Old Gardeners, Vegetables, and Book Club

Every work day for the past 9+ years, I have driven past a large vegetable garden on my way to and from work. I’ve noticed through the years that I see the gardener less and less and his garden contains fewer vegetables and is not as well tended as the year before. This year, all I saw in his garden were sunflowers and weeds. Occasionally, I would see the old gardener standing on the edge surveying it, leaning on his cane. This afternoon when I drove by, I noticed that someone had completely cleared off the garden. I suppose the gardener either died or moved away. Unfortunately, not many people plant large vegetable gardens like his any more.

Earlier today, I read a news item about how eating vegetables keeps your brain young and slows the mental decline that some people experience as they grow older. Eat your vegetables! Better yet, if you can, grow you own vegetables and eat them. I think people who grow their own vegetables probably eat more vegetables in general.

Would you go so far as to eat a purple tomato, the color of an eggplant or blueberry? I saw another news item about how researchers at Oregon State University are refining a purple tomato that contains more nutrients and is better for you. I’d love to try it! I know there are several heirloom purplish colored tomatoes available with names like ‘Purple Cherokee’. I have just not been been tempted to grow them before, but now my interest is piqued, and I want to get some seeds for the purple-est tomato I can find. Any suggestions?

Speaking of finding things, I’ve added another blog where I’ve put links to the posts related to the Garden Bloggers Book Club to make them easier to find. I know if I upgrade to the new beta version of Blogger, I could add tags and make it easy to find the posts that way, but I haven’t, so I set up the separate blog for now. I also added a link to it on my sidebar. All the posts will be here first, then I’ll add them to the book club blog for easier look up later.

I’m still getting suggestions for books, including some interesting ones from Gloria, of Pollinators-Welcome, which she included in a comment to this post.

As I’ve written before, I have in mind a book for March. I also like Gloria’s idea about an ecology related book as well, but that’s probably a good read for January or February when presumably, we northern gardens will have nothing but time on our hands, waiting for the long winter to be over. I’m looking for something a little shorter and lighter for December. Any ideas buried in all the suggestions received so far that would be a bit of an easier read for a busy month?


  1. For a light book to read in December, I recommend My Favorite Plant: Writers and Gardeners on the Plants They Love, edited by Jamaica Kincaid. This is a collection of essays by three dozen writers, some of whom were/are known as garden writers, and others who were known as writers but not on gardening topics. Also, it is a small book that could be put in your purse and read while waiting on long checkout lines! Haven't checked to see if it is still in print, but I think it meets all your other criteria.

  2. Don’t know if anyone have suggested before but I am reading “The $64 Tomato” by William Alexander very funny

  3. No book suggestions, Carol, I just really liked how you noticed the vegetable gardener, both when he was present, and when he was not.

    Try a Purple tomato? Uh, sure!


  4. Carol... I echo what Annie said above. :)

    And I vote for the Purple Cherokee! 'Black Krim' is the only other purple I've tried, and I got better tasting tomatoes--and more of them--from the Purple Cherokee.

  5. There are a few 'old boys' working away on allotments near me and they'll be missed when they go.

    On my own allotment site one of my neighbours is 80+ and keeps two plots in great shape. But when he goes - who knows. I'd offer to step in an keep it mown so I'd have a buffer against weeds and retain the views.

  6. What a mother-load of new garden books this book club of your's has opened.

    This quote from a book review on one of the links
    I followed from your book club,
    caused me to look it up
    and then start to read.

    "I always think of my sins when I weed.
    They grow apace in the same way
    and are harder still to get rid of.
    It seems a pity sometimes not to nurture
    a pet one,
    just as it does to destroy a beautiful plant
    of Wild Mustard, or of Queen Anne's Lace."

    The full text, pictures and illustrations are online so accessible to all and any.

    'A Woman's Hardy Garden'HELENA RUTHERFURD ELY
    Copyright, 1903,
    Just over 200 pages


    There is an absolutly charming picture
    of the garden gate covered in gourds
    bottom of the opening page.

    This link is a picture of "Bringing in the flowers".

    A heartfelt Thank You Colleen...
    and Zanthan Gardens.

  7. Forgot to mention that I have begun comment on 'The Essential Earthman'. How much is too much...LOL?


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