I had read Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden a few years ago, and thought I might skip reading it for this book club, due to the press of other commitments. But I’m glad I didn’t.
No sooner did I crack the book open, than I came across this:
. . . a writer who gardens is sooner or later going to write a book about the subject–I take that as inevitable. One acquires one’s opinions and prejudices, picks up a trick or two, learns to question supposedly expert judgments, reads, saves clippings, and is eventually overtaken by the desire to pass it all on.
Ha! When that happened to me, I started a blog. And Perenyi’s essays are as opinionated as any blog post, and convey as much of her personality. I come away from her writing, as I do the best garden blogs, feeling that I know her, that she is, in fact, a far-away friend.
And having adopted organic gardening long before most of her contemporaries, she seems more current than her book’s 1981 copyright would have you believe. Even her whine about gardening, “I have reason to believe I belong to a vanishing species. Gardens like mine, which go by the unpleasing name of ‘labor intensive,’ are on their way out . . .” is very contemporary, though no truer today than when she wrote it. (Witness Garden Rant’s manifesto.)
I am so glad I decided to renew my acquaintance. Selfishly, I wondered why she didn’t write another one. After all, she was only 63 at the time. Surely she had more to say. I certainly wish there was more of her garden writing to read.