Great big garden coffee table books are a marvelous thing, but I still think I prefer a different genre in my garden library: memoir.
If gardens are as particular as their makers, then every garden has a personal story best told through memoir.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Skymeadow: Notes from an English Gardener (2018): A charming story of one man’s escape from noisy London to make a garden called Peverels. In making a garden, Charlie Hart finds healing for grief and depression.
The Morville Hours (2008): Memoir and history rolled into one, Katherine Swift’s book follows the form of a medieval Book of Hours, as it reflects on one woman’s place through the seasons.
The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden (2007): William Alexander’s memoir is hilarious and honest about the hard work, and frequent setbacks, of gardening. A fun book that will only inspire readers to keep on growing.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007): Barbara Kingsolver’s memoir of a year spent eating only what she and her family can grow themselves or source locally was the book that first made me dream of a vegetable garden. A passionate, informative story that is part memoir, part journalism. This book could change your life (or, at least your diet).