Herbs and the Earth:

An Evocative Excursion into the Lore & Legend of Our Common Herbs

Lavender, basil, hyssop, balm, sage, rue — the thinking gardener’s guide to herbs. Writer and naturalist Henry Beston, a founding father of the environmental movement, believed that a strong connection to nature is essential. “It is only when we are aware of the earth and of the earth as poetry that we truly live,” Beston says in his now-classic Herbs and the Earth. In this book, Beston shares one of those connections as seen through the oldest group of plants known to gardeners.

“A garden of herbs,” he writes, “is a garden of things loved for themselves in their wholeness and integrity. It is not a garden of flowers, but a garden of plants which are sometimes very lovely flowers and are always more than flowers.” Whether you are already a committed herbalist or just dreaming of planting your first small garden, this book is a powerfully rich source of inspiration and information. As Roger B. Swain observes in his moving introduction, Herbs and the Earth has an intensity that evokes the herbs themselves, as if, pressed between the pages, their aroma has seeped into the pages.


Herbs and the Earth is written by a man whose heart and soul, nourished by the sun, rain, and soil, open like blossoms in his own garden. His beautiful prose unconsciously approaches poetry and ones finds oneself reading its cadences as though it were free verse.”
New York Times

“A book for two kinds of readers—for garden lovers and for word lovers. If the two happen to be united in one person, as they are in the author, so much the greater chance for the reader to find enjoyment in the book.”
Christian Science Monitor

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Henry Beston was a writer/naturalist and a founder of the modern environmental movement.

Roger B. Swain was the longtime host of the gardening television series The Victory Garden on PBS and People, Places, and Plants on HGTV. He holds a PhD in Biology from Harvard University and has written five books about gardening.