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After Eden: Gardening in the Cracks: a review of Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition by Robert Pogue Harrison & Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer by Tim Stark (Nate Jones, April 3, 2009, Books & Culture)
For a still-raw gardener, the particularity of Stark's Lancaster County tomato patch roots Harrison's ethereal speculations about Versailles, Zen gardens, and Boccaccio's Decameron, reminding me that the human condition must be lived amongst my own derelict pots and peppers. Yet without Harrison's breadth of vision, I would have struggled to articulate the philosophical underpinnings of my own half-understood gardening commitment. Along the way, Harrision introduced me to places like the homeless gardens of New York City, careful arrangements of green plastic, teddy bears, cast-off tires, and water that link a hard-luck man or woman to a particular place, opening a small and personal world for the soul that seems to trump considerations of shelter.
We got so much snow this winter that stuff is well and truly flattened and there's all kinds of grit in the lawn, kicked up by the snow plows. But the first bulbs are sending up shoots and there are patches of grass that look mildly green.
Meanwhile, our friends at FSB recently sent us the Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening. It's not only informative but beautiful. The only shortcoming we've found so far is that in the section on perennials it doesn't include the data on hardiness zones.
Around here, I take care of the lawn and throwing stone while The Wife takes care of anything complex enough that it requires more than chemicals, a mower, and brute dumb force. She recommends the book with that one caveat.
-ESSAY: LAWN-MOWING THOUGHTS ON VISITING K-MART IN SPRING (BrothersJudd, 05/02/04)
-POEM: Foolhardy Masonry (BrothersJudd, June 2005)
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