Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Applicable advice from the other great recession

A tap on my own back again; my second article was just published in the Washington Park Arboretum Bulletin, which I am very happy about. This time, I wrote about the first region-specific gardening books published in the Pacific Northwest. These appeared in the 1930s; it seems that until then, gardeners here were satisfied by local newspaper and magazine articles and books published elsewhere.
The earliest book to come out was Pacific Northwest Garden Guide for the Puget Sound Country and Northern Oregon by Charles J. Love in 1933. This energetic nurseryman from Seattle was a predecessor of today's star gardeners who fill the media; he evolved into a well-known public figure with newspaper and magazine columns and even radio broadcasts. Much of his advice is still accurate, even if some of it raise a smile, like his comment about rhododendrons and azaleas, that according to him had “not yet gained the attention they deserve in Pacific Northwest gardens”. He was definitely heard, as they now fill gardens here.
Besides plant information, Love explained gardening and horticultural techniques, especially concentrating on growing edibles. The spirit of the economical depression of the 1930s shines through clearly when Love contemplates:

We have the same wealth we always had - more in fact than any other country on earth, but we have allowed that wealth to flow into one corner and our structure became unbalanced and toppled over. Going back to the land is significant and will help distribute our great wealth to every nook and corner of our land. Trade in your own locality with local men and watch the regaining of equilibrium.”

His words bear an almost uncanny reflection of our own economically distressed times. Despite having been written in the early 1930s, they could be from any Farmer’s Market or locavore manifesto of today. The circle seems to have closed, we are back in growing our own edibles and trying to find a way out from a new great recession. And I can't but agree with Mr. Love about the importance of using local produce and locally manufactured products as an important way for achieving this.

Washington Park Arboretum Bulletin


Megan Seagren said...

I read your article in the Bulletin, Liisa. Very enjoyable and makes me wonder what your recommendation(s) would be concerning current books about Pacific Northwest Gardening. My husband Bill and I have acquired a home whose small city lot needs a lot of landscape work. We're starting almost from scratch, even though the house was built in 1945.

Ruben said...

Tap, tap, tap from me too!

Have a nice day1

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Megan, I'll think about this and compile a short list for you. I love the E. Miller Botanical Library, browsing the isles of that building is a joy, so I'll put some older books on the list that are available from there on the list, too.

Ruben, tack, tack, tack till dig!

HA said...

Det är faktiskt nästan komiskt hur "trender" kommer och går :-)

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Henrika, visst är det, och hur vi alltid tror att vi upptäckt dem själva... Men att odla själv är i alla fall en positiv sådan, trots alla ekonomiska problem. Trevlig helg på dig.