News and Notes
The Bountiful Container
Maybe it was a steadfast refusal to accept my childhood chores -- lawn-mowing, weeding, raking leaves -- but whatever the cause, I grew up with a deep distrust of man's dominion over plant life. Couple that attitude with an uncanny ability to kill houseplants with the minimum possible amount of neglect and you can probably envision what my experience with gardening has been like over the years. Well, that's all changed. Because of this book? Not exactly. But this is the book that may have sent me over the edge. Like the teatotaller that finally tastes single-malt Scotch, I'm now on a perilous course that costs too much money and brings wild mood swings ("My broccoli raab is wilting!") In The Bountiful Container, the authors focus on growing things you can eat -- herbs, vegetables, fruits, and edible flowers. I was hooked from their opening description of a Greek salad grown entirely on an Athenian balcony. The writing is sparkling and their plant-by-plant guide to everything from Arugula to Zucchini is incredibly useful without being dry. Finally, the book is peppered with ideas for theme gardens that not only inspire, but provide ample guidance for those of us who have spent our entire lives believing that our thumbs were anything but green.