pinknantucket's Reviews > A Gentle Plea for Chaos

A Gentle Plea for Chaos by Mirabel Osler
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's review
Jan 08, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: ms-readathon-2006
Read in June, 2006

This is a book about gardening, but the author seems to have applied the idea of chaos to her writing also. The book is divided into five chapters, one each about trees, water, stones/wall, roses and bulbs, but it seemed to me that the chapters didn’t necessarily stick exclusively to their theme, making the whole book a bit of a jumble. The more enjoyable parts of this book talk about Osler’s own garden (acres of land somewhere in England) and how it came into being, interdispersed with musings on gardeners and gardening in general.

I became bored by Osler’s repeated “pleas for chaos” in gardens. (She really really doesn’t like neat gardens, gardens with dirt spaces between neat rows of plants and anything else that smacks of an even vaguely anal retentive personality). I mean, each to their own, I reckon – and Osler seemed to look down her nose at anyone who didn’t happen to share her gardening philosophy. (There were some quite snide remarks about clubs of little old ladies that visit open gardens, the "plant collectors"). Live and let live, you snotty cow!!

I haven’t had much gardening experience myself, but I won’t let that stop me putting in my two bits about Osler’s own gardening style – because she hates dirt showing between plants, she plants very densely, and then wonders why things don’t work. She despises those who sit down with pencil and paper to plan their gardens before they plant (presumably this is not organic enough or something) and then again wonders why things don't work. I mean, derrr.

Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for this book. Maybe I don’t know enough about plants to fully enjoy a book about gardening that has no pictures.

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