The Dirt Diaries
Thirty Years in the Garden and Still Scratching the Surface
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Bears, Yogi Berra, bats with five-foot wingspans, wildflowers that look like a skeleton’s fingers – not the usual topics found in garden books. But then The Dirt Diaries isn’t your everyday tome about gardening. International award winning writer and rosarian emeritus Lynn Hunt presents the best of her best on gardens and gardening, featuring know-how and nonsense, instructive insight and flights of fancy.
You’ll learn how to build your own nature trail and protect yourself from the bite of a sea dragon. You’ll meet the world’s most accomplished rose hybridizers and chickens that like habanero peppers. You’ll visit historic rose Edens like Mottisfont Abbey in England and take an unfortunate trip to the National “Buttfly” Garden.
And, of course, tales abound about the Queen of Flowers and her glamorous garden sidekicks.
Beautifully photographed and written in Hunt’s distinctive voice, The Dirt Diaries is a charming new bloom in the gardening book garden. After all, anyone can tell you how to grow chrysanthemums. The Dirt Diaries asks why would you want to?
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The Dirt Diaries
I love this charming account of the author's transition from gardening on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay to the North Carolina highlands is a delight to read and full of helpful gardening tips and beautiful photos. I started out intending just to read a few chapters and before I knew it I had read through the whole book!
The Dirt Diaries
Move Over Eleanor Perenyi and Diane Ackerman. There’s a new ‘read-me-just-for-the-pleasure-of-it’ garden writer in town. Her name is Lynn Hunt and ‘The Dirt Diaries’ is one of those rare pleasures for both armchair and active gardeners: it’s as entertaining as it is informative.
Ms. Hunt writes with the easy style of a copywriter (if you’ve ever read a White Flower Farm catalog, you’ve read her prose) and also with the informed mind of someone who takes gardening seriously. She was a regular contributor to The Christian Science Monitor back in its print days and still writes for the ‘Diggin’ It’ blog that is part of the electronic Monitor.
I have a sense that Ms. Hunt starts every column surrounded by source material: thesauruses, encyclopedias, technical journals. An entry on thorns starts with a quote from Anna Bronte before going on to a botanical definition (and, by the way, thorns are really ‘prickles’) and some further words from the American Rose Society. All of this is a prelude to her real subject, which is rose thorn disease, a nasty fungus that enters the body through – naturally – prickle punctures. By the end of the column, she has invoked Kahil Gibran, and completed the entire tour de force in an essay of under 500 words.
While the superb writing will be the draw for anyone who appreciates prose that is both economical and high quality, it is the photography that is startling. Put bluntly, Ms. Hunt is a superb photographer with an understanding of both the technical and the artistic aspects of still photography. The fact that so much of her subjects come from her own environs (Maryland’s Eastern Shore and, more recently, Western North Carolina) makes the riveting subject matter all the better. Ms. Hunt hasn’t circumnavigated the globe looking for perfect photos: she has found them in her back yard.
This is a superb book and it deserves a wide audience. It’s the kind of book that (like Ms. Ackerman and Perenyi and Kathryn White before them) you can open to any page and become immersed. The addition of photography makes the journey all the more wonderful.
Imagine you are taking a garden walk through the garden of a special friend -- a friend who just happens to know a great deal about gardening, garden history and garden lore! From wildflowers to the queen of flowers, you’ll enjoy seeing them through this award-winning gardener’s eye. This lovely book is engaging, entertaining, educational and filled with amazing photography. The Dirt Diaries is a book that is not to be missed by those new to gardening or those who have been gardening forever.