Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

September 20, 2009

second-natureLast spring I came down with an infection that gave me a lot of extra downtime for reading, which was excellent timing because it was planting time, and I had no idea what I was doing when it came to spring and summer gardening.

I used the opportunity of my indisposition to learn how to be a better gardener – or really, to learn what the heck I was doing. I read Lasagna Gardening and Organic Gardening from cover to cover, and then Michael Pollan’s book, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education. Where the other two books gave me a lot of practical how-to wisdom, Michael Pollan’s book was a beautifully written forewarning of just what I was getting into.

From explaining the nature of weeds to the gardener’s relationship to the earth and the kinds of threats that will make a nature-loving individual want to go out and bomb his beloved plot of ground with the best pesticides on the market, Second Nature confirmed my philosophical reasons for gardening. It also showed me what would happen when those philosophies hit pay dirt – or how I would feel when it was time to wage war against hornworms to save my tomatoes.

Going through each season, Second Nature also helped me ground my sense of the seasons and the patience that must accompany any gardening endeavor. Choosing to garden is planting your roots and committing to the future – come rain or shine, snow or storm. If anything, the effort has given me a stronger sense of forbearance through the challenges that life brings. It’s an excellent read, and I highly recommend it!

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