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The Herbalist's Garden: A Guided Tour of 10 Exceptional Herb Gardens: The People Who Grow Them and the Plants That Inspire Them Hardcover – March 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In rural Auburn, California, Shatoiya and Richard de la Tour have created an elaborate herb garden full of secret pathways and hidden rooms. Open to the public during the day, the garden has become their home, their religion, and their livelihood. "On our two and a half acres we now have ten theme gardens, three ponds, a nursery, two classrooms, a cabin for overnight students, an herb-drying shed, a chicken coop, a llama pen, and a thriving herb shop."

In The Herbalist's Garden, the de la Tours survey nine other herb gardens along with their own, covering regions from British Columbia to Connecticut. Most of the gardeners profiled here are hippies of the first order: they build peace signs into their garden design and would rather die than use a pesticide. Perhaps the most remarkable character profiled is John Forti, owner of Plimoth Plantation, a garden with a sign at the entrance that declares, "Welcome to the 17th Century." At Plimoth Plantation, staffers dress like pilgrims, wearing wide-brimmed hats and long, hot dresses.

Such eccentrics make The Herbalist's Garden an entertaining read, yet it's also informative, with wide-ranging advice on the medicinal and mystical uses of herbs. Throughout, inspirational tidbits such as, "In the core of our being, we yearn to be connected to something real" indicate that the de la Tours clearly have a life philosophy they hope to get across. Somewhere between a coffee-table book, a manifesto of spiritual inspiration, and a practical guide to plant use, The Herbalist's Garden transports the reader in many ways--and the photos are to die for. --Emily White

From Library Journal

Gardens take many forms and serve many purposes. For some, the harvest is paramount, while for others the entire journey is meaningful. This title takes readers on a journey through ten beautiful herb gardens (five in California, four in other states, and one in Canada). The gardens include the authors' Dry Creek Herb Farm, well-known author Dr. James Duke's Farmacy Garden, and the historically accurate Plimoth Plantation. Each section covers the garden's history and the owner's philosophy, including two or three of their favorite herbs with instructions for growing and using them. The herbs range from the common, like basil, to the unusual, such as elecampane, and can generally be grown in a wide variety of USDA zones. The beautiful photographs help set this title's peaceful tone. Somewhat spiritual but never preachy, this book will appeal to most gardeners and should be in all public libraries. Jonathan Hershey, Akron-Summit Cty. P.L., Akron
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580174108
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580174107
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,313,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazonbombshell on May 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I number THE HERBALIST'S GARDEN among the most inspiring books I've read. This guided tour of several outstanding herb-based gardens (public, private, small, large, urban, rural, you name it) is filled with informative and charmingly written text along with gorgeous color photography, and augmented by little "boxes" that suggest ways to incorporate an idea into your own gardens, or provide neat recipes for teas and baked goods. (The peppermint brownies are especially fantastic -- and easy!)
As a novice herb gardener tending my first 4x10 bed in its first season, I was deeply impressed by the gardeners (and plants!) featured in this book. I got the book from the library, started reading, and immediately purchased my own copy from Amazon. I need to have this one around! It's a great book to come back to for tips when you're worried, glorious colors when it's wintertime, and inspiration whenever you want it.
Each section tells the story of a lovely garden and the people who have made it what it is, then profiles their three favorite herbs, suggesting culinary and medicinal uses and giving instructions for planting and care. Gardeners and herbalists will not regreat the purchase of this beautiful book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on July 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
THE HERBALIST'S GARDEN is subtitled a "guided tour of 10 exceptional herb gardens" and it is just that. I don't think you could get much closer to the real thing unless you made the actual physical trip to each of these gardens. Perhaps the only drawback for me is that so many of them are on the West Coast because seeing them makes me want to SEE them.
The photographs by Saxon Holt are some of the best. In each picture, I can clearly distinguish one plant from another--no small feat since to capture one plant clearly often causes others to be distorted. For example in one shot the viewer can raise her eyes from lettuce in the first row to cabbage in the second row to onions in the third row. I guess this is "trick" photography, but it's great. Although the photos are not three dimensional, they remind me of old 3-D viewer I had when I was a kid or the holograms of today where you can hold the picture to your eye and feel as if you are "inside" the frame.
The de la Tours have done a fabulous job of compiling, writing, and editing their book. They are down to earth and friendly and the text is newsy and informative. The de la Tours own Dry Creek Farm and Learning Center in Auburn California--the first garden on the guided tour which features the gardens of several other herbalist/gardeners and writers. Each section shows a ground plan for the featured garden. There are plenty of shots of the gardens including entrances and paths, and unique features found at the various sites.
Dry Creek Farm features a children's garden, a medicine-wheel garden, and a moon garden. The medicine-wheel garden is festooned with multi-colored prayer ribbons--hung out by the de la Tour's students at the Spring Equinox--that will be burned at the Winter Solstice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Herbalist Shatoiya de la Tour, her husband, Richard, along with a very talented photographer, Saxon Holt, have produced a treasure of a book! This book takes us on a journey to visit ten exceptional herb gardens in the United States. First stop - Richard and Shatoiya's own garden which she describes as "a garden to serve the community". She shares her story of how her garden, Dry Creek Herb Farm came into being and has evolved over the years to become a refuge for herb lovers and learners across the country. Next stop is Sage Mountain, the Vermont garden of the highly respected herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar. Also spend time at Deer Run Herb Sancuary, Plimoth Plantation, Evergreen Herb Garden, the city garden of Brian Fikes and Greg Howes, Dr. Dukes "Farmette", Ravenhill Farm, Caprilands, and Saso Herb gardens.
The photographs are exquisite, probably the best gardening photography I have ever seen. You will also get to meet these very interesting gardeners, get a glimpse into their own life stories to learn what first attracted them to herb gardening and how herbs have become the focus of thier lives. I LOVE this book and have turned to it for inspiration over and over again. I feel you will be very pleased with it. Buy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Enhanced with the color photography of Saxon Holt, Shatoiya and Richard de la Tour's The Herbalist's Garden provides the reader with an exception, fascinating, and informative guided tour through ten unique herb gardens, introducing the people who grew them and the plants that inspired those master gardeners. After an informative introduction (The Path of the Herb Gardener), we are treated to the Dry Creek Herb Farm & Learning Center (Auburn, CA); Rosemary Gladstar's Sage Mountain (East Barre, VT); Deer Run Herb Sanctuary (Napa, CA); Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA); EverGreen Herb Garden (Placerville, CA); The City Garden (Sacramento, CA); Dr. Duke's "Farmette" (Fulton, MD); Ravenhill Farm (Vancouver Island, British Columbia); Caprilands (Coventry, CT); and Saso Herb Gardens (Saratoga, CA). A very highly recommended, inspiring, beautifully presented work, The Herbalist's Garden is enhanced with a concluding commentary (Manifesting Your Own Vision), a resources section, and an index.
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