How is it that my last book roundup was published all the way back in April? Just today I was remarking to Davin that this gardening season feels like it is going by in a blink of an eye, and this proves it. One minute I am waiting impatiently for the winter to recede, and the next it is mid-July and I am eating the year’s first ripe tomatoes off of the plants.
They say (whoever they is) that time moves faster as you get older and/or also when you are having fun. My birthday is in two weeks. One more year before I am officially confirmed as OLD. Fortunately, I am having fun.
Agaves: Living Sculptures for Landscapes and Containers by Greg Starr
This first book showed up at my door as a review copy from the publisher. I may be repeating myself here, but I rarely include review copies in my book roundups (they are typically personal purchases) because the publishers tend to get it wrong and send me the strangest titles from their catalogues. Not this time. I gasped aloud when I opened up the envelope and this book popped out. I was headed out to an appointment at the time and brought it along in my bag because I simply could not wait until later to dive into it. If you’re an agave lover (as I am) or just have an interest in learning more about them, I think you’ll love this book. It would be especially useful to those of you in warmer climates who can actually grow some of these beauties outside year-round. I should note here that the topic of sort-of hardy agaves is covered in the first chapter called “Growing Agaves.” This section also includes a list of the hardiest species, of which there are two that can withstand my zone given the right conditions: Agave toumeyana and Agave utahensis. Note to self that I must try to get one to test in my Dry Bed! An agave outside year-round, in the ground would make my life. I noted on my trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens last year that they had several Agave parryi growing year-round in their alpine garden and it has had me thinking since about the possibilities here at home.
The book is full of useful information as well as photos of gorgeous plants that had me drooling and itching to expand my potted collection even though I can barely handle the nearly 20 plants I have as-is. Many shots in the book depict agaves in their element set against gorgeous mountain-scapes and dry scrubland. It has brought the wanderlust back full force. Another field trip to the desert where I can see fully mature agaves in their majesty is imperative! And because the book is first and foremost about using agaves in the garden, there is plenty about that, too.
The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World by Sandor Ellix Katz
In case you are wondering, the fermentation addiction is still going strong. I continue to juggle several cultures at once — a feat that is at times tedious and tiresome and other times exciting and challenging in the best possible way. And yet I struggle everyday with the eagerness to start another. Alas, there is so much to ferment and not enough time!
To make matters worse, Sandor Ellix Katz, author of “Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods” has come out with an impressive, nearly 500 page tome that dives down much more deeply into the world of fermented foods and beverages. This book is a real achievement. There must be hundreds of accounts of fermented products from around the world within the books pages. I haven’t had a lot of time for reading lately and have found myself stealing glances whenever I’ve had a few spare moments. It has served to increase what was already a fervent enthusiasm for the subject. I really can’t say enough good things about this book.