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The Essential Earthman: Henry Mitchell on Gardening

The Essential Earthman: Henry Mitchell on Gardening
Henry Mitchell
Indiana University Press,
Publication Date: 

paper, 244 p., $16.95

This book is a collection of Henry Mitchell's gardening columns written for the Washington Post and published originally in 1981. Indiana University Press has done a great service in making them available again in paperback form. Mitchell gardened in a small yard in Washington, D.C., and had a love/hate relationship with large trees, uncaring neighbors and an unruly fauna. He describes in these essays his triumphs and failures in a humorous and factual manner.

Henry Mitchell's witty, human observations about gardening and life are so perceptive that they are as true today as they were two decades ago. There may be new cultivars of roses, poppies, daffodils and irises not mentioned in this book, but his comments on growing all of them are still pertinent.

Reading The Essential Earthman is like drinking a fine wine, savored slowly for its richness, color and clarity, and for the good feelings it brings. Ever the optimist, Mr. Mitchell writes, "If we persist, I have no doubt that by the age of 96 or so, we will all have gardens we are pleased with, more or less." Let's hope so!

— Adele Kleine, Library Volunteer, Master Gardener and contributing writer to Chicagoland Gardeningmagazine