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Go on, get dirty, the weekend is staked out for the garden. Imagine it now, on you knees, pulling and twisting, past that stage where mud matters, when nothing but the back of your wrist is clean enough to sweep the sweat away, wearing the glorious garden war-paint of dirt.

It’s that return to the earth, the long-anticipated pleasure of just being outdoors without a jacket, feeling the sun through your shirt, watching the handle of the new trowel darken, smeared with the effort of turning and cutting into the soil. It’s caressing and investing in green life, the assertion and submission of steadily, messily working the earth.

Tennyson beckoned: “come into the garden Maud, I am here at the gate alone; and the woodbine spices are wafted abroad.”


Diane Ackerman, naturalist, poet, and author of “Cultivating Delight”

Michael Pollan, author of “The Botany of Desire”

Mort Mather, organic farmer in Maine, and author of “Gardening for Independance”