Skip to main content

Book Review (The Complete Gardener by Monty Don)

Every so often one is able to discover a true gem of a book. The Complete Gardener by Monty Don happens to be one of those rare reads.

The author covers a year in his English gardens. Though he discusses a number of subjects that you may find in any good organic gardening book such as soil health, seed starting techniques and recipes it is the manner in which he presents the material. Monty Don is an inspired man with a fantastic sense of humor, a depth of knowledge, and truthfully is as talented with the pen as he is in the garden. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, not to find yourself motivated by his appreciation for the smallest details of gardening. Our family garden has experienced a number of small but significant changes stemming from his influence. We now have more established boundaries and paths in the gardens. We have embraced the idea that it exist well beyond the summer and though we have long dreary winters it is possible to stimulate the senses visually with a well planned garden. It has also reaffirmed my own philosophy that an individual should work with nature rather than attempt to conquer it.

Now the beauty of this 440 page book is that it is actually a reasonably quick read. I can honestly say that I truly enjoyed reading every word of the book, even the sections that really had very little to do with my own gardens whether due to budget or location. He is certainly a land steward and someone whom any good gardener should familiarize themselves with.

Aside from being a gardener and author Monty Don is also host of the television show "Fork to Fork" which I think is a great program. Here is a sample clip dealing with herbs. Happy Reading!

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here


Popular posts from this blog

Swedish Flower Hen

The rare Swedish Flower Hen has a unique story. Called Skånsk blommehöna(Bloom Hen) in their native country of Sweden this landrace breed was thought to be extinct in the 1970's. (The term landrace refers to the fact that S.F.H.'s were free to develop for nearly five hundreds years without interference from man, so to speak). But in the late 1980's the Swedish Poultry Country Club located isolated flocks in the villages of Esarp, Tofta and Vomb. The gene bank that was eventually created by the S.P.C.C. was successful and there are approximately 1,300 Swedish Flower Hens currently in Sweden.

While enthusiast of rare breeds continue to work hard to increase the numbers it is painfully obvious why they slowly fell out of favor nearly 100 years ago. Though rare and visually stunning they cannot equal the number of eggs some of the top laying hens produce in a peak yearly cycle. Swedish Flower Hens average around 150 eggs over the course of 12 months. Compare that with the nea…

In Winter

I enjoy winter when it arrives at the homestead. Though the gardens are long since dormant there is still plenty to do.The rabbits and the chickens need constant care. A couple of times a day I have to break ice from the animals water and make sure they have enough warm bedding.

I don't mind though. No matter how cold it gets. There is poetry in the garden during summer. Birds sing with triumphant melody. Soft summer rains baptize new growth. But the winter features a more solitary form of art. For the most part there is a resonating silence that is a canvas for the occasional temperamental gust of wind and snow. These same squalls force the breathe from my lungs and scatter the frozen mist before my eyes. Then, once again, there is silence. As any good steward I try not to disturb this peace. If anything, I try to move unnoticed among it.

When it is cold enough the trees will produce an individual moan as they threaten to splinter in the darkness of the woods. They all have their…

The Land of Plenty

The idea that I am about to present to you is certainly nothing new. Wonderful organizations such as Ample HarvestPlant a Row for the Hungry and countless food banks and pantries across the country have been confronting the issue of hunger in our communities head on for some time.

Food insecurity is a cornerstone of the human condition. A little research will lead you to discover a long history of charity in opposition. For example, the seventh century Irish Benedictine monk St. Fiacre who was a master herbalist eventually settled in France and practiced a reverse tithe by keeping 10% of his harvest while giving away 90% to those less fortunate.

Life is complicated, as we all know. There are no easy answers to any of the problems that plague our society but there are some very simple issues that could be addressed that could in turn have a ripple effect on a number of other dilemmas such as poverty, health and even violence.

According to the USDA 40% of the $161 billion dollars’ (yo…