Book Review:' The Imperfect Garden—A Memoir

by Dominique Peytraud

The Imperfect Garden—A Memoir draws from the same deep well of humor, grace and wisdom thar has nourished Adina Sara's Imperfect Gardener readers on this newspaper for many years. In this collection of essays, poetry and photography (by photographer Rachel Michaelsen), Adina Sara weaves her personal story with the story of her garden, relating how she came to be a gardener, or rather a partner with nature in transforming a heap of trash into a garden. The book is filled with musings on the wisdom of plants, chance encounters with roots, animals and people, assuring her readers that there is enough grain in the bird feeder for birds AND squirrels!

The Imperfect Garden is fun, reassuring, and liberating. As a beginner gardener, I often feel intimidated by the enormity of my lot, my ignorance, and my professional gardener friends' achievements or advice. Both the The Imperfect Gardener column and her memoir are like a gentle pat on the back, inspiring me to keep going, reassuring me that I am in good company in my search for my way around the garden. '

The sense of ease in the writing comes from the fact that Adina does not consider herself above plants, bricks, dirt, or animals in the planning of the garden. This humility leads Adina into intuitive decisions that make up for the lack of formal studies in gardening, which I share with her, and which make her garden even more of a metaphor for her self. Adina clearly shows you that you do not need to know the Latin name of a plant. Adina talks to plants and they respond! '

The Imperfect Garden is a model for how to repair and restore any neglected or destroyed part of our life and world and make it bloom again. Humility, patience, retreat, and a sense of awe will go a long way into creating moments and places of joy. In these uncertain times, it is ever more necessary to practice "imperfection."

The Imperfect Garden is available at the Laurel Book Store, where Adina and Rachel will present a reading and slideshow on Thursday, May 21, 2009, at 7:30 p.m.