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Going for the organic

A Blessing of Toads: A Gardener's Guide to Living With Nature Sharon Lovejoy Hearst, $14.95

September 09, 2004|Carolyn Huffman Kimball

Most of us don't have the luxury of lying flat on the garden ground, observing bumblebees. Or whiling away an entire morning mesmerized by the parenting antics of a pair of chickadees. So it's something of an escapist pleasure to read essays by Sharon Lovejoy, a columnist for Country Living Gardener magazine, about the nurturing of flora and fauna.

In her coastal gardens -- one in Central California, one in Maine -- there are no pesticides or other naughty additives, for in her view, such meddling upsets the ideal balance among plants, bugs and critters. When she has a bug problem, she either writes off that patch of plants for the season, or encourages a natural predator by providing it shelter.

Tucking into these fact-filled tales is as warming and pleasant as sipping a cup of tea before a fire. Before long you may find yourself shunning your Safer insecticide soap, swayed by Lovejoy's gentle arguments for the organic habit.

Her research and observations about maligned creatures such as skunks, moles and wasps may even put an end to that embarrassing tendency to run screaming and flapping from anything that buzzes or skitters. Lovejoy's affection for nearly everything that inhabits her land is contagious.


Carolyn Huffman Kimball

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