What’s on your garden reading list this winter?

“The garden is a ground plot for the mind.” ~ Thomas Hill, The Gardener’s Labyrinth, 1577

In Sunday’s column, I shared my winter reading list for fellow literary gardeners – those who agree with garden designer and writer Mirabel Osler (1925-2016) who wrote in a A Gentle Plea for Chaos (1989), “Books nourish a gardener’s mind in the same way as manure nourishes plants.”

I am always looking for good fiction writing about gardens and gardening, so I was delighted to find The Garden of Reading: An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Short Fiction about Gardens and Gardeners (2005) edited by Michele Slung. Did you know that the word “anthology” has botanical roots, deriving from the Greek words for “flower” and “gather”? Slung has certainly gathered an intriguing assortment of 24 short stories about flowers and other plants and the gardeners who tend them.

Her book provides gardeners with a perfect opportunity to take a break from garden how-tos and explore gardens of the mind imagined by diverse authors such as Eudora Welty (A Curtain of Green), James Thurber (See No Weevil), Doris Lessing (Flavors of Exile), Sandra Cisneros (The Monkey Garden), Robert Graves (Down to Earth) and Stephen King (The Lawnmower Man). As author Roxanna Robinson notes, “This collection of stories explores the very notion of gardens…After you’ve read these, you still may not know how to prune a rose bush, but you know a great deal more about human nature.”

My tip for this week: Find a copy of The Garden of Reading or another fiction story about gardens and gardeners and allow them to nourish your gardener’s mind. Please share what’s on your winter reading list by posting a comment.

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