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Why did Marcel Proust have bonsai beside his bed? What was Jane Austen doing, coveting an apricot? How was Friedrich Nietzsche inspired by his 'thought tree'?

In Philosophy in the Garden, Damon Young explores one of literature's most intimate relationships: authors and their gardens. For some, the garden provided a retreat from workaday labour; for others, solitude's quiet counsel. For all, it played a philosophical role: giving their ideas a new life.

Philosophy in the Garden
reveals the profound thoughts discovered in parks, backyards and pot-plants. It does not provide tips for mowing overgrown cooch grass, or mulching a dry Japanese maple. It is a philosophical companion to the garden's labours and joys.


Reading this book is like strolling in a luxuriant garden with an erudite friend …

The Age

Fluent and stylish and never marred by cliches or cliched thinking...

The Australian

A touching, delightful book...Every chapter is a succinct and pleasing discovery.

The Courier-Mail

A stimulating read…packed with brilliant literary info.

The West Australian

This is a gardening book that takes readers not on a walk around great estates but on a tour of great minds...in this touching, delightful book, we discover how thinking, sensitive human beings in history did their best work in nature.

Julie Thomson, The Courier-Mail

Reading Young's book is like taking a long stroll with a charming and expansive friends in the cool of a summer evening.

Miriam Cosic, The Weekend Australian

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    December 3, 2012

    Melbourne University Press

    208 pages

    RRP $27.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    December 3, 2012

    Melbourne University Press Digital

    208 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Damon Young

My Brother is a Beast
The Art of Reading
My Sister is a Superhero
My Pop is a Pirate
My Nanna is a Ninja


The Road Less Travelled
The Choice
The Book of Joy
Beyond Good And Evil
The Republic
Straight Jacket
The Prophet
Dawn of the New Everything
Self Power
Brutal Simplicity of Thought
Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance
Animal Liberation
On Listening
Seriously Funny
The Path