This book’s seed was planted in 2006 in South Haven, Michigan, at the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, at one of its first weekly series of programs, which we called Brown Bag Botany. These were free summer lunch presentations, given on warm, halcyon days behind the white clapboard homestead of Bailey’s parents, just about a mile from Lake Michigan. They took place underneath a grand, mature black walnut tree planted when the surrounding land was still the old Bailey farm. Never lacking for content, Bailey’s instructional books in the museum library were an easy means to create easy programs. This was my introduction, as the museum’s first director, to his writings, which, despite being removed nearly a century from our own time, were readable, engaging, and, frankly, a hit. His voice spoke. Local folks, sitting around picnic tables under the old tree, would nod along to passages, laugh at moments of Bailey’s sparkling wit, and sometimes be moved to applause. Museum newsletters featuring his work would lead to museum blog posts, which in turn would lead to small in-house reprints of out-of-print material. So began a natural process to bring together for the first time an anthology of Liberty Hyde Bailey’s most inspirational garden writings, which evolved into a labor of love to track down as many such pieces in Bailey’s massive oeuvre as possible....
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