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March 01, 1992|CHARLES SOLOMON

HOME GROUND: A Gardener's Miscellany by Allen Lacy (Houghton Mifflin: $10.95). A columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Lacy offers a genial account of the pleasures and problems of his large suburban garden in Atlantic City, N.J. These brief essays have a informal, entre nous tone, as if the author were looking up from his perennial bed at the reader, pointing out the beauty of a new hybrid daffodil and complaining about the Star-of-Bethlehem's efforts to annex the entire back yard. Lacy avoids the resolutely upbeat tone of many gardening manuals, and complains about the disappearance of unattractive but flavorful varieties of apples and melons, the silliness of over-hybridization (does anyone really need a 225-pound pumpkin?) and the mundane chores even a beloved garden requires: "Anyone who says he actually likes weeding or mowing the yard either lies or has deficient powers to discriminate between what is irksome and what is pleasurable."

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