From time to time I receive invitations to review books that sound just that little bit different and I say yes in the hope that they are. I was invited to review this book and it went above and beyond what I could have hoped for.
Really I just want to say to you 'buy the book, it's amazing'. You might need a little more information that this but in reality it is all you need to know. I will however explain why.
The creator, or should I say co-creator of Federal Twist is James Golden who has been gardening this once neglected woody area by the Delaware for over fifteen years. I say co-creator as James has gardened with pervading nature of the space, not against it. The gardening of Federal Twist appears light but impactful, it is considered and considerate. Areas have been cleared and planted but the overriding theme has been to retain what James calls 'the original spirit of the place'. Indeed, thinking about the 'spirit of the place', or 'genus locii' is vital to understanding how James gardens.
The last chapter of the book is based on a quotation from Monty Don's series 'American Gardens' where he talks about Federal Twist: "Even after 50 years of gardening and visiting gardens, it made me rethink what a garden can be and do."** which in itself is a huge statement. It is in this final chapter where James in particular talks about making the garden in the way he wanted to: to avoid tilling and to minimise disturbance. He also talks about how he felt about the garden emotionally and philosophically. There is an intense relationship between James and his garden and part of me can identify strongly with this. I am in awe of how James has vocalised this relationship and made it real. The last paragraph in the book is both astute and deeply meaningful. This is an important book for gardening and gardeners. You might just think it is a nice walk around a beautiful garden but it is much more than that. It is intelligent and thought provoking. A book to read more than once and to make us think again and again.
Just buy it and read it - you will not regret it.
The View of Federal Twist by James Golden is published by Filbert Press
**p.226 Federal Twist