My Wild Garden: Notes from a Writer’s Garden

Schocken. illus. by by Refaella Shir. Mar. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9780805243512. $30. GARDENING
Israeli author Shalev (A Pigeon and a Boy) descends from a long line of gardeners but only became interested in the subject himself relatively late in life, eventually curating his outdoor space from a neglected landscape. Here the author shares a collection of short essays about his relationship with his wild garden located in the Jezreel Valley of Israel. Topics range from individual plants, such as sea squill, cyclamen, or lemon trees, to favored tools to the destructiveness of the local mole rats. Shalev writes of learning patience as he grows plants from seed that will not flower for several years, and how as an observer of nature, especially in his own yard, he gently shapes the garden while celebrating its wildness. A nurturer of plants who is careful not to waste even a single seed and mourns the death of a tree, Shalev is a lyrical stylist and philosopher who writes with passion and humor. Drawings by Shir enhance the text.
VERDICT A beautiful love letter to gardens that is sure to appeal to anyone who has cultivated one of their own.

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