Second Nature: a gardener’s education by Michael Pollan ISBN 9780440504405
My father read this book and I asked his opinion of it — he said, “If you skip the first chapter, the rest is great”. So I decided to add this book to my to read pile and when I was recently ill … it made it to the top of my pile. As you can tell by the books I have written about lately … many books were read while I was ill.
This book was good — and I even liked the first chapter. The first chapter was about how he got interested in gardening and that was because of the juxtaposition of his father (who seemed to hate gardens and landscaping) and his maternal grandfather (who made his money in gardening and was a Russian farmer). Not only was his grandfather a landscaper on Long Island, but knew the market value of all vegetables so when he gave you a basket of tomatoes or lettuce … he knew how much you would have had to pay for those vegetables.
Michael separates this book into seasons. Spring incorporates mowing and gardens in general. The social history of mowing? I never knew there really was such a thing … but you can study when it became important to have that huge green space next to the road to make the drive more pleasant. “Compost and its Moral Imperatives” is another funny chapter — is it REALLY a moral imperative? In Summer, he speaks about rose gardens and weeds. Why do we feel compelled to prepare a place for the most persnickety of visitors … the rose? In the fall he writes about planting trees and the ideas of gardens. Finally, in the winter, he writes about catalogs and planning for the future.
This is a great social history of gardens and I really enjoyed it — maybe because I have similar ideas and I wish I had the time to contemplate my own gardens!
Book DescriptionPublication Date: August 12, 2003In his articles and in best-selling books such as The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan has established himself as one of our most important and beloved writers on modern man’s place in the natural world. A new literary classic, Second Nature has become a manifesto not just for gardeners but for environmentalists everywhere. Chosen by the American Horticultural Society as one of the seventy-five greatest books ever written about gardening, Second Nature captures the rhythms of our everyday engagement with the outdoors in all its glory and exasperation. With chapters ranging from a reconsideration of the Great American Lawn, a dispatch from one man’s war with a woodchuck, to an essay about the sexual politics of roses, Pollan has created a passionate and eloquent argument for reconceiving our relationship with nature.