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Herbs and the Earth

Herbs and the Earth

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

by Henry Beston
Introduction by Roger B. Swain
Afterword by Bill McKibben

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Product Details

Nonpareil Books

ISBN: 978-1-56792-773-3
Pages: 136
Size: 5.25" x 7.5"
Published: April 2024
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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.

This Nonpareil edition includes a new afterword by Bill McKibben.


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
“Charming, delightful, and a great companion for gardeners and naturalists alike.” —Booklist
“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
Henry Beston
Henry Beston was a founding spirit of the modern environmental movement. A New England naturalist, he had his first great success with Outermost House, the journal of a solitary year spent on a Cape Cod beach. Mr. Beston’s “chosen home,” however, was a farm in Maine where he wrote Herbs and the Earth.

Roger B. Swain
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.

Bill McKibben
Bill McKibben is a New England-based environmentalist, educator, and writer. He is the editor of the Library of America volume, American Earth, and author of more than a dozen books including the bestselling Falter, Deep Economy, and The End of Nature, which was the first book to warn the general public about the climate crisis. He lives in Vermont.