Sanctuary Gardening – Two Books Reviewed

Over the years I have heard from many gardeners that their garden is their sanctuary – the place they go to get away from the slings and arrows of ill fortune. Their garden is the place they go to recuperate, relax, and refresh themselves. Now there are a pair of books to help newbie gardeners create a sanctuary garden space for themselves – Creating Sanctuary and Everyday Sanctuary Workbook, both by Jessi Bloom, published by Timber Press.



Are These Books Necessary?

I belong to a cadre of folks that have been exchanging gardening ideas and tips for most of our lives. At first I was surprised to even consider that anyone would need a book to know how to create a sanctuary. Then I thought again and realized that there is a very real knowledge gap between the generations. I grew up in the country and fell in love with gardens and nature at a tender age. I avidly sought every scrap of gardening and nature knowledge from the elders around me. Grandma Soule, Grandpa Henry, neighbor Moses Cerasoli, Farmer Griggs down the road, Friend Wilmer Brant, and the list goes on. Now days most kids grow up and live in an urban environment – so yes, books are needed.


Creating Sanctuary

In Creating Sanctuary Author Jessi Bloom focuses on the triptych of using your garden as a sanctuary. The first section is about creating the sanctuary space itself and filling it with things meaningful to you that will bolster your sense of peace and joy. In the second section she discusses plant based healing – she calls it Botanical Alchemy. The third section delves into nurturing yourself, and forming daily practices to achieve happiness and well-being.


Everyday Sanctuary Workbook

If you need someone to help you stay on task, then this workbook would be a helpful addition to your library. It offers ample space for you to enter your progress. Nicely, the lines for your entries are spaced wide for those of us that write large. The whole idea is for this to be a relaxing exercise, not an effort in cramped penmanship.


Creating Sanctuary Content

For my Southwestern readers, the first and third sections can be very useful. Jessi discusses how to go about looking at your yard with new eyes. She advocates removing items that cause you stress and replacing them with things that bring you peace. I would jump in here with the reminder that the Seven Principles of Xeriscape say that if you want lawn – have some. Same goes for water features. Water in the garden, especially in the Southwest, goes a long way toward creating a sanctuary.


The second section? Most of the fifty herbs in the second section will not grow in our climate so you can skip it. (Yes, you could purchase dried herbs in specialty shops online.) If you want fifty herbs to grow in our climate, I recommend Father Kino’s Herbs:Growing and Using Them Today.  More abut Father Kino and why he is so special to the Southwest – here.

Final Answer

Jessi Bloom writes well and offers many well thought out tips for creating your own sanctuary it the two books. I can only give the combo four stars because the middle section of the primary book is of limited usefulness to my readers in the Southwest.

gardening-with-souleIf you live in Southeastern Arizona, please come to one of my free lectures. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including “Father Kino’s Herbs:Growing and Using Them Today.” (Tierra del Sol Press). This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there I will get a few pennies.
Better yet – visit a local source and help our local economy – like Antigone Books, Mostly Books, Tohono Chul Park, and Rillito Nursery. See our “Products” page for other places to purchase.

© Article copyright by Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. Republishing an entire blog post or article is prohibited without permission.  And no stealing the photos!

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