Radical Gardening

Radical Gardening

Politics, Idealism & Rebellion in the Garden

By George McKay

Frances Lincoln, Paperback, 9780711230309, 224pp.

Publication Date: May 17, 2011

War is the natural occupation of man war-and gardening. - "Winston Churchill to Siegfried Sassoon, 1918"
In the common public perception, contemporary gardening is understood as suburban, as leisure activity, as television makeover opportunity. Its origins are seen as religious or spiritual (Garden of Eden), military (the clipped lawn, the ha-ha and defensive ditches), aristocratic or monarchical (the stately home, the Royal Horticultural Society). Radical Gardening travels an alternative route, through history and across landscape, linking propagation with propaganda. For everyday garden life is not only patio, barbecue, white picket fence, topiary, herbaceous border. From window box to veggie box, from political plot to flower power, this book uncovers and celebrates moments, movements, gestures, of a people's approach to gardens and gardening. It weaves together garden history with the counterculture, stories of individual plants with discussion of government policy, the social history of campaign groups with the pleasure and dirt of hands in the earth, as well as original interviews alongside media, pop and art references, to offer an informing and inspiring new take on an old subject.

About the Author
George McKay is Professor of Media Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK, and an AHRC Leadership Fellow for the Connected Communities programme (2012-15). He was a researcher on the HERA/EUFP7 project Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities (2011-13). Among his books are "Shakin' All Over: Popular Music and Disability" (University of Michigan Press, 2103), "Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden" (Frances Lincoln, 2011), "Circular Breathing: The Cultural Politics of Jazz in Britain" (Duke University Press, 2005), "Community Music: A Handbook" (joint ed. with Pete Moser, Russell House, 2004), "Glastonbury: A Very English Fair" (Gollancz, 2000), "DiY Culture: Party & Protest in Nineties Britain" (ed., Verso, 1998), and "Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties" (Verso, 1996). He has been Professor in Residence at EFG London Jazz Festival (2014) and Kendal Calling (2011). His website is http: //georgemckay.org.