Bloom and Blossom: A Reader's Guide to Gardening

Overview

An invigorating gathering of fiction, poetry, and essays that reveals the powerful appeal of one of America's most enduring passions - gardening. Poet, scholar, and gardener Mary Swander juxtaposes excerpts from early American settlers with nineteenth century classics and the work of prominent twentieth century writers to offer new perspectives on the seductive pleasure of coaxing flowers, fruits, and vegetables from the earth. Scratch a gardener and underneath you're likely to find an individual whose love of ...
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1998 Paperback New 0880015659. New. No remainder marks. Display copy; light shelf wear. Book seems to have never been fully opened. Professional service from a Main street ... bookstore.; 9.10 X 6.10 X 1 inches; 304 pages. Read more Show Less

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Overview

An invigorating gathering of fiction, poetry, and essays that reveals the powerful appeal of one of America's most enduring passions - gardening. Poet, scholar, and gardener Mary Swander juxtaposes excerpts from early American settlers with nineteenth century classics and the work of prominent twentieth century writers to offer new perspectives on the seductive pleasure of coaxing flowers, fruits, and vegetables from the earth. Scratch a gardener and underneath you're likely to find an individual whose love of plants was instilled at an early age, often by a beloved figure from childhood. Somehow the act of planting and harvesting connects us to the past and nourishes our sense of self, even as it gives us a better sense of our place in the natural world. How is this so? What can we learn from the past, from our Native American predecessors - and what new ideas can we bring to the future of working the land? What can we do to preserve the uncultivated wilderness? In a collection as fresh and vital as the subject it investigates, Bloom & Blossom delves into the emotional, social, and ecological implications of our passion for nurturing the fruits of the earth.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
One of the things gardeners like best to do, when they can't actually go and dig in the dirt, is to read about how other gardeners feel about gardening. Gathered by a poet, scholar, and gardener, this collection of writings satisfies that urge with a medley of essays, poetry, and fiction largely by 20th-century writers but leavened with a few historical offerings. The four sections each have a theme: the connection between garden and family, seeds, the garden in the natural world, and the garden in history and society. The selections themselves range from Jane Smiley's tale of a family who have gone "back to the land," to a historical piece on Soviet scientists who starved in the siege of Stalingrad rather than eat the seeds they were trusted to guard, to Catherine Sneed on her work with prisoners and gardens. Readers won't learn any techniques in this volume but will find an affirmation of the emotional benefits of working the soil. For collections where gardening essays are popular.Molly Newling, Piscataway P.L., N.J.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780880015653
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/1998
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.07 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Swander
Mary Swander
A Distinguished Professor of English at Iowa State University, Mary Swander has written several poems, essays, and books, none more profoundly stirring than her personal account of healing after a car accident, The Desert Pilgrim.

Good To Know

In our interview, Swander shared some fun facts with us:

"I live in an old one-room Amish schoolhouse."

"I have a dog who can answer the phone."

"I am a licensed massage therapist and a licensed hypnotherapist."

"I play the clawhammer banjo."

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    1. Hometown:
      Ames, Iowa
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 5, 1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Carroll, Iowa
    1. Education:
      B.A., Iowa State University, 1973; M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop, 1976
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Good Keepers: An Introduction
General Advice 5
Two Gardens 7
from In My Father's Garden 35
Tomato 40
Woman's Place 41
The Garden 54
Touch Me 56
What Goes Wrong 58
Seed Saving 61
Did I Say? 63
Cultivating Diversity 65
Succession 73
August 89
For the Sake of Seeds 106
Near the Center of the Earth 110
from My Vegetable Love: Journal of a Growing Season 128
from The Bean-Field 145
My Wilderness 150
Gardening at the Seam 157
Lapsed Meadow 170
Edible Flowers, a Weed to Eat, and Handsome Vegetables 172
An Insider's View of the Garden 181
Crops, Words, Movies 183
We Don't Garden Right 189
Learning to Work 199
Sweet Corn 203
To Grow 204
Invisible Erosion: The Rise and Fall of Native Farming 220
The Future: More Farmers, Not Fewer 243
Daisies 256
Cathrine Sneed Talks About Her Work with Prisoners and Gardens 257
The Pleasures of Eating 268
Copyright Acknowledgments 277
About the Editor 281
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