Deep-Rooted Wisdom: Skills and Stories from Generations of Gardeners
by Augustus Jenkins Farmer
Augustus Jenkins Farmer started gardening in the third grade in a corner of the family farm filled with rocks, scrap metal, and crinum and spider lilies. He was free to dig, transplant, and design in any way he wanted by making do with what he had. Thirty years later, he continues to garden this way in his own gardens in Columbia and Beech Island, South Carolina. His style of gardening is in stark contrast to the gardening industry’s steady stream of new products, new advertising, and new rules that create unneeded complexities that intimidate future gardeners and obscure the joy of gardening.
Deep-Rooted Wisdom is Farmer’s antidote to this corporate-driven model of gardening. In it he shares the traditional skills and techniques he has learned over the years from generations of gardeners, like gardening with pass-along plants, harnessing the natural power of worms and mushrooms, saving heirloom seeds, and making handmade garden structures out of available materials. Along the way, he introduces us to a cast of unforgettable characters, like Yvrose Valdez, a woman from Haiti who uses legumes in lieu of fertilizer, and Bennet Baxley, who has a 20-acre yard filled almost entirely with scavenged plants.
This is garden mentorship at its best and most honest that shows us all a way back to a more joyful, simple style of gardening.
Deep-Rooted Wisdom is included in our New Books List for February 29, 2016.