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Category: gardening

Michelle Obama, author: Her book is coming in 2012

Next spring, when the warm weather brings on thoughts of gardening and summer harvest, Michelle Obama will publish her first book. "American Grown: How the White House Kitchen Garden Inspired Families, Schools and Communities" will be served up in April 2012.

It's the first book for the first lady, who went to Harvard Law and Princeton after starting out in Chicago's public schools. Her work life has included being a lawyer, community activist and staffer at the University of Chicago. During her marriage to Barack Obama, he's published three books: "Dreams From My Father," "The Audacity of Hope" and "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters."

Michelle Obama's kitchen garden is the first to be planted at the White House since since Eleanor Roosevelt's World War II Victory Garden. The fight now is not about trying to make it with scarce resources, as it was then, but about having too much. Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, we are told, and the White House garden is an example of growing vegetables and fruits to eat more healthfully. It's also about sharing that story, which Michelle Obama has done in the past by opening the garden to journalists and school tours.

That story will be told in  "American Grown," which publisher Crown promises wil include "ideas and resources for readers to get involved in the movement to create community, school, and urban gardens, support local farmers’ markets, and make small lifestyle changes to achieve big health results."


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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: The cover of Michelle Obama's "American Grown: How the White House Kitchen Garden Inspired Families, Schools and Communities." Credit: Crown Publishing

A new California garden book from three top horticulturalists

Giving water-guzzling yards a makeover is the focus of "Reimagining the California Lawn: Water-Conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs" by Carol Bornstein, David Fross and Bart O'Brien, three of California's star horticulturalists.

At our sibling blog L.A. at Home, Emily Green has a writeup of "Reimagining the California Lawn":

Bornstein, Fross and O'Brien have kept their focus stubbornly local. They've identified the best plants from our native flora and countries with similar climates. Through their botanic gardens and nursery, they helped to breed these plants into garden cultivars.

This new book, published by Cachuma Press, is a primer on how to use those plants instead of opting for turf.

Like any book on the subject of lawn, “Reimagining” opens by describing the environmental cost of conventional grass landscapes — in grooming lawn, fertilizing it and finally, most disastrous for California, watering it. Yet rather than say we shouldn't have lawn, the book instead offers more responsible ways to keep it, along with examples of lower-impact green spaces involving sedges or native grasses that they call “greenswards.” Also included are models for meadows, succulent gardens, multicolored and textured groundcover treatments called “tapestry gardens,” and kitchen gardens. 

Green concludes, "No other author or imprint can rival Bornstein, Fross and O'Brien's careful selection of species, plant profiles, clear pictures and reliable notes about where each type of plant will thrive and what it will need." The authors will be appearing all over California for book signings in April, at nurseries, garden shows and more.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: Cachuma Press


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