The garden of two old men and the orchard of a lazy woman: ways to improve the world | From the shooter to the city | Culture

Portrait of Reginald Arkell. Editorial Periferica

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“One should not ask why the human being lost the earthly paradise, but why he does not do anything to return to it.” Herbert Pinnegar and Pia Pera have nothing to do with it. And yet both came to similar conclusions. To begin with, one is a character and the other is an author. She, a writer, literature teacher and owner of a farm on the outskirts of Lucca, discovered in nature and the company of her dog Nino de ella a vital generosity that transformed her life and that of the people who loved her. . Bert, for his part, begins his story—the life granted to him by the writer Reginald Arkell—with nothing but little future and ends up as the moral owner of a garden that he does not need to own: “While he was responsible for the garden he never felt like himself. a worker who received a salary. He felt that he was his and, in a way, he was.”

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The garden of the writer Pia Pera is the protagonist of her story: The garden of a lazy woman (Errata Naturae), which, in Italian, has the adjective of “perdigiorni”, someone who lets the days go by. That’s what the book is about. And don’t be fooled, Pera knows that “the orchard wants the man dead”. That is why she tries to escape from this exhaustion by trying to apply the doctrine of “the agriculture of no action” of the Japanese Masanobu Fukuoka, dedicated to caring for orange trees without plowing, pruning or removing weeds. “I had stumbled upon a job, and therefore a teacher, who ruthlessly revealed the shortcomings of my character, and who was precisely for that reason going to teach me how to face them.” The book recounts that year of growth and happiness in Pera herself and in her orchard. With hot days in which the horticultural vocation wavers and they become reading time and days to air the cups —so that the sun floods them and does not leave parasites—. A year of “getting away from work that saddens and invades the soul, stealing space for joy”, that is what this great book is.

Portrait of Pia Pera.Editorial Errata Naturae

Recollections of an English Gardener (Peripheral) is not a novel about constancy, but rather about surprise. Also about affective affinities. With the peace of mind of having withstood plagues, droughts or floods knowing that there is always another spring, we see the life of Bert Pinnegar pass by. “For him all weeds were flowers, while for the farmers all flowers were weeds” to see how different is the pride that comes from having than the one that finds its reason in doing. Pinnegar does. And what he does sometimes is watch, wait. Even shut up. “You planted a tree, you watched it grow, you picked the fruit and, when you grew old, you sat in its shade. Then you died and everyone forgot about you. Still, the tree kept growing. And nobody noticed him. He had always been there and always would be there.”

Cover of ‘The garden of a lazy woman’.

Arkell’s priceless book is strewn with all kinds of reflections. Sometimes cheap: “As with all truly creative pursuits, gardening appeals to the mind and heart more than the pocketbook.” Others, psychological: “There is something about gardens that brings out even the best of us with a fierce possessive streak. All our triumphs, to be truly satisfying, must have their origin in our own individual effort” or “in a garden you cannot be angry for a long time”. There are biological ones: “our life lasts 70 years and, although strong men reach 80, their strength is nothing more than effort and regret”; and even some that it is not easy to decide if they are realistic or idealistic: “If we spent our free time growing flowers instead of talking nonsense, the world would be a happier place.” Pinnegar’s memories are the story of an unlikely friendship — between employer and employee — and an ode to work well done, which is, in reality, work done with the freedom to dare to be wrong.

Cover of ‘Memories of an English gardener’. Peripheral Editorial

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