No one can deny the charm that comes with summer. The days are longer, beauty is abundant, and joy and creativity are at their peak. It’s the perfect season for exploration and productivity. With National Gardening Excercise Day finally here, it would be a waste to spend it indoors on our devices. You don’t need to run around the neighborhood to get your exercise in for the day. Gardening is a labor-intensive but rewarding form of exercise that has beautiful results. Get inspired to get out and get that blood pumping with these five insightful books that detail the joys of gardening!
Michael Pollan has established himself as a beloved writer on how people can interact with the natural world. While it was released in 2003, his book titled Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education is still more relevant than ever. Throughout the book, Pollan tells his own story of how he arrived at cultivating his own garden. He also offers different meditations on how we can engage with nature on a daily basis. Pollan mixes a little humor, charm, and wisdom into each chapter, making this an interesting read, even for non-gardeners. You can find more of Pollan’s books on the natural world here!
In her book Life in the Garden, Penelope Lively weaves her passions for art, literature, and gardening into a timeless and poetic memoir. This work takes a philosophical approach to garden lore and how gardens and gardening have played a central role in traditional British literature and art. She keeps a conversational and intimate tone throughout as she explains the what, how, and why of gardening. Reading through Lively’s narrative is like returning to that curious child peeking through the shrubs. It challenges its readers to reobserve nature and all they can create from it. More of Lively’s books can be found here!
Sue Stuart-Smith brings a psycho-analytical perspective to the conversation with her 2021 book The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature. Stuart-Smith mixes science and spirituality in her defense of gardening. It is the most restorative activity in our arsenal, but not much is known about the mental power that goes behind it. From personal stories with her family and patients to the observations of other psychoanalysts like Freud, Stuart-Smith offers proof of the antidepressant nature of gardening. Whether they are gardeners or not, readers can be inspired to strive for healthier mentalities.
Shawna Coronado offers a beautifully illustrated guide in the form of her 2017 book The Wellness Garden: Grow, Eat, and Walk Your Way to Better Health. As a lifestyle coach and anti-inflammatory expert, Coronado details the health effects of creating one’s own gardening space while reaping the delicious benefits as well! In addition, this guide offers a practical means of gardening for those inflicted with chronic health issues. Her program details the specific health benefits of certain produce items, the ergonomic tools and methods that can be used for less physical strain, and how to design your garden for aesthetically pleasing and relaxing results. You can find more of her wellness books here!
Sydney Eddison is another author that observes gardening from the perspective of those less physically able. For aging gardeners, Eddison’s book Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older offers a practical guide on how to continue cultivating one’s green space, even with age. Eddison encourages her readers to scale it back with those intensive gardening methods, including her own discoveries as an aging gardener. Most importantly, she describes how even a gardening “perfectionist” like herself can create the garden of their dreams as it aligns with the realities of their current life. Some other gardening books by Sydney Eddison can be found here!
Gardening can be the most fulfilling activity that you do outdoors. These books can convince even the most hesitant non-gardner to examine their interaction with the natural world. The benefits are not only physical but mental as well.
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