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Growing Home

Stories of Ethnic Gardening

2000
Author:

Susan Davis Price
Photography by John Gregor

Growing Home

A lavishly illustrated look at the extraordinary creations of Minnesota gardeners from around the world.

This beautiful book brings together interviews and photographs of more than thirty Minnesotans who have imported the style and tradition of their native or ancestral lands into their gardening. Susan Davis Price relates the fascinating stories of these people’s lives as she explores gardening techniques and plants brought from every part of the globe.

This book is a delight from beginning to end. It’s a book of tales, all of them true, of recent immigrants and the gardens they have created. These ordinary yet extraordinary people grow both ornamentals and edibles as links to the homes of their childhoods and the cultures they left behind. Growing Home is beautifully illustrated with John Gregor’s color photos of gardens and gardeners. Charmingly, a photograph of the gardener as a child in his or her native land is also included where possible. This is an excellent bedtime book; each chapter is complete in itself. Growing Home reminds me of what gives us our greatest strength as a nation: the hybrid vigor we gain from the blend of cultures that is America.

American Gardener

This beautiful book brings together interviews and photographs of more than thirty Minnesotans who have imported the style and tradition of their native or ancestral lands into their gardening. Susan Davis Price relates the fascinating stories of these people’s lives as she explores gardening techniques and plants brought from every part of the globe.

We meet Finnish-born Maiju Köntii, who cultivates the beautiful roses of her homeland, and Polish native Danuta Mazurek, who manages to grow the colorful, leafy alpines of the old country in her small urban yard. John Maire moved to Minnesota from the Sudan and has encouraged many fellow Africans to reconnect to communal life through the Immigrant Farmers Coalition and a group farm located near Elk River. Next to their downtown Minneapolis high-rise, a group of Korean Americans grows a Peace Garden, which includes wild sesame and the lovely and edible Chinese bellflower.

The profiles in Growing Home also feature American-born citizens who use their gardening as a link to their cultural past. Minnesota native Kevin Oshima yearned for a connection to his Japanese heritage and eventually earned the title "bonsai master" for his success in growing these temperamental trees. Seitu Jones considers his attempt to keep the city green a tribute to "all the marvelous, unsung black folks who’ve been gardening for years."

Well over one hundred beautiful color images highlight this unique look at how ordinary people create the extraordinary in their own backyards. Growing Home will delight not only gardeners but also readers of all backgrounds and interests.

Awards

American Horticultural Society Horticultural Book Award Winner (2001)

Growing Home

Susan Davis Price is the author of Minnesota Gardens: An Illustrated History, which won the Quill and Trowel Award from the Garden Writers’ Association of America. Her writing has also appeared in Midwest Home and Garden, Minnesota Horticulturalist, American Gardener, and Victorian Homes.

John Gregor, owner of ColdSnap Photography, is a regular contributor to Midwest Home and Garden, Minnesota Monthly, and The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer.

Growing Home

This book is a delight from beginning to end. It’s a book of tales, all of them true, of recent immigrants and the gardens they have created. These ordinary yet extraordinary people grow both ornamentals and edibles as links to the homes of their childhoods and the cultures they left behind. Growing Home is beautifully illustrated with John Gregor’s color photos of gardens and gardeners. Charmingly, a photograph of the gardener as a child in his or her native land is also included where possible. This is an excellent bedtime book; each chapter is complete in itself. Growing Home reminds me of what gives us our greatest strength as a nation: the hybrid vigor we gain from the blend of cultures that is America.

American Gardener

Whether you love to read books about gardens or about gardeners, there’s a special book about both. It’s called Growing Home: Stories of Ethnic Gardening, written by award-winning St. Paul author Susan Davis Price. Growing Home is not about how to garden; it is a treasury of gardening stories about a diverse group of gardeners who re-created the gardens they knew in their formative years—gardens that reflect their ethnic backgrounds and traditions. Davis Price’s care for her subjects shows in her straightforward and respectful narratives that let the gardeners tell their stories themselves. I found it thrilling to read about these gardeners and their wonderful gardens. Although the book is attractive enough to grace any coffee table, it is much more than a coffee-table book because it’s filled with gorgeous color portraits of people, plants and gardens taken by local photographer John Gregor. Growing Home is the perfect book for spring, because a busy gardener can easily read one short chapter at a time.

Deb Brown, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Growing Home should not only attract veteran gardeners but those who may want to try out their ‘green thumbs.’ After reading the book, it’s hard not to go out into your garden and start digging or planting. A diverse cross-section of gardeners of European, Native American, Asian and African backgrounds create what can only be described as a montage of many gardening elements, including the introduction to many plants that Midwestern gardeners have not tried in their own gardens. The expertise of Price as an author is evident. The book is full of excellent photography by John Gregor.

Grand Forks Herald

Beautiful and authoritative.

New Prague Times

Award-winning Minnesota garden writer Susan Davis Price has assembled a beautiful coffee table book, Growing Home, which takes a different approach to gardening in the North Star State. The book is divided ethnically, an unusual ploy that kept me turning the glossy pages very rapidly.

Dave Wood’s Book Report

The amazing thing I found in each story was the commonality of each person’s thoughts on gardening. They created a garden to be organically connected when cut off from their culture, planting seeds and cuttings that had been brought from the old country. Susan Davis Price’s book gives us an insight into our own backgrounds, as well as those she illustrates. It is charmingly set out with photographs by John Gregor,as well as photographs of many of the participants framed by gardens in their old countries.

Barbara Hill on WCAL

Growing Home offers a brief glimpse into gardening’s many cultural influences and is a must read for any gardener.

Duluth Budgeteer News

Lust color photos by John Gregor grace the volume, which will be enjoyed by practicing and armchair gardeners alike.

Minnesota History

Growing Home will one day become a garden history reference, if only to illustrate just how much American gardening has changed in the postwar period. It profiles 31 Minnesota gardeners who have imported plants and horticultural traditions of their native or ancestral lands. An impressive diversity of ethnic backgrounds is presented, but Susan Davis Price has chosen to emphasize the similarities of these gardeners more than their differences.

Horticulture