An Eden of Sorts: The Natural History of My Feral Garden

Overview

Twenty-five years ago Mitchell cut down a 1 1/2-acre stand of
75-year-old white pines and planted a garden in their place. AN EDEN OF SORTS is a history of the plants and animals that lived on the tract over the next decades, including two generations of half-wild children!
What started out as a plot with no more that five or six flowering plants and shrubs, over the years grew into more than a thousand species of plants and animals inhabiting ...

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An Eden of Sorts: The Natural History of My Feral Garden

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Overview

Twenty-five years ago Mitchell cut down a 1 1/2-acre stand of
75-year-old white pines and planted a garden in their place. AN EDEN OF SORTS is a history of the plants and animals that lived on the tract over the next decades, including two generations of half-wild children!
What started out as a plot with no more that five or six flowering plants and shrubs, over the years grew into more than a thousand species of plants and animals inhabiting the property. This is a paradoxical yet hopeful narrative of what can happen to a plot of land when it is properly managed.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“There’s nothing like a garden wedding to force a home owner to whip the place into shape. With its borders of flowering trees and shrubs, inviting series of garden rooms, and charming wee cottages dotting the landscape, the Massachusetts garden of versatile writer Mitchell (The Rose Cafe, 2007) was deemed the perfect place for the family event. Given a year to accomplish what he assumed would be a straightforward spruce up, Mitchell reveled in the opportunity to become reacquainted with the land that had changed during the 25 years he had owned it. A diverse environment, Mitchell’s garden boasts woodland and wetland, meadow and hillside, where dragonflies flit and hunt. An astute observer, Mitchell maintains an encyclopedic knowledge of the property: he knows the precise number and name of every species of grass and wildflower, and he monitors the habits of birds and woodland predators that call his home their home, too. With pride and eloquence, Mitchell recounts the natural heritage of a land that serves as an idyllic refuge for man and beast alike. — Carol Haggas ”
Library Journal
Mitchell (editor, Sanctuary magazine; A Field Guide to Your Own Backyard) tells the story of the one-and-a-half-acre garden he created after he cut down a stand of white pine trees on his property in Massachusetts. The original ground hosted only a handful of species in addition to the pines, but after 30 years Mitchell's garden teems with a diverse array of plant and animal species. An admirer of 19th-century garden designer Andrew Jackson Downing, Mitchell designed garden "rooms" on the plot that were based on Downing's plans. Sandwiched between farms on the west and a growing suburban area on the east, Mitchell's land is now a haven for wildlife. He lyrically writes of the process of building the gardens and exploring them with his children and grandchildren, and he describes the natural history of the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, spiders, and insects, as well as the wide variety of plants that call the gardens home. Mitchell shows that gardeners can create and manage a range of useful habitats as opposed to the sterile grounds of the housing development to his east. VERDICT An engaging book that will delight gardeners who enjoy attracting wildlife, as well as readers captivated by natural history.—Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781581571721
  • Publisher: Countryman Press, The
  • Publication date: 6/3/2013
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 990,316
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John Hanson Mitchell is the author of several books, including A Field Guide to Your Own Backyard (Countryman) and Ceremonial Time, and the editor of the award-winning natural history/environmental journal
Sanctuary, published by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. He lives and gardens in Littleton, MA.

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