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SecondNature - Judy Brittenum Second Nature A Gardeners...

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March 13, 2008 Judy Brittenum Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education Written by Michael Pollan, Second Nature follows the meditations of a gardener’s relationship with the earth and its nature. Pollan communicates his meditations through the learning he experienced as he started his first “real” garden. As a child, Michael grew a few plants, inspired by his grandfather’s magnificent garden in Babylon, New York, but now Pollan and his wife live on a “sliver of a derelict dairy farm on the edge of the Housatonic Valley”(2) and aspire to create something out of his New England landscape. Little does he know, he not only learns a great deal about the act of gardening, but he also discovers the implications of gardening as well as its innumerable metaphors. Upon this, Pollan masters his perception of how he wants his garden to appear as well as speak. Every garden possesses a story, intentional or not, however Pollan learns to communicate though his purposefully. The book contains four major parts titled Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, all of which have accompanying chapters. In these chapters, Michael shares an episode of his garden, from planting roses and trees to catalogs and harvest. Pollan expounds upon these incidents to explain deeper meaning behind them all, such as the social hierarchy in the garden. In the first of the four segments, Spring, Pollan discusses the nature of gardens, mowing and the moral imperatives of compost. At what lengths can a
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gardener protect his work before the garden proves unnatural? Through the eyes of a Romantic, battling pests, surrounding the garden with a fence, or even weeding may dub a garden unnatural, but without any protection from the gardener, surely the infestation of insects, larger animals, and weeds must dominate, suffocating out the desired plants. However, Pollan breaks down and builds a fence and hires the help of ladybugs and mantises to protect the garden. Pollan then begins to discuss the necessity of mowing his lawn. Lawns appeared in past Europe, though many of the lawns pertained only to estates, therefore establishing lawns as a social hierarchy. In America, however, lawns represent democracy and unity, a perspective influenced strongly by Frank J. Scott (58). Through this view of lawns, not many tolerate improper lawn care. One should keep his respective lawn clean-cut as everyone else, so each separate lawn flows effortlessly into the other, something very popular following the suburban boom. Pollan grows tired of mowing his rather large lot for four
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