At the age of 68, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote: “Though an old man, I am but a young gardener.” When it comes to lifelong learning activities, few can compare with gardening, where the lessons are often separated by seasons, if not years.
Reading Barbara Damrosch’s newly updated book, The Garden Primer, it’s clear that there are several lifetimes of gardening know-how packed between its covers.
That feeling is conveyed in part by the book’s heft — it’s 820 pages — but more importantly by the quality and scope of its information. If you’re looking for a single comprehensive gardening book, you can’t do better than The Garden Primer.
Damrosch is one of America’s best-known garden writers and the better half of organic/four-season farming guru Eliot Coleman. Their 17 years of farming together have enriched the book’s updated information on edibles. Together, they’re the “Brangelina” of the organic gardening world.
While certainly informed by this shared life experience, the book stands on its own as the master work of a gardener who has been learning and recording her lessons as she goes. We may not all be able to live as many gardening lives as Damrosch has, but thanks to her book, we don’t have to.