woman reading a book in a hammock

During July, I read Our Life in Gardens by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd.

In this book, the two gardeners write in detail about some of the plants they’ve collected and grown throughout their 30 years at North Hill Garden in Vermont. Sometimes minute detail. I really like the format – chapters about one kind of plant or a concept (tools, hardiness, etc) – but had a hard time absorbing all the descriptions of the various kinds of snowdrops or magnolias. The chapters are in alphabetical order, but you still get a sense of how things have developed over time in their garden.

I enjoyed the chapters that were more broad, and of course when they talked about edible gardening. There is a vegetable gardening chapter as well as chapters about artichokes and peas. They talk about WHY we grow things to eat when fresh local produce is becoming easier to buy, and I probably don’t have to tell you the reasons: because nothing is fresher than something grown in your backyard, and because we love to!

One issue they bring up is invasive plants, which are plants that are not native to an area and then proceed to take over, killing native plants. They admit that they grow things that would run rampant if they didn’t manage them and explain how various plants spread. I plan to research what plants are considered invasive here in Idaho and will write an article about that!

Finally, they consider how the garden will change as they get older and what will happen when they are gone. This chapter takes on a bit of a sad note, since in my research into North Hill Garden I discovered that Wayne Winterrowd died not too long ago. Nature eventually reclaims what we have built, whether it’s gardens or freeways. We can only hope to create the garden of our dreams and enjoy it right now.

For the month of August, I will be reading From the Ground Up: The Story of a First Garden by Amy Stewart.