Plantasia: Music for Plants Part II

Not only did Homegrown Evolution reader Avi, track down a downloadable copy of Dr. George Milstein’s 1970 album Music to Grow Plants, but  he also suggested two more cultural landmarks of the 1970s “chattin’ with plants” period.

Mort Garson’s Moog generated album Plantasia: Warm Earth Music for Plants and the People Who Love Them is pretty much what I would imagine a macramé suspended spider plant wanting to listen to. Its groovin’ Moog bleeps and blats seem more likely to enhance photosynthesis than Dr. Milstein’s orchestral wall of sound. Plantasia is pretty much guaranteed to add a foot of growth to your ficus plants.

Avi also provided a link to the entire 1979 documentary version of The Secret Life of Plants. It took me two evenings to make it through the endless time lapse and interpretive dance sequences. But there’s plenty of wackiness to enjoy, including a soundtrack by Stevie Wonder who appears at the end singing to, well, a bunch of plants. The highlight for me was seeing the laboratory equipment of Indian scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose, inventor of the cresnograph a device for measuring plant growth.

Seriously, though, the best thing I’ve heard on the relationship between humans and plants recently is a lecture by anthropologist Wade Davis, “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World” that you can listen to via the always excellent Long Now Foundation’s lecture series and available as a free podcast in the Itunes store. Davis eloquently describes the Anaconda people’s intricate botanical knowledge and how they came to concoct ayahuasca.The plants, it turned out, talked to them.

Though, after listening to Plantasia, I’m hoping the ficus plants don’t start talking to me.

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  1. I recently started a website as part of an art project to share information on indoor plants. Its in its infancy but i will be adding lots of links soon. While working on it I vaguely remembered the music for plants studies of the 60′s and 70′s but couldn’t find any information- so thank you! It coincided with Nasa’s studies for producing oxygen gardens in space ships for long term space travel. I don’t know when the term Spaceship Earth was coined but I wonder if it was in response to the dream of traveling through space (drawing attention to the fact we already are traveling through space on a long term journey) Will have to go put on Silent Running (1972) and check out its soundtrack!

  2. The Plantasia link seems to be down, but luckily–considering how intrigued I was by your description!–the album is also available at this link. Now I’m wondering how I should install speakers down in the basement where my seeds are sprouting…

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