Saturday, January 28, 2012

Time for Gardening -- Finally!!

Practical Science for Gardeners
Mary Pratt
Timber Press, Oregon, 2005
ISBN 0-88192-718-X
Available from Timber Press

I have to admit it.  I'm a garden junkie.  Not that I have the best garden (far from it), not that I know all there is to know about gardening (although I'm really good at raising little seedlings), not even that I relish hours spent weeding in the hot sun (I don't), but once Xmas is over, and we get past the solstice, and the days start getting longer, I've already got the seed orders in, the little pots and trays have been dug out of the shed waiting for the seeds to arrive, and I'm ready to sit and dream about all the great things that will happen in my garden.  This year, I have discovered a really good tool that I didn't have before, and I'm reading and re-reading sections to get them solid in my mind as the garden season arrives. 

Writers and artists often talk about leaving something behind of value when they "shuffle off this mortal coil" and with "Practical Science for Gardeners"  Mary Pratt has certainly done just that.   She worked on the book even from her hospital bed, including the illustrations, and "died in December 2004, delighted to know that the book had been accepted without question for publication."

This is *nothing* like most of the gardening books you've ever read.  It's fully based in science, with the caveat that we understand that most science is provisional, true until something new is discovered, and then we readjust it to that reality.  For Mary Pratt, this book was clearly a labor of love, and a great deal of thought went into all of her explanations, connecting science to the garden without the ponderous explanations of a biology text.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A ghost story
I know we normally do books here but I ran across a sweet little short story you might like. This story comes in at less than 10,000 word.  It is an easy, somewhat fast read, though I found myself slowing down to savor the scene as Luella tells her tale.

The Hero of Elm Street
By Mark Edward Hall
Published by Lost Village Books
Pages: 29