Gardening advice from the philosophers

As a practical companion to my Philosophy in the Garden, I’ve collated some very helpful gardening tips from well-known philosophers and novelists. They’re all perfectly authentic, though I seem to have misplaced the references.

– Damon Young, Hobart, Friday 10th April 2020

Jean-Paul Sartre
For the most perfectly sweet apricots all-year-round, take a napkin and short-bladed knife—then open a can.

Jane Austen
Never hire a cheap gardener when a cheaper gardener is available.

Henry James
On the delicate matter of whether or not one ought to have gravel drives for one’s estates—I phrase this as a judicious choice, despite the obvious wisdom of mon chéri Madame Wharton—it is tempting to defer to tradition, that much-lauded yet silent authority that instructs us with nods and winks as if it were (you will pardon my hackneyed metaphor) an aged uncle offering axioms before the Grand Tour with a breadcrumbed beard, and yet this temptation ought to be resisted, if only because one quite correctly hears the resonant timbre of another voice, which, as it were, is

Enrich your vegetable patches and your nations by mulching with priests.

One must garden as one marries: frequently, and always with an eye for what's next.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
You complain that you’ve few hours left to garden, yet you don’t do the most simple and obvious things. To spend more time with your beloved Prunella vulgaris and friends, simply offend everyone until angry mobs force you to flee to a solitary island. Fools.

Virginia Woolf
When Leonard needs more fertiliser for his pumpkins, I read him James Joyce.

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Philosophy in the Garden

Damon Young

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