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A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seed Paperback – March 31, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0374528775 ISBN-10: 0374528772 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 125 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (March 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374528772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374528775
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,508,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Marry the soul and sensitivity of a poet with the passion and prowess of a dedicated gardener and the result would be Fenton, who has created a wee gem of a book, hardly bigger than the packet of seeds he rhapsodizes about, based on a fascinating premise: given an empty garden and starting solely by seed, what plants would you choose to grow? Examining only a plant's essential quality, be it color, foliage, fragrance, or form, Fenton postulates that it's possible to develop a stunning garden by considering only the most inherent properties, relegating loftier goals such as design and structure to secondary positions. Speaking with obvious experience and unabashed enthusiasm, Fenton presents his Top 100 list of reliable and remarkable garden performers with erudite charm and tongue-in cheek wit, so vividly describing these garden treasures as to conjure up halcyon visions in the mind's eye. With seed catalog in one hand and Fenton's guide in the other, this unique way of producing a glorious garden becomes a sensory adventure. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"[James Fenton is a] gardener...who is surprised by the joy of a lap full of seed."
--Giles Foden, The Guardian (London)
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
James Fenton makes the case for annuals in your garden, which are typically overlooked in gardening writing that concentrates on perennials. This book, which lists 100 of the author's favorite plants to grow from seed, should be read with a plant encyclopedia at hand like as 'Sunset Western Garden', so that you can see what the plants look like and what their care requirements are. Many self-sowing varieties are included, which may convince those looking for a low-maintainence garden that annuals can play a part in it. Color and appeal is emphasized, much like what would have attracted you if you had a chance to garden as a child. The author's garden is in the south of England, which may limit whether his choices are appropriate for your climate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The British poet James Fenton has given us here in this slim volume a list of the plants one would grow if one were given a "blank slate of a garden" and "given the stipulation that everything you grow in this garden must be raised by you from seed." Mr. Fenton's definition of a garden is large and encompassing: It "must include a spectacular one that I saw. . . in Manhattan, which consisted of nothing but morning glories grown on a fire escape, high up above the street. . . or a row of hyacinths in glasses" as well as gardens at Versailles. Some of the groups the writer discusses are broken down as to color, size, flowers for cutting, climbers, and what he calls "Flowers That Hop Around." He also lists several books on growing flowers in his "reference library", equipment and the 100 seed list in the end of the book.

This book is obviously not a treatise on growing flowers. You'll need to refer to other books unless you have a lot of experience. (I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all this information until I'm told that Mr. Fenton has a fulltime gardener.) Additionally, there are no color photographs here of the various varieties. Mr. Fenton's list is highly subjective. He tells us why he eliminates some flowers and includes others; there are no cottage pinks, for example, because they all have been either bought or given to him as plants.

What I was hoping for in this book I didn't find-- that the writer might somehow tie up poetry and flowers. He certainly didn't have to, but he does make interesting asides on occasion. He opines that one can tell from his photographs that Robert Mapplethorpe "loved flowers" but that we wouldn't have expected him to like plants. And in discussing false bishop's weed, Mr. Fenton intimates that all bishops are false!

You have to tip your hat to a poet who gardens. This little book would make an ideal and unusual gift for your favorite gardener.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Valerie Fletcher Adolph on May 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a pleasant little book; basically a series of essays on the writer?s one hundred favourite plants that can quite easily be purchased and grown from seed.
I enjoyed the personal approach to gardening and plants, and also the relaxed random-ness of it. The snobbery of design and planning, of garden bones and vistas, does not hold this writer in thrall. He knows and loves plants, and he wrote these essays about them.
In truth there isn?t much substance here, but it makes a pleasing, quick read, and the book would make a nice little gift for a friend.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a pleasant little book; basically a series of essays on the writer?s one hundred favourite plants that can quite easily be purchased and grown from seed.
I enjoyed the personal approach to gardening and plants, and also the relaxed random-ness of it. The snobbery of design and planning, of garden bones and vistas, does not hold this writer in thrall. He knows and loves plants, and he wrote these essays about them.
In truth there isn?t much substance here, but it makes a pleasing, quick read, and the book would make a nice little gift for a friend.
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Format: Hardcover
A small treasure of information and fresh ideas. This author tosses plant snobbery out the window and selects 100 varieties, mostly annuals, which are easily grown from seed, he does make an exception regarding tarragon and wisely says"buy a plant". From the beginning he sets about demonstrating how to plan a garden that will provide beauty, joy and cut flowers from only a few inexpensive packets of seed. His discriminating choices leave me brimming with new ideas. Find a copy and snatch it up this useful well written book should be in print. I found mine in our neighborhood book exchange box.
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