A Breath from Elsewhere

Mirabel Osler, Author
Mirabel Osler, Author Arcade Publishing $21.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-55970-454-0
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Paperback - 218 pages - 978-0-7475-3518-8
Open Ebook - 218 pages - 978-1-4088-3812-9
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Can a garden book succeed without glossy photos and nary a mention of composting and plant rotation? It can if it's written in Osler's exquisite prose, extolling the unusual enchantment of a garden rather than miring readers in the intricacies of soil composition and weed control. Cheerfully admitting her lack of scientific expertise, Osler offers essays nevertheless inspire readers to truly experience gardens. Along the way, she takes to task certain garden visitors: dilettante photographers, for their narrow lens views, and smokers, who miss the myriad garden scents. Since gardening can easily overwhelm the unwary, Osler offers tips for standing firm, such as ""buying plants in a nursery that has none of the soliciting-to-buy and the gimcrack tat"" of some garden centers where all the flowers have been force-fed to bloom ahead of season. She believes that real gardeners don't ""make a garden"" but work with plants and nature to help a garden and its mood evolve. Osler (A Gentle Plea for Chaos) also addresses the neglected topic of coping with garden demands when one's gardening partner dies or becomes ill. Drawing on her own experience, she offers suggestions for handling guilt, grief and moving forward in new ways. This book, both imaginative and practical, will stimulate experienced green-thumbers while inspiring novices. (Mar.)
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