Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Liberty Hyde Bailey Gardener's Companion: Essential Writings

The Liberty Hyde Bailey Gardener's Companion: Essential Writings is a collection of essays by Liberty Hyde Bailey, edited and curated by Johns Stempien and Linstrom. Released 15th Sep. 2019 by Cornell University on their Comstock imprint, it's 320 pages and available in hardcover and ebook formats.

I was previously unfamiliar with the writer of the enclosed essays, Liberty Hyde Bailey, though his legacy will be familiar to most readers. He was a co-founder of the American Society for Horticultural Science, helped establish the network of extension agencies which still provide advice and training to local gardeners across the USA, helped start the 4-H movement, parcel post, and rural electrification. He was also a gifted writer on themes of conservation, nature, and the outdoors.

The editors provide an entertaining preface and introduction. For readers who are unfamiliar with Liberty Hyde Bailey, the introduction and preface gives some background and context. The remaining 300+ pages are arranged thematically: the garden in the mind, the growing of the plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables, spring to winter, and an epilogue which includes appendices, notes, a really good bibliography for further reading, and an index.

This is a cozy book full of anecdotes and gently written expository essays about relevant topics close to gardeners' hearts. I tried to read it slowly and savor the writing (and LHB was a gifted and accessible writer with a passion for nature to rival Muir, Thoreau, or Whitman).

This would make a wonderful gift for a garden or nature enthusiast as well as a nice addition to the home library. Fans of Muir, Hubbell, White, Bertram and the like will find a wealth of material for cozy garden reading here. It's a treasure of a book and I enjoyed it very much.

Five stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes 

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