The wide-ranging and delightful history of celebrated plant breeder Luther Burbank and the business of farm and garden in early twentieth- century America
At no other time in history has there been more curiosity or concern about the food we eat – and genetically modified foods, in particular, have become both pervasive and suspect. A century ago, however, Luther Burbank’s blight-resistant potatoes, white blackberries, and plumcots – a plum-apricot hybrid – were celebrated as triumphs in the best tradition of American ingenuity and perseverance.
In his experimental grounds in Santa Rosa, California, Burbank bred and cross-bred edible and ornamental plants – for both home gardens and commercial farms – until they were bigger, hardier, more beautiful, and more productive than ever before. A fascinating portrait of an American original, The Garden of Invention is also a colorful and engrossing tale of the intersection of gardening, science and business in the years between the Civil War and the Great Depression.