Green Thoughts

‘Green Thoughts’ and the potting shed deskThat could have been the title of my autobiography but instead it’s the title of Eleanor Perenyi’s book of assorted alphebetized essays on gardening and this months selection for the Garden Blogger’s Book Club (graciously hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens). A slightly used copy of Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden has been in my bedside stack mostly unread for months. When I discovered recently that it was this months book I thought “oh well, too bad I didn’t read it sooner”. But I opened it up again anyway and realized that it’s really not meant to be read cover to cover in a sitting. Rather, pick a chapter, any chapter! Her topics range from “Blues” to “Tools” to “Magic” to “Potatoes” to “Partly Cloudy” and seem almost like blog posts to me. Ms. Perenyi says in the forward “a writer who gardens is sooner or later going to write a book about the subject – I take that as inevitable”. It’s true whether you’re a writer who gardens or a gardener who writes – we are an opinionated bunch and we love to share! She’d fit right in the blogging community. She makes me chuckle and bristle by turns just like some of the writers on, say, Garden Rant! And I have the added benefit of having a copy underlined by a previous reader – it’s almost like the book has a comments box. In the “Lilies” chapter, this line was underscored: “I order lilies only every other year and spend, each time, about $100. I waste twice that on cigarettes.” Kindred spirits, clearly! Prices of lilies and cigarettes notwithstanding, this book could have been written yesterday or tomorrow. Ms. Perenyi sounds like a lot of us when she talks about organic gardening methods: “…I can now either beg or steal the bags of leaves unwisely set out for collection by the inorganic neighbors and add them to our store.” And what she writes about “old fashioned and solidly made garden [tools]” that she bought in “a sort of hardware heaven” that went out of business and was “replaced by a store called Unisex, whose speciality was blue jeans” is -ugh!- so frustratingly true.

One thing that seems to me to have changed since 1981 is that I don’t believe as she did that “gardens like mine, which go by the unpleasing name of ‘labor intensive’, are on their way out”. I think that if gardening was truly passe then, it’s back in vogue now. Proof is in on the internet by way of hundreds of garden blogs, in well loved public gardens like Blithewold and the reprinting of Eleanor Perenyi’s “classic” Green Thoughts. (I guess I’ll need a different title for my book…)

6 thoughts on “Green Thoughts

  1. Kris, thanks for joining in the book club with a post about Green Thoughts. I also identified what she wrote about gardening tools. It can be hard to find good ones!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. I am totally with Ms. Perenyi in regards to old-fashioned, solidly made garden tools. My boyfriend recently made a big show about how he was going to “buy us a new shovel.” I said in no uncertain terms that if HE wanted a new shovel, he could pick out whatever one he wanted because I’d keep on using my old trusty standby. (It was a hand-me-down from my former husband’s uncle and the tip is broken… it’s faithful, it works like a charm, I know just how to lever it to pop things out of the ground, the amount of curve to the blade is just right…)

    The darn fool came home from a big box store with a shovel the other day anyway. And then he expressed surprise when I continued to use my “old, broken shovel” anyway. My answer? “Do you really think I’d retire this beautiful tool for a new and shiny piece of crap like that? Harumph. And my parents wonder why I haven’t married you yet.”

    Ah well, at least he grinned at that. Maybe there’s hope for him yet.

  3. Carol, Thank you for including me! You have a knack for finding good hoes, I think if your abundant collection is any indication! (Or do they find you?)

    Layanee, This is definitely the kind of book that you can just “pick up” – and then put back for another “pick up” later. I think you’ll find some funny bits…

    Kim, Sounds like you have a couple of keepers – a good humored, well intentioned boyfriend and a tried-and-true busted shovel — what more could a girl want?

  4. ‘Really Green Thoughts’…an autobiography by Kris Green. In select bookstores now!

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