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A Year of Gardening Delights
on March 23, 2008
"By retreating farther and farther from nature, we lose our sense of belonging. " ~ pg. 7
Diane Ackerman has created her own oasis of pleasure. She writes about dips in the pool and the pleasure of cutting roses to take them indoors. She loves her apple tree, which also provides fruit for hungry deer. I loved the stories of how she feeds the deer peach slices and corn. There are also humorous tales about rabbits and squirrels.
This book truly celebrates the seasons. Diane Ackerman writes with an intoxicating sensuality that is also intellectual. While you are learning about her garden she weaves in stories from mythology. Her inquisitive mind often leads her down various paths of knowledge to teach you something a little different or to make you laugh. I was interested in learning about passionflower leaves and how they contain cyanide. Definitely not something you want to put in a salad. She talks about topiaries in the shape of mermaids and at times gets lost in a discussion of a favorite book. I also liked her tips on garden etiquette.
Each season is described with a poet's heart and Diane Ackerman's passion for roses does border on obsession. We soon learn she has 120 rose bushes and there is no need for pictures because she paints descriptions that vividly bring the imagination to life. When she is not consumed by all her garden requires, she is found at farmer's markets or riding her bike. During one trip out in her car she suddenly contemplates life and death and seems deep in thought. She also only briefly discusses the darker sides of nature, like the day she found a bird's nest (in a bird house) had fallen in her yard.
"Cultivating Delight" reminded me of my grandmother's garden with an apple tree and a beautiful row of rose bushes. While sweeping leaves off my deck I could not help but think about what I should plant this spring. As a bonus, Diane gives a full inventory of her garden so you can literally recreate her experience.
~The Rebecca Review