Thursday, September 22, 2011

BeBop Garden, a new book…and a give away!

I was flattered when Ricki Grady (whom you may know from the gardening blog Sprig to Twig) handed me a copy of her book BeBop Garden. To author a book and then hand to it another, wondering what they’ll make of it, must be such a strange and wonderful mix of emotions. The “yet to be read section” of my home library has grown significantly over the last couple of months. A few birthday gifts, several books I brought home from the Garden Bloggers Fling, and a couple of others I’ve picked up along the way, all garden related of course. Most will be tackled over the upcoming winter months, however BeBop Garden went to the top of the stack! I figured it for just the right book to curl up with in the garden on a sunny afternoon, and I was right.

Ricki’s book is a mix of gardening advice (the kind you get from someone who has figured it out on her own) and garden “talk.” It’s this garden talk that I enjoyed most, it’s the kind of easy banter you have with a good gardening friend. Ricki put it best when she wrote “What I really want to do, in writing about gardening, is convey the wide spectrum of pleasures it makes available. A great sense of community, so lacking in the modern world, swirls around you as soon as you pick up a trowel.”

Yes, that’s it, community! She goes on “The ageism and sexism known to creep stealthily into so many of life’s arenas are resoundingly absent. Male or female, you can garden at any age. You will be valued for your enthusiasm at the early stages; as you mature, you will be valued for your wisdom and experience.”

I also appreciate her take on this bit of professional advice “When you take on a task in the garden, do just that one thing. Carry only the tool for that specific chore, and do not allow yourself to be sidetracked by other tasks crying out for attention.”…Ricki countered…”Efficiency in the garden is something to be avoided on peril of missing out on some quirky sight”…hallelujah! I mow my small patch of lawn with a reel mower. I love the slow pace of discovery it allows. I frequently stop to pull a dead leaf, admire a flower, or look closer at some new development. Zooming around with some gas powered monstrosity might be the efficient way to get the job done but that is not what it’s all about! She knows of what she writes.

BeBop Garden (the title a reference to Ricki’s desire to be in a jazz band…a dream she she’s been able to sort of realize in the garden, where she can put together one “jazzy composition” after another) is available on Amazon in paperback and in a Kindle edition, or you can leave a comment on this post and on Monday the 26th I’ll draw a random winner who I’ll send a copy to! (copy given to me by the publisher for the purpose of a give away).

For the sake of making this fun (for me at least) your comment should include the name of the very first plant you planted in your garden, and if you feel like it tell us why this was "the" plant. Or if you are a wannabe gardener how about the first plant you hope to put in a future garden?...(Continental U.S. residents only (sorry!) and please make sure I've got a way to contact you if you win, if your comment doesn't include a link to your blog or website please include an email address).

Thank you Ricki for allowing me to be one of the first readers of your book! (and congrats!)


  1. I planted some artichokes. I appreciate how they get tall and give me food, look a bit evil, and then in my winter garden clean out, I just chop the plant down all mean like, and they come back up the next year. Great plant.

  2. Bruce Bennett in SF, CASeptember 22, 2011

    Please Enter me in to win!

  3. I wrote the book before blogging, but you were just the type of reader I envisioned chatting up. Thanks for writing a swell review that picks up on many of the salient points. Bop on!

  4. My first real garden was an old dumpy rental in inner SE Portland where many of Portland's early Italian & Sicilian immigrants lived. It was down the street from my great-grandparents house and it was the neighborhood where my dad grew up. We were near the railroad tracks and I loved to hear the windows shake whenever a train went by. My husband and I loved to walk the neighborhood looking at the gardens and weeds to see and feel the past we weren't part of, but I knew that didn't matter because I weighed heavily on the minds of my family since family meant the world to them.

    To wrap this up, we inherited a house with two fig trees with more grafts than I had ever seen before and we never lacked for them, but what I wanted back then were roses. I know that roses get old in this mildewy town, but the roses grew like crazy in that horrible concrete garden. My great-grandmother was from Sicily and she loved roses and I did it for her because he name was Rosaria.

  5. Now I'm even more excited about reading Ricki's book. No need to enter me in the drawing, as I've already ordered my copy from the publisher, but what a great giveaway someone will get!

    My first plant in my new garden was a Trachycarpus fortunei, as a standard-bearer for my slightly disorganized, Mediterranean and plant-happy mixup.

  6. That looks like some fine rainy day reading material! We may have a few rainy days coming soon :)

    The first plant we planted, in our first home, 25 years or so ago, was a 'Mozart' Rose that we purchased from 'Pickering Rose Catalog'. The name of our favorite composer and our favorite cat, we will have that rose in every home!

    Wyatt's Mom

  7. The first thing I planted in the garden is my Cox's apple tree , as a reminder of my time in the UK.

  8. sarasanger, I especially like that you don't just chop them down you do it "all mean like"...!

    Bruce, but you see if I do, and you win, I have no way to get in touch with you to find out where to ship the book...

    ricki, I especially enjoyed a look back at your pre-blogging gardening world...especially the parts where you talk about a move to a place with more land, since that's the only garden I've "known" you with.

    Ann, great story! Thank you.

    MulchMaid, maybe you'll be a quicker thinker than I and have Ricki autograph yours! I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

    Wyatt's mom, rain? God I'm afraid you're right.

    Linda, how's the harvest?

  9. I'm about halfway through the book, Loree and I'm enjoying every word of it. Ricki is quite an accomplished writer and I love how she weaves her prose in a poetic yet highly-readable style. As a cat lover I was definitely bemused by her delightful garden-cat tales. Stay tuned for my review in a future post.

    The first plant I grew? I don't know if my brain can go back that far. LOL Hmmm... well my first attempts at gardening were of the vegetable sort. What sticks out most is the black aphid-laden green bean patch. Live and learn. Veggies are too labor intensive for my taste. Because I already own a copy of Ricki's book, please don't include me in the drawing.


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