Bringing a Garden to Life

Carol Williams, Author Bantam Books $22.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-553-09680-4
A gardener and writer with the soul of a poet, Williams has crafted an unusually lyrical garden primer. Readers looking for horticultural marching orders won't find them here; instead, they'll encounter a mentor who champions a very personal approach to gardening. Williams diligently covers the basics, from soil preparation and composting to seed propagation, pruning, transplanting and the like, and introduces an eclectic selection of flowers, vegetables, herbs and trees, but it's her reflections on each topic that are particularly inspiring. Passionate about her craft, she finds beauty and meaning in the humblest of gardening chores and conveys her enthusiasm to readers in apparently effortless, graceful prose. It's impossible not to be heartened by observations like the following: ""The slow, contemplative weeding done by hand around tiny seedlings allows a gardener to smell sap and pollen, hear bird songs, notice the shadows of clouds. Thoughts settle down the spine and tension leaves through the fingertips, earthing itself in the soil."" Her own richly textured musings are laced with snippets of poetry and wisdom drawn from such venerables as Lao Tzu, Liberty Bailey, Goethe and Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, founder of biodynamic gardening. An unabashed paean to the life-affirming power of garden alchemy, Williams's practical, lucid guide is a source of delight for experienced gardeners and encouragement for novices. Sketches by Newton H. Stubbing. Author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-553-37508-4
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