Bringing a Garden to Life

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( 22 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780553375084: Bringing a Garden to Life

"Gardeners step into the world of imagination as soon as they begin to garden.  They cannot plant a dry seed without awareness of the flame of life inside it, or prune a bare branch without sensing clustered blossoms and leaves."

In  the literature of gardening there are many how-to books and nearly an equal number of philosophical essays.  Here is a book that is both.  Carol Williams elucidates with elegant simplicity the basic processes of gardening and the handling of plants.  She also eloquently demonstrates how in bringing a garden to life, the gardener, too, comes to life.  Not just the finished garden, but gardening itself, is revealed as a source of delight and a profound awakening to nature.

With its engaging mixture of step-by-step instruction, essay, story, and poetry, Bringing a Garden to Life addresses both the compelling mysteries and the down-to-earth practicalities of everyday gardening:
discovering a place and envisioning your garden
the alchemy of making fertile soil
the wonders and challenges of starting with seeds
weeding--or not
the flowering year
fresh greens for dinner
gardening with and around trees
tools--hoes, books, and philosophy
and much more
From mapping a garden and planting a lettuce seed, to feeding old perennial borders and pruning fruit trees, this book tells not just how but why, and vividly evokes the interest and pleasure of doing the job.  Gardening beginners will be encouraged to take their first steps, while expert gardeners will find new sources of joy in their gardens.  The author shares the practical wisdom of her own rich gardening experience and invokes the golden tradition of poets and philosophers throughout history who have turned to their gardens to read the book of nature.

With special sections on annuals, perennials, bulbs, vegetable and herb gardening, pruning, composting, transplanting, and much more, Bringing a Garden to Life is an illuminating vision, not just of growing things, but of being in the world; not just of planting, but of being renewed.

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Review:

"Adam and Eve were born in the garden, and gardens are still where people go to renew themselves by meeting creation," explains Carol Williams. Although she is conscious of this spiritual link to gardening, Williams has managed to write a book that could prove to be the most exquisite and useful tool in the gardening shed. Williams is a captivating writer, whether she is explaining how to be an intuitive pruner or how to get the best return on spring bulbs. What is most impressive, though, is that she understands the realities and dilemmas of gardening; for instance, do you ultimately desire a yard or a garden? How do you integrate the artifacts of life--clotheslines, plastic children's toys, woodpiles, and old cars--with the glorious vines, shrubs, and flowers of fancy? Find the answer in Bringing a Garden to Life.

From the Publisher:

"Carol Williams gardens and writes with tenderness and grace. Her technical knowledge of the mysteries of propagation, composting, and transplanting blends with fresh insights into the inner experiences of gardening. Read this to find out why weeding is fun and why you should appreciate nettles." -- Frances Mayes, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Under the Tuscan Sun

"This beautiful book of ordinary wisdom teaches you how to plant, compost, and prune, and, along the way, how to live."
Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and The Reenchantment of Everyday Life

"Consisting in equal parts of instruction and delight, Bringing a Garden to Life is that rarest of modern gardening books: one that manages to combine the philosophical and practical sides of gardening with grace and wisdom."
Michael Pollan, author of Second Nature

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