More on Henry Mitchell

I don’t like to blog about my job. I love my job. But mixing blogging and having a job doesn’t always work. So, normally, I just don’t do it. But I will say that one terrible side-effect of my job has been that I pretty much have no interest in reading for pleasure any more. At all. People recommend books to me. I think they sound good. And then, the old push that used to send me to the bookstore or the library is just gone. I used to be the kind of person that had to finish a book if she started it, even if the book was terrible.

Now, I’m the kind of person that doesn’t even finish books she’s enjoying. People talk about the books they’re reading and I find it almost oppressive, like hearing about an awesome place you don’t get to travel to any more.

This has been the saddest trade-off about my job.

So, I’m surprised to find that I’m already a hundred pages into Henry Mitchell‘s book. I honestly can’t tell you if it is as truthfully delightful as I’m finding it or if it’s just that it has been so long since I’ve taken great pleasure in reading that I’m feeling unnaturally giddy about it.

But, holy shit! I love this book. First of all, the man hates trees. Hates them. Thinks you’d be better off to just stick a large stick in the yard and let some honeysuckle grow up it. He’s all the time complaining about gardening vulgarities. And, even though he seems to have been in DC while he was writing the columns that became this book, he’s from Memphis, so there are lots of asides about Memphis and that area. Today, in the part I’m reading, he’s complaining about how seed companies are always telling you that things can grow in shade, when really they mean that the thing only needs five or six full hours of sunlight, which, as he points out, is practically a whole day.

He’s a little male-chauvinist in that way you expect of a man your grandpa’s age, but charmingly so, since he doesn’t believe women should be allowed to rake leaves. Fine, I say! I am glad to leave the leaf raking to the menfolk.

And he has this charming take on planting crocuses right by the sidewalk, because they delight children. And he has a little rant about how it’s now the modern fashion to teach your children not to pluck flowers out of people’s gardens, but that this fashion ruins all of the fun of a gardener getting to see a delighted child holding  a crocus.

I feel similarly about my billions of daisies. I will be disappointed if the neighbor baby doesn’t grow up to be a girl who toddles over to pick them and tie them into crowns and necklaces.  There is no use, I think, in having a garden too much like a museum, where you just look, but never touch.

Anyway, I’m so digging it.  Here’s a website that’s pretty crappily formatted, but interesting anyway, about Mitchell.

2 thoughts on “More on Henry Mitchell

  1. B – I remember when I was a young kid, my sister (who is 2 years younger than me) and I picked some tulips from our neighbors yard to give them to my mom. Mom was so mad at us and we got grounded for it. We still give her grief for grounding us for bringing her flowers :).

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