Secret Desires, Aren’t So Secret

This weeks reading was on chapters 1 and 4 of Michaels Pollans book, Botany of Desire. I finally understand this title. Plants have evolved to fulfil our desires, just as we fulfil theirs. Plants know our desire for sweetness and control.







Pollan M. 2001. The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World. Toronto (ON): The Random House Publishing Group. Pages 3-58, 183-239


Pollan explains the human desire for the sweetness of the apple, and our control of the potato. Both chapters explain how for centuries, plants and people have been co-evolving, forming a symbiotic relationship. I find this book engaging and thrilling to read, as it opens my eyes to so many new connections I never knew existed. Pollan includes thought-provoking facts, as well as personal stories. My favourite chapter was Chapter 4, Desire Control, the Potato. I enjoyed this section the most because Michael made this much easier to understand the story of the potato. I suppose I preferred this chapter more because I love getting my hands dirty rather than tending to fruit trees. I’ve always felt a strong connection when I’m in the garden. Pollan expresses his connection to the garden throughout this chapter. I enjoyed how he related back, multiple times, how he planted the Newleaf potato as an experiment. This made his perspective, ideas, and concepts easier to connect to.


In chapter 4, Michael tackles a strange and mind-boggling concept.

Page 185, “Agriculture is by its very nature, brutally reductive, simplifying natures incomprehensible complexity to something humanly manageable.”

But the strangest fact is that, nature supplied the necessary genes or mutations that made agriculture possible.

Nature also created humans, and humans created gardens, then gardens provided new niches ready to be inhabited by these novelty genes and mutations.


If that isn’t cool I don’t know what is!






One thought on “Secret Desires, Aren’t So Secret

  1. Isn’t great how Pollan incorporates his personal stories and experiences into his writing? I also feel, for that reason, more connected to his words! What you said is so true, and it’s something that not a lot of people think about. Nature created humans, humans created gardens, and how humans are now creating ‘designer’ plants to fill the gardens – so interesting and cool! Isn’t it strange how the role of nature and the role of humans have almost reversed? Nature first created the plants, now we’re the ones creating the plants! Your blogs are really enjoyable to read!


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