Saturday, May 31, 2014

Heart and Soil by Des Kennedy

Des Kennedy has a new book out, Heart and Soil: The Revolutionary Good of Gardens. This is a collection of 60 stories, each about two pages long, originally written for GardenWise magazine and the Globe and Mail. Anyone who saw him in action last year at the Patricia Theatre will appreciate these tales.

The theme of the collection is developing harmony with the natural world and the community. The stories “reflect upon gardening as an active engagement of the human spirit with the natural world.” Many of the articles are based on his experiences establishing his garden on Denman Island.

Kennedy describes an “ivy pull” and his battle against English ivy, and incorporating old western red cedar stumps from early logging into his garden. His experience with ladybugs to control aphids in his greenhouse includes valuable information on the lifecycle and habits of the ladybugs and aphids.

He talks about his original mulching system for the vegetable garden, its pros and cons, and why he no longer uses that method. The article on trees that shed outer layers of bark, such as the arbutus and paperbark maple, includes the explanation of why they do it.

The stories are entertaining but also educational. And if you want to review information you read on sempervivums, for example, the index in the back of the book will take you straight to the page you are looking for.

Heart and Soil is published by Harbour Publishing.

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