Green Thoughts

Perenyi, Eleanor. Green Thoughts: a Writer in the Garden. New York: Modern Library, 2002.

Reason read: April is traditionally the time when we New Englanders start thinking about gardens. Edited to add: as of this writing, it is snowing quite heavily…we’re supposed to get up to 6″ and classes are cancelled.

I need to prepare you. There is a lot of foreplay leading up to the main event that is Green Thoughts. There are 24 pages of other “stuff” to get through before you even see the first chapter, “Annuals”: first you need to read the title page, the “Introduction to the modern library gardening series by Michael Pollan”, the “Introductions to the text by Allen Lacy”, table of contents,  the forward, and last but not least, a note on references. But! (dramatic pause…) But, once you get into Green Thoughts it is a delight to finally be there. Each chapter (in alphabetical order) is it’s own separate essays so feel free to jump around to the topics that best interest you. To be fair, some of the gardening instruction is a little labor intensive for the plant it and forget it, barely green-thumbed among us.

One of the best things I learned from reading Green Thoughts is that Cato (of Carthage fame) wrote directions for growing asparagus. That is awesome!

Quotes I liked, “I don’t subscribe to Prevention, which is dedicated to health, mostly because I haven’t the backbone to follow its precepts” (p 44), “A killing frost devastates the heart as well as the garden” (p 69) and one more, “When I look back on the long procession of incompetents, dumbbells and eccentrics, young and old, foreign and domestic, who have worked for me, I wonder how I and the garden have survived their ministrations” (p 80). She answers her own question wit “It occurs to me that I attract the mentally unbalanced” (p 81).

Author fact: Perenyi was at one time the managing editor of one of my teenage guilty pleasures, Mademoiselle Magazine.

Book trivia: You would think this book ripe for photographs, or at least illustrations. Be forewarned. There is not a one of either. Sigh.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Get On With Gardening” (p 96).



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