Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of my Garden, Diane Ackerman, 2001 

Ackerman uses the cycle of the seasons to take us on a tour of her garden via her senses.  We see, smell, touch, hear, and taste (yes, even tea made from mint she grows) the garden which she’s created in her yard near Ithaca, New York.  Winters are cold and hard, but even that season has sights that delight.  Using her background as a biologist, Ackerman tosses in the occasional factoid (count a cricket’s chirps over 15 seconds and add 37 to calculate the Fahrenheit temperature.)  to keep us focused.  Overall, though, this is a sensual love affair with plants, especially roses of which she appears to have several dozen varieties.  She sums up my feelings about the garden in May/June when she says that “every morning I awake to a surprise in the garden….and if heaven forbid, I go away overnight, I return to a garden I barely recognize.” She quotes from Hawthorne who wrote about his garden at the Old Manse in 1846 as follows:  “My garden was precisely the right extent.  An hour or two of morning labor was all that it required.  But I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day and stand in deep contemplation with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.”  Can’t sum up gardening better than that.  This is a lovely book with some wonderful descriptions of a New England garden.