It’s not a ‘how to’ gardening book – it’s a ‘how to live’ (or why), inspired by gardens. Tapping into the current interest in gardening and philosophy, it combines both to reveal what philosophy teaches us about gardens, and what gardens can teach us about life. And it does so with wit, verve and understanding.
But why gardens? In the last twenty years, gardens have enjoyed a resurgence. It’s a £5 billion industry in the UK, while Americans spend $40 billion on their lawns alone. In a drought year, Australia’s garden industry still grew by more than $100 million in 2006. Tens of millions of people around the world spend their free hours getting dirt under their fingernails – why? They can buy the food they need, or pay professionals to landscape for them, but they don’t. Others wander around public gardens for hours on end, talking, picnicking and romancing. Why aren’t they at the mall, or a restaurant?
The Philosopher in the Garden shows how gardens can be cultivating, educative and inspiring. In lively, enjoyable prose, it illuminates the intimate truths that lie buried in our backyards and rolling public gardens. While gardens can seem banal or trivial, they afford profound insights on identity, desire, attention, death and love. They cultivate us as we shape or appreciate them. In this, they are one of the last beautiful places to meet the distinctive challenges of modern life. In a market saturated with technical or celebrity gardening books, The Philosopher in the Garden is something else entirely: a green, grounded adventure in ideas.