Book reviews spring 2008
By Gayla Marty
The Truth About Garden RemediesBy Jeff Gillman
Can beer make plants grow? Can music? Gillman assesses more than 100 garden practices, from old-fashioned to new-fangled, and tells how and why they work--or don't--and the science behind it. The results will surprise even the most seasoned gardeners. Gillman is a member of the horticultural science faculty on the Twin Cities campus.
Timber Press, 2006; ISBN 978-0-88192-748-1; $19.95 pb
The Florist's DaughterBy Patricia Hampl
Hampl proves again that memoir belongs not to the rich and famous but to the humble and hardworking. The story of her parents--children of Czech and Irish immigrants--is the story of the Upper Midwest and of St. Paul. It's a tender story, steeped in sharp observation and humor, of accompanying two profoundly different people toward the horizon where we're all headed. Hampl is a Regents Professor of English and teaches creative writing on the Twin Cities campus.
Harcourt, 2007; ISBN 978-0-15-101257-2; $24.00 hc
Earthworms of the Great LakesBy Cindy Hale
Who would have thought the lowly earthworm is in fact an exotic species brought to North America by Europeans? Healthy for gardens and farm fields, earthworms are also destructive to forest floors. This brief handbook for all ages--and friendly to worms and forests alike--includes photos and handy guidance for identifying 15 species of worms. It also describes important things that everyone can do to slow their spread to protect forest ecosystems and save native flowers such as trilliums and maple sugar seedlings. Hale is a researcher and educator at the Natural Resources Research Institute of the Duluth campus.
Kollath+Stensaas Publishing, 2007; ISBN 978-0-9792006-1-8; $12.95 pb