Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

January 23, 1994|DICK RORABACK

NOAH'S GARDEN: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Back Yard by Sara Stein (Houghton Mifflin: $21.95; 294 pp.) Workers of the 'burbs, unite! Lay down your leaf rakes. Muzzle your mowers. Kick back and pick up "Noah's Garden" by Sara Stein, a feisty, iconoclastic self-described "non-gardener" with the soul of Thoreau and the pen of a poet. Stein proposes to do for the back yard what the EPA cannot begin to accomplish nationally. Let things be, she says. Nature is a helluva lot smarter than we are. Leaves left on the ground break down into sustenance for shrubs and trees, which in turn feed and house bees and birds and beasties, which return the favor by spreading the seeds and pollen of the shrubs and trees, which . . . As for lawns, they're anachronisms, leftovers from the large estates whose vast, manicured greenswards simply declared: I'm rich enough to hire an army of gardeners. Meanwhile, all the critters that fueled the engines wouldn't be seen dead on a lawn--which they would be, exposed to predators. And we, in our wisdom, break our backs and our banks on pesticides, sprinklers, mulches, aerators, "whereas before, (nature) managed all these things itself"--and for free. Stein is no anarchist, encouraging us to let things go to pot. She loves flowers and grasses and butterflies. What she suggests is that we have "unplugged the connections" among our local flora and fauna, and that we hook them up again to the greater glory of the planet, no matter how small our holdings. "Fling wide the garden gate," she says, "loosen the land's aesthetic corset, let it be more blowsy and fecund, allow it to bed promiscuously with beasts and creatures of all sorts."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|