TIME AND THE GARDENER: Writings on a Lifelong Passion

Elisabeth Sheldon, Author . Beacon $25 (276p) ISBN 978-0-8070-8556-1

"I wonder," writes Sheldon, "is anything more fun than gardening?" If not, reading this collection of her essays certainly comes close. Like Katharine White, Sheldon is both a knowledgeable gardener and a fine writer. Each of her 33 "discussions" imparts solid information and advice without being prescriptive or didactic. Instead, the reader is treated to the very personal and frankly opinionated perspective of a hard-working gardener with a sparkling personality. Sheldon imparts wisdom from both her successes and her mistakes, such as the cylindrical rock garden she formed that ended up resembling "a sort of furry wishing well." From "The Anxieties of Spring—Growing Plants from Seed" to "Fall and Winter Color," her stories are as enlightening as they are entertaining. In "Timeless Plants—Some of My Favorites" she explores several important plant groups and types; and in "Gardeners of Other Times" Sheldon offers five incisive portraits of the creators of modern garden style, complete with a meditation on gardening and personality ("The Ill-Tempered Gardener"). A welcome relief from the glossy fluff so often passed off as gardening literature, this book will be a joy to readers with an interest in gardening, from neophytes to seasoned experts. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 02/01/2003
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Paperback - 276 pages - 978-0-8070-8557-8
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