Filled with specially commissioned color photography, watercolors, and fine art, Becoming a Gardener is a first-hand account of what it means to become a gardener. Catie Marron details her experience over 18 months, documenting her studies, her triumphs, her mistakes, and everything in between while infusing it with the rich advice of a variety of writers over the years—everyone from Eleanor Perâenyi and Karel Capek to Penelope Lively and Jamaica Kincaid. As she digs deeper into her readings and works in the garden itself, she not only discovers the essence of gardening but in the words of Michael Pollan, "the endlessly engrossing ways that cultivating a garden attaches a body to the earth."
Where do gardeners get their inspiration? What is the meaning of gardens in their lives? How will I know when I’m a gardener?' Answers and insights came from writers as diverse as Cicero and Rousseau; Vita Sackville-West and Gertrude Jekyll; Eleanor Perényi, Henry Mitchell, Penelope Lively and Jamaica Kincaid—all quoted here at length and to moving effect ... When she is gardening, Ms. Marron writes, 'all my skills are engaged and my whole being is involved' in what some call 'work joy.' (It is a joy, by the way, that spills over into her attention to the details of bookmaking.)
This elegant ode to gardening is filled with charming watercolors, photographs, and illustrations of all things green and goodly. Marron eschews traditional how-to-grow guides, instead concentrating on the somewhat ethereal process of figuring out how to use the land via one’s favorite spots and other inspirations and, then, by trial and error, designing a garden with a nod to seasonality and sustainability. In this very personal road map, Marron also traces her own evolution as a gardener, with homage to her late husband. Her narrative itself mesmerizes ... Following in her footsteps will require not only a leap of faith, but a rock-solid hope that all will be fine. Great advice in these days.
Impressive ... Gardeners make mistakes all the time, Marron suggests—this is just one of the many lessons she lays out ... Lush photographs compliment Marron’s musings. Aspiring and seasoned gardeners alike will want to have this on the shelf.