The Gardener's Year


Reference: #A001

This little-known gem is my absolute all-time favorite garden read. Czechoslovakian Karel Capek’s lyrical, passionate–and humorous–1929 classic is the most joyful garden book I have ever read. A true hyacinth for the soul.




While I was only a remote and distracted onlooker of the accomplished work of gardens, I considered gardeners to be beings of a peculiarly poetic and gentle mind, who cultivated perfumes of flowers listening to the birds singing. Now, when I look at the affair more closely, I find that a real gardener is not a man who cultivates flowers; he is a man who cultivates the soil. He is a creature who digs himself into the earth, and leaves the sight of what is on it to us gaping good-for-nothings. He lives buried in the ground. He builds his monument in a heap of compost. If he came into the Garden of Eden he would sniff excitedly and say: “Good Lord, what humus!”

I think he would forget to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; he would rather look round to see how he could manage to take away from the Lord some barrow-loads of the paradisaic soil. Or he would discover that the tree of knowledge of good and evil has not round it a nice dishlike bed, and he would begin to mess about with the soil, innocent of what is hanging over his head. “Where are you, Adam?” the Lord would say. “In a moment,” the gardener would shout over his shoulder; “I am busy now.” And he would go on making his little bed.

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