It's finally summer once again - the season of strawberries, arugula, marigolds, and good summer reads. Here are a few books to crack open on a pleasant, warm afternoon under the shade of the willow tree at 6/15...
For the junior gardener: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
One of my childhood favorites, The Secret Garden is the tale of a stubborn British girl named Mary who is uprooted from her home in India and sent to live in an isolated house in England with an uncle she never met. Bored and restless, Mary’s explorations of the property lead her to a mysterious locked garden. With the help of some servants and new friends, she discovers the great transforming power of the beauty that grows within the garden walls.
For the person who gardens for the quiet and solitude: The Poems of Hafez (by Hafez!)
Hafez-e Shirãzi was a Persian poet with a profound appreciation for the beauty of the world around him, and an eloquent way of describing it. All his poems feel like he wrote them while drinking a glass of wine and gazing out into his bountiful garden. Called “the poet for poets” by Emerson himself, Hafez is spiritual and wise. After reading a few of his poems in the garden, you will feel inspired to lead a better life.
For the person who gardens for the community: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn provides a glimpse into what our home looked like 100 years ago, while also making you feel all the excitement, sorrow, disappointment, and passion of the characters in the story. The book follows the daily life of Francie, a young girl growing up in Williamsburg during the early 1900s. The same streets that are filled with bodegas and cars today are described as the places where Francie traded metal for pennies at the junkyard and visited a neighborhood boy when he was grooming his horse. She spends her summer days sitting on the fire escape reading and peeking through the leaves of the one tree that grows in their yard: “the only tree that grew out of cement.”
For the gardener who loves biology (and drinking): The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart
Biology, history, culture, and booze – all of these things can be found in The Drunken Botanist. This book is jam packed with information about the history of different liquors, the process of fermentation and distillation, recipes for mixing your own drinks, and tips on gardening the plants referenced throughout the book. It’s an easy, fun read that will leave you with a new appreciate for alcohol and a sudden craving for a gin and tonic.