titianlibrarian, December 15, 2007 (view all comments by titianlibrarian)
I was moving this book from the new shelf to the regular stacks this morning, and I wanted to put a few lines in about just how fascinating this book is before it's lost in the 338 section. The subtitle of the book is "The good, the bad, and the beautiful in the business of flowers"--heady stuff. She divides the book into three parts: Breeding, Growing and Selling. For example, the chapters on breeding cover the ways that flowers are genetically manipulated for scent, color, lasting power, and Stewart finds and interviews the family of the eccentric grower who developed the 'Star Gazer' Lily. In all likelihood, the only pink lilies you've ever seen were 'Star Gazers.' The book itself reads almost like a documentary--she's superb at setting the scene, describing the flower auction warehouse in Amsterdam with all the details that give you the sense that she has all the camera angles mapped out should PBS ever give this the green light. With all the characters and exotic locales, there is enough action to keep you page-turning in a subject most would not expect to find so enthralling.
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laubenthalsandra, October 19, 2006 (view all comments by laubenthalsandra)
To me as a flower professional in the rose business, which Amy Stewart writes a lot about in her new book, this was a fascinating read. I am impressed with how much she was able to learn and how down to earth (ha ha) her information is. Our company, Peterkort Roses, is the last remaining cut flower rose grower in the Pacific Northwest, so the story she tells is what we have been living since our company began (1923). With the entry of the cheap imports, everything has changed and she really covers this fascinating saga!
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Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers
0 stars -
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill -
The magic of a great writer is that she can elevate any topic to fascinating status. In Flower Confidential, Amy Stewart uses equal parts journalism and florid writing to illuminate the machinal underpinnings of the flower industry. From the grail-like pursuit of a cultivated blue rose, to the factory settings of the major cut flower producers, Flower Confidential gave me new appreciation for a bouquet and a lovely evening of reading.
by Kirkus Reviews,
"An engaging mix of botany, history and commerce....Stewart writes with humor and insight, entertaining as she informs."
"This engaging exploration won't make you feel guilty about buying a bouquet, but it will make you much more informed — and intrigued — by where it came from."
by Fast Company,
"...Stewart captures all this with wit and elegance that, by book's end, will have the most cantankerous capitalist thinking differently about a product 'bred more for its suitability as freight than for any of its more refined qualities — delicacy, grace, fragrance.'"
"A potent medium of quirky wit, incisive reporting and occasionally breathtaking prose... Flower Confidential is a page-turner."
"As candid as she is circumspect, Stewart combines a romantic's idealism with a journalist's objectivity in this tantalizing expose."
by Library Journal,
"Stewart provides the reader with a well-rounded perspective of the flower industry."
by ing hold,
The flower business is a $40 billion global industry devoted to making flowers flawless. Stewart explores the relevance of flowers in our lives and in our history, and in the process she reveals all that has been gained — and lost — by tinkering with nature.
by Workman Publishing,
Does it matter that a bouquet of roses travels halfway around the world before it arrives at your supermarket or florist? Or that growers force tulips to bloom in December? Are we being tricked when a scientist engineers a lily that doesn't shed pollen?
For over a century hybridizers, genetecists, farmers, and florists around the world have worked to invent, manufacture, and sell flowers that are bigger, brighter, and sturdier than anything nature could provide. Almost any flower, in any color, is for sale at any time of the year.
Amy Stewart travels the globe to take us inside this dazzling world. She tracks down scientists intent on developing the first genetically modified blue rose; an eccentric horticultural legend who created the world's most popular lily (the 'Star Gazer'); a breeder of gerberas of every color imaginable; and an Ecuadorean farmer growing exquisite, high-end organic roses that are the floral equivalent of a Tiffany diamond. She sees firsthand how flowers are grown and harvested on farms in Latin America, California, and Holland. (It isn't always pretty).
What has been gainedand#8212;and what has been lostand#8212;in tinkering with Mother Nature? Should we care that some roses have lost their scent? Or that most flowers are sprayed with pesticides? In a global marketplace, is there such a thing as a socially responsible flower? At every turn, Stewart discovers the startling intersection of nature and technology, of sentiment and commerce.
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