Stephen Buchmann pdf The Reason for Flowers books

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The Reason for Flowers: Their History, Culture, Biology, and How They Change Our Lives Stephen Buchmann pdf

Stephen Buchmann pdf

PREFACE

 

Most open by dawn’s first light or unfurl their charms as the day progresses.Others unwrap their diaphanous petals, like expensive presents, after dark,waiting for the arrival of beloved guests under a radiant moon. We know them asflowers. They are nature’s advertisements, using their beauty to beguile andreward passing insects or birds or bats or people willing to attend to theirreproduction. The beauty of their shapes, colors, and scents transforms usthrough intimate experiences in our gardens, homes, offices, parks and publicspaces, and wildlands. Importantly, flowers feed and clothe us. Their fruits andseeds keep the world’s 7.2 billion people from starvation. Flowers represent ourpast along with our hope for a bright future.Before recorded history, all cultures collected, used, and admired flowers notonly for utilitarian purposes, but for their elusive fragrances and ephemeral formsthat, ironically, symbolized recurring vigor and even immortality. They haveenthralled and seduced us, exploiting entire civilizations to enhance their sexlives and spread their seeds. We give and receive flowers as tributes, and tocommemorate life’s many triumphs and everyday events.

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Flowers accompany usfrom cradle to grave. As spices, they flavor our foods and beverages. We harvesttheir delicate scents, combining them into extravagantly expensive mixtures, forperfuming our bodies to evoke passion and intrigue. Some yield a woven textilefor every purpose, like the valuable fibers surrounding cottonseeds that begantheir development inside the ovary of a fertilized flower.Flowers inspired the first artists, writers, photographers, and scientists, just asthey do today on street corners, in florist shops and farmers’ markets, in books,paintings, sculptures, and commercial advertising. They moved online with ease.Arguably, because of the sustaining role they undoubtedly played in the lives ofour hominid ancestors, we might not be here if there were no flowers, a loveaffair, begun early. Once captivated by them, I observed nature’s infinite paletteof garden blooms and California wildflowers in the chaparral-clothed canyonsnear my boyhood home. The honey bees I kept visited flowers for their rewardsof nectar and pollen.

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The bees fed upon the pollen and converted the nectar into
delicious, golden, thick honey I drizzled atop slices of hot toast at breakfast. As achild, finding and observing bees of all kinds on wildflowers became my passionand quest across California’s wildlands. The bees showed me the way, leading toa lifelong dedication to flowering plants.As a pollination ecologist, and entomologist, my professional career hasfocused on flowers and their animal visitors. Using 35 mm film and makingsilver gelatin prints of blossoms has been an abiding interest since my teenageyears. Today, I carry a 35 mm digital camera and close-up lenses to photographflowers and their pollinators. (I have selected some favorite floral portraits andincluded them in this book.) Having written books on bees, I knew a differentkind of book must follow, one that traces humankind’s fascination with and useof flowers for every imaginable purpose and delight, since prehistory across allcontinents and cultures. There is much that we fail to appreciate in flowers,especially the roles they play in human affairs. Why do they make us happy andlift our spirits? Many people insist they heal our bodies and minds.You are about to undertake a journey into the secretive world of flowers,animals, and humanity. I want you to see and smell like a hungry bee, and ahummingbird, but also like a plant breeder, flower farmer, importer of cutblooms, or a floral biologist. Together, we will explore the industry andeconomics of the global production, distribution, and sales of container plantsand cut blooms. As you join me, consider keeping a single flower or a colorfulbouquet close by, as your botanical muse along our shared path of discovery.

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