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with Felder Rushing


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Slow Gardening(R)   



Slow Gardening Wikipedia link

It's a no-brainer, comparing modern gardens to how we eat. In just a couple or three generations we've gone from eating mostly home-cooked food and gardening with mostly local resources, to routine fast-food and "mow-and-blow" landscapes filled with plants from afar.

Waistlines have been supersized while garden sizes have withered. Why bother to grow when you can just run to the store and get prepackaged? Instead of sowing saved seed, we buy uniform hybrids by the six-pack, shipped to us at a huge cost. Sure, we've shed a lot of the menial work of putting both food on the table and flowers in the garden, but at what cost to the connections with the Earth that our ancestors took for granted?

Slow Gardening to the rescue! Similar to Slow Food(Tm) , an international movement started in Italy in the 1980s by convivial connoisseurs who savor producing, preparing and consuming traditional in-season dishes, a "slow gardening" approach can help us enjoy our gardens year in and year out and possibly connect us with our neighbors.

Though Slow Gardening is a big tent under which many different activities can co-exist, it typically includes a lot of "green" approaches, many of which are also promoted in Permaculture and other sustainable, year-round gardening efforts. Even those who love their "hobby lawns" can enjoy their passion with less intensive maintenance and input, especially with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

Some ways to enjoy Slow Gardening:

Take it easy.Life has lots of pressures--why include them in the garden? Your garden provides natural opportunities to kick back, relax, step off the treadmill. Think "long haul" and take your time.

       Cliches can help: No need to go whole hog right off the bat. Don't have to eat the whole enchilada.

Grow plants of all descriptions - native or well-adapted - that like your climate and provide something for you and local wildlife through all seasons. Include plants for evening enjoyhment, and at least a little home-grown food (herbs, vegetables, or landscape-quality fruit plants).

Get 'er done. You don't have to be an expert to garden, or even to work very hard. Even a small potted plant can help you focus on the "here and now" of everyday living.

Get together. Gardeners have always been a sharing tribe. Find a safe group of like-minded folks who won't impose their expectations onto you or your garden, grab a digging fork and slip right into the rhythm of the seasons.

Slow doesn't necessarily mean lazy. An English writer said that Slow Gardening is "the last bastion of the patient" - so true, in our fast paced world! And we gardeners can even help save something even more precious than our own time; as Steve Bender, senior garden editor for Southern Living Magazine put it, "Maybe you can't save the whole world, but by slightly modifying the way you garden you can save your own backyard. And that's a start."





In 2009 Felder, who has worked in Italy with Carlo Petrini (founder of the global Slow Food movement), was featured in full-length article

in the New York Times for his role in introducing and promoting the Slow Gardening concept. Rushing has gardened on four continents,

discovering that, with minor variations in plant selection and seasonal activities, most of what gardeners do everywhere is very similar.

For a simple checklist of a few good Slow Gardening practices, click here!


Felder's home-grown tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil


I had a blast recently on a hot August morning at Latitudes in Jackson, just relaxing and

chatting about gardening, making tomato sandwiches, and sipping iced tea. I also did a surreptitious survey: of the dozens of invited guests to come by, about half preferred whole wheat to white bread, and roughly 3 out of 5 chose real mayonnaise over Miracle Whip salad dressing. Wish I had a photo of the little boy who had his very first tomato sandwich that morning - precious!


A few related shots










The new SLOW GARDENING book is now available!

Chelsea Green Publishers

distributes Slow Gardening to bookstores for purchase.

Any book store can order copies quickly if temporarily out of stock.

If you want a personalized signed copy

shoot Felder an email and we'll work out

the details of payment and shipping:




"Felder knows that if gardening isn't fun, it isn't worth doing. So if 'power gardening' has emptied your wallet and sent your blood pressure soaring like a condor on caffeine, give yourself a break. Try Slow Gardening."--Steve Bender, Southern Living Magazine

"Slow Gardening is a delight-a welcome stress-free approach, refreshing in its simplicity and firmly placing the gardener in their own space, at their own pace."--Sandy Felton, Reckless Gardener UK

"Felder's enjoyment-based approach, which is what I do and teach but didn't have a name for til now, is sustainable gardening at its most enjoyable-without the usual anxiety over doing something wrong."--Susan Harris, cofounder, GardenRant and founder, Sustainable-Gardening

"Slow gardening is about enjoying your garden and thus if your flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds make sure you have a nice garden seat where you can watch the action... This sounds a lot like eco-friendly gardening to me and that is a good thing. Now this is a gardening practice that is right up my alley and maybe yours too." - Michael Smith, Green Living Review (UK)

"Between the covers of Slow Gardening, Felder mixes his famous Southern wit and wisdom with hard science. Leave it to Felder to come up with the 'slow' theme that entices beginning and intermediate gardeners to get their hands into the dirt in a variety of unique ways."--Rosalind Creasy, author, Edible Landscaping and member, Garden Writers Association Hall of Fame


"Felder Rushing, a well-known and truly one-of-a-kind garden expert, offers this practical yet philosophical approach to gardening - one that will help you slow down, take stock of your yard, and follow your own creative whimsy in the garden."

