Ten Plants that Changed Minnesota
Author Mary Hockenberry Meyer, Author Susan Davis Price, Foreword by Arne Carlson
Minnesota Historical Society Press (March 1, 2017)
A book to inspire Minnesotans of all ages to learn about and reflect on the ten plants, chosen by experts and citizens, that have most impacted our state.
“If we cannot name and recognize plants, how can we value them and realize how essential they are to our environment and our well-being as humans?” —from the Introduction
In 2012 a committee of experts chose the ten plants that most changed Minnesota from nearly five hundred citizen nominations, hosted by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The idea that plants, as few as ten, could shape a state and how it developed economically, culturally, and historically, is at the core of the Ten Plants that Changed Minnesota project, which also includes a companion website and a popular freshman seminar at the University of Minnesota. With careful review by more than thirty experts and scientists and with research drawn from newspaper and journal reports, historical photos, diaries, and interviews, Mary Hockenberry Meyer and Susan Davis Price highlight the importance of the selected plants and their impact—both positive and negative—in the development and future of our state. The plants are the apple, alfalfa, the American elm, corn, lawn or turfgrass, purple loosestrife, soybeans, wheat, wild rice, and white pine.
Mary H. Meyer is a professor of horticultural science at the University of Minnesota and author of many popular and scholarly articles on plants. She has studied grasses as landscape plants and manages the Grass Collection at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, part of the Plant Collection Network of the American Public Garden Association. Her Extension work in public horticulture has involved television and radio shows, including the weekly Smart Gardens WCCO Saturday AM radio show. She has written hundreds of outreach publications on horticulture and gardening and developed the idea for the 10 Plants that Changed Minnesota in 2012, including the public campaign to solicit nominations. She is the co chair of the Steering Committee for the national initiative to promote horticulture entitled Seed Your Future, which aims to eliminate plant blindness and promote horticultural careers to students, parents and teachers across the U. S.
Susan Davis Price is a former University of St Thomas librarian, and the author of four books. She is a regular contributor to the Northern Gardener and Heirloom Gardener magazines. Price’s first book, Minnesota Gardens: An Illustrated History, won the Minnesota Book Award and the Quill and Trowel Award from the Garden Writers Association of America. Her second book, Growing Home: Stories of Ethnic Gardening, received the American Horticultural Society’s Book Award, as one of four best gardening/ horticultural books in the U.S. in 2001. Before Ten Plants that Changed Minnesota, her most recent book was Northern Treasure: The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Horticultural Research Center.
Arne Carlson served two terms as governor of Minnesota, from 1991 to 1999.
Reviews and news
In the Media:
“Since the beginning of the human race we have used plants as food, then shelter, then medicine, then for the enhancement of life, and we should know more about them. Educational, timely, and interesting.”
Peter J. Olin, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Director Emeritus, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
“Minnesotans are fortunate to be able to enjoy and learn from this fascinating book. Every state would benefit from a similar effort.”
Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
“An illuminating, exhilarating look at the development of Minnesota, where plants share center stage with humans as historical actors. Filled with fascinating facts and scientific advances to celebrate as well as important environmental cautions, this is a must-read for anyone who loves Minnesota.”
Mary Wingerd, author of North Country: The Making of Minnesota
“This is a book for everyone. Plant enthusiasts will enjoy the in-depth look at each plant and its uses, history buffs will appreciate the historical importance of each plant, and all of us can benefit from the authors’ insights into the importance of these and all plants—not only in Minnesota’s past but as all of us look to the future.”
Melinda Myers, author of Midwest Gardener’s Handbook
For information regarding workshops with Mary Hockenberry Meyer, the 10 Plants Teacher Activities Handbook, activities and reading lists, visit:
- 256 pages
- 75 photos, 8-10 maps, 15 charts
- 8x10 inches
- ISBN: 9781681340340
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