WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SATURDAY AT 10 A.M. EST.
Remember Sonia Day’s engaging guest post here about heirloom tomatoes, lawns, native plants, and other hot button topics?
You should also know that the Toronto-based garden writer has two recent books out that represent the yin and yang of garden writing in many ways. Her latest, The Untamed Garden (McClelland and Stewart, 2011), comes in one of the most alluring packages I have seen in some time. The abbreviated wrapper suggesting a brown paper bag unfolds to reveal a gorgeous reproduction of Alma-Tadema’s Roses of Heliogabalus. Inside this pretty package is a diverse and humorously told selection of plant lore, lavishly illustrated with photography and reproductions of botanical drawings and paintings. Day poses and answers such questions as: Which suggestive plant caused a queen to faint when it was presented to her at court? Why are figs and pomegranates thought to be the real culprits for getting Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden? Why is coco de mer “the most erotically charged plant on the planet?” Fun.
Day’s earlier title is at the opposite end of the spectrum—a how-to for urban gardeners and perfect for beginners’ level. Incredible Edibles: 43 Fun Things to Grow in the City (Firefly Books, 2010) runs down a list of vegetables, fruits, and herbs that are suitable for urban cultivation, with brisk advice, recipes, and a bright, photo-centric design. This is a book I might give my husband, who just started growing food last summer.
Most of my garden reading these days tends toward the essay end of the spectrum—Lloyd, Lawrence, Pavord, White, and others. Now that my garden is pretty much designed and full, I tend to enjoy finding affinities in the writing of other gardeners rather than frustrating myself by learning about projects and plantings I’ll never undertake. But I can appreciate a how-to as uncomplicated and attractive as this one. Oh, and it has recipes too.
We’re giving away these two books, and this is how it will work. Where do you land in the spectrum between how-to and essay? Answer in comments and there will be two winners.