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Paths of Desire: The Passions of a Suburban Gardener
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Paths of Desire: The Passions of a Suburban Gardener

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  162 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
With the same warmth, wisdom, wit, and accessibility that readers have come to love and trust in her monthly column, House & Garden editor in chief Dominique Browning offers this lively, charming, and instructive story of restoring a neglected suburban garden.
When a retaining wall in Browning's New York suburban garden collapsed, she was forced into action. Paths of
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 8th 2005 by Scribner (first published 2004)
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Mar 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2007
The editor of Home and Garden has written this book about
redoing her garden. Some of it is interesting and some of it is hard to read or a little too self indulgent. Lots of references to different kinds of plants and relations with neighbors. It is an excellent description of how a defined project can grow from “adding a few plants to the garden” to taking out trees, both living and dead, repaving the driveway, replacing bricks in the front walk, etc. I didn’t finish the book, because I got tir
Julie  Durnell
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was a totally wonderful surprise-I loved it! Her writing was humorous and chatty; and knowledge of gardening/plants on par with a professional. Although she has the means to renovate and plant in the style noted in the book, it was a joy to read and not a high-brow book of a small suburban garden. The chapter on Varmints is a real hoot, I laughed out loud reading at work during lunch break!
"The raccoons come out into the garden earlier and earlier, no longer waiting for dark, and this
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: daydreaming gardeners
I adored this book. It helped with my terrible February doldrums and also added to my gardening daydreams. I probably should have read her first book first. And at first I was annoyed with a character only being referred to as "True Love" but it grew on me. The map in the beginning is a nice touch too.

Now I'm pondering who will let me scheme my way into their garden as soon as spring comes so I can work and play in the dirt (and occaisionally lull about among flowers and trees.)
Nov 27, 2014 rated it liked it
After a divorce, Browning rethinks her garden, in part due to disaster (a retaining wall gives way, garden is flooded) and in part due to finding the energy to do what she's been contemplating for years. She's an odd duck, but I stayed with her. Nominally a garden book, but really a memoir of a difficult period in her life.
Jane Giardino
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read this with a book group years ago - gardening, divorce and single motherhood back story - a great read.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
Finally just abandoning this one. I really tried to get through it but it did not hold my attention.
Jun 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
I am not a gardener but immensely appreciate the labors and bounty of others who are. Dominique Browning brings her garden to life in the pages of this book, not so much as a recitation of the plants that are in it, but instead a soulful and heartfelt personal journal of the meaning those plants and their layout around her home have in her life at the time she is writing. My favorite essays are those about her trees and the impending loss of them due to rot and neglect. I could have done with a ...more
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Needless to say, I adore the non-fiction books of Dominque Browning. I often re-read them just for pleasure, so that I can hear her voice again, unerringly wise. In this book, she recounts the creation of two desire paths: a "long and winding" one through her restored half-acre suburban garden, and an equally meandering one from the desolation of a broken marriage to the joyful rebuilding of both her garden and her life.
Apr 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really, really enjoyed this, even though I only picked it up, from a table at the library, because of the cover.

This is a series of connected essays, on gardening on a suburban plot (albeit a lavish one, I infer), which also seem to be about making one's way through adult life.

A good bedside table book -- I read one essay/chapter a night for a couple of weeks and looked forward to it.
Annie Larussa
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I kept putting this book down. I liked it enough but wasn't enthralled. I am not a huge gardener so maybe someone who was, would love all the plant names and species. I kept waiting for more of a plot, more satisfaction from this wandering tale. It seemed like the writer was plodding along and couldn't figure if she just wanted to write a gardening book or a broken heart book.
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Dominique Browning writes a monthly column called Personal Nature for the Environmental Defense Fund website. She is a regular contributor to the New York Times Book Review and also writes for O, Body + Soul, Wired, and Travel & Leisure, among other publications. Before House & Garden she worked at The Edison Project, Mirabella, Newsweek, Texas Monthly, and Esquire. She is the author of Ar ...more
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