Spring Rain: A Life Lived in Gardens
Published by: Greystone Books
Imprint: Greystone Books
Sales Date: 2023-04-04
Published: April 2023
Imprint: Greystone Books
Page Count: 240 Pages
Illustrations: B&W Illustrations
Dimensions: 5.50 x 7.75
240 Pages, 5.50 x 7.75 x 0.70 in, B&W Illustrations
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"Marc Hamer knows how to live—simply, sparely, reverently, abundantly. Spring Rain is a tonic for the soul."—Sy Montgomery, author of How to Be A Good Creature
From the beloved author of How to Catch a Mole and Seed to Dust comes a highly original memoir of childhood, old age, and the restorative power of gardens.
Best enjoyed in a single sitting under the shade of a tree, this inventive and curative book captures the moment when an adventurous young boy who traveled the world in his mind meets the old man he becomes. Together, they build a new garden from a neglected plot behind his house on the edge of town.
Retired professional gardener Marc Hamer has always found the answers to life's questions in the natural world, whether as a child watching ants, as a young man living homeless in the countryside, or as a professional gardener creating places of calm and restoration for others. Now in his sixties, he is finally creating a garden for himself, at his home in Cardiff, Wales. This moving memoir follows his process as he shares what he's learned, from the spring of youth to his autumn years, and reflects on how we reconcile our childhoods with where we end up.
In Hamer's own words, "Spring Rain is about the joy of your own back garden. It is a story about the joy of small things, the world in a grain of sand, a universe in a small garden, with love for all the insects and slugs and flowers and weeds and seeds and roots and boundaries and shade and weather that the garden contains."
"Marc Hamer knows how to live—simply, sparely, reverently, abundantly. Spring Rain is a tonic for the soul."
—Sy Montgomery, author of How to Be A Good Creature
"Patterned with Hamer's gifts for observation, compression, and tone. . . I tend to think of a garden story as inevitably circular: every winter is followed by a spring, again and again. Hamer's garden story has that element, but it is as neighborly with the mortal arrow as it is with the return."
—Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker
"[B]eautifully descriptive, lyrical. . . This ultimately hopeful memoir, with the natural world seamlessly woven throughout, will appeal to gardeners, natural history buffs, and those who relish natural history?framed memoirs like Margaret Renkl's Late Migrations and Meredith May's The Honey Bus."
"Let the gentleness of Spring Rain wash over you. Marc Hamer beautifully evokes the memories of a harsh childhood and his journey to a wise and peaceful adulthood. Set against the backdrop of a garden, this is a memoir that will restore your soul."
—Pamela Klinger-Horn, The Valley Bookseller
"I find Hamer's writing so profound that it must be read slowly in order to fully absorb the medicine it is to one's soul. Although epic in its gifts, it is based in the simpler ways of life, one hand always touching the earth. This is a tale of two timelines, one in his childhood and how he was initially pulled to the natural world, and the other in his retirement, finding a mutual understanding between himself and the piece of land under his care. Beautiful!"
—Becky Doherty, Northshire
"Marc Hamer, in the third in his Gardener's Chronicle, alternates chapters in this short and moving book between his meditative, accepting present and his unsteady, unpromising beginning. . . This book is at times heartbreaking, but ultimately, heartening."
—Suzanne Morgan, Politics & Prose
"As a fan of Seed to Dust, I gladly re-entered the world, life and inner workings of Marc Hamer again with his new book Spring Rain. His memoirs work as mediations on life and nature and are wonderful to read and relax into."
—Lorna Ruby, Wellesley Books
"Marc Hamer is my nature guru! His little books connect me to nature while adding life wisdom to the garden experience. A wonderful quiet stop when things get to hectic! Love his books!"
—Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette
"Even better than his last! I am relishing the slow, meditative swings between childhood and old age, between gardens fine and humble, between lack and abundance. This reckoning of a life lived outdoors and one last garden, one last creation, is the perfect balm to online chaos and the perfect accompaniment to a muddy spring day. It is inspiring me to clear out previous failed attempts and pick up a trowel and begin anew."
—Michaela Riding, King?s English Bookshop
"In alternating dual narratives, Hamer's deeply moving third book both fills out the back story of the teenager who walked away from home without plan or destination (eventually learning How to Catch a Mole) and follows the successful gardener of Seed to Dust into retirement. These two identities—as distinct as they are similar—mesh in Hamer's richly observant and lyrical prose."
—Laurie Greer, Politics & Prose
"The deepest and most profoundly thought-proving book I have ever read is Spring Rain. I read it as slowly as I could and still wanted to reread it as soon as it ended."
—Nancy Pierce, Bookmiser
Praise for Marc Hamer
"A wonderful memoir. . . hands down the most charming book I read last year."
—Margaret Renkl, The New York Times
"Mr. Hamer has found his ideal calling in this book stitched together from small essays, a genre in which such capricious mutability of opinion is not only tolerated but encouraged. Through his words, we connect with the ultimate text, the landscape itself."
—Wall Street Journal
"[Marc Hamer's] wonderful book, How to Catch a Mole, is a beautiful, elegiac ode to a remarkable creature. Each page is filled with wonder, love, regret, humility and a sense of wonder (and oneness) with nature."
"We even come to identify with the elusive, fossorial animal, its plight not so different from our own."
—Margaret Roach, The New York Times
"Hamer's signature prose, rich with precise, detailed observations that evoke the luminous wonder that informs and illuminates all being, is on full display. . . A book to savour, reflect upon and re-read."
—The Vancouver Sun
"Seed to Dust is a magical amalgamation of memoir, natural history, philosophy and gardening, a breathtaking narrative that transcends genre and geography. Fans of Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk and Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek will find Hamer to be a kindred spirit. Candid, tender, thoughtful and absorbing, Seed to Dust is that rare book that will appeal to nonfiction readers everywhere."
—Shelf Awareness STARRED Review
"Hamer's plant wisdom is his way of understanding culture at large. . . Life's affirmation is to be found everywhere in [Seed to Dust]."
"This account of a year in the life of the garden Hamer tends in Wales is, naturally, as much about the gardener as the life in his care. . . [T]here is entrancing natural lore in this distinctive memoir."
"Hamer has a canny way of divining the sacred in the quotidian."
"I'm so grateful that this kindred spirit set aside his tools awhile and came indoors to write. No facet of nature, however subtle, eludes Marc Hamer—and I relish being invited along on each intimate adventure."
—Margaret Roach, author of A Way to Garden