Out of print since 1856, The American Gardener is perhaps the first classic work of American gardening literature. In it, William Cobbett, Victorian England’s greatest and most gifted journalist, draws upon his experiences during a two-year exile on a Long Island, New York, farm to lay out the rudiments of gardening for American farmers and, ultimately, to tailor principles developed in wet, drippy, weed-prone British gardens to their fine, sun-drenched counterparts in America. Full of practical knowledge memorably imparted with Cobbett’s gift for the indelible phrase, The American Gardener offers advice still useful today on all aspects of gardening, with special attention to those plants successful in the New World, including the artichoke (“indeed, a thistle upon a gigantic scale”) and the increasingly ubiquitous potato. Rediscovered 180 years after its composition, The American Gardener is evidence of a great mind and pen at work in the earliest days of American gardens.
This Modern Library edition is published with a new Introduction by Verlyn Klinkenborg, a New York Times editorialist and the author of The Rural Life, Making Hay, and The Last Fine Time.
About the author
William Cobbett, born in Surrey in 1762, was the most prolific muck-raking journalist of his age and the publisher of The Political Register, the main newspaper of the working class in early-nineteenth-century England. He died in 1835.
Michael Pollan is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Botany of Desire (available from Random House Trade Paperbacks) and Second Nature, named one of the best gardening books of the twentieth century by the American Horticultural Society. He is a contributing editor to Harper’s magazine and a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine.
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