Uprooted - a book review

Having experienced leaving a garden and starting anew, I was very interested in Page Dickey's new book Uprooted: A Gardener Reflects on Beginning Again  (Timber Press, September 22, 2020)
After almost thirty four years, the author left her celebrated garden, "Duck Hill" in North Salem, New York and moved with her husband to Falls Village, Connecticut. At "Church House", the name they gave their new property (it was once used as a place of worship), they inherited a garden that had been designed by Nancy McCabe twenty years earlier. Their new property was larger (17 acres) but the garden around the house was much smaller than the one she left behind.
The author eloquently relates the pains of leaving a cherished garden and the adventures of discovering a new one. At Church House, the main bones of the garden were kept intact. After some renovations on their house, their focus shifted to the garden. They added a small greenhouse, built cold frames and created gardens around the pool, planted an orchard and added a cutting garden. Dickey brings to life the rustic nature of the garden, describing favorite plants like viburnum, old shrub roses and hydrangea and the local wildlife and particularly the bird inhabitants.
Much of the land beyond the house was uncultivated. During that first year, Dickey explored the woods. One day she discovered a woodland bluff where she would later add more native plants as well as wage war against invasive species. She takes the reader through every season in the garden (and wilderness) and reflects on the nature of change.
This is a beautifully written book and a calming one to read especially during these unsettled times. The photographs by Ngoc Minh Ngo and Marion Brenner are especially beautiful.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I have seen a couple of other people writing about how good this book is. It does sound like a good one.

  2. You're the second person to recommend this book and, as I've also had the experience of leaving one garden for another, albeit larger but very different, garden it sounds like something I could benefit from reading too. And heaven knows, I could use a book that isn't fraught with controversy and discord right now. I'm putting it on my reading list.


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