debated, some scientists are working to create glowing plants that would eventually replace streetlights?

And, in an unfortunate turn of events, sales of pesticides spike in the U.S. as the mother nature and a corn menace known as the root worm does a clever maneuver to outsmart the genetically modified corn programmed to resist it.

Finally, here in scorching AZ, we are heading to some cooler weather. Stay tuned.

What are you reading this weekend?

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  1. Ah, shucks!!! Thanks for the pingback! I was just eying that Modern Day Forager salad yesterday! Also that plant book looks awesome.

    Interesting thought re: the ethics of cuttings from private properties. That’s never been something I’ve thought about really, especially in regards to cuttings for propagation. What is your take on it?

    Is it strange that I feel there is nothing unethical about taking cuttings from a commercial strip mall’s landscaping? I feel like there is almost a deeper ethical quandary here. A store buys land to pave over the natural vegetation and replace it with a parking lot and their desired landscaping. I still feel stuck sometimes on wrapping my head around all that entails to “own” property. It just always feels like renting to me.

    Owning a plant is another interesting one, it seems unfitting to think of plants you grow to be “owned” by anyone, although I have to admit if passerby snipped some strands of my karipatha plant, heavy hyperventilating would ensue.

    And lastly, you continue to be my hero. Will you host a bloggy boot camp class? I got to get with the program! ❀ your posts as always!

    • Well, if everyone took a cutting of a public plant, there would be very little to enjoy. A cutting here and there? Probably not an issue but a better idea would be to find the person who cares for them and to ask for a cutting. That way, if it is cut, it will be proper also. Make sense? At my office I am so fortunate to have someone who cares for the plants and they look terrific. At home, it’s me and the cats and that can sometimes be a problem. That MDF blog is beautiful. Their photos and staging really make a difference – something that I’ll need to learn someday!

  2. Good reading suggestion! Will have to see if I can find a copy. I’ve been working on “The Meaning of Cooking” which is somewhat academic (ok, very academic) and in translation but quite interesting.

    • I read an incredibly academic book called “Home” a while back. It was fascinating and made me thankful to live in the era which I do. That heady stuff makes us grow.

  3. Thanks for the mention Tammy! I always have a few books going, including a book on tape while driving. I am currently reading Environmental Debt By environmental consultant and former Greenpeace board member, Amy Larkin. Amy discusses the environmental costs of a changing global economy. She lists some great case studies from some major corporate players such as Tiffany, Walmart, Coca-Cola and Unilever discussing the lengths they are going to to resolve their difficult environmental challenges. The stories are great and not ones you typically hear in the media.

    • I like that. I know that some of the companies do work incredibly hard at ways to be sustainable (three legged stool concept) but often times our media only zeroes in on the bad. I haven’t done a book on tape in a while and with the miles that I cover, it would be a good idea.

  4. This post is chock full of great resources. My reading list just got longer! However, since one of the vendors at my local farmers market has purslane, I am particularly interested in the interesting-sounding purslane recipe!

    • Oh me too! I am always tickled when it appears after a good rain shower but it gets boring the ways I prepare it so I’m excited about this.

  5. Hope it is ok, I am reblogging this. I think I know some who will love this information.

  6. Reblogged this on lucindalines and commented:
    This looked like some really interesting information that I wanted to share with friends and family.

  7. Time for the farmers to plant heirloom seeds and farm with nature!

  8. I know I’m biaised but I love reading about how good plants are for us, plain and simple they work their wonders

    • It is incredible Claire. If we all really understood the benefits, the indoor gardener would be a much revered profession.

  9. Great post! I’m now following 3 of the blogs you link to. Yes indeed, we need plants.

    Your link about insecticide spraying on Bt corn requires a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, which I don’t want to purchase. But you might like my post about that story http://argylesock.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/how-bt-crops-work-until-they-stop-working/

    • Thank you. I don’t have a subscription so I am not sure why I was able to read it but thanks for giving us the resource. (maybe country of origin?) At any rate, thanks for all the links that you continue to share.

  10. Well I certainly I enjoyed your article, plants that glow in the street? Wow that`s a thing!
    I dont know if you have ever been to Canada? I expect you have. I was amazed by the number of buildings with trees growing on the roof, roof top gardens, etc. The Canadians certainly know how to get the best use of their plants.

    All the Best Caroline Bosker


    • The concept of green roofs is worthy of a post of its own. It really helps diminish the heat island effect and has a host of benefits similar to those of indoor plants. Thanks for the visit.

  11. Woo hoo! Go plants!!! πŸ˜€

  12. Thanks for the book recommendation and the food for thought!

    My most recent plant-related book purchase was “The Drunken Botanist” by Amy Stewart. Not Amii Stewart of “Knock On Wood” fame as I suspected, which would have made this a very different book. The Drunken Botanist is an interesting look at plants over the centuries that have been used to make popular alcoholic drinks. Given the huge number of plants this involves the book is able to devote limited space to each one, making the read quick and fun. It has certainly filled my head with all sorts of ideas for plants I want to add to the garden, only to have most of those ideas dashed due to our microclimate. We may have to rent some gardening space in the yards of friends and family around the world.

    • Sounds like a terrific read! In fact, I may have heard her interviewed on NPR. Traveling so will see if I can download it!

  13. This sounds like a lovely read! And thank you for sharing those blogs, I’ll visit them tomorrow. πŸ™‚

    I’m reading “The China Study” this weekend, it has arrived with the mail the other day, and the hubby immediately grabbed it and started reading it today. Tomorrow he’s at a seminar, so I’ll get my hands on it. πŸ˜›

    • You will not be able to put it down. I’m betting!

      • Actually Peter has had it most of the time because he also couldn’t put it down, so I’m still somewhat looking forward to reading it! πŸ˜›

  14. Wow, great timing! I received purslane in my Chow food box today and will attempt the recipe in the link you provided. As always, Tammy, great post!

    • So happy to hear that they’re distributing that weed! It is one of the healthiest things.

  15. So there’s some good news and some bad news! I’m guilty of not having any indoor plants in my home. I guess I find them messy and I seem to be the only one that cares for them so it’s like another job on my list. Maybe I’ll get some succulents. And I wouldn’t mind a few warm days right now (as I sit here with the central heating cranked right up) xx

    • Oh, it’s dreadfully hot where we live and I’ve escaped for a short while. My plants are messy when the cats get into them but take a look at all the benefits and I think you’ll change your mind.

  16. I love indoor plants but I do have a habit of killing them. I have been slowly torturing a spider plant which Maddie gave me when she was 3. She is now 12. It is still small and spindly…

    • They take an incredible amount of water Kate. Do you have a monitor? I got one at a garden store and it’s quite helpful in knowing when they need water. Are you interested in reading more about plants Kate? I’m hearing from my readers that it is of great interest.

  17. wonderful salad on Modern Day Forager—thanks for inspiration and link!
    this weekend, I’ve been reading Lucky Peach , David Chang’s food/writing magazine

    • That MDF site is a dream to behold. They are really talented. I have never heard of Lucky Peach.

  18. This certainly looks like a great read and a good resource! Thanks for the link on the Modern Day Forager. On the question of taking a cutting from a plant in public places………….I think it is wrong. If every one should take a cutting the plants will soon be ruined or completely gone. I think if it is planted for everyone to enjoy, then we should respect that for others and leave hands off.

  19. Hmmm, I wonder if my daughter (going off to grad school) could keep a plant alive?

  20. Good read. Very interesting as always. As for indoor plants, I believe me and mine could kill a cactus.


  21. Great post! Very informative. I’m going to add that book to my wishlist, thanks!


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