The Good Gardener?: Annette Giesecke & Naomi Jacobs
This richly illustrated collection of provocative essays is edited by Annette Giesecke, Professor of Classics at the University of Delaware, and Naomi Jacobs, Professor of English at the University of Maine. Contributors to this wide-ranging volume include photographer Margaret Morton, landscape ethicist Rick Darke, philosopher David Cooper, environmental journalist Emma Marris, and food historian William Rubel.
Designed as a companion volume to Earth Perfect? Nature, Utopia, and the Garden,
This is my review of the book:
Let me first be very clear. This is not a book about growing flowers. Nor is this a book solely about the moral conundrums faced when gardening. This is a book that is more about the philosophical/ethical/conceptual acts of gardening than it is about the nitty gritty of growing plants. From this book I learned that Gardening can be a defiant act; a garden can be a quantifier of the effectiveness of a general or a emperor in military conquest; a garden can be a reciprocal healing act for the people on the edge of civilization. I really found this book to really help me understand why we as humans garden, when no other species commits such efforts to the tending of flowers. I can honestly say that this book has greatly influenced my art practice as a sculptor as much as it has influenced my notions of gardening.
Although it would be cruel of me to dangle the vaguity of this book without recommending some essays that I found particularly interesting. Here are my top five essays that I encourage you to read when you get this book:
- Gardeners of the Cosmos: The Way of the Garden in East Asia Tradition / David E. Cooper
- “Nature-Altering Tools”: Margaret Atwood and the Politics of Dirt / Shelly Boyd
- The Industrial Gardener: World War II Victory Gardeners and the Factory Paradigm / Anastasia Day
- Gardening the Earth With Joy / Emma Marris
- The Sorceress Garden: Circe and Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland / Stephanie N. Bryan
There are nineteen essays total, condensed into three hundred and three pages of text, supporting images and beautiful printing. If you want to grow beyond simply shoving flowers in the dirt, get this book.