Washington Post columnist Mitchell ( The Essential Earthman ) brings together a year's worth of wry observations about the peculiarities and pleasures of gardening in this anthology. His book, designed primarily for small town gardens of less than a quarter-acre, and written from the relatively balmy perspective of Washington, D.C. (climatic zone 5), is the perfect makings of a winter read for those planning next year's garden. Mitchell's chatty style is entertaining as well as informative, and he mixes details of garden advice with liberal doses of Johnsonian philosophy, appropriately noting the vanity of human wishes, the defeat of a gardener's best intentions, and the joy of the unexpected and unplanned. While it contains some unnecessary repetition (perhaps less noticeable when the material was published as a weekly column), the collection manages to include a surprising range of topics, plants and personal asides. Water gardeners in particular will enjoy Mitchell's obsession with water lilies, other aquatic plants and fish. Other essays touch on wildlife in town gardens, and the ineradicable nature of bindweed. The book is divided into 12 chapters corresponding to months of the year, each introduced with an attractive line drawing by Susan Davis. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992 Release date: 10/01/1992 Genre: Nonfiction
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