A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of the Way Plants Work is allegedly the story of Ruth Kassinger's quest to turn her black thumb a little greener. It's less about botany than about the history of botany and biology more broadly, since the subject does more than occasionally stray to animal life. The result ranges from the discovery that plants can render air that kills animals and can't burn "pure" again (by replacing carbodn dioxide with oxygen, although the scientists in question hadn't identified those yet) to the creation of Kassinger's citrus cocktail tree. The more detailed scientific sections can get a bit bogged down and dry, but on the whole this is an enjoyable, rambling popular science book in the vein of Mary Roach, if not quite as funny.
Overall grade: B
This book will be available February 25