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The Essential Earthman: Henry Mitchell on Gardening Paperback – January 24, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
Why even 4 stars you ask? Well, about a month ago, for whatever reason, I picked it up again and now I LOVE IT!
Henry Mitchell is dry - like the soil under an oak. But he's terribly warm and fuzzy once you get to know him. I write a newsletter for my local garden club and have found quote after quote that I want to use for future issues. They're not la-dee-dah quotes that speak vaguely about the lovely joys of gardening. BLAH! Rather, they're jewels that point fingers at snobby gardeners and kill-joys who scold children for picking crocuses.
This is not a "pretty picture" book. It's sort of a how-to in an essay form. But more than that, it's great writing by a wonderful author on a topic I am crazy for.
I have read (and re-read) The Earthman for more than 20 years. Every time I returned to The Earthman, I had a patient, passionate teacher by my side.
With Henry's guidance, I matured. I learned to accept the rains that turned my garden into a sea of mud. I learned to accept the dogs who had a deep need to explore and "investigate" my treasured plants.
Henry is my friend and mentor. I cannot imagine life in the garden without him.
It gives you more each time you read it.
My favorite garden books are books about historical gardens and historical gardeners. I don't care for "modern" gardening and I absolutely loathe "how-to" books. They're a lot like those TV shows about home renovation. They make it look so easy, but when I actually try doing it myself, it's a heck of a lot more difficult. Or needs specialized tools. Or involves a lot of expensive materials. So I was prepared to dislike Mr. Mitchell and his book(s). Instead, I fell in love.
I was hooked from the first sentence: "As I write this, on June 29, it's about time for another summer storm to smash the garden to pieces, though it may hold off until the phlox, tomatoes, daylilies, and zinnias are in full sway". A real gardener! With a sense of humor! And perspective! And he grows heirlooms! In fact, in many cases, he prefers the heirlooms to newer varieties. No perfect garden here. Instead, he willingly admits to mistakes and how he corrected them.
Much to my chagrin, this is the perfect "how-to" book. He gives complete instructions on many issues and even admits when the process is difficult. He names and describes both new and old plant varieties. And provides the kind of useful information that you won't find in catalogs or nurseries: how a plant performs (or doesn't perform) in the home garden. All with a wonderful sense of humor.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a collection of articles written several decades ago and focuses more on gardening in the southeast US. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Not Old Yet
Good information with traces of cheer and comedy. I could relate to it all. The tip of always thinking of a hole the size of a bushel basket for planting a shrub or a tree was very... Read morePublished on June 4, 2014 by Lois Shaw
I have just recently discovered Mitchell and I love his sense of humor about gardening and gardeners. Read morePublished on May 8, 2014 by Dory
I was captivated by Ambrose's account of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. His writing style is direct, lively, and very descriptive. Ambrose made the trip come alive for me. Read morePublished on September 13, 2013 by Sister Monica
I always loved Henry when he was in the Washington Post and I have enjoyed several of his other collections. This one was just okay - sometimes repetitive.Published on January 16, 2013 by Lucia N. Lawrence