Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Garden in Every Sense and Season: A Year of Insights and Inspiration from My Garden by Tovah Martin - BOOK REVIEW


In The Garden in Every Sense and Season: A Year of Insights and Inspiration from My Garden, Tovah Martin chronicles four seasons in her garden, carefully describing what each of her five senses experiences each season. As she describes:
This is the story of a nose and how I followed it through the year. This is the saga of a garden and how it spoke to me. In these pages I chronicle a pair of hands as they grope their way through the weeding, hoeing, and digging without too much pain. And this is the tale of someone who has looked at her garden for years, but only now saw it fully for the first time.
I’m a half-hearted gardener at best. Well, that would be a gross overstatement. I like to wander through famous gardens or sit in a pretty garden, mine included. But I’d prefer someone else to make mine pretty for me. My husband, reasonably enough, does not find this arrangement equitable. My hope is that Martin’s lively and chummy descriptions of the rewards of gardening will inspire me to get my hands dirty.

Martin has been creating her seven-acre garden in northeastern Connecticut since 1996, so there is plenty for her to see, smell, hear, touch, and taste. But don’t think this is a book (only) about mooning over the lusciousness of a ripe peach or the nostalgia of a rough fence board under the fingertips. Martin's essays offer practical gardening advice, organized by season and senses. Her “touch” section for Spring, for instance, includes an essay on garden gates with this:
I favor a barrel bolt with an easy-release lever and latch grab that catches seamlessly. Heavy-duty garden gate versions have a latch you can release easily with a gloved hand.
Not sappy poetry, that. But for those who enjoy it, the luscious peach is there too.

The 100 essays in The Garden in Every Sense and Season are like spending a year in a garden with a good friend. You’ll have a few laughs, pick up some sound pointers, get fresh ideas, and maybe appreciate your own garden in a new way.

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