Wells has a remarkable ability to dig up the curious and the captivating: At one time, a worm found in a hazelnut prognosticated ill fortune. Rowan trees were planted in churchyards to prevent the dead from rising from their graves. Greek arrows were soaked in deadly yew, and Shakespeare’s witches in Macbeth used “Gall of goat and slips of Yew” to make their lethal brew. One bristlecone pine, at about 4,700 years old, is thought to be the oldest living plant on earth. All this and more can be found in the beautifully illustrated pages (themselves born of birch bark!) of 100 Trees.
Richard Goodman saw the ad in the paper: "SOUTHERN FRANCE: Stone house in Village near Nimes/Avignon/Uzes. 4 BR, 2 baths, fireplace, books, desk, bikes. Perfect for writing, painting, exploring & experiencing la France profonde. $450 mo. plus utilities." And, with his girlfriend, he left New York City to spend a year in Southern France.
The village was small--no shops, no gas station, no post office, only a café and a school. St. Sebastien de Caisson was home to farmers and vintners. Every evening Goodman watched the villagers congregate and longed to be a part of their camaraderie. But they weren't interested in him: he was just another American, come to visit and soon to leave. So Goodman laced up his work boots and ventured out into the vineyards to work among them. He met them first as a hired worker, and then as a farmer of his own small plot of land.
French Dirt is a love story between a man and his garden. It's about plowing, planting, watering, and tending. It's about cabbage, tomatoes, parsley, and eggplant. Most of all, it's about the growing friendship between an American outsider and a close-knit community of French farmers.
"There's a genuine sweetness about the way the cucumbers and tomatoes bridge the divide of nationality."--The New York Times Book Review
"One of the most charming, perceptive and subtle books ever written about the French by an American."--San Francisco Chronicle
From the Ground Up is Stewart's quirky, humorous chronicle of the blossoms and weeds in her first garden and the lessons she's learned the hard way. From planting seeds her great-grandmother sends to battling snails, gophers, and aphids, Stewart takes us on a tour of four seasons in her coastal garden. Confessing her sins and delighting in small triumphs, she dishes the dirt for both the novice and the experienced gardener. Along the way, she brings her quintessential California beach town to life--complete with harbor seals, monarch butterfly migrations, and an old-fashioned seaside amusement park just down the street.
Each chapter includes helpful tips alongside the engaging story of a young woman's determination to create a garden in which the plants struggle to live up to the gardener's vision.
Now the author/artist/gardener describes his making of Madoo in a book that is as charming and entertaining as it is enlightening. Dash’s artist's sense --or senses -- of the movement of air and the effects of light and color suffuse all his writings, and show us new ways to look at our own gardens.
As with Henry Mitchell's books, one learns more from reading these essays than from a dozen how-to books. And whether we like to make gardens or simply to look at them, Dash has given us a book to keep by the bedside, where we can read and reread our favorite pieces ("Fairies"? "Manuring"? "The Name of the Rose"? "The Garden Tour"? Too many to list!) over and over again.