Sunday, September 25, 2011

BeBop Garden

My daughter knows how to play the piano. I mean, really knows her stuff. She took several [$$$] years of piano lessons, including music theory and recitals from a very talented teacher. Before that, hubby Steve and I noticed a lot of natural inborn talent. Where this mysterious adroitness hails from must go back several generations or perhaps it is a twist of combined DNA fate. Whatever the case, I admire this child-turned-adult who can sit down at the piano and dazzle me with her blithely fingers.

Music-making baffles me. Sometimes, when no one's around, I'll sit down at said piano, arch my fingers and attempt a series of harmonious notes. Abysmal. No talent.

Ricki Grady understands me. She admits to a similar fantasy. Hers involves lengthy be-bopping with a band of like-minded jazz musicians. Unfortunately, like me, her musical DNA isn't all that polished.

But in gardening I have found an improvisional medium better suited to my talents. Jazzy compositions are no longer beyond me; they just get worked out by startling plant juxtapositions, rhythmic color repetitions, harmonic arrangements of light and shadow. Bingo. BeBop Gardening!


Being a fellow Oregonian brought me to Ricki's blog a few years ago. Her engaging prose made me a faithful visitor. Reading her absorbing and delightful book has sealed the deal. This girl is a kindred spirit, folks! Chapters include subjects we can all relate to, such as Networking, Composting, Wildlife, Botanical Latin, Designing and Buying Things, etc. But this is not your run-of-the-mill how-to. Ricki isn't bossy. She dishes modest nuggets of advice with ample explanation, honed from years of experience. And when you combine her experience with her writer's heart, the results are stories to enjoy: the wanderings of garden cats, the peril of a goldfish, ladybugs crawling all over the inside of a refrigerator, a grandson dancing with a squirrel and so much more.

No Ricki isn't bossy. But she is rebellious, eschewing the advice-laden gurus when their practices don't suit her. Her chapter on garden record-keeping runs parallel to my own hits and misses. As you read, like me, you'll often feel the twinge of familiarity and camaraderie. Of the many, many pages I have underlined and starred, I love this:
The world is full of rules and guidelines for garden design if you care about such things. It never hurts to read up on any subject, just so you will know what rules you are breaking. 
Breaking rules is, after all, how most art happens. Anarchy in the garden is a harmless form of indulgence. As you go about your liberated way, trusting your instincts, your inner artist will begin to express itself, bringing you untold gratification. Just remember: there is no one "right way." The right way is your way.  
When you've finished the fall chorin' and you relegate yourself to inside tasks, might I suggest a little arm chair gardening with Ricki?

For more information, visit Ricki's blog or the publisher's website.

(Disclaimer: I am receiving much personal gratification but no monetary compensation for this post.)

23 comments:

Aerie-el said...

Love your review! I will be popping over there to see Ricki's blog, and see what I've been missing! Great excerpt from her book--it looks like a must-have for the shelves here.

And I need to spend some extra time with your blog too. They may not be new, but I just noticed there are changes with the header. You are so tech-savvy with all those fancy buttons.

P.S. I'm with you==the musical gene skipped me, so I'm happy that my son got it!

Jenni @ RainyDayGardener said...

Great suggestion Grace..she sounds like my kinda gal! Cheers, Jenni

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Thank you Grace! I'll read it, for sure!

danger garden said...

So glad you've read BeBop Garden too! And interesting to learn you've got a musical talent in the house...along with your own desire to perhaps BeBop a bit...

Darla said...

The language of music has always baffled me. This sounds like a good read here. I'll be checking it out and of course Ricki's blog.

Ginny said...

Sounds like just the book for me! I'll be checking out the blog and the book.

FlowerLady said...

I really enjoyed that excerpt and thank you for sharing.

FlowerLady

keewee said...

Grace you do have art in your fingers when it comes to gardening. I am going to head to Ricki's blog to check it out.
BTW, yes that is a double hollyhock you see on my blog.

Mindy said...

Well clearly I'm going to have to go check out her blog!

ricki 'sprig to twig' said...

Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) I am thrilled with your review, and the exposure it brings to your band of loyal blog followers. I can't begin to thank you enough!

Sallyanne said...

You write beautifully--in addition to your excellence in the garden! Thank you for the link to Ricki's blog. I think we all inspire one another.

heather @ what's blooming this week said...

Ricki's blog sounds wonderful. I'll be visiting it regularly. Thanks for introducing her to us.

linniew said...

Oh yes, my kind of gardener. Thanks for the tip Grace. I'll put it on my book list, right under The Moment I Knew! Either could be a great holiday gift too.

Wendy said...

Great review!!

Wendy said...

btw, I gave your book a shout out, but still need to get my hands on a copy!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Sounds like a really good book! I love her comment about breaking rules. I'll have to check out her blog too. Thanks for sharing!

Heather at Dusty Bay said...

Will check it out, thanks!

Kim and Victoria said...

Sounds like a great book. I too hate to be "told" what to do in my garden.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Grace girl : ) Anyone who says "go ahead and break the rules !" and I add "make some of your own!" is a great gardener .. there is nothing more ridiculous than some one so uptight they structure themselves after rules .. the garden is such a personal art form .. I have to go see her blog now ! LOL
Joy

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

This is a great review - really makes me want to dive in and read the book!

bakingbarb said...

Oh a rule breaker eh! Good to know I am in good company and look forward to seeing Ricki's book. What a great review.

Donna said...

Grace you have restored my faith in my abilities. I have been thinking I need to study design when all along folks tell me I have the talent. Since I never formally studied garden design, I thought I was unworthy. I love the premise of the book and the quote was dead on!! This will be a must read for me...thx Grace!!

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Thank you Grace, it is going on my "must look for" list of books. Anyone that is willing to know the rules, and then break them has got to be a good writer. I am looking forward to checking out her style.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams