guides for (among other things) planting
seeds with the tip of a finger. All these
disparate areas of knowledge and skill are
relevant to developing a community garden. As the book shows, it is a place so
complex that understanding human personalities—as noted in a section called
“How to Get Along”—becomes as critical
as garden essentials like “How to Read a
Seed Packet.” The section titled “How to
Hold a Community Meeting” includes reminders about oft-overlooked logistical
details as securing a venue with sufficient
parking and a children’s play area. Meeting agendas, Joy says, must be precise and
comprehensive and include actions items.
Fund-raising, work days, group rules, and
registration are all elements that must be
in place before planting even starts. The
section “Teaching New Gardeners” flows
naturally into the helpful tips about plants’
growth habits, sun needs, and seasonal
characteristics. An excellent tool that cultivates human communities as much as it
grows vegetables in group gardens. (Dec.)
Visions of Loveliness:
Great Flower Breeders of the Past
Judith M. Taylor. Ohio Univ./Swallow, $29.95
trade paper (424p) ISBN 978-0-8040-1157-0
Taylor (The Global Migrations of Ornamental Plants) tells all in this compendium of plant breeders, which updates
Richard Gorer’s The Development of Garden
Flowers from 40 years ago. Based on solid
research, Taylor’s stories cultivate deeper
appreciation for the flowers bred over centuries. The tales reflect a Western point of
view, but refer to floriculture in countries
around the world. The first of the book’s
three parts deals with the history of plant
breeding; part two reviews important
plant breeders in Europe (Benary, Foer-ster, Lemoine et al.) and the U.S. (Ball,
Burbank, and Burpee, among others).
Part three covers shrubs from azaleas to
roses, and herbaceous plants from begonias to marigolds. Taylor omits the histories of irises or tulips because others have
written books on those subjects. Taylor, a
“snapper-up of unconsidered trifles,” discusses plantsmen and women as if they
were fascinating neighbors (her vignettes
of the Hemus sisters and their sweet pea
cultivars are delicious), and although her
anecdotes are blessedly breezy, her encyclopedia is exhaustive. (Dec.)
terms, offering advice on productive
things parents can do for themselves, their
transgender child, and their other children, and on social issues like disclosure
and dating. Waldron’s style is warm without falling into either cutesy mommy tales
or overwrought handwringing, tapping
into the grief that many parents feel when
they realize that their children are people
of their own and not just an extension of
the parents’ dreams for them. (BookLife)
Home & Garden
Microfarming for Profit:
From Garden to Glory
Dave De Witt. Torrey House (Consortium, dist.),
$22.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-937226-38-1
As more and more people convert their
yards into vegetable gardens, urban farming establishes itself as très Brooklyn, and
middle-class incomes falter, many newly
hatched home agriculturalists are bound
to daydream about turning their green
thumbs into greenbacks. This useful, entertaining guide from De Witt, the prolific author dubbed the “pope of peppers,”
gives prospective microfarmers the dirt
on realistic essentials for turning a garden
into a money-making enterprise. Unlike
some starry-eyed back-to-the-land advocates, De Witt, who has gardened and sold
garden produce from an early age, warns
readers that a microfarm is more likely to
enhance rather than replace current income sources and that sales and business
know-how are more important than gardening skills. The author advises on such
basics as business plans and sales techniques; profiles a range of actual working
microfarms, from flowers to killer bees;
and relates hilarious stories from his own
microfarming, including a disastrous attempt at cannabis raising. Emphasizing
the importance of value-added products,
De Witt offers up some wacky but shrewd
agrotourism ideas: Edible Aquarium and
Sushi Bar or Beautiful but Deadly Microfarm and Poison Museum, anyone? (Jan.)
; Start a Community Food Gar-
den: The Essential Handbook
LaManda Joy. Timber, $29.95 trade paper
(224p) ISBN 978-1-60469-484-0
This delightful “handbook” by Joy, a
master gardener, offers equal parts sociology skills, organizational principles, business management tips, and illustrated
A Cowboy for Christmas Lacy Williams.
Harlequin/Love Inspired Historical, Dec.
The Penguin’s Song Hassan Daoud, trans. from
the Arabic by Marilyn Booth. City Lights, Nov.
Young Woman in a Garden: Stories Delia
Sherman. Small Beer, Nov.
Blood Splatters Quickly: The Collected
Stories of Edward D. Wood Jr. Ed Wood. Or
( orbooks.com), Oct.
The French Executioner C. C. Humphreys.
Sourcebooks Landmark, Oct.
Shopaholic to the Stars Sophie Kinsella. Dial,
The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch
Conspiracy Jacopo Della Quercia. St. Martin’s
Through Dark Angles: Works Inspired by
H.P. Lovecraft Don Webb. Hippocampus
( www.hippocampuspress.com), Aug.
The Big Book of Sides Rick Rodgers. Ballantine,
The Best in the World: At What I Have No
Idea Chris Jericho. Gotham, Oct.
; Indian for Everyone: The Home Cook’s
Guide to Traditional Favorites Anupy Singla.
A New Day Jon Secada. Penguin/Celebra, Oct.
Off Course: Inside the Mad, Muddy World
of Obstacle Course Racing Erin Beresini.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oct.
Easy Gourmet: Awesome Recipes Anyone
Can Cook Stephanie Le. Page Street, Sept.
Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling Through
Hollywood History Mark Bailey. Algonquin, Aug.
rent reality. Each chapter has three parts,
entitled “Recollections,” “Research,” and
“Reflections.” In “Recollections,” Waldron tells the story of raising her son Kai,
née daughter Kendra, through his process
of trying on new roles and fighting suicidal despair, before finally emerging as a
happy young man during his senior year
in high school. “Research” provides well-organized information on the science of
sex and gender and about appropriate
medical treatment for transgender young
people, including a discussion of their options upon reaching puberty. “Reflections”
returns to the personal, but in universal