Friday, December 15, 2006

December's Garden Book Club

CONSIDER THE CASTOR BEAN

"Pretty they are not,but a garden can labor under a surfeit of prettiness,be too sweet or cheerful for its own good."

This book 'My Favorite Plant' is said in the introduction to be a garden like the author would create. Beautiful flowers, exotic plants,comforting memories, sweet dreams and harsh reality.
Enclosed in a book that resembles a diary or journal.

Every garden has a dark side, this one of words no exception.
Michael Pollan talks about castor bean being the slightly evil twin of sunflowers.
"The sunflowers seed tasty and nourishing,the castor bean poisonous.
The sunflower open and familar the castor flower dark and of a sinister beauty."

In Marigold even the beauty is abandoned while confusion and ugly reality hide behind the commonness.

This can be natures way.
A fuzzy baby rabbit is often caught and ripped to bloody shreds for a bird of preys dinner.
A rose carries weapons,bees sting,disease smells bad and is ugly,rats are wildlife.
The gardener often uses herbicides and pesticides with labels that must carry warnings of possible dangers.
We to have our darkness.

Of course the book only briefly touches on this idea.
For as gardeners we accept that the garden is a living system. There is work and adversity.Not every day is happy or easy.
As with our family,our pets, our lives the caring and enjoyment of a garden is deepened by the complex nature of our interaction.

'My Favorite Plant' took me by suprise. I was thinking cotton candy and received dark chocolate.
Never judge a book before its read...

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gloria,
Thanks for the book review. Very interesting comments! I will include a link back in the "club meeting" posting on Dec. 29th

16/12/06 3:05 PM  
Anonymous The County Clerk said...

I'm curious

Is: In Marigold even the beauty is abandoned while confusion and ugly reality hide behind the commonness from the book or are those your words?

If yours, what might you mean? Please elaborate.

What a curious post.

Thank you.

22/12/06 1:49 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Carol, I will be there!

County clerk,have you read this book of literary extracts and poems with plants in common put together and introduced by Jamaica Kincaid?
'Marigold' written by Hilton Als is one of the selections. Memories of this common flower grown by his grandmother are all mixed up with pain and longing for a parent that is disapproving and neglectful.Dark sexual thoughts, a case of ringworm,ugly attention seeking behavior all make for a piece that does not at first seems to fit.

Those particular words are my own written to other book club members assuming they had read the work.

23/12/06 12:44 AM  
Anonymous The County Clerk said...

No, I have not read it. But I will.

You have a way with language. I can almost taste what you write. Buy I needed some context and now I have it.

Thank you.

23/12/06 8:58 AM  
Anonymous MrBrownThumb said...

Hey thanks for book review. It sounds like something I'm going to have to pick up.

BTW nice blog.

24/12/06 1:57 AM  
Anonymous susan harris said...

Hey, I'm lookiong for an email address and not finding one. So I checked your website and found Barb and Christine but no Gloria. Help!

25/12/06 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thinking cotton candy and received dark chocolate.

Exactly! I was absolutely unprepared for that bitter bit in the middle. Dark chocolate, what a great analogy.

Country clerk - I think you need to pick up the book and read that story: Marigolds. Gloria describes the tone of the piece very well.

30/12/06 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I couldn't get thru the book, thinking it rather weird...but I did make up my mind to have several types of Castor Bean, before reading the book.
Evil?
Isn't foxglove poisonous as well?
Ugly?
Hardly! Tropical and stately, in my opinion!
Thanks for a great review!

3/1/07 10:22 PM  

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