I just received Margaret Rose Realy’s latest book, A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac. I’ve had a chance to thumb through it, and want to go ahead and mention it now, since it has excellent Easter-basket potential.
What it is: A month-by-month tour of the Catholic garden. For each month there are notes on the seasons, the feasts, a selection of saints, spiritual reflections, and practical gardening notes. If you took the pure practicality of A Garden of Visible Prayer, the lived spirituality of Cultivating God’s Garden, and mixed it up with a Catholic version of the Farmer’s Almanac, you’d have this book.
Who will like it: People who like the combination of gardening + Catholic stuff. This is one of those books you leave lying around to pick up for quick snippets of inspiration. If you have a short attention span, or a lifestyle geared towards guerrilla reading tactics, this is your book.
Does it work for out-of-towners? I sampled a few of the practical gardening sections, and they are most definitely rooted in the seasons of the upper Midwest. But since Margaret works from principles, if you’re willing to do the mental time-shift, you can benefit from her tutorials even if you know that where you live, this or that has to be done much sooner or later.
General Impression: Based on my initial look-through, I vote that it’s suited to:
- Me, who likes to garden but does it badly, and of course I like Catholic stuff.
- My mother-in-law, who loves Catholic information and does pots of flowers and low-stress seasonal mini-gardens. (Example: Pile some geraniums around a statue of the Blessed Mother, done.)
- Serious gardeners who are looking for ideas on how to Catholic-up their garden.
- People who just like to read the Farmer’s Almanac, and want a Catholic version.
Lovely book, and yes, it made me want to go play outside. Mission accomplished.