Verdura: Living a Garden Life by Perla Sofia Curbelo-Santiago
|Verdura: Living a Garden Life by Perla Sofia Curbelo-Santiago
|Reviewer: Sue Magee
|Summary: An introduction to various aspects of gardening - both indoors and out - for wellbeing.
|Date: January 2024
|Publisher: Cool Springs Press
|External links: Author's website
The most important part of a garden is the one who enjoys it.
I've 'gardened' in a vague, indefinite sort of way for more than half a century. I know (most of) the basics but life has changed and I needed 'projects' rather than a general commitment to gardening. Verdura with its promise of projects for both indoors and outdoors of varying complexity seemed like the answer. So, how did it stack up?
Perla Sofia Curbelo-Santiago is a 'garden communicator', according to the back of the book. Who knew such people existed? Perla's Puerto Rican and she's best known for her website, Agrochic, described as a woman focus gardening lifestyle platform'. She wants to help people, especially women, use nature and gardening as a tool for wellbeing. The back of her book promises a collection of indoor and outdoor projects that soothe your soul and calm your mind. That's all my boxes ticked.
The book is divided into six chapters, plus appendices and an index. We start with Exploring Nature. A self-assessment section (as with every chapter) encourages introspection and planning. I wasn't too enthusiastic about remembering my thirteen-year-old self. It's too long ago, I didn't particularly like her even then and I certainly don't have a picture of her but I do like the thought of returning to what should have been a more innocent, carefree time. There's a lovely collection of plants in a fuchsia-pink plastic pot. It's delightful but I would like to have seen it stood in a saucer rather than directly on a table. My favourite in this section was the coastal garden. I have a spot outside on the patio for that one!
Be Social is an opportunity to share your space with others. There's an ingenious use for a cocktail trolley - take your garden anywhere! There's a piece on using garden foliage to make greetings cards. It's an interesting subject, of which more could have been made but it's a decent introduction. This section felt a little contrived, which is a pity.
Encourage Wellness is an important section. I liked the stress on the benefits of a view of nature when recovering from surgery - or indeed, in daily life. (We bought our property partly because of its garden and for a while spoke of the house as one of the disadvantages!) I was surprised by how much could be done to enhance the view from just about any room and this is the section I will be concentrating on. First on the list is the fragrant container hedge. I'm less enthused about the barefoot garden we have a lot of ants in the garden and I do not get on well with their bites. I can imagine that many people will benefit from the meditation garden.
Serve the Community provides plenty of feed for thought. If we all looked to helping others before we thought of ourselves, how much better would life be? This could be the subject of a book in its own right. I did like the garden break room.
Upcycle is the section which interested me most. Sometimes I'm guilty of taking it too far but I am of the opinion that most things can be repurposed and I'm always open to new ideas. I particularly liked the backyard birdbath and suspect that I have most of the materials required. I can see possibilities, too, for the propagation wall station.
Grow into Your Own is the final section. I liked the idea of creating a living background for virtual meetings - they don't have to be work meetings, after all! - and the ideas for displaying my favourite plants.
I liked the additional material at the back of the book - there's an abundance of further resources which will keep even the most ardent gardener going for a long time. I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a copy of the book.
We can recommend:
Veg Street: Grow Your Own Community by Naomi Schillinger
On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening Without Boundaries by Richard Reynolds
The Natural Health Service: How Nature Can Mend Your Mind by Isabel Hardman
You can read more book reviews or buy Verdura: Living a Garden Life by Perla Sofia Curbelo-Santiago at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Verdura: Living a Garden Life by Perla Sofia Curbelo-Santiago at Amazon.com.
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