From the Ground Up: The Story of a First Garden

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Algonquin Books, 2001 - Gardening - 261 pages
3 Reviews
Amy Stewart had a simple dream. She yearned for a garden filled with colorful jumbles of vegetables and flowers. After she and her husband finished graduate school, they pulled up their Texas roots and headed west to Santa Cruz, California. With little money in their pockets, they rented a modest seaside bungalow with a small backyard. It wasn't much--a twelve-hundred-square-foot patch of land with a couple of fruit trees, and a lot of dirt. A good place to start.

From the Ground Up is Stewart's quirky, humorous chronicle of the blossoms and weeds in her first garden and the lessons she's learned the hard way. From planting seeds her great-grandmother sends to battling snails, gophers, and aphids, Stewart takes us on a tour of four seasons in her coastal garden. Confessing her sins and delighting in small triumphs, she dishes the dirt for both the novice and the experienced gardener. Along the way, she brings her quintessential California beach town to life--complete with harbor seals, monarch butterfly migrations, and an old-fashioned seaside amusement park just down the street.

Each chapter includes helpful tips alongside the engaging story of a young woman's determination to create a garden in which the plants struggle to live up to the gardener's vision.

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User Review  - dawsong - LibraryThing

Stewart, Amy From the Ground Up: The Story of a First Garden Nonfiction When she finally gets the opportunity to indulge her gardening fantasies, Amy Stewart keeps a written record of her endeavors ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Milda-TX - LibraryThing

this was a lovely book to boost a gardener's spirit. it would be a nice gift for anyone who's starting a garden or moving into a new house, because each chapter has handy and practical tips. Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Amy Stewart is the bestselling author of five books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world. Her essays and commentaries have appeared on NPR, in the New York Times, and in Fine Gardening, where she is a contributing editor. Stewart is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and the American Horticultural Societyrsquo;s 2010 Book Award. She lives in Eureka, California, where she and her husband own an antiquarian bookstore. Find her online at and at

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