This book charts my journey from tentative beginnings with my first show garden to an understanding of the restorative power of gardens at a hospital and a slow realization that some of the worst aspects of the Anthroposcene – the current geological age where human activity has been the dominant influence on the environment and climate change – can, if we let it, be mitigated and even fixed by plants. But it’s not that easy. Humans don’t think logically or compassionately when it comes to their tastebuds. While we’re happy taking what gardens can provide to heal us, we’re not so good at reciprocating, and the largest garden of all, planet earth, may soon cease to provide if we don’t change our ways.
My hope is that people who value gardens and horticulture and benefit from what they provide consider the far-reaching consequences of their actions and food choices, and commit to giving something back to ensure a more sustainable future for all beings that share this Garden of Eden. My hope, also, is that some of my betterknown and more influential contemporaries will accept this baton of compassion and run with it, fanfaring the message more eloquently and more forcefully, so that those who think I’m barking up a tree that is too inconvenient for them will sit up and listen.
The scope of the book is, perhaps, a little ambitious. Some chapters warrant a whole book in themselves. Statistics have been taken from sources available at the time of writing, and will almost certainly change by the time this book is published and change again when you find one for sale in your local charity shop. The resources section provides links to websites where statistics are updated from time to time. Readers might dismiss some figures as vegan propaganda and look for loopholes in discussions about the environment, landscape and health to justify the ongoing treatment of animals that is often described as a holocaust.1 However, one must understand that such propaganda comes from a good place, not from greed, sensory pleasure or profit. It’s a desire to live an altruistic life that is considerate and compassionate in the full understanding that our choices have consequences and that these consequences may well involve a victim of violence, torture or exploitation.
While there will be references to things we can do as vegan gardeners, this is not a concise guide to how to garden veganically. There are other books and websites that do this admirably and they are listed in the resources and further reading sections. The book is an attempt to inspire those with a natural predisposition to wildlife and environmentally friendly gardening to go just one step further and make a simple but significant step towards a more compassionate way of life by aligning actions with morals.
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