A Book for a Political Summer

Anybody else getting tired of the phone calls asking for money for various political campaigns? Being in a swing state, and in a particularly swingish county, has ramped up the attention, hasn’t it? No matter what our individual political stripe or degree of political passion, we are gardeners and are likely to be looking at the rain forecast and wondering just how hot it is going to be on any given day as we work outside in our gardens. Do we really want to be answering the phone and finding some well-intentioned volunteer begging for our support as we sweat and scratch bug bites and hope for the best from our fried gardens? Not the ideal situation for either person on that phone.

So, I am recommending a break from it all, the phone solicitations and the hot, sweaty bug bites, by reading Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature and the Shaping of the American Nation by Andrea Wulf. Now is a good time to read Wulf’s exploration of all things horticultural and agricultural in the private and political lives of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. I came away with not just a deeper understanding of the history of the time but a fuller appreciation of these men as gardeners and of the gardens they created. You can read a review of the book in the Seasonal Pickings column by visiting the Civic Garden Center website www.civicgardencenter.org and selecting the Summer Newsletter. And you might want to join a discussion of Wulf’s book held at the Civic Garden Center’s main building on September 12 from noon to 1:30.  While visiting the website you may also find current classes that fit your interests, volunteer possibilities, free events, and loads of gardening tips. And as you read  Founding Gardeners, you may discover these men were much more “green” than you might have imagined–John Adams absolutely loved manure and championed composting on a wide scale, for example– and then go to www.greenlearningstation.org to see what is happening in the next few months at The Green Learning Station.

And then take a deep breath, drink some cool water, and go back into the garden.

Cindy Briggs




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