A Gentle Plea for Chaos: Reflections from an English Garden Paperback – 23 Mar 2000
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In this book, the author describes the way her garden evolved and how, without meaning to do so, she let it take over her life. She suggests moving away from planning, regimentation and gardening with the mentality of a stamp-collector. Frequently funny and always stimulating, she writes of the alchemy of gardens, of the 19th-century plant-collectors and plant illustrators and of the gardening philosophers, all fertilizing great thoughts along with their hollyhocks. She won the 1988 Sinclair Consumer Press Garden Writer of the Year Award.
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Thank you for reprinting the original which I can now circulate among family and friends.
The straight line regimented gardeners, those dependant on pesticides and herbicides; canes and endless garden twine in order to achieve perfection may not enjoy it, but, hopefully if they were to read it they may allow a little chaos, the odd floppy plant, they may free a little bit of nature, and benefit from not have a coronary over a dandelion!
It is a collection of losely themed reflections on gardening which, to me at least, brings insight on things beyond its obvious subject.
The author and her husband begin as relative beginners taking on a very large garden. They learn as they go along. There is information of what plants do well in what places, but only incidentally: the bread and butter of this book is reflective musings on how it feels to be a gardener, in good times and bad, throughout the year. Mirabel Osler's feeling for plants and for the landscape, her old-fashioned, broadly cultured frame of reference and the civilized assumption of an equally thoughtful and urbane reader make this one of my favourite books.