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Gardening at the Dragon's Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated World Paperback – February 26, 2008
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Perhaps a more appropriate subtitle would have been Zen and the Art of Horticulture Maintenance, since Johnson infuses every aspect of gardening with the philosophy that has been her guiding light for more than 30 years. A Zen Buddhist master, Johnson has served as head gardener for San Francisco’s Green Gulch Farm Center, a place of exceptional tranquility and vibrancy where her daily devotional meditation practices became as essential to the health and productivity of her gardens as they were to her body and soul. Espousing seven essential principles that demonstrate respect for the land through organic gardening and ecological farming, Johnson relates practical information about botanical basics, such as planting, growth, and propagation, as well as the craft of gardening, such as designing, tending, and harvesting. Viewed through the prism of an elemental understanding of the unbridled life that exists in every garden, Johnson’s wisdom is conveyed with a lyrical, poetic, yet pragmatic sensibility that both calms the mind and excites the imagination. --Carol Haggas
“Wendy Johnson shows how the garden and the shared table reconnect us in a profound and visceral way to the earth. A beautiful book and an invaluable resource.”—Alice Waters, founder, Chez Panisse
“Wendy Johnson follows in the footsteps of Thoreau . . . Her book is succulent, full of surprises, wise, tender, tough, and delicious to read. It is for everyone who wants to live a rich, deep, life.”—Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
“A glorious book . . . deep philosophy with dirt beneath its fingernails.” —Bill McKibben, author of The Bill McKibben Reader: Pieces from an Active Life and The End of Nature
“Truly magnificent, a treasure--one of those rare books that you hope, without knowing, will appear in your life. It will keep you in good company for years and years.”—Deborah Madison, author of The Greens Cookbook and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
“A bountiful harvest of wisdom, humor and passion by a master gardener who has spent a lifetime cultivating the soil and the spirit.” —Will Rogers, President, The Trust for Public Land
“This book is a long memory of a relationship with earth. I am in utter awe of the gusto with which Johnson tells her story. Read one paragraph and you'll long to hold dirt in your hand.” —Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind
“Part Zen Koan, part love poem to the land, part master’s manual in the art and craft of gardening, Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate satisfies body, mind, and soul like a really good meal.—Michael Ableman, farmer; author of Fields of Plenty
“Flower and fruit of a lifetime’s horticultural experience, this master work goes far beyond the practical gardening advice it offers in abundance. Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate is full of profound meditations on the chemistry and poetry of botany, geology, and natural history, all rendered in Wendy’s unmistakably rich voice. An instant classic.”—Norman Fischer, teacher and founder, Everyday Zen Foundation; author of Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up
"If Earth took a human voice, it would be Wendy's: wry, fierce, passionately attentive to detail, and so startling in its wild freedom it's almost scary. . . . This book is a tonic to the soul. I dare anyone to read it and not be shaken into a fuller, gladder life.” —Joanna Macy, author World as Lover, World as Self
Top customer reviews
In "Gardening at the Dragons Gate" the author has gifted us with a wondrous book which cannot be pigeon-holed.....a how-to manual for life? a gardeners treatise? a Zen prayer book? Wendy Johnson has woven many beautiful strands into an enthralling, inspiring book that gently calls on us to re-connect and re-learn our place in the natural world.
P.S. I have tried to purchase at chain bookstores, in order to gift others, but it is not available, so thank you, Amazon, for giving us access to hard-to-find books!