Monday, January 28, 2008

GBBC Review

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Dear Friend and Gardener. I like books of letters. This combined with garden lore, plant discussions, and a round social life is good read. It makes you realize that these great gardens are maintained by real people not just a corporation that hires bodies to do their work.

One passage that made me think was written by Beth on Friday 18 October Too often one's mind is cluttered with problems, eyes on the ground, fussing about a few gaps, or messy bits of planting. ... I came to realize how seldom I take in the enveloping framework of the garden, partly becasue there is quite a lot to see, partly because I may look but do not give myself time to absorb what is happening.

I often don't take time to look around and see what is going on in the garden since I am so busy doing what I feel needs to be accomplished. This makes me think I need to take more time to stop and absorb what I have created and see just what I need to accomplish. If you don't take time to just be in your garden you won't know how it is truly faring. You have to take time to see if all is going the way you want it to. But not only that if you don't just relax and enjoy your garden why have it? A garden should be enjoyed by all even its creator.

In a passage Beth wrote Thursday 12 December ...good gardens need inspired leadership, whith concern for everything involved, both the plants and the people who care for them. She was worried about how her garden and business would be taken care of after she died or was unable to take care of it any more. I think we all have that question in the back of our minds. I have read blogs about some of you that have left behind a beloved garden when you had to move. Who will care for it?? Is all this work for nothing? Why do we drive ourselves to distraction for our lovely spaces when we know that hardly anyone else would want to take care of it as we do.??
We all care so deeply about the garden. I know I would hope that someone would take my garden and keep it going. Oh it wouldn't have to be as it is. I would like to think I would inspire someone to continue to garden on our little plot. As Bethsays on Wednesday 15 January ...gardens themselves need to change, to go forward, to evolve. They cannot be encapsulated in time like a fly in amber.
I think this we all realize. Just think about how your tastes in gardens have changed over the years if you have gardened very long. I know mine have changed a lot. Heck my taste in plants change from year to year sometimes.

Not only are Christopher and Beth gardeners they are lovers of nature. They often speak of the birds and critters that inhabit their gardens. How could anyone not enjoy nature and be a gardener I wonder?
I could pick several more morsels out of this book. It is a good one. I have several passages underlined and ears turned down on several pages. Not only does the garden change but I change from year to year and this book will offer little gems of garden thoughts that I mull over and take time to relishsometime in the future.


  1. Lisa: I'm just starting this book and already love it. I think that was a great review and I will look for those passages as I read through the book. I love your bird in a cage!

  2. Layanee, I am sure you will like it. You will probably find many other passages that will make you stop and think about your garden in different way. Some passages like the ones I noted brought to the fore of my mind things I have thought about but not in depth. Good things to mull over winter.

  3. I loved to read this book very much and I think it is a pity that there isn't any translation in other languages (for all the gardeners everywhere). And what you said about keeping and looking at the garden, is so true. I feel the same way and if my English were better I would explain it the same way as you did. BTW, the new book "Second Nature" I bought the last time I was in the US, but I didn't read it yet. So now, I'll do it. Then I hopefully understand when you are discussing it....
    Have a nice day,

  4. Barbara I have thought this many times when I see a book of poetry by someone and it isn't translated into english.

    Your english seems as good as mine. I can't express myself very well with the written word. I wish I could do so better.

  5. I loved your review! If I hadn't read it, this would have made me go buy the book. You are so right about the idea of gardens going on when we aren't here. We often visit our friends who live in our old house (my childhood home) and though their gardens are different, they have expanded and added their own personalities, which makes me happy. What I would hate at this house is if someone came and cut down my trees, or plowed everything under and just had lawn. Shudder. :<) But, I won't be around to see it, right?!

  6. Thank you Nan. I always worry about writing a review. I never seem to convey what I want to say. I feel like I am taking a test. Ha

    I get to see one of my old gardens too. My Sister has my former house/garden. She has definitely expanded and built upon what I had there. I am lucky in that she has kept my favorite things.

  7. Lisa you did a great review. I'm going to have to see if I can locate this one: it sounds like a worthy read.

  8. Robin, If your library doesn't have it I could send you my copy. Of course it isn't in pristine condition but you can still read it.

  9. Lisa, Thanks for participating in the Garden Bloggers' Book Club. This might be my 2nd comment, it looks like Blogger ate the 1st one, or at least gave me an error message.

    I think it is interesting how we chose different passages to write about, yet when I read the ones you chose, I think, yes, absolutely! If I read the book again, I would probably choose different sections to comment on. That's what makes it a good book, one that can be re-read without seeming to repeat.

    Watch for the virtual meeting post on the 31st.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  10. This was a really good review - I love reading collections of letters. The passages that you have noted are wise ones.

  11. I will be watching the 31st Carol.

    Hi Kate, I could have picked out many such quotes from this book. It is filled with such gems.

  12. Yes, Blogger ate my message too, during its fits this evening, but I just wanted to tell you just what a great job you did on your review. You catch the subtleties of the book and are inspired by Beth and Christo's writing, and that will inspire others. So well done, Lisa!

  13. Hi Jodi, Thanks. I know what you mean about Blogger eating comments. This happens to me sometimes. I think I am losing it becaue I know I have commented someplace but it doesn't show up. That Blogger is hungry.

  14. Lisa, i'm not sure what I'm more intrigued with: the book as you describe it, or your own insights as you discuss it. Oh great, one more book to add to my growing wish list! Thanks a bunch. I too thoroughly enjoy reading letters: mine or those of strangers is fine by me.

    Alberta Postcards

  15. Lisa,
    I didn't know about the Book Club in time to read the book, but I did my own post about my own friendship with Elsa Bakalar. I must say, the posts you and Carol sent out made me put Dear Friend and Gardener on my must read list. Thank you.

  16. Lisa, thoughtful post.
    Maybe only individuals can make a great garden. So many public gardens seem uninspired. But if the local governing body hires a great individual to create the garden it will tend to stay true to its inspiration through many years and
    and renovations. I'm thinking places like Central park in New York and hoping The Lurie here in Chicago.

  17. Lisa, those passges must have made an impression on me too, because I remember them. I wonder, did you identify with one writer more than the other? I think I am probably more like Beth than Christo, but I enjoyed his writing more than hers.


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