Customer Reviews for

From the Ground Up: The Story of a First Garden

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
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(13)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Fun, Informative, Insightful, and Totally Excellent!

I read Amy Stewart's fine book, From the Ground Up, last week on a very long plane ride home to California from Indianapolis, Indiana. I'd been to Indianapolis to speak to the Indiana Arborists' Association convention, as I am a garden writer myself (Allergy-free Garden...
I read Amy Stewart's fine book, From the Ground Up, last week on a very long plane ride home to California from Indianapolis, Indiana. I'd been to Indianapolis to speak to the Indiana Arborists' Association convention, as I am a garden writer myself (Allergy-free Gardening, Safe Sex in the Garden, etc.). My flight was delayed due to a snowstorm in Detroit but the extra long trip was made more than okay because I had this delightful book to read. I'd received From the Ground Up as a present from my Mom. It is the story of one lady's first attempt at gardening, and as one who taught horticulture for 20 years, and who has gardened for almost 50 years, it was remarkable fun for me to see all the little mistakes she made, the discoveries she uncovered, the personal disasters and achievements that accompanied her quest to create a wonderful garden. Really great gardens don't just happen, not at all. They are created with huge effort, smarts, learning, help and advice from other gardeners, with tips from garden books, and most of all by the vision of the gardener in charge. One thing Stewart explores very well here is the paradox of gardening. In order to grow carrots we have to kill weeds. To grow great tomatoes we may have to fight with gophers. A handsome cat in our garden looks almost perfect, but what does our cat do when a mocking bird makes a nest in the lemon tree? Gardening told well is a reflection of life, and here, Amy Stewart is a keen observer. There exists within the wide range of garden writing a host of some rather fabulously good writing. These are the books that combine solid garden advice with a large dose of very personal observance and experience. Although From the Ground Up is a first book, it reads as though written by someone who had been writing for many years, someone who had honed and polished her writing so that every line sparkled. I would expect that this book would appeal most to those who love to garden, but because the level of writing is so unusually excellent, I'd guess almost anyone who appreciates literate writing would enjoy it. If you're one who is new to gardening you'll find a wealth of useful tips here, interspersed with some darn good recipes too for making gourmet meals of all that extra fresh produce you'll eventually have. I really can't say enough about this marvelous book. Reading it was pure pleasure.

posted by Anonymous on January 23, 2004

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Minus stars

Totally and incredibly boring. Worst book ever. Hoe does junk like this get published? Whats next, how to paint a house and watch it dry?

posted by 8888649 on January 15, 2013

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  • Posted January 1, 2013

    Very charming, excellent writing. Lovely read even if you're not a gardener

    I read this several years ago because it had gotten excellent reviews. The author writes simply, but lovingly of her growth as a gardener in a rented bungalow in Santa Cruz. I don't gatden, but I was taken with Stewart's trials with tomatoes, growing catnip for her cats, and triumphs with vegetables. Her writing is eloquent, her voice is kind.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2004

    Fun, Informative, Insightful, and Totally Excellent!

    I read Amy Stewart's fine book, From the Ground Up, last week on a very long plane ride home to California from Indianapolis, Indiana. I'd been to Indianapolis to speak to the Indiana Arborists' Association convention, as I am a garden writer myself (Allergy-free Gardening, Safe Sex in the Garden, etc.). My flight was delayed due to a snowstorm in Detroit but the extra long trip was made more than okay because I had this delightful book to read. I'd received From the Ground Up as a present from my Mom. It is the story of one lady's first attempt at gardening, and as one who taught horticulture for 20 years, and who has gardened for almost 50 years, it was remarkable fun for me to see all the little mistakes she made, the discoveries she uncovered, the personal disasters and achievements that accompanied her quest to create a wonderful garden. Really great gardens don't just happen, not at all. They are created with huge effort, smarts, learning, help and advice from other gardeners, with tips from garden books, and most of all by the vision of the gardener in charge. One thing Stewart explores very well here is the paradox of gardening. In order to grow carrots we have to kill weeds. To grow great tomatoes we may have to fight with gophers. A handsome cat in our garden looks almost perfect, but what does our cat do when a mocking bird makes a nest in the lemon tree? Gardening told well is a reflection of life, and here, Amy Stewart is a keen observer. There exists within the wide range of garden writing a host of some rather fabulously good writing. These are the books that combine solid garden advice with a large dose of very personal observance and experience. Although From the Ground Up is a first book, it reads as though written by someone who had been writing for many years, someone who had honed and polished her writing so that every line sparkled. I would expect that this book would appeal most to those who love to garden, but because the level of writing is so unusually excellent, I'd guess almost anyone who appreciates literate writing would enjoy it. If you're one who is new to gardening you'll find a wealth of useful tips here, interspersed with some darn good recipes too for making gourmet meals of all that extra fresh produce you'll eventually have. I really can't say enough about this marvelous book. Reading it was pure pleasure.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2001

