Five Books About Gardens We Love

Gardening can be an immensely rewarding exercise—few things parallel the gratification of crunching into that juicy tomato you’ve been waiting so long to harvest. It can also be immensely frustrating, like noticing white splotches on your tomato leaves and going into a panic as you figure out what to do about this mysterious affliction. Maybe, this season, the latter is sounding more familiar than the former. In which case you might appreciate the opportunity to read about someone else’s garden to get your mind of your own. If this sounds like you, or if you just like to read about gardens, here are the books we recommend:

The Food Lover’s Garden

Angelo M. Pellegrini

The Night Gardener

Terry and Eric Fan

In this beautiful children’s book, a curious orphan and a mysterious gardener team up to delight a drab town by shaping the towns’ trees into marvelous shapes under the cover of nightfall. Although this book doesn’t deal with food gardens it does remind us of another reason we love gardens, they’re beautiful places that people can admire in unison.

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic

Victoria Johnson

In this book, Johnson describes us the life of little known 19th century botanist, David Hosack. Hosack formed a generation of American botanist, socialized with the greatest names of the early American republic and deeply believed in the power of gardens. He saw them as potential places of learning, where all manner of people could be educated. We also share that belief.

The Gardener of Versailles: My Life in the World’s Grandest Garden

Alain Baraton

Baraton knows Versailles’ gardens like no other. He started as a ditch digger in that legendary garden in 1976 and has been head gardener since 1982. Baraton lets us in on the many secrets of that storied garden and in the process you start to get an appreciation for just how close he is to the land he tends. That feeling of communion with your land is a feeling we want to spread.

Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education 

Michael Pollan

This book is the story of one man’s relationship with the earth, but in the telling of that story he weaves in many others. We learn about how gardens tie into class distinctions, politics and pop culture. We like this book because it reminds us of how large food gardens really are. Each seed you plant, each grain of dirt you till is connected to stories of the past and present.

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett

This classic tale of the orphan Mary Lennox, “the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen,” focuses on how her rehabilitation of a secluded garden leads to a blooming within herself. Gardens can bring the best out of just about anyone.

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