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4.0 out of 5 stars thinking about your garden, 21 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Gardening: Philosophy for Everyone (Paperback)
In an eclectic series "Gardening, Cultivating Wisdom" is one of the new and rather more tame titles (others include "Serial Killers, Being and Killing" & "Cannabis, What Were We Just Talking About") presenting the reader with a collection of essays exploring, arguing, and at times eulogising about a wide and diverse list of works. Focused, albeit loosely around the subject of gardening, some chapters are more skewed towards agricultural pursuits (as in Laura Aaurrichio's essay, "Transplanting Liberty"), there is also a heavy emphasis on historical and mythological text. My limited knowledge of the ancients came in for a heavy battering during the chapter "Cultivating the Soul".

The book offers the chance to immerse yourself, albeit for a short time, into the minds of the chapters' authors and debate, alongside them the philosophical ideals of particular subjects. Do not expect to agree or even "get on" with each author's gardening offerings, at times the text makes only tentative connection with the book's subject "Gardening". What it does do is present the reader with the opportunity to explore their own perception and understanding of gardening in a wider context.

There are lighter chapters, and they successfully balance the overall experience of the book. Eric McDonald's essay "Hortus Incantans" was a joyous read, giving much to think about in the way gardens reignite the experience of enchantment. Also Ismay Barwell and John Powell's' "Gardens, Music and Time" challenges not only the rhythm and passage of time, relating it to the natural chronology of the garden but explores the relationship between nature's rhythms, its patterns and seasonal changes.

A book about gardening? Most definitely not in the traditional sense but most certainly a book for anyone with an interest in all things horticultural who wishes to be challenged by a well presented and eclectic mixture of writings with a philosophical edge. Thought provoking and interesting this book engages, draws you in and then spits you out, with no doubt that you have spent time in interesting company.
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Gardening: Philosophy for Everyone
Gardening: Philosophy for Everyone by David E. Cooper (Paperback - 24 Sept. 2010)
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