Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism, and Rebellion in the Garden
by George McKay
If you've been laboring under the delusion that gardening is a staid suburban pastime, this is the book that will change your mind. Radical Gardening travels an alternative route, through history and across landscape, linking propagation with propaganda. For everyday garden life is not only patio, barbecue, white picket fence, topiary, herbaceous border. From window box to veggie box, this book uncovers and celebrates moments, movements, gestures, of a people's approach to gardens and gardening. It weaves together garden history with the counterculture, stories of individual plants with discussion of government policy, the social history of campaign groups with the pleasure and dirt of hands in the earth, as well as original interviews alongside media, pop and art references. Through plant puns and a light tone, this book shows gardening as overt political action, immediate protest, as well as a slow cultural protest, both ecological and environmental, that might bring about the deep structural change in society envisioned by many small steps that begin with the planting of a tree or the laying out of a park on wasteland. Despite the heavy-handed leftism, the meat of this book is compelling, and benefits greatly from the perspective from outside the gardens world. The finely stylized illustrations by Shirin Adl are a perfect match.
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