Bill Alexander had no idea that his simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard in his backyard would lead him into life-and-death battles with groundhogs, webworms, weeds, and weather; midnight expeditions in the dead of winter to dig up fresh thyme; and skirmishes with neighbors who feed the vermin (i.e., deer). Not to mention the vacations that had to be planned around the harvest, the near electrocution of the tree man, the limitations of his own middle-aged body, and the pity of his wife and kids. When Alexander runs (just for fun ) a costbenefit analysis, adding up everything from the live animal trap to the Velcro tomato wraps and then amortizing it over the life of his garden, it comes as quite a shock to learn that it cost him a staggering $64 to grow each one of his beloved Brandywine tomatoes. But as any gardener will tell you, you can't put a price on the unparalleled pleasures of providing fresh food for your family.
A New York Times Bestseller and AHS Book Award winner
The 18-acres surrounding the White House have been an unwitting witness to history--kings and queens have dined there, bills and treaties have been signed, and presidents have landed and retreated. Throughout it all, the grounds have remained not only beautiful, but also a powerful reflection of American trends. In All the Presidents' Gardens bestselling author Marta McDowell tells the untold history of the White House grounds with historical and contemporary photographs, vintage seeds catalogs, and rare glimpses into Presidential pastimes. History buffs will revel in the fascinating tidbits about Lincoln's goats, Ike's putting green, Jackie's iconic roses, and Amy Carter's tree house. Gardeners will enjoy the information on the plants whose favor has come and gone over the years and the gardeners who have been responsible for it all.
"American Eden moves luminously through landscapes of history, literature, biography, and design theory. . . . fusing sharp-edged analysis and graceful American prose." --Kevin Starr, author of Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge
"Informative and absolutely engrossing." --Ross King, author of Brunelleschi's Dome
Garden designer and historian Wade Graham offers a unique vision of the story of America in this riveting exploration of the nation's gardens and the visionaries behind them, from Thomas Thomas Jefferson's Monticello to Michelle Obama's vegetable garden, Fredrick Law Olmsted's expansive Central Park to Martha Stewart's how-to landscaping guides. In the tradition of Mark Kurlansky, Simon Schama, and Michael Pollan, Graham delivers a sweeping social history that examines our nation's history from an overlooked vantage point, illuminating anew the living drama of American self-creation.
In April 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama planted a kitchen garden on the White House's South Lawn. As fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs sprouted from the ground, this White House Kitchen Garden inspired a new conversation all across the country about the food we feed our families and the impact it has on the health and well-being of our children.Now, in her first-ever book, American Grown, Mrs. Obama invites you inside the White House Kitchen Garden and shares its inspiring story, from the first planting to the latest harvest. Hear about her worries as a novice gardener - would the new plants even grow? Learn about her struggles and her joys as lettuce, corn, tomatoes, collards and kale, sweet potatoes and rhubarb flourished in the freshly tilled soil. Get an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at every season of the garden's growth, with striking original photographs that bring its story to life. Try the unique recipes created by White House chefs and made with ingredients just picked from the White House garden. And learn from the White House Garden team about how you can help plant your own backyard, school or community garden. Mrs. Obama's journey continues across the nation as she shares the stories of other gardens that have moved and inspired her: Houston office workers who make the sidewalk bloom; a New York City School that created a scented garden for the visually impaired; a North Carolina garden that devotes its entire harvest to those in need; and other stories of communities that are transforming the lives and health of their citizens. In American Grown, Mrs. Obama tells the story of the White House Kitchen Garden, celebrates the bounty of gardens across our nation, and reminds us all of what we can grow together.
Austere Gardens suggests another way to look at the landscape, the garden, and perhaps the entire world around us. It suggests that being open to other ways of observing and sensing can yield new insights and rewards, and that interest is found in places unassuming and overlooked as well as those complex and assertive. Perceiving is only one half the story, however. Realizing places using simple acts and reduced means is the other half.The history of garden-making reveals continued attempts to create an Eden, to surpass our given environment in abundance and delight, and by selected instruments transcend the constraints of site, topography, and climate. The alternative to this garden of inclusion lies in the landscapes of reduction and compression, for example the dry gardens of Japan. These might be termed austere gardens. The word "austere," as used in this essay, does not imply asceticism, but merely modesty and restraint. Austere landscapes may first appear devoid of interest if noticed at all. To those who do not look beyond their surfaces, these sites, and the world outside them, usually appear plain and uninteresting, or even lacking of the very properties by which we define a garden. But there are sensual, aesthetic, and even philosophical, pleasures to be gained from these seemingly dull fields should we attempt to appreciate them. These qualities, normally associated with abundance and complexity, may be found in a different way, and at a different level, in austere terrain. Although the subject of the small book is gardens, or more broadly taken, landscapes that may be read as gardens, many of the examples are nonetheless drawn from art and architecture, from history as well as contemporary times. The images that accompany the text tell their own stories, illustrating what can be accomplished using frugal means or through basic acts like digging, piling, planting, cutting, and clearing. In an era where resources appear to be dwindling and populations growing, attitudes that value simplicity and reduction also gain a moral dimension.
Margaret Roach has been harvesting thirty years of backyard parables-deceptively simple, instructive stories from a life spent digging ever deeper-and has distilled them in this memoir along with her best tips for garden making, discouraging all manner of animal and insect opponents, at-home pickling, and more.
After ruminating on the bigger picture in her memoir And I Shall Have Some Peace There, Margaret Roach has returned to the garden, insisting as ever that we must garden with both our head and heart, or as she expresses it, with "horticultural how-to and woo-woo." In THE BACKYARD PARABLES, Roach uses her fundamental understanding of the natural world, philosophy, and life to explore the ways that gardening saved and instructed her, and meditates on the science and spirituality of nature, reminding her readers and herself to keep on digging.
A New York Times BestsellerThere aren't many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter. Her characters--Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and all the rest--exist in a charmed world filled with flowers and gardens. In Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life, bestselling author Marta McDowell explores the origins of Beatrix Potter's love of gardening and plants and shows how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener's biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her. Next, follow Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler's guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter's gardens today.
A captivating, beautifully illustrated, one-of-a-kind color compendium of the flowers, fruits, herbs, trees, seeds, and grasses cited in the works of the world's greatest playwright, William Shakespeare, accompanied by their companion quotes from all of his plays and poems. With a foreword by Dame Helen Mirren--the first foreword she has ever contributed.
In this striking compilation, Shakespeare historian Gerit Quealy and respected Japanese artist Sumi Hasegawa combine their knowledge and skill in this first and only book that examines every plant that appears in the works of Shakespeare.
Botanical Shakespeare opens with a brief look at the Bard's relationship to the plants mentioned in his works--a diversity that illuminates his knowledge of the science of botany, as well as the colloquy, revealing his unmatched skill for creating metaphorical connections and interweaving substantive philosophy. At the heart of the book are portraits of the over 170 flowers, fruits, grains, grasses, trees, herbs, seeds and vegetables that Shakespeare mentions in his plays and poems. Botanical Shakespeare features a gorgeous color illustration of each, giving a face to the name, alongside the specific text in which it appears and the character(s) who utter the lines in which it is mentioned.
This fascinating visual compendium also includes a dictionary describing each plant--such as Eglantine, a wild rose with a slight prickle, cherished for its singular scent, superior to any other rose; and the difference between apples and apple-john--along with indices listing the botanical by play/poem, by character, and genus for easy reference, ideal for gardeners and thoughtful birthday gift-giving.
This breathtaking, incomparable collection of exquisite artwork and companion quotes offers unique depth and insight into Shakespeare and his timeless work through the unusual perspective of the plants themselves.