The garden in every sense and season

Tovah Martin

Book - 2018

So much of gardening is focused on the long list of chores--the weeding, the planting, and the pruning. But what about the joy a garden can provide? In The Garden in Every Sense and Season, Tovah Martin mindfully explores the sensory delights her own garden and discovers the pleasures that can be find in focusing on sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste. In 100 evocative essays, Martin shares sage garden advice, offers intimate reflections on her own garden, and urges gardeners to inhale, savor, and become more attuned with their gardens. Packed with lush color photographs, The Garden in Every Sense and Season will help gardeners grow a bounty of gratitude.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 635/Martin Checked In
Portland, Oregon : Timber Press 2018.
Main Author
Tovah Martin (author)
Other Authors
Kindra Clineff (photographer)
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
289 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Introduction: Coming to My Senses
  • Spring
  • Sight
  • Spring Green
  • Not-So-Mellow Yellows
  • Spireas: Great Balls of Fire
  • True Blue
  • Smell
  • Earth
  • Bury Your Nose
  • Daffodils
  • Tarts of Spring
  • Lilacs
  • Sound
  • Jeepers Peepers
  • Such a Tweet
  • The Rhythm Section
  • Touch
  • Hands Down
  • Hand Sown
  • Love Hurts
  • Support Tactics
  • Entry-Level Maneuvers
  • The Untouchables
  • Taste
  • Asparagus
  • Lettuce Lust
  • Pecking Order
  • Summer
  • Sight
  • Social Butterflies
  • Hot Colors
  • Accidents on Purpose
  • The Sky Is the Limit
  • The Whites of Their Eyes
  • Beyond Scarborough Fair
  • Smell
  • A Rosy Future
  • Rue the Day
  • Sweet Peas
  • Night Moves
  • Submersion
  • Sound
  • The Daily Buzz
  • Tweets
  • Stormy Weather
  • A Little Night Music
  • Touch
  • Tug of War
  • Love Shouldn't Hurt
  • Pace Yourself
  • Sinking In
  • Taste
  • You Say Tomato
  • Berry Tantalizing
  • Lettuce Stand-Ins
  • Magic Beans
  • Autumn
  • Sight
  • Blades of Grass
  • Taking Leave of Your Senses
  • The Blues
  • Gone to Seed
  • Brown Is Beautiful
  • Smell
  • Grape Nuts
  • Blowing in the Wind
  • Deerly Departed
  • Sound
  • Not Counting Crows
  • Keeping the Garden Humming
  • Crunch Time
  • Touch
  • Get a Grip
  • Underground Assets
  • Thorny Subjects
  • Taste
  • Just Peachy
  • Carrot Gold
  • Cabbages and Kings
  • The Late Show
  • Winter
  • Sight
  • Sparkle
  • Telltale Signs
  • The Shape of Things
  • Windowsill Dressing
  • Smell
  • Cold Hard Facts
  • Breathing In
  • Freesias
  • Hyacinths
  • Sound
  • The Sound of Silence
  • Things That Go Boom in the Night
  • Drip
  • Touch
  • Bogarting Sunbeams
  • Reach Out and Touch a Leaf
  • Taste
  • Citrus
  • All That Glitters
  • Dining on the Fly
  • Finale: Forcing the Issue
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

