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Gardening Essays

The Philosophy of Gardening


translated by Karen Caruana

edited by Blanka Stolz

Invisible Publishing
Initial publish date
May 2021
Essays, Essays, Garden Design
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


For philosophizing gardeners and anyone who likes to pick up a spade and get their hands dirty
Gardeners discover a new world every year—whether they’re cultivating heirloom vegetables, foraging for wild herbs, creating a small permaculture garden on a city balcony, or maintaining a plot for self-sufficiency.
But why garden at all? These personal essays by writers, designers, and master gardeners dig into gardening’s philosophical dimensions and tend to the aesthetic, cultural, political, and sociological implications of gardens and the people who keep them.
Originally published in German, this delightful volume addresses gardening’s most deep-rooted questions and highlights the magic that, year after year, makes us pick up a shovel and get back into the garden.
Awarded the German Garden Book Prize in the Best Garden Prose Category
“What is remarkable is that the publication project is something very individual… the spectrum ranges from the ‘plea for weeds’ to the ‘metaphysics’ of the garden to urban gardening and garden shows, and the realization that gardens are ‘hopelessly ambivalent’—all in all a very interesting volume.” – Jury Citation

About the authors

Karen Caruana has been practising the craft of translation for over 15 years now, working from German and French into English. When not mulling over words, she is an avid gardener (she once operated an organic herb farm), a passionate environmentalist, teaches yoga, and enjoys spending time outdoors. She lives in Marmora, Ontario.

Karen Caruana's profile page

Blanka Stolz is a writer and editor, and co-founder of the German publisher Mairisch Verlag. She has, during two summers on the Swiss mountain farm Munt la Reita, spent a lot of time in the garden. She lives in Berlin, Germany.

Blanka Stolz's profile page


  • Winner, German Gardening Book Prize, Garden Prose & Poetry

Editorial Reviews

"Find yourself cheerfully defenseless against the charms of a gardening collection that contains such phrases as: 'Nevertheless, moss is and often remains suspect by those who should, for myriad reasons, love it.'"—Molly Young,The New York Times


"In The Philosophy of Gardening we discover gardens that serve a variety of purposes; they grow food, celebrate urban permaculture, introduce us to new friends and pay tribute to weeds. The essays are written by a diverse group that includes gardeners, designers, agricultural scientists and philosophers. Their insights into how and why we garden are universal and a delight to read... This is a book to read in the garden. I enjoyed the variety of philosophical musings on the place of gardens in urban spaces, gender in the garden and the basic drive to garden."—Atlantic Books Today