A personal and revealing exploration of a life lived close to the earth, from one of Canada's best-loved gardeners.
Called ""a green-thumb rogue"" (Star Tribune, Minneapolis), accomplished novelist, satirist, and garden writer Des Kennedy describes his life journey from a childhood of strict Irish Catholicism in Britain to a charmed existence amid the gardens of his Gulf Island home in British Columbia. From his appearance as an innocent dressed in white for his First Holy Communion to his days as a young seminarian in black habit, through the Beat poetry scene in New York City and the social upheavals of the 1960s, this monk-turned-pilgrim pursues a quest for meaning and purpose. After leaving monastic life and moving west, Kennedy takes up a new vocation in what has been called the Church of the Earth. On a rural acreage, he and his partner build their home from recycled and hand-hewn materials and create gardens that provide food as well as a symbiosis with the earth that is as profoundly spiritual as past religious rituals. Spiced with irreverence and an eye for the absurd, The Way of a Gardener ranges over environmental activism, Aboriginal rights, writing for a living, amateur wood butchery, the protocols of small community living, and the devilish obscenity of a billy goat at stud.
""If you're an old hand at gardening, you'll appreciate the rich, loamy philosophizing in Des Kennedy's memoir. His life is a winding vine, with roots in the Beat poetry world of New York that blossom into a bucolic farmer's life on B.C.'s Gulf Islands. If that sounds too sappy, have no fear. Kennedy is a lot more funny...than preachy."" -- Tyee.ca
""This engrossing memoir charts beloved garden writer Kennedy’s strict Irish-Catholic childhood in Britain to a countrified adult existence in Gulf Islands, BC...An accomplished novelist -- thrice-nominated for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour -- Kennedy broaches topics like Aboriginal rights and the devilish obscenity of a billy goat at stud."" -- Toronto Star
About the author
Des Kennedy is a novelist, essayist and veteran back-to-the-lander. The author of nine previous books, in both fiction and non-fiction, he has been three times nominated for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. He’s contributed many articles on environmental issues, gardening and rural living to a wide variety of publications in Canada and the United States, and has been featured on numerous regional and national television and radio programs. A celebrated speaker, known for his passion and irreverent wit, he’s performed at conferences, schools, festivals, botanical gardens, art galleries, garden shows and wilderness gatherings. Active for many years in environmental and social justice issues, he was an organizer of the successful civil disobedience campaign in Strathcona Provincial Park in 1988 and was recognized as a key supporter in the struggle to save Clayoquot Sound. In the ’70s and early ’80s, he lived and worked with two First Nations bands attempting to defend their traditional territories in north-central B.C. against industrial clear-cutting. In the ’90s he was a founding director of a successful community land trust on Denman Island. Des and his partner Sandy live a conserver lifestyle in their hand-built house surrounded by gardens and woodlands.
Other titles by Des Kennedy
Heart & Soil
The Revolutionary Good of Gardens
Living Things We Love To Hate
Facts, Fantacies & Fallacies
Crazy About Gardening
Passionate Gardener, The
Adventures of an Ardent Green Thumb
The Garden Club
And the Kumquat Campaign
Climbing Patrick's Mountain
An Ecology of Enchantment
A Year in the Life of a Garden
The Passionate Gardener
Adventures of an Ardent Green Thumb