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The Seeds of Spring, Lessons from the Garden: a book review for

The Seeds of Spring; Lessons from the Garden by Steve Bates, published by CreateSpace,

I have just taken a philosophical journey through the mind of a gardener over the span of one growing season. In this collection of inner dialogues, Steve Bates shares the thoughts that ruminate through his mind as he gardens and toils. This is not an instructional book. Rather, it is an intimate conversation with self that begins with the ordering and sorting of seed packets, and continues through the planting of the garden, its care and maintenance, the pests and obstacles that must be overcome,  the disappointments and the rewards, the harvest, and ends with the onset of the winter frost. Every decision, strategy, concern, and disappointment that the author experiences, becomes fodder for philosophical musing. With each challenge that he faces, he discovers a little bit more about the power of nature, about life and human nature and ultimately, about himself.

This is no ordinary gardening book. Its premise is that even the most routine activities in the garden can provide deep insight into happiness, love, humility, pride, life and death. While the author has a narrative to offer about nature’s sustainability, what speaks most to this reviewer is the exquisite use of poetic language used to describe gardening and the human response to the rhythms of nature. The author has at his disposal, a bushelful of adjectives and metaphors that succinctly convey that very personal pleasure and disappointment that we gardeners experience. Many of us try to put that feeling into words when we blog. No one has yet done so as successfully as Mr. Bates. A book lover might decide to read this publication a second time, to appreciate the subtle beauty of the writing.

From the author’s experiences, we learn that there are powerful lessons about life to be gleaned from gardening. That, in essence, is the theme of this intimate book. If we follow Mr. Bates on his philosophical journey, we discover that our gardening education begins with a sense of wonderment about nature, and continues with the development of pride and satisfaction in one’s work, followed by the building of confidence in decision making, a tolerance for imperfections and a new patience for acts and behavior that are beyond our control. We learn about the double edged sword of anticipation, hoping that something good will happen, yet prepared for the worst. We come to understand that the true meaning of compromise is that sometimes we will make the right decisions and sometimes the wrong ones and that every disappointment is a learning experience. Above all, we realize that there will always be a second chance in life to recover and to try again.


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Reader Comments (4)

Allan, I probably should be reading this book before I begin my seed planting. I have probably been through a lot of what this author will talk about. When I first began planting seeds indoors many years ago I went through many disappointments.


December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

The irony of this book is that it will not help the reader plant seeds more successfully but will help the reader to better deal with the disappointments of that task.

December 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterAllan

Well, dealing with the disappointment of spending months and money and coming up with nothing would have helped also. I did read a lot and eventually learned to do it successfully, but we can never know enough.


December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

This sounds like my kind of book! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJean

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