The Passionate Gardener
- Author: Borchardt, Rudolf
- Binding: Clothbound, sewn, jacketed
- Pages: 352
- Size: 5-1/2 x 8-1/2"
- Pub. Year: 2006
- ISBN: 0-929701-73-9
- In Stock: Yes
First English Language Edition: limited to 1250 numbered copies.
Full page review in the Sunday New York Times Book Review, Dec. 3, page 60.
This book is no mere gardening how-to, though it contains a wealth of practical information for every serious gardener. Rather, The Passionate Gardener is a unique book about a celebrated German poet's remarkable search for the relationship between human society and the vegetable kingdom. As Borchardt pursues his image of the garden, the reader becomes entranced by the quest. The first few chapter titles suggest the dimensions of Borchardt's undertaking: "The Flower and the Human Being," "The Garden and the Human Being," "The Garden and the New Flowers," etc. At one level, this history of plants and gardens becomes a fascinating tale of how they were brought from their original locales to those in which we find them today, and the colonial empires that sent botanists and collectors across the earth in search of new, rare, incomparable flowers. Moreover, it is a story of the breeding of plants, and of the hybridization of their forms and colors: a story of human respect for natural givens, but equally of the human ability to grasp and further the development of natural possibilities. Finally, it is about the Roman, Persian, Oriental, Medieval, Baroque, Italian, French, Austrian, English, American and African garden traditions that have collaborated and fused with one another in the service of a common and higher ideal. Yet amidst all this, Rudolf Borchardt detects a still larger story concerning the inescapable connection between the garden and the fundamental structures of civilization, and that is the genius of this book.
"A poet and philosopher..., Borchardt was also a gardening enthusiast.... In [The Passionate Gardener] he explores the meaning of gardens and gardening by tracing their historical evolution from the most ancient notions of the garden..." -- Publishers Weekly
Borchardt writes in his autobiography that the story of his life was the story of the collapse of German tradition, and he somehow shaped the desperate idea that he himself might rescue it.