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A wonderful new book for gardeners

Written by Rebecca Christian

I have a friend who says books find their way to the people who need them.

As proof, I came upon a wonderful new title, just out in paperback last week, Our Life In Gardens, through a circuitous route.

I was interviewing sources for a piece on a  droolworthy garden in Vancouver, Washington, that you are going to love in our April issue. Candace Young, the homeowner, is a psychoanalyst and wonderful raconteur who decided to make her first home into a second home as well by completely transforming her sun-baked no-man's-land yard. (A pool court complete with palms -- in the Northwest! and it doesn't look kitschy! -- occupies what was once the site of a concrete slab and forlorn basketball hoop.)

But I digress. I happened to speak with Candace's gardener, Linda Rectanus, who recommended the book not only for its garden savvy but also because it is full of love -- for flowers, for people, for places. Beautifully written by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd about their thirty years and counting of gardening together, it's a book that one reviewer aptly described as doing for gardening what the late great M.F.K. Fisher's An Alphabet for Gourmets did for gustatory pleasures (more about that book in another blog post).

In down to earth but at times poetic prose, the two gardeners describe their early years together keeping chickens (probably illegally) in a Beacon St. apartment in Boston; they paid off their bemused landlord with freshly-laid eggs.

The two scofflaws also liberated five cuttings from an arborvitae growing in a rest stop on the Jersey turnpike, writing, "All gardners know Pride, Envy, Lust, Greed, and sometimes Anger, and manipulations of the hardiness of plants encourage all of those, thought not Sloth."

Buy it to keep on your night table and dip into for garden daydreams in this bleak midwinter. It would also make a dandy little gift for your favorite green thumbed friend (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, $15 in paperback).

 

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