Saturday, January 12, 2013

Eggplant, paw paw and flirting with fear of nature

Travel writer Walter Mason is the author of Destination Saigon, one of the Sydney Morning Herald's ten best travel books of 2010.

Walter has a review of Philosophy in the Garden at the Universal Heart Book Club, a literary blog he runs with author Stephanie Dowrick.

Walter begins the review with a story about his grandfather, who helped the boy make a garden--and thereby initiated Walter into a lifelong curiosity and affection:
My beloved grandfather was a keen gardener, and when I was eight he came to my house and helped me establish my own vegetable garden, growing eggplant and paw paw trees, tomatoes and green beans. Every day after school he would come over for an hour or so and tend to my little garden while I followed him about, chatting about the world and all of the amazing things that were going on in my own special garden.I have remained fond of them all my life, though I am not really possessed of a green thumb, and my success rate with any plant is only ever around 50%.
Damon Young's wonderful new book, Philosophy in the Garden, is a beautifully written and highly entertaining exploration of writers and thinkers and their relationships to gardens and plants. The garden, he says, is one of the most fundamental expressions of civilisation, representing a place where we flirt with our fear of nature and our great desire to somehow curb and control its beauty.
(Image: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen)

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