An Alameda Garden: A Book Review, a Book Giveaway, and a New Book Blog

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Book Review, a Book Giveaway, and a New Book Blog

The Review
The Curious Gardener's Almanac
by Niall Edworthy

For the bookish gardener with ADD, author Niall Edworthy presents The Curious Gardener's Almanac, which is in itself a curious book. It's a nicely illustrated compendium of garden tips, much of which is useful, some of which is already commonly known, and bits of which are downright odd.

First, the useful stuff: The book is organized with chapters on each season as well as on vegetables, garden wildlife, herbs, flowers, fruit, trees and shrubs, and children (as in gardening with children, not growing children). The tips, which are a combination of conventional wisdom, folk practices, and an occasional recipe, are brief, entertaining, and easy enough to put into action.

There is, however, not much new here. The most useful information seemed to be the kind of thing (like companion planting and container growing) that's already been covered in many other places. The section on garden wildlife was interesting with suggestions for pest repellents (ten ways to prevent or treat aphid damage) as well as ideas for attracting wildlife into your garden (nest boxes: ten do's and don'ts). Edworthy loves lists and peppers the book with such items as six ways to conserve water in your garden, twenty cottage garden flowers, and four spinach alternatives in your garden.

Then there are the odd bits, including the most impractical technique for seed scarification that I've ever heard of--carrying the seeds in your pocket for a few weeks with your change. But beyond that, you'll find out, for example, that Samuel Pepys enjoyed nettle porridge for breakfast, and Babe Ruth used to wear a cabbage leaf under his cap to keep his head cool while he played ball. Well . . . OK.

Edworthy subtitled his book "Centuries of Practical Garden Wisdom" and it is mostly practical and mostly wise. It won't replace any other gardening guides already on your bookshelves, but it can be an amusing and informative look at the world of gardening.

The Giveaway

Now that you've read the review, how would you like to have the book? Just leave a comment to this post (sorry, anonymous comments don't count) and on March 4, I'll pull one commenter's name from a random drawing. Check back here on that date for the winner's name.

The Blog

In what can only be described as a shockingly unusual energy burst, I've started a new blog: So Many Pages. This blog will cover all things related to books--reading them, writing them, collecting them, dusting them (should I ever get around to doing that), you name it. I expect that there will occasionally be some crossover between this blog and the new one as I enjoy reading and writing about gardens as much as I enjoy gardening (sometimes more). So if the weather is still preventing you from getting out into the garden, or if you need to take a break from pulling the first flush of spring weeds, come check out So Many Pages. It may not be as productive as gardening, but it's easier on your back.

Note: This post is being post-dated to 3/4/08 in order to keep it at the top of the blog। It was originally posted on 2/26/08.

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  1. Please enter me in your book giveaway. Thank you.

  2. I'd love to read that! Count me in to please. Thank you!

  3. I don't know how I've missed your wonderful blog! I'm so glad I've found you now. Since Edworthy enjoyed lists so much: The top 3 favorite pasttimes of The Rustic Garden 1)Gardening 2)Reading 3)Writing.

    I'd love to enter your giveaway. More than that I'm sure I'm going to love hanging around your blogs! Thanks.

  4. Sounds like a great read!

    I'm posting this tomorrow at my book review/contest blog - A Book Blogger's Diary

    Hope that's ok with you. Thanks!
    abookblogger at gmail dot com

  5. I just stumbled across your post through Blotanical .I would love to enter your giveaway. I'm a new gardener still learning many things. This book would be great because I love lists and am still learning many basics. Your review sounded good to me so count me in.

  6. I've had that book on my wish list at Amazon since Christmas. Would love to be the winner of your giveaway. :-)
    I have enjoyed visiting your blog...came by from Blotanical.

  7. I also reviewed this book back when it first was released and I love it. It's just perfect for those times when you don't want to get involved in anything. Great for the bedside!

  8. Anonymous5:56 AM

    Sounds good to me! I need all the help I can get. All these fingers and thumbs, and not a green one in the bunch. I think my neighbors would appreciate it if I hone my skills. I dream of a beautiful garden every year and then - ick.

    I'm a book blogger too - my next stop: So Many Pages. Thanks!

  9. Hello, How wonderful to have discovered your site (2)! I was taught to love gardening from the time I was a child. My mom and dad, grandma, too, always had a myriad of flowers and vegetable gardens! Please enter me in your book drawing. Thanks very much.....Cindi

  10. Great giveaway! Count me in. bebemiqui82(at)yahoo(dot)com

  11. I've been eyeing this book for a few weeks, now. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.
    I'm giving away a Gardener's Journal and some seed packets on my blog at if any of your readers are interested.
    Nice blog. I've got you on my Google Reader list.
    Thanks bunny, for sending me over here.

  12. Sounds interesting! I'd love to win!

  13. Please enter me for the book giveaway!

  14. What a cool looking gardening book! Please enter me.

  15. I'm always looking for more info on gardening so please enter me.

  16. Anonymous5:05 PM

    Found you by way of a comment on Thyme for Herbs. Thank you for the chance to win a great book!

  17. I'd love to read this! Thanks! ~ :)

  18. Anonymous8:49 PM

    I'd love to check it out :) Thanks for the giveaway :)

  19. Please enter me in your book giveaway.

  20. I would love this beautiful book! We just found a house in the country and we are moving in a couple of weeks. There will be tons of gardening to do in the spring!

  21. Anonymous12:57 PM

    Looks like a great book. I'd love to check it out myself. Thanks! *smiles*

  22. I have a new garden bed just aching for some garden!


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