Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener, Joseph Tychonievich, Timber Press.
When I learned that garden writing colleague, Joseph Tychonievich, had published his first book, I felt both joy and sadness. The joy I experienced was a culmination of several years of watching this young scientist’s career blossom – literally – before my eyes.
The sadness arose when I realized that I did not have the academic credentials to give his work, on plant breeding for the home gardener, the review it deserved. That is why it makes me happy anytime someone else reviews the book.
A few years ago, while in a post-graduate program at university, Joseph began a garden blog. He wrote his posts in an effortless and entertaining manner. On his site, he used words- as a cartoonist uses pen and ink - to deliver his thoughts and feelings into the imagination of his readers. For a scientist, that is a remarkable and enviable talent.
Through his posts, I felt his enthusiasm for his chosen field and was inspired by his vibrant approach both to gardening and to life itself. Even now, his deceptively simple yet original use of language, both in his blog posts and on Facebook, allow readers to feel his pulse and share in the adrenaline racing through his body.
Eventually, just as cream rises to the surface of milk, Joseph attracted the attention of Timber Press who offered him a book contract. I was not surprised.
In short, Joseph is a natural born communicator who leaves his readers smiling. His enthusiasm for all things botanical is palpable in almost everything he writes. He has an original voice and uses it effectively. With simple words to create powerful imagery, he has created an endearing style of writing that reveals a warm, joy-filled personality. His followers can’t help but grow fond of him even if they have never met him in person.
This month, on behalf of his association with Arrowhead Alpine Plants, Joseph brought a collection of spring flowering plants to Detroit Garden Works, the design studio of Deborah Silver. His display was so colorful, that it inspired Ms. Silver, who usually features conservative-colored plant compositions, to share Joseph's vivid choices in a photo-essay on her blog, Dirt Simple.
From the moment he appeared online, Joseph attracted the eager attention of gardeners, bloggers, writers, and horticultural professionals. He impressed Timber Press to add him to their roster of authors and inspired Deborah Silver to illustrate her blog with richly colored images.
He brings a smile to the faces of his fans and so moves those who have met him that some wish he were part of their family. Joseph is a reminder that if one chooses a career out of passion, every day can be a celebration of life.
Recently, I was pleased to discover that horticulturist Geri Laufer has written a glowing review of his first publication. Echoing my sentiments and in her words:-
“The author’s gift is to present the technical world of plant breeding so simply and in such a captivating manner that anyone can understand it—and everyone will want to try it. After all, it’s like making chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.”
Ms. Laufer has described the essence of a talented scientist-communicator who is able to make plant breeding as enjoyable as baking cookies. Few garden writers touch people’s hearts as deeply and effectively as Joseph does. That is why his book deserves our attention.