An Eden of Sorts

The Natural History of My Feral Garden

John Hanson Mitchell (Author)

Logo markA Countryman Press book

Overview | Inside the Book

The story of how land can blossom—literally—with proper management.

Twenty-five years ago Mitchell cut down a 1 1/2-acre stand of 75-year-old white pines and planted a garden in their place. AN EDEN OF SORTS is a history of the plants and animals that lived on the tract over the next decades, including two generations of half-wild children! What started out as a plot with no more that five or six flowering plants and shrubs, over the years grew into more than a thousand species of plants and animals inhabiting the property. This is a paradoxical yet hopeful narrative of what can happen to a plot of land when it is properly managed.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • June 2013
  • ISBN 978-1-58157-172-1
  • 6.3 × 9.3 in / 200 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“There’s nothing like a garden wedding to force a home owner to whip the place into shape. With its borders of flowering trees and shrubs, inviting series of garden rooms, and charming wee cottages dotting the landscape, the Massachusetts garden of versatile writer Mitchell (The Rose Cafe, 2007) was deemed the perfect place for the family event. Given a year to accomplish what he assumed would be a straightforward spruce up, Mitchell reveled in the opportunity to become reacquainted with the land that had changed during the 25 years he had owned it. A diverse environment, Mitchell’s garden boasts woodland and wetland, meadow and hillside, where dragonflies flit and hunt. An astute observer, Mitchell maintains an encyclopedic knowledge of the property: he knows the precise number and name of every species of grass and wildflower, and he monitors the habits of birds and woodland predators that call his home their home, too. With pride and eloquence, Mitchell recounts the natural heritage of a land that serves as an idyllic refuge for man and beast alike. — Carol Haggas ” — Booklist

“[Mitchell] writes lyrically of the process of building the gardens and exploring them with his children and grandchildren, and he describes the natural history of the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, spiders, and insects, as well as the wide variety of plants that call the garden home. Mitchell shows that gardeners can create and manage a range of useful habitats as opposed to the sterile grounds of the housing development to his east. An engaging book that will delight gardeners who enjoy attracting wildlife, as well as readers captivated by natural history. —Sue O’Brien” — Library Journal

All Subjects