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A Breath From Elsewhere

A Breath From Elsewhere.
Mirabel Osler
New York: Arcade Publishing
Publication Date: 

cloth, 218 p., $21.95.

A Breath From Elsewhere follows Englishwoman Mirabel Osler's classic A Gentle Plea for Chaos. Ms. Osler describes leaving her country garden and starting over in a smaller urban one at a later time in her life. It is heartwarming to experience her mistakes (choosing wrong plants) as well as her triumphs (her tool shed and mirrors placed in the garden). As with all English garden books, much of the plant material is not hardy here. However, the universality of her experiences, her highly amusing observations on garden viewing and her comment that the midsummer garden is a shambles as it slumps "into the raucous toughs of August" prove her to be a gardening soulmate.

In Ms. Osler's personal, spiritual and quirky style, she claims that the quintessence of a garden is within oneself and advises breaking the golden rule of gardening to grow what works for you. Experiments are continually part of gardening. Take the long view, she recommends, because there are no right ways to make a garden, only alternatives. Ms. Osler sums up her gardening experience in her intuitive way when she says that no garden is static; it alters before your eyes.

— Adele Kleine, Garden Writer and Contributing Writer to Chicagoland Gardening magazine.