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Finally, the best and most accessible garden writings of perhaps the most influential literary gardener of the twentieth century have been brought together in one volume. Philosopher, poet, naturist, educator, agrarian, scientist, and garden lover par excellence Liberty Hyde Bailey built a reputation as the Father of Modern Horticulture, but also as an evangelist for what he called the "garden-sentiment"—the desire to raise plants from the good earth for the sheer joy of it and for the love of the plants themselves. Bailey's perennial call to all of us to get outside and get our hands dirty, old or young, green thumb or no, sounds just as fresh and stirring today as then.
Full of timeless wit and grace, The Liberty Hyde Bailey Gardener's Companion collects essays and poems from Bailey's vast corpus of literary and philosophical books on gardening, as well as from periodicals and manuscripts that have remained hidden in archives for a century. Now, whether you've been gardening for decades or are searching for your first inspiration, Bailey's words will make an ideal companion on your journey.
"This earnest collection will likely introduce Bailey's name to a new generation of gardeners and reacquaint older ones with the ideas of a justly celebrated master."—Publishers Weekly
"Bailey's writing reflects his deep desire to educate... because he so wanted to share the joy he felt for plants and gardening with anyone who would listen. The book will be relished by gardeners, both novice and experienced, who will smile and nod knowingly at Bailey's descriptions of the smell of newly-turned soil, the miracle of watching a seed sprout, or the feeling of pure contentment a garden can bring."—The American Gardener
"Liberty Hyde Bailey spoke to an early generation of environmentalists, and this collection brings his affection for plants and nature to contemporary ears. His affection is contagious, at once enthusiastic and practical, a powerful, lovely tool to help rekindle connections to the world that feeds us body and soul."—Amy Halloran, author of The New Bread Basket
"Every gardener, every lover of nature, will open the pages of this book and follow the deep and wise voice of Liberty Hyde Bailey transporting them through space and time, allowing them to understand how tending plants heals both the body and the mind, and how it can ultimately lead to spiritual transcendence. John A. Stempien and John Linstrom have done a masterful job of editing this stunning collection that captures the horticultural writings of one of America's best agrarian writers. In lyrical poetry and prose, Bailey, the "Father of Modern Horticulture," takes us through the cycles of nature, from the blossoms of his beloved apple trees in the spring, to the ripening of gourds in the fall, to the snow falling on the greenhouse in winter. With Bailey we experience the rhythms of the garden with fresh awareness and insight. We marvel as his enticing prose illuminates the holiness of the earth and of the growing things nearest at hand."—Mary Swander, Poet Laureate of Iowa, author of Farmscape
"We owe a great debt of gratitude to John Linstrom and John Stempien for exploring and making these insightful writings of Liberty Hyde Bailey available to us all. Bailey is of course one of the great agricultural luminaries of the late 1800s and early 1900s. These incredible 'gardening' essays have seldom been brought to our attention, and now they are available for our ongoing inspiration and edification."—Frederick L. Kirschenmann, Iowa State University, author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience
“The Liberty Hyde Bailey Gardener's Companion makes a major contribution to literatures across a range of fields, including horticulture, environmental studies, gardening, natural resources, and philosophy. The writings it includes are a gift to our troubled world. They are an antidote to the materialist, consumerist frenzy and emptiness of our time, just as they were in Bailey's. There is no other book like it in print.”—Scott J. Peters, Cornell University, author of Democracy and Higher Education
“Liberty Hyde Bailey’s writings are elegant, informative, and poignant. I applaud the editors for putting this fine anthology together and believe it should be on the shelves of everyone working in environmental studies today.”—Ben A. Minteer, Arizona State University, author of The Fall of the Wild
Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858–1954) grew up on a humble farm in Michigan and went on to become Dean of the College of Agriculture at Cornell University, Chair of the Country Life Commission under President Theodore Roosevelt, and the "Father of Modern Horticulture." Simultaneously horticultural scientist and literary naturist, he authored over seventy books, edited over a hundred more, published thousands of articles, and founded or oversaw countless organizations.
Cover art by Kimberly Glyder