Thank you to Publisher’s Weekly for this review ahead of The Garden Awakening‘s release in the US in September.
Reynolds, a longtime garden designer, awoke one day to the realization that she could not go on as she had, creating “dead zones” by constraining nature to her will. This treatise-cum-storybook explores her spiritual awakening and reconnection of gardens with nature. She designed her book as a guide to give gardeners “a gentle nudge in the right direction”: that is, back to nature, toward truth. Headnotes in both English and Gaelic emphasize Reynolds’s connection to her native Ireland, which she depicts as a land of sacred places, geometry, symbols, curses, and magic. Her directions take a holistic approach, going beyond practical advice to spiritual guidance; she claims that gardening can show the gardener what needs working on in life itself. Reynolds offers alternative methods of land management beyond chemical therapy. She alternates stories of her family and culture with organized layouts, how-tos, and recipes (for example: natural fungi-, herbi- and insecticides). She encourages adding fauna to flora along with imagination, dreams, charms, and memory. Ruth Evans’s illustrations add resonance. Color illus. (Sept.)