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Nature Ecology

Interwoven Wild

An Ecologist Loose in the Garden

by (author) Don Gayton

Thistledown Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2007
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2007
    List Price

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Interwoven Wild: An Ecologist Loose In the Garden begins with an intimate look at Don Gayton in his BC garden with his dog Spud. Striking a series of premises - the first one being that gardening is essentially an irrational act - he logically and humorously begins to unravel the work and rituals of gardening. Engaging the reader with real gardening experiences, Gayton takes us on the microscopic steps of a gardening season and his interest in ecological succession. While commenting on the inter-reliance of species, types of soil, why weeds invade, how foreign planets appear, insects, disease and frost, he also speculates on gardeners -- their needs to landscape, to purchase specialized tools, to use chemicals, to emotionally bond with trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables.

The "back story" of Interwoven Wild is much more universal. In it Gayton uses his experiences as a working field ecologist to place the garden in the larger context of our present natural world. By interlocking artists such as Monet and Caravaggio; writers such as Walt Whitman, Thoreau, Emily Dickenson, and Ann Dowden; park designer Frederick Law Olmstead, and landscape architect Christopher Alexander, Gayton reminds us that the garden has long held sway in the creative consciousness. His brief excursions into history, whether tracing the apple back to Kazakhstan, explaining how the tulip made its way from Turkey to Holland, or how the industrialist Baylock's introduction of a smuggled Asian cherry tree destroyed the BC cherry orchids fascinate as well as instruct. For Gayton, the garden is a primordial human urge -- a gift, celebration, and revelation buried in human psyche, marked in our collective mythologies --a kind of magical glue binding world culture, science and economics.

About the author

An ecologist and writer, Don Gayton was raised in California and Washington. He is the author of two award–winning books of non–fiction. His first book was The Wheatgrass Mechanism: Science and Imagination in the Western Canadian Landscape (Fifth House, 1990). Landscapes of the Interior: A Re–exploration of Nature and the Human Spirit (New Society Publishers, 1996), won the National Outdoor Book Award, Outdoor Literature Category, in the United States, and was shortlisted for a BC Book Award. He has also written for Equinox, Canadian Geographic, Harrowsmith, NeWest Review, Books in Canada, Rangelands, Mercator–s World, and Bugle. He lives in Nelson, BC with his family.

Don Gayton's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Don Gayton is one of Canada's most acclaimed nature writers.
-- David Boyd, ed. Northern Wild: Best Canadian Nature Writing

[Gayton gives us a new place to start, and new tools to use, in our contemplation of the thorny problem of the human relationship to nature.
Sharon Butala, author of The Perfection of the morning

This folks, is real literature! Landscapes of the Interior is sensuous, precise and instructive; a consummate work of reinhabitory essay. Alive with insight, vivid detail, and astute observation, Gayton's writing deftly and concretely engages a number of the most consequential questions of ecological theory and practice under discussion today.
-- Stephanie Mills, author of In Service of the Wild

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