    An Outstanding First Effort

    Ms. Stewart uses a combination of wit and wisdom to bring her garden to life in the minds of the reader. You can see her archenemies - the snails and the Oxalis, and share in her triumphs as her garden grows in sometimes unexpected ways. I thoroughly enjoyed the year she shared with me, and I hope there will be another installment so we can share her next adventure.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    Minus stars

    Totally and incredibly boring. Worst book ever. Hoe does junk like this get published? Whats next, how to paint a house and watch it dry?

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2002

    A charming and delightful book

    A wonderful book, even if you are not a gardener. It makes you want to get your gardening gloves on and stick your hands in the dirt! I hated to see the book end and hope that she writes another book about her many gardening adventures.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2001

    A First Garden of Delight for the New Gardener

    Amy Stewart makes you 'see' her garden every step of the way. Her writing style is as light and airy as an ocean breeze. She takes gardening seriously but not herself. Her wry humor about her gardening pratfalls had me chuckling and learning at the same time. Especially hilarious were her descriptions of the cat on a gopher chase and the terror of a too bountiful vegetable garden.Her book has given me the courage to move ahead in my own gardening adventure. At 53, I'm about to buy my first house with a real yard. As an apartment and condo exile, I've dreamed of having my own garden all my life. Its vision fills my head just like Ms. Stewart's did.This book has undoubtedly saved many hours of wasted work and dollars. I, too, wanted to ignore all the garden book advice about planning, soil preparation, composting, etc., as too boring and tedious. I want flowers and vegetables, now. This quick-read book taught me the folly of gardening impatience. I will learn from her mistakes and tend to the basics, first. However, she also showed me that perfection is not required. It's impossible in gardening. Ms. Stewart illustrates the importance of accepting and learning from the inevitable crises and disasters that come with gardening.Finally, this is a must-read for anyone who loves cats. My two cats will be grateful to Ms. Stewart, also. Her book provided the list of plants for them so that my garden can become our garden. In the meantime, I hope Ms. Stewart is busy writing her next garden book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2001

    Engaging, Informative and Gently Funny ...

    'From the Ground Up' lets us in on the secrets of organic gardening and the fragile beauty of relationships, as written by someone who has found her art form, and is willing to share it with us. In journal form, it should be read the first time for pure enjoyment. Then it can be used forever after as an informative reference, or thumbed through in the evening, as a way to stay in touch with a gentle friend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2001

    A warm, humorous, touching invitation to gardening

    Amy Stewart's lovely little garden comes alive in this well-written memoir. Her vibrant, life-loving personality shows through along with the personalities of her wryly supportive husband, Scott, and her two cats who, like the reader, all vicariously experience Amy's joy of creating her first garden.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2001

    A Wonderful Read for the Gardener and Non-Gardener Alike

    I'm not a gardener but I have been absorbed and delighted by Amy Stewart's charming writing style. The gardening tips and recipes interspersed with her narrative create just the right pacing to keep anyone interested.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2013

    Charming and Informative

    An easy read with charming anecdotes and I learned a lot. As a result of reading this book I have bought a worm farm.
    The best message was, don't be afraid of being daring in your garden.
    Loved it and have already recommended this book to my friends.

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  • Posted April 8, 2013

    I loved this book! Anyone who has ever gardened, whether a novi

    I loved this book! Anyone who has ever gardened, whether a novice or an expert, will appreciate Stewart's humor as she describes both the pitfalls and the rewards of gardening. I heartily recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013

    Wonderful

    March in New England is the perfect time to read this thoroughly enjoyable book. Stewart has me excited to start gardening again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

    charming

    A lovely little book. I don't even like gardening (bugs and dirt-yuck), but really enjoyed the story. It was charming, informative and a true love story about a woman and her garden. You will like spending time with this author, her husband and her cats in her seaside garden.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Bad

    Not the best book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Charming

    A charming "garden" book. Must get the seed catalogs out.
    Shows that even a small garden can be wpmderfi;

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    Really nice

    A nicely written, well edited book by a woman who loves gardening. 180 pages. Entertaining.

    AD

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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