Here it is the armchair gardening book of the season: Gardening in Eden: The Joys of Planning and Tending a Garden by Arthur T. Vanderbilt II. This is as delightful a book about gardening as I've read. There are clues that Arthur Vanderbilt is not throwing some impatiens in the ground and calling it a garden. He is a lawyer and nonfiction author by trade, but he has been working on his New Jersey garden for 20 years. He confesses that it has good bones, stone walls, steps and paths to different vistas. He has boxwood-bordered beds. There's a pond. He's a goner, clearly, and his passion for his garden comes through in his careful observation, his knowledge of plants, and above all, his love of the never-ending seasons.

A gardening book without pictures is a special pleasure. I'm guessing that Arthur Vanderbilt has some spectacular vistas at his home, but what this book does so well is let us see them in process, through his eyes, in all their incomplete and imperfect glory.

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