The Gardener's Bedside Reader

Garden anthology reminds us that spring is not a myth

As patches of ground resurface from the snowy winter, and Minnesotans begin to poke around their gardens and whisper to slumbering bulbs and buds to arise, The Gardener’s Bedside Reader is a reminder that spring is not just a promise or a wish.

Whether you are an avid gardener, an essay devotee, or a lover of all things vintage, the book provides a welcome tonic for the soul at the end of any long day. This newest anthology from Voyageur Press — edited by greater-Longfellow resident Kari Cornell — brings together photographs of exquisite gardens; vintage ads for seeds, flowers and slug remedies; and quotes and essays about gardening from all angles.

Cornell has worked as an editor for Voyageur Press for seven years. The company has published anthologies on such subjects as quilting, knitting and tractors. An avid gardener, she pitched the idea for a gardening anthology and finally got the OK for her project.

Cornell networked with other gardeners around the country for articles and photographs, and even found vintage ads on e-Bay.

“There are so many beautiful old catalogs and seed packets to illustrate this,” said Cornell. “There’s so much great garden writing out there. It was kind of fun to follow the threads I was handed by different contributors.”

Works by local writers — including Laura Billings, Domenica DiPiazza, Sigrid Arnott, Kathie Bailey and Karen Melvin — are included alongside national writers and essayists such as Michael Pollan and Jamaica Kincaid, who contributed a piece called “The Garden I Have in My Mind.”

As the snow melted away in March, Cornell began poking around in her garden to see if anything is coming up. She noticed the greening of creeping phlox and kept an eager eye on the ground where bulbs are brewing. Her garden plans for this season are to find a home for climbers on her garden gates, she said, and strategically placed annuals so that colorful floral surprises will abound throughout the season.

last revised: April 24, 2008