Seed to Dust - A Gardener's Story

Author(s): Marc Hamer


For readers of Late Migrations and Vesper Flights

A meditative and powerful memoir, in which a gardener explores the cycle of growth and decay that runs through both the garden's life­­--and our own.

Beginning in January, and extending for one full year, each chapter in this arresting memoir depicts a single month in the life of gardener Marc Hamer, who has nurtured the same 12-acre garden in the Welsh countryside for over two decades. The garden is vast and intricate. It is rarely visited, and only Hamer knows all of its secrets. But it's not his garden. It belongs to his employer: the wealthy, elegant, and mysterious Miss Cashmere.

But the garden does not really belong to her, either.

As Hamer plants dahlias in April and gathers apples in October, mows meadows in July and clears brush in November, he presents an unusual portrait of the garden: like a book, the garden belongs to everyone who sees it--and everyone will find something different to admire.

With the changing seasons, Hamer shares the unusual names, folklores, and histories of his beloved plants. He describes creatures who hide and scurry in the foliage. He tells of the growth and decay that govern the life of the garden, and his own. He recounts his happy childhood, then living homeless as a young man, meeting the love of his life, and--now--feeling the effects of old age on his body and mind.

He also reflects on the many changes in Miss Cashmere's life since he has worked for her: the death of her husband, whose funeral he observed from afar. The departure of her children from the stately home where she now lives alone, and where Hamer has never been.

At the book's end, Hamer's connection to Miss Cashmere changes shape, and new insights into relationships, work, and the beauty and brutality of nature emerge. Just like a garden, Seed to Dust is filled with equal parts sadness, joy, death, life, love, and loss.


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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9781787302068
  • : Penguin Random House
  • : Harvill Secker
  • : January 2021
  • : {"length"=>["20.4"], "width"=>["13.2"], "units"=>["Centimeters"]}
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Hardback
  • : 416