From the first chapter when Michel admits to being an eccentric gardener, to the ending with a prompt to garden forward, Michel's missives make you think. And she knows how laughter makes thinking much more pleasant.
Take Chapter 27, The Gardening Equation. Michel actually comes up with an equation, which scared the heck out of me at first, until I realized it contained no x's or y's, meaning it probably wasn't one of those quirky conundrums that gave me nightmares in school. So I figured at first that it was a Dave Barry-style chapter. (I'd describe Barry as a humor writer who makes the ridiculous sublime.)
But no. Chapter 27's equation works--and without having Bob get on a train and figure out when he'll get to Poughkeepsie if the wheels rotate 27,386 times. Michel points out (but in a nice way) that you don't have to be a math major to figure out how much mulch to buy to cover, say, the row of yews in front of your house. But this chapter is essential if you think you might be doing something wrong, or even if you're not certain you should grow anything at all for fear of being ridiculed by your neighbors.
While long-time gardeners will see themselves in most of the chapters, Michel hopes her book also might fall into the hands of the "Great Ungardened." She doesn't use the term in a negative way, but as a way to describe anyone whose interest is piqued by a potted plant or even by the concept of growing a few vegetables.
Potted and Pruned: Living A Gardening Life is a small book that packs a big inspiration. It's best taken in a bit at a time, like a recipe book for ideas and little stories you'll find amusing, sentimental, or just what you needed to coax you into the garden.
More of Carol Michel's work can be found at her award-winning blog site, www.maydreamsgardens.com.