Cultivating Delight by Diane Ackerman
A Natural History of My Garden

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In the mode of her esteemed bestseller A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman's new book, Cultivating Delight celebrates the sensory pleasures she discovers in her garden.

Ackerman delights in her garden through all the seasons. Whether she is deadheading flowers or glorying in the profusion of roses, offering sugar water to a hummingbird or studying the slug, she welcomes the unexpected drama and extravagance as well as the sanctuary her garden offers. She chronicles instances of violence in nature but also intuits loneliness and desire in the clamor of male crickets in the spring. And there is wonderment and marvel as she happens upon a tiny frog asleep inside the petals of a tulip. Visitors to her garden range from botanical explorers of earlier centuries to the nature mystic John Muir to the brilliant British garden writer Gertrude Jekyll.

The author's garden nourishes its creator, who imaginatively returns the favor and seizes privileged moments to leap from science and metaphor to meditation on the human condition. Written in sensuous, lyrical prose, Cultivating Delight is a hymn to nature and to the pleasure we take in it.


About Diane Ackerman

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Poet, essayist, and naturalist, Diane Ackerman is the author of many highly acclaimed works of nonfiction, including A Natural History of the Senses -- a book beloved by readers all over the worldand the volumes Deep Play, A Slender Thread, The Rarest of the Rare, A Natural History of Love, The Moon by Whale Light, and a memoir on flying, On Extended Wings.Her poetry has been collected into six volumes, among them Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems and, most recently, Praise My Destroyer.Ms. Ackerman has received many prizes and awards, including the John Burroughs Nature Award and the Lavan Poetry Prize. A Visiting Professor at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, she was the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor at the University of Richmond. Ms. Ackerman also has the unusual distinction of having had a molecule named after her -- dianeackerone. She lives in upstate New York.
Published October 1, 2001 by Harper. 272 pages
Genres: Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Nature & Wildlife, Literature & Fiction, Science & Math, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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We need the intimate truths of daylight and deer”—and has very much filled her mind with wondrous imagery: hummingbird nests of lichen and spider silk, roses that break their necks in a blooming fury, “apple trees ripe as a gin mill.” Ackerman likes to reveal nature’s intricate machinery: How doe...

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The New York Times

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Trust Diane Ackerman to discover the perfect one-paragraph description -- from Samuel Beckett, of all unlikely people -- of the soothing and inalienable pleasure of watching a garden landscape glide securely around the track of the seasons.

Oct 21 2001 | Read Full Review of Cultivating Delight: A Natura...

Star Tribune

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Noting the range of plant and animal life hidden in her own small plot, Ackerman writes: "Biodiversity also means a wealth of plants, and one never knows where the next heart or cancer drug may come from.

Nov 10 2001 | Read Full Review of Cultivating Delight: A Natura...


Without straying from her own Ithaca, N.Y., garden, Ackerman, an erudite Cornell University humanities professor, plays both sleuth and poet, complimenting Mother Nature on her beauty (winter is a spider, "spinning its white web in the trees") and power (spring races north at 47.6 feet per second...

Oct 29 2001 | Read Full Review of Cultivating Delight: A Natura...

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