"When it sings, a garden will have the power to transport and to lead you to a place that is magical. It is an oasis for creation, available to anyone with a little space and the compunction to get their hands dirty."
In Natural Selection, Dan Pearson draws on ten years of his Observer columns to explore the rhythms and pleasures of a year in the garden. Travelling between his city-bound plot in Peckham and twenty acres of rolling hillside in Somerset, he celebrates the beautiful skeletons of the winter garden, the joyous passage into spring, the heady smell of summer's bud break and the flaring of colour in autumn.
Pearson's irresistible enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge overflow in a book teeming with tips to inspire your own space, be it a city window box or country field. Bringing you a newfound appreciation of nature, both wild and tamed, reading Natural Selection is a deeply restorative experience.
Pearson, a garden designer and former columnist for the Observer, here demonstrates the rare gift of thrilling horticultural enthusiasts with words rather than pictures. This collection of articles is drawn from his published work and organized into a running commentary on the awakening, blooming, fruition, and fading of the annual life of the garden. And though many gardening books are photo-studded look-books to which one can turn for visual inspiration, Pearson instead provokes the mind's eye to see what he sees through the skill of his writing. He is always knowledgeably precise yet also open to the meaning of details: "The brick-red schizostylis and lipstick-pink nerine continue to flare for a while, yet in stark and diminishing contrast to the decline around them." Pearson proves himself a distinguished member of the British garden writing school, following in the footsteps of Vita Sackville-West, the late Beth Chatto (who provided a blurb), and others. This will be a lovely book for green-thumbed readers to read in the winter as they sit by the fireplace and await spring.