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Eugene Weekly : Books : 5.8.08




Buddha in the Garden

BY SUZI STEFFEN

PLANT SEED, PULL WEED: Nurturing the Garden of Your Life, nonfiction by Geri Larkin. HarperOne, 2008. Hardcover, $24.95.

Garden with intention. Be generous, patient, energetic and persevering.

And whoo boy, you'll not only grow amazing vegetables, but according to former Seattleite and now Eugenean Geri Larkin, you'll gain some Buddhist insight along the way. Or you can, if you read Larkin's book and consider how to apply some of the Buddhist tenets she discusses to the world of seeds, weeds, slugs, bugs, snails and compost pails. Excuse the rhyming; the book, which has problems with cutesy phrasing and self-satisfied tales of service, gets one in that kind of a mood.

Still, there are useful pieces of advice, especially for inexperienced gardeners. Larkin notes that one of her favorite garden writers "is hilariously grumpy" — just about the opposite of her own book — but she has some advantages, like a recipe for stir-fried dandelions. That's the perfect reward for patient hand-pullers. Little pleasures like the recipe dot the digression-laden pages and make persistence in reading worthwhile. Geri Larkin reads from Plant Seed, Pull Weed at 5 pm Saturday, May 10, at Tsunami Books.