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An Eden of Sorts: The Natural History of My Feral Garden par [Mitchell, John Hanson]
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Longueur : 201 pages Composition améliorée: Activé Page Flip: Activé
Langue : Anglais

Description du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Twenty-five years ago John Hanson Mitchell cut down a 1 1/2-acre stand of seventy-five-year-old white pines and planted a garden in their place. An Eden of Sorts is a history of the plants and animals that lived on the tract over the next decades.

In a survey he made before taking down the pines, Mitchell counted no more than five or six flowering plants and shrubs. Over the years he created a series of fanciful garden “rooms” in the Italian style. Now, in addition to an intriguing garden of earthly delights, he has recorded more than one thousand species of plants and animals on the property. This is a paradoxical yet hopeful narrative of what can happen to a plot of land when it is properly managed.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 8093 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 201 pages
  • Editeur : Countryman Press; Édition : 1 (4 août 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B009TCAFL4
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Lecteur d’écran : Pris en charge
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
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5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A welcome return to Scratch Flat 4 juin 2013
Par Corinne H. Smith - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I must begin this review by saying that I've admired John Hanson Mitchell's work for years. This isn't the first of his books that I've read and reviewed. I've seen John at readings and conferences, and we've had a few quick chats in person and in letters.

Here he's brought us back to a territory called "Scratch Flat." We first encountered this place in several of his previous books: Ceremonial Time: Fifteen thousand Years on One Square Mile and Living at the end of Time; and as a tangential reference in two more, Trespassing: An Inquiry Into the Private Ownership of Land and Walking Towards Walden: A Pilgrimage in Search of Place. This time the focus is obviously on the plant and animal life that Mitchell has witnessed -- and often, whose presence he has even initiated -- over the decades of his residency. His main topic is his garden; but as usual, he doesn't mind at all about digressing into adjacencies. He wanders at will.

The exact location of these two acres is described only in general terms. Perhaps Mitchell truly wants to keep the site a secret. Perhaps he uses this technique to better connect with readers who may be looking for qualities of their own properties in these pages. After all, too many of us have witnessed the carving out of highways or the dropping of suburban developments on fallow fields: both too-new scars on previously open and presumed worthless landscape. We long to create sanctuaries from the storm, for the benefit of those other wild ones who need consistent habitats. Mitchell has done this. So even though I know the name of his town, I'll go along with its anonymity here. Let's just say, it could be anywhere.

"I have always favored gardens that are rough around the edges," Mitchell says. (p. 54) In and around his planned-out plots, he has let Nature take her course. He's quick to admit that he's rescued or even stolen plants from other properties in the region, and has found worthy sites to relocate them. He talks about how this place has evolved in his lifetime, and what he's planted and why. We also follow him as he prepares the scene for an upcoming late-summer wedding. Will the grounds be ceremony-worthy by then?

But this isn't a gardening book, per se. (You'll enjoy the reading more if you can at least distinguish a dandelion from a delphinium, however.) This is instead a natural history book at its core. And Mitchell explores the full range of other creatures who share this site with him: mammals, amphibians, fungi, fairies, and insects, tons of insects. "The children of the compound" often accompany him, as do a few domesticated animals. Surprisingly enough, this long-time MassAudubon editor puts off a study of birds until one of the later chapters in the book. Mitchell's insightful and thoughtful prose flows across the pages, especially when he bows toward environmentalism. Suzan Osborn's vibrant impressionistic watercolors lend just the right amount of perspective and chapter-leading glimpses at a place that's still kept "rough around the edges." Countryman Press also did a terrific job with the high quality of the physical book itself.

John Hanson Mitchell is among my favorites, and I enjoyed this newest vicarious visit with him. "An Eden of Sorts" is recommended for lovers of natural history; for those who have read Mitchell's previous books, even though those titles are not exactly prerequisites for this one. Avid gardeners may find a kindred spirit here as well, especially if they like to continually "improve" their spots. (Fans of Sara Stein's Noah's Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyards may especially like it.) Non-gardeners will at least be inspired to go out and attempt to inventory the various species they can find in their own backyards. You have to care about a place in order to want to save it.
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