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Flower Confidential


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About the Author

Amy Stewart is the award-winning author of six books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world. She is the cofounder of the popular blog Garden Rant and is a contributing editor at Fine Gardening magazine. She and her husband live in Eureka, California, where they own an antiquarian bookstore called Eureka Books.


Stewart (The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms) crafts a highly readable, in-depth description of the flower industry in her latest work, which is divided into sections on breeding, growing, selling, Valentine's Day, and flower tips and includes statistics and a selected bibliography. She reveals the journey of flowers from fields to their end destinations in homes and their stops in between. Using interviews and stories of pioneers in the flower field, Stewart brings to light the complex life of flowers. For example, in exploring the importance of patents and legal documentation to the success of individual growers, she recounts the achievements of Leslie Woodriff, who developed the Star Gazer lily. In contrast to Woodriff, Stewart next describes a visit to a "high-tech" flower-growing farm. Throughout, she addresses how trends and aspects of the flower trade (e.g., the near-disappearance of fragrance from commercial flowers) impact the end consumer. Stewart provides the reader with a well-rounded perspective of the flower industry. Her work is suitable for public and academic libraries.-Kristin Whitehair, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Stewart, an avid gardener and winner of the 2005 California Horticultural Society's Writer's Award for her book The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms, now tackles the global flower industry. Her investigations take her from an eccentric lily breeder to an Australian business with the alchemical mission of creating a blue rose. She visits a romantically anachronistic violet grower, the largest remaining California grower of cut flowers and a Dutch breeder employing high-tech methods to develop flowers in equatorial countries where wages are low. Stewart follows a rose from the remote Ecuadoran greenhouse where it's grown to the American retailer where it's finally sold, and visits a huge, stock -exchange-like Dutch flower auction. These present-day adventures are interspersed with fascinating histories of the various aspects of flower culture, propagation and commerce. Stewart's floral romanticism she admits early on that she's "always had a generalized, smutty sort of lust for flowers" survives the potentially disillusioning revelations of the flower biz, though her passion only falters a few times, as when she witnesses roses being dipped in fungicide in preparation for export. By the end, this book is as lush as the flowers it describes. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Stewart's journey takes us down many such paths, all connected by her own curiosity and highly readable prose. The greatest value of Flower Confidential, however, is that it was written at all."
--the Washington Post

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