By Ricki Grady
Ricki Grady’s BeBop Garden is a book about gardening in the same sense that Izaac Walton’s The Compleat Angler is a book about fly fishing. Or that Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking is a book about food. If this book really were a jazz composition, it would be a clever, brightly syncopated tune by Dave Brubek—there’s a lot of bright and shiny to delight the ear, but this is a kind of storytelling that can change the way you see the world at a molecular level. While BeBop Garden is about how to grow plants, it’s also about how to grow your heart and mind, how to find your improvisational center and learn to trust your instincts when it comes to discovering paths through life that will consistently delight and surprise you.
From the Introduction:
I share a fantasy with a lot of people: I see myself in a jazz band, so tuned in to my fellows that we can extemporize freely, taking a simple, familiar tune into unknown territory with wild abandon. There is one problem with this wishful vision. I have a tin ear. No amount of musical training or hours of practice can give me the vocabulary to speak music.
But I have found an improvisational medium better suited to my talents. Jazzy compositions are no longer beyond me, they just get worked out by startling plant juxtapositions, rhythmic color repetitions, harmonic arrangements of light and shadow.
Herman Miller Lifework (online interview)
A Garden of Possibilities (online review)
The Book Corner (online review)
Gardening With Grace (online review)
Danger Garden (online review)
The Oregonian (online event preview)