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The Potting-Shed Papers: On Gardens, Gardeners, and Garden History

The Potting-Shed Papers: On Gardens, Gardeners, and Garden History
Charles Elliott
Lyons Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 211 p., $24.95

The Potting-Shed Papers, a collection of witty essays on gardens and gardening, is one of those books that is a delight to read, as comfortable and easy as a tête-à-tête with an old friend. And that is what it seems Charles Elliott becomes after one enjoys his opinionated collection of short pieces on a disparate variety of topics, such as Ohio-made wine, the decline of allotment gardens, the search for the fever tree and the Japanese fascination with English gardens.

If some of these essays seem familiar, you might have read them in Horticulture magazine, to which he contributed a series of columns. Somehow, their very familiarity seems like greeting someone you've known for quite some time. Elliott has grouped his 31 essays under the headings of "Personal Considerations," "Looking Back," "Modern Times" and "Plantspeople," topics that give him the freedom to include whatever his fancy and research bring to mind. Though the author lives in England, he is not bound by that country's gardening practices, but includes much about American influences on horticulture.

If you like to read literary garden books, this is a perfect bedside book. The essays are long enough to include fascinating details, but short enough not to put you to sleep!

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