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The Curious Gardener

By Jürgen Dahl

Now for the first time in English, one of the world's best-loved garden writers explores the connections between the life of the garden and the life of the mind. In this omnibus volume that ranges from discussing why gardeners should grow bad-smelling plants to how readers should eat their flowers, Jürgen Dahl identifies curiosity and patience as the gardener's chief virtues. What matters most to Jürgen Dahl is that a garden is not a sterile copy of a picture in a book, or a beautiful "triumph" that lacks all experimentation and wonder. In Jürgen Dahl's garden, things do not "work," but instead they happen — or maybe they do not. Many things that please, surprise, or disappoint a gardener do so because the garden's living creatures can only rarely be tricked into obeying the gardener's will; in their own quiet but unyielding way, they follow their own laws. Jürgen Dahl's stories are wise and cheerful, and full of opinions and premonitions, all told with the insatiable curiosity of the true explorer.

About the author

Jürgen Dahl

Jürgen Dahl (1929–2001) was a bookseller until he sold his bookshop to work as a writer and gardener. Until his death, he worked for WDR, a large German broadcasting station, and Die Zeit, a major weekly magazine. He was the author of nearly a dozen books. For many years, he also edited Crossroads, an annual journal of critical thinking. He received the prestigious Deutscher Journalistenpreis in 1965, the Bruno H. Schubert Environment Prize in 1987 for his work to protect the environment, and the German Horticultural Association's prize for nature education in 1998. Dahl and his wife, Hella, lived on his farm, Lindenhof near Kleve, on the lower Rhine.

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