The Untamed Garden
The Untamed Garden
McClelland & Steward Ltd., 2011
This naughty little paper-wrapper treat will titillate even non-gardeners. Paper-wrapped, you ask? Yep. The dust jacket resembles a creased, brown paper bag, the sort used in the past to hide indulgences such as bottles of liquor or…naughty books and magazines. The jacket covers the lower portion of the cover, allowing browsers to see flower-bedecked revellers at the top. It is clear there is more to see under the brown paper…and, yes, there is.
The chapters, which look at our love affair with plants, follow the path of many relationships: innocence, flirtation, romance, anticipation, deception, seduction, desire, lust, denial, passion, rapture, and devotion. Don’t worry, there’s sex too. Day advises, “The truth is, the plant world is drenched in sex. Passionate, urgent, unabashed sex.” The only thing I could see adding would be a chapter about breaking up…or do gardeners ever break up with their plants?
Day packages the plant cast members in this book amidst snippets of history, folklore, medicinal mythology, and Roman and Greek tales—even a quote from the famous English gardener Vita Sackville-West. And she makes the subject fun, as she does with all her writing. For example, she calls peonies the Dolly Parton of the garden, describing the flowers as, “D-cup blooms strutting atop those precarious chicken-leg stems.”
Having a fetish for growing figs, I flipped straight to the index, hoping Day included the fig in her book. I was happy to find the fig as the lead character in the chapter about desire, with a full-frontal picture of the fleshy folds inside the fig. Day talks about the biblical associations of the fig, but did you know that in in some Mediterranean countries—those with hot-blooded males, explains Day—there is a hand gesture referred to as, “do the fig.”
And the naughty stuff? Take titan arum, which Day describes as, “One of Mother Nature’s most macho manifestations.” The suggestive central spike, she explains, can be taller than a six-foot-high man. If you’re a Latin-spouting gardener, you might be intrigued by Clitoria ternatea. Day says, “If ever a Latin name fitted, this one does.
Day says in her introduction that if people knew about the sensual aura of plants, there might be fewer non-gardeners. I suspect this book will help change that.
Don’t forget to check out No Guff Vegetable Gardening.
ZESTFUL, FUN, INFORMATION-PACKED, OPINIONATED—even slightly irreverent—this graphic-novel-meets-gardening-book empowers readers to make their own decisions in the vegetable garden because the authors, two garden coaches, talk frankly about issues…and don’t always agree.
Click here for loads of great gardening advice on the website for No Guff Vegetable Gardening.
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