It’s a rainy weekend and one thing I love to do in this kind of weather is read. I’ve recently finished two gardening books that were actually good enough for me to recommend to any gardeners out there looking for inspiration:
“Garden Anywhere” by Alys Fowler
This book was discovered in a used book store in San Francisco in January. When we go up there, it seems we always end up book shopping with Terri and Emily…it’s wonderful and I always look forward to it. The pictures appealed to me first. Instead of sterile textbook photos, there is dirt everywhere, mud and worms. Her hair is messy, hands are dirty – she’s a gardener, not some pissy greenhouse snob telling me things have to be sterile and perfect. I like her frugality. She uses all kinds of recycled junk in her garden and includes instructions that are actually useful to me. I found the sections on compost tea, pricking out seedlings, and saving seeds most inspiring. Her writing style is modern and familiar, and she is a trial and error type. Fabulous! This book works as a reference that you can go back to over and over, depending on what you’re doing or what the season is, and the back is filled with modern internet resources. It will go on the shelf next to my lunar gardening guide.
This book was truly a love story. The author is a Zen Buddhist who spent many years and the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in northern California. The book comes from years of journal entries and experience working with the earth. Her meditative style inspired me to slow down and actually LOOK at what was happening in my garden on the small scale as well as large, the way I used to. I notice more; the shapes of leaves, the number of petals on a flower, the color of the light at certain times of day. I sit and look around more, enjoying the fruits of my labor as much as planning the next task. There is plenty of love and ‘poetry’, so you don’t really notice the solid instruction included, but it is there. I have a whole new way of looking at dirt and this book helped me remember why I started gardening in the first place. A great book to read by the fire, or in bed late at night when it’s really quiet.