"Slow Gardening will inspire you to slip into the rhythm of the seasons, take it easy, and get more enjoyment out of your garden, all at the same time."

Kirkus Reviews-

Achieve gardening nirvana by employing basic principles and a don't-worry-be-happy attitude.

All too often, gardeners make the mistake of becoming preoccupied with what the neighbors might think instead of designing gardens for their own pleasure. Rushing, author of 16 gardening books, cautions gardeners against falling into this trap; plant perfection, he writes, especially cosmetic perfection, is not obtainable-so why even try? If something doesn't work out, just throw it in the compost pile and plant something else. It is this attitude that sets this book apart from other gardening how-to books. Embracing the author's gardening philosophy will allow readers to savor their time out in the dirt. Rushing's bit-by-bit approach is likely to encourage gardeners of all enthusiasm levels. The author's slow and natural approach should strike a chord with those who are tired of quick-fix alternatives in the backyard.

Publishers Weekly-

Though the title suggests that this will be a guide to low-maintenance, low-anxiety gardening, garden lecturer and author Rushing (Passalong Plants) invites gardeners to make enjoyment and creative expression central to the gardening experience. Whether one loves strict formality or careless chaos, Rushing delightfully urges gardeners to follow their own bliss in the garden. Rushing is a horticultural inspirational speaker who offers solid advice along with encouragement. Beginning gardeners will benefit from his hard-won tricks of the trade, proven plant combinations, and easy maintenance plans. The more experienced will appreciate his tips on making compost, propagating plants, and engaging all the senses in the garden. All will find some inspiration in his infectious enthusiasm and good humor. 126 color photos.

New York Journal of Books-

Felder Rushing’s Slow Gardening: A No-Stress Philosophy for All Senses and Seasons is an answer to that insane “extreme makeover” take on gardening. Mr. Rushing’s slow approach is about “savoring what you are doing.” For him, it’s not just about the garden—it’s also about the gardening and the gardener.Mr. Rushing goes on to offer not just his philosophy of gardening but page after page of fun and useful ideas. With an emphasis on sustainability, both for the garden and the gardener, he provides tips on how to garden as well as how to enjoy it.”

Sioux City Journal-

In his new book, "Slow Gardening" (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011, $29.95), Felder Rushing provides an impassioned defense of what seems to me like old-fashioned, common sense gardening. Inspired by the Slow Food movement, Rushing encourages people to savor their time in the garden and focus on whatever kind of gardening makes them happy. Slow Gardening is a style, not a bunch of how-to tips, he says. If you're a gardener who enjoys coddling plants, fine. If not, Rushing points out that some plants are so dependable that even dead people can grow them. Don't believe that? Just look at all the plants that have been prospering in old cemeteries. Interspersed throughout this light-hearted book are dozens of thought-provoking or humorous quotations. From John Steinbeck, for example: "I've lived in a good climate, and it bores the hell out of me..."

Memphis City Magazine-

Gardening in the Mid-South without Felder Rushing seems not only impossible but incredibly boring. As quirky as he is experienced, Rushing is a much-loved columnist and lecturer who believes gardening is about bliss and whimsy. His new book combines both attitudes under the title "Slow Gardening: A No-Stress Philosophy for All Senses and Seasons."

Taking a cue from the slow food movement, Rushing encourages gardeners to ease up on themselves and the environment. In other words, slow gardening is good for you and your surroundings. This philosophy percolates through Slow Gardening like an easy spring rain. In six different chapters on such topics as psychology, landscaping, plants, and practices, Rushing offers advice, photos, and a sustainable spin for America’s favorite hobby that might make you head for the hammock instead of the hoe.


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Felder Rushing is a 10th-generation American gardener who has written and photographed widely in the gardening world, and lectures constantly across the country and overseas. He splits his time between his celebrated cottage garden is Mississippi and a rural farm in Shropshire, in scenic western England. Among his numerous credits: host of NPR-affiliate Gestalt Gardening radio program, weekly "garden answer" guy for Home and Garden Television, author or co-author of eighteen gardening books, contributing editor to Horticulture and Garden Design magazines and distinctly non-stuffy national board member of the American Horticultural Society. He has written and photographed for Fine Gardening, Organic Gardening, the National Geographic, Better Homes & Gardens, House and Garden, Landscape Architecture and many others. His garden has been featured in numerous magazines and books, including A Man's Garden, Southern Living, and three full features in the New York Times. Write to Felder at  


See what else Felder has been up to over at

or hear his NPR-affiliate Gestalt Gardener radio podcast HERE.



NOTE: Slow Gardening is a registred trademark; you will need permission from Felder to use the term in any publication

(print or online, including blogs) - OR simply link your use of it to this site. Thank you!