Earthly Delights: Gardening by the Seasons the Easy Way
""When the garden becomes laborious instead of a labor of love...the gardener must change herself or the garden or both,"" writes Rochester in this collection of delightful horticultural musings. Organized according to season, the essays provide simple, timesaving insights on how to cultivate a natural refuge in any growing zone without backbreaking work or worry. A self-described""lazy"" gardener now in her 60s, Rochester avoids weeding, tilling, composting and watering and eschews chemical fertilizers and insecticides--chores and practices that, according to her, take away from the joy of gardening. To spare the elbow grease but not the pleasure, she suggests, for example, planting self-seeding annuals and deciduous foliage that lasts three seasons to keep the garden exciting even in winter months. She also shares an ingenious approach to preparing new beds (rather than digging up firmly rooted grass, she smothers it with 10 sheets of newspaper, mounds of compost and mulch, and waits a couple of seasons for nature to break it down into"" dark and humusy"" soil). In a refreshing chapter entitled""Something That Bugs Me,"" a surprising defense of every gardener's perennial foe, the insect, Rochester gently scolds those who blanket their plots in harsh chemical insecticides and advises organic remedies for eradicating pests like slugs and fire ants. To enliven the dull winter months, she prescribes a visit to a local botanical garden, where during the""off-season"" knowledgeable gardeners on staff""love sharing information and perhaps seeds and cuttings as well."" Rochester is a master gardener and her sound horticultural advice is presented in a light, humorous tone that makes this book a relaxing refuge in its own right.