Introduction: Coming to My Senses This is the story of a nose and how I followed it through the year. This is the saga of a garden and how it spoke to me. In these pages I chronicle a pair of hands as they grope their way through the weeding, hoeing, and digging without too much pain. And this is the tale of someone who has looked at her garden for years, but only now saw it fully for the first time. I have learned that unless you consciously experience your garden, you might be blind to its beauty. And if you don't listen, it will remain mute. This is the journal of an awakening told throughout the course of a year. But it is not my individual story--it is everyone's. What is it about gardening? So often, it's like a tsunami, and we are caught up in its rush until we drown. Not only do we go under, but we are submerged without any of the deep-rooted memories that made martyrdom worth the sacrifice. We tend to forget that the garden is a very close, personal relationship, and we don't stroke it enough. I was that person. I was the weed warrior with the gimlet eye focused solely on stray chickweed and opportunistic witch grass. I was blind and I was deaf. I felt the sting of the rose--which I cluelessly placed by the front door--tearing my flesh while I juggled the flat of plants, the keys, and my knapsack. I grew the paperwhites in winter, which offended my nostrils in close quarters after dark. I experienced a few spare moments of awakening, but I also made senseless mistakes because of numbness. This is the frantic response of the frenetic gardener. I call my seven acres Furthermore because I'm continually overextending. My mind races ahead of physical reality and, before I know it, another project is in the works and I'm galloping to make it happen. When I came to this land in northwestern Connecticut, nothing botanical was in residence save a few struggling irises around the foundation. I asked 95-year-old Mabel Smith whether a garden ever resided here when the land was still part of her family farm. She pointed to the front yard with her shaky cane and responded, "A garden? Of course there was a garden! A potato patch was planted right here." So there you have it. I am returning this property to its glorious roots. I came in 1996, and over the years I have inserted a garden to spread in front of the 1790 cottage (converted into living space from a former cobbler's shop), put in an herb-vegetable garden behind the house, installed a berry garden and a massive vegetable garden, and upcycled what was left of the front lawn into a lawn-alternative garden. I've planted dozens and dozens of trees. I steward an acre of New England meadow, diversifying it slightly from the original mono-goldenrod inventory to include other natives such as Joe Pye weed, pycnanthemum, and numerous asters. I built a barn for my two Saanen goats, and they graze placidly (sometimes) in their paddock--all the while keeping an eye peeled for devilry to wreak if I leave a gate unguarded for half a second. Inside the house and its attached converted barn, Einstein (a shelter kitten whose lineage includes mischievous Maine Coon) watches from various windows. More than 200 plants reside in the house in the colder months, to be liberated outdoors to various porches and patios when weather permits. Furthermore is the stage where my ultimate revelation took place. It provides ample fodder for feeling--if only I was wired that way. This is my journey of sensory illumination. The idea for this book came from you. During lectures, I often begin by asking my audience to close their eyes and pull up a sensation. And you wouldn't believe where we go from that simple prompting. We return to childhood. We talk about jasmines floating into windows and the seductive aroma of freshly mown grass. Afterward, we know each other a little better. And we see opportunities that we were blind to while careening around. Gardeners are kin--fellow diggers in the dirt--and we are kindled. As a result of my sensory awakening, I love Furthermore even more today. I'm hoping to ignite that sort of deeper relationship in you. Through my lectures I have learned that our perceptions are universally shared. We like similar sensations. Lots of us have color preferences. And we have other commonalities--for example, who doesn't want to avoid injuries? But do you analyze tools before purchasing them, or just go for the handsomest presentation? We tend toward tunnel vision. We sometimes forget to plug in all our senses, and the garden is diluted as a result. We rush out with our tool trug in hand and get down to business. We rip and tear with all our might to create the sensational garden of our dreams, and then we forget to experience those sensations. We don't plug in. This adventure could be so multilayered. The garden has so much potential. If only we would take time to do the 360-degree turn and gather all the stimuli, just think how much more fruitful our garden might become. We have a uniquely privileged viewpoint. The glistening hues of tree peony flowers, the shine of light as it illuminates leaves, the velvety touch of lamb's ears, the buzz of pollinators as they go about their duties, the flit of birds as they make use of what we have offered to further the survival of their species--they are all part of the privilege. Tasting the salty sweat, listening to the chink of the hoe as it dispatches the weeds, touching our hands to the Braille of statuary or just wrapping our fingers around a clot of our own homegrown soil--it's all ours to savor. We are cheating ourselves if we don't perk up. So it's time. Now is the right moment to build on the cues that have accumulated over the years and listen up, look over, inhale, savor, and reach out. Come and join me. Explore your garden through the seasons for all it's worth. Become attuned. Excerpted from The Garden in Every Sense and Season by Tovah Martin All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.