Jul 14, 2012

From the Ground Up

by Amy Stewart

I think this is the first time ever that I've read a book immediately upon receiving it. I got a copy of this through Paperback Swap, and when it arrived starting thumbing through it curiously to see what it was like. But then instead of putting it on my TBR shelf where most books sit for weeks, months, even years, I set aside my current read to immerse myself in this one.

It was delightful. Amy Stewart tells about living in a small beachside town and growing her first garden, with all the discoveries that entails. Parts are about the weather, the neighbors, the summer influx of tourists. But mostly it's about the garden: how she learned to feed her soil, how she moved from just growing pretty flowers into vegetables, how she picked up ideas from touring estates with beautiful manicured gardens. I appreciate that gardeners seem unashamed of writing and telling the world about their mistakes, and really you can learn a lot from that. I've made many of the same ones she has, like not testing my soil (still guilty of that). She discusses composting (both the traditional kind and also with worms), design, battles with bugs, the contoversy of cats in the garden. Growing tomatoes, oranges and basil. The thrills of saving your own seed, and collecting seed from others. Her disinterest in houseplants until she discovered orchids. The satisfaction of eating your homegrown produce, and finally the delightful problem of having surplus vegetables on your hands when the garden is finally in full swing.

It was a wonderful read that made me feel guilty for not being fully invested in my garden this year- mine's rather shabby as I'm kept busy with a toddler just learning to walk. I just can't quite focus as much but Stewart reminded me of so much I want to do better with next year.

Rating: 4/5 ........ 261 pages, 2001

more opinions:
Stay At Home Bookworm
Who Needs Gauge
Life on Two Acres


  1. This sounds lovely - I'm sure it would make me want to garden again. I can't believe your youngest is walking already!

  2. Oh Jeane, last year I could barely get into my garden after tearing my meniscus! I'm so glad I can get into it this year, though now we are having a drought, and I'm afraid that soon we'll be told we have to stop watering it.

    I haven't heard of this book so I've added it to my wishlist. I've really enjoyed reading about others gardening experiences and I want to read more books. Have you read The Morville Hours yet? It's fascinating and so very good.

    Next year your toddler will help you in the garden, lol! I'm surprised that the baby is walking now too, and not a baby. where did this last year go?

  3. Bermudaonion- I can't believe it either! She just turned 14 months.

    Susan- Have you thought of recycling water, if told to stop watering? I put dishwater, the baby's bathwater, water left from cooking veggies (as long as there's no salt) etc all on the garden....

    The time goes so fast! I still call her "the baby" even though she's really not a baby any more at all!

  4. I've been dying to read this one!! I've been dying to just read anything by Amy Stewart…I have a few of her books..just have to read them now :p Glad you enjoyed this one so much!!


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