Martha and Me

I love Martha Stewart.  There.  I said it.  She cooks, she crafts, she gardens, she adores her dogs–what’s not to love?  Her desserts are to die for, her garden is poetry in nature…

Okay.  That’s a lie.  It’s a perfection of nature. I’ve browsed the magazines.  I’ve seen the pictures.  It’s intimidating.  Really.  Which is why personally, I’ve given up perfection in my garden.  Weeds need to live, too.  That, and my kids have revolted.

Gloved hands to my hips, I stared at them.  “It’s once a week.  What’s the problem?”

Both returned a frown.  “It would be more fun if we had a friend.”

Huh. You see, for them, gardening is a group activity.  At school, when surrounded by their classmates, all is well.  They weed, they chat about movies, discuss video games (depending on which kid we’re talking about here), they spend time in the glory of nature…  It’s a sight to behold.

As an avid gardener myself, I understand this completely, though I tend to enjoy my solo moments in the garden, too.  Nice break from the family, if you get my drift. :)

But more than a break, gardening can be an obsession, too.  And featured in this month’s Martha Stewart Living, you’ll find a host of wonderful garden books, like Thomas C. Cooper’s The Roots of My Obsession.  A collection of 30 essays from notable gardeners such as Rosalind Creasy, author of The Edible Garden and Stephen Orr, gardening editor for Martha Stewart Living, this book is packed with the love of gardening, the joy, as well as the adventure.  (I do love a good adventure, don’t you?)  It’s like receiving letters from your garden friends, notes sure to bring a smile to your face.  Most likely a nod from your head, too!

Now in my garden, we’re totally organic and strictly heirloom.  You’ll find no fancy hybrids or seeds of questionable repute.  The reason being, I want to be self-sustainable.  Healthy yes, but if the lights go out in the city, I like to know that I can survive without them.  Call it the “pioneer woman” in me, but I enjoy the satisfaction of good old-fashioned independence.  It keeps me grounded in a chaotic world.  A book that understands this instinct is Heirloom Frutis & Vegetables.  A beautiful book of essays compiled by Toby Musgrave and complemented magnificently by Clay Perry’s photographs, this one expounds upon the virtues of heirloom gardening, as well as interesting tidbits of folklore, facts and fun oddities regarding the same.  Makes for an excellent sofa table display.

If you’re a newbie to gardening, try The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, by Edward C. Smith.  This book will walk you through the process from beginning to end, covering everything from bugs to dirt, seed to harvest.  It’s easy to read, has tons of pictures, and really covers the gamut when it comes to gardening.

Another treasure you’ll find while perusing the pages of your Martha Stewart Living magazine is this fun book by Amy Stewart, The Earth Moved.  I don’t know about you, but I NEVER met an earthworm I didn’t like–nor have my kids, those at home and at school.  Like Martha, what’s not to love about an earthworm? (Sorry for the comparison, Martha!)  I mean, these little fellas are amazing when it comes to the garden.  They provide nutrients for your plants, help to aerate your soil, and shoot, their wriggly bodies are plain fun to hold.  Want to get a kid in the garden?  Lure ‘em with an earthworm.  Works every time.

As a former worm composter, I can recommend this one whole-heartedly.  Not only funny, but this one is factually grounded and thoroughly engrossing.  Not gross, but engrossing.  Ask a kid–there’s a difference! And while you have that kid near, read a bit of this book with them.  They’ll find it intriguing, though they’ll inform you that they already know all about its ability to re-grow a whole body from a severed segment.  How do you think I learned it?  From the children, of course!

Speaking of children, we LOVE kids in the garden at BloominThyme and one of our favorite authors when it comes to fanciful illustrations and imaginative ways to make the garden come alive is Sharon Lovejoy. From sunflower houses and bean forts to flowery mazes and pizza patches, this woman is all about fun.  Take a peek for yourself. :)

There’s a lot we adults can learn from the children.  For more great gardening books, check out the current issue of Martha Stewart Living or her website: Martha Stewart.  Don’t miss the Prize Picks section of my website for your must-haves in the garden library.  Do you have a favorite?  We’d love to hear about it!