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A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seed: 01/09/09
James Fenton is an English poet and a gardener. His delightful book 0374528772?A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seed offers advice on gardening from just seeds and gives a list of his 100 favorite types of plants to grow from seeds.
I fell in love with the book before I even started reading it. The very first illustration in the book is one of a California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica). Then in Chapter One: Flowers and their Colors, Fenton includes the California state flower among his favorite flowers that "fire a gun" for their bright colors. Apparently bright colors (oranges and reds) are frowned upon in British gardens. Here in California, the brighter the better: orange, red, yellow, you name it. Of course the poppy grows just about everywhere: along the highways, in sidewalk cracks, in rubble and anywhere else were there is a little dirt, sunshine and a little water.
Fenton clearly loves gardening. He isn't a garden snob, except about soil and the importance of good top soil and lots of it. He thinks anyone and everyone should try gardening even if it's just letting a vine of morning glory climb up a fire escape (as he saw in New York City).
With a limited budget, Sean and I do most of our gardening from seeds. A number of Fenton's suggestions are in our tiny patio garden. We have nasturtiums, sweet peas, California poppies, various sunflowers, basil (though not grown from seed), dill and parsley (which reseeds itself every six months or so).
Fenton's final advice is have fun but follow the planting instructions on the seed packets for best results.