Bringing a Garden to Life

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Bantam Books, Jan 5, 1999 - Gardening - 288 pages
"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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Bringing a garden to life

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Eastern Long Island in New York State is the setting for this thoughtful account of establishing a place for plants to flourish. Horticulture writer and consultant Williams covers the spectrum of the ... Read full review


Chapter 3
Transplanting and Propagating

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About the author (1999)

Carol Williams has written about architecture, art, and gardening.  She has been a contributor to BioDynamics, the quarterly journal of biodynamic farming and gardening.  A graduate of M.I.T., she lives in Sag Harbor, New York, where she works as a gardening consultant.

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