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Winter Reading Can Rekindle Love for Nature

Winter Reading Can Rekindle Love for Nature
Any of these books will make good winter reads for gardeners. (Courtesy of Indigo Bridge Books)

"For the most part, Americans who write about nature don't write about the garden -- about man-made landscapes and the processes of their making ... when we have wanted to think about our relationship to nature, we have gone to the wilderness, to places untouched by man."

-- Michael Pollan, Second Nature

It's true, as Michael Pollan said, that few nature writers write about gardens. And yet for most gardeners the impulse to garden grew out of a love of wilderness. Thankfully, a shift is occurring. In many recent gardening books, and in some of the best of earlier ones, a respect for nature is the thing that guides and inspires.

Books like "Bringing Nature Home" and "Last Child in the Woods" remind us that gardens are not primarily about aesthetics, but deeply necessary to us as individuals and even globally. They caution that the boundaries of our lands and waters are manmade and in many cases misleading and arbitrary. The best of our landscapes are in keeping with and beneficial to the larger environment and, as a result, offer a sense of place and a sense of connectedness and belonging.

The common thread in the list of books that follows may be best defined as an attitude of humility. Rather than controlling our landscapes, these writers encourage gardeners to be students of the natural world, a quality that…
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