In Review :: Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime

Defiant Gardens:
Making Gardens in Wartime

by Kenneth Helphand

Trinity University Press, 2006, 320 pages, $34.95

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Gardens made in wartime, in internment and concentration camps, in French and German trenches, among the Bosnian barricades, all have in common a fierce and persistent hope that exists wherever seeds and soil and water can be found.

Helphand shows us tiny pocket gardens tended between battles in the Ypres Salient in 1914, in Minidoka and Manzanar in 1943, in camps near Baghdad in 2004. Made with nothing but determination and fed with hunger for beauty, grown magically from blood-stained soil or in dust-dry deserts, these small gardens are little miracles of faith in a benign and fruitful future. As cities burn and forests are destroyed, people will always plant beans and roses.

Citing psychologist Abraham Maslow’s pyramidal hierarchy of needs, Helphand quite rightly fits gardening into both the wide base level of physical need, where bodies are nourished, and the pinnacle of self awareness, where souls are fed.


Ann Lovejoy wrote this review as part of Purple America, the Fall 2008 issue of YES! Magazine. Ann, gardener and garden writer extraordinare, is author of 18 books on gardening.
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YES! Magazine :: Image of other articles in our Fall 2008 issue: Purple America – How to Break Through the Red/Blue Divide
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