Guest Post: a Book Review

Hello dear friends of the Farmer!

It's Sarah Barry from Spoonful here. I'm guest posting today to tell you about James' FABULOUS new book, A Time to Plant.

I've known James a long time. We were friends at Auburn. He was a groomsman in our wedding. We've traveled the Southeast together on numerous trips in college and post college. Most recently, we carpooled to my home town of Greenville, Mississippi for James to speak to the ladies' garden club --- my two year old son and nursing baby in tow. JTF III is a trooper!

So of course I'm thrilled for my friend, that at the whopping age of 28 he has written and published his very own book. A real book! It sits on my coffee table, and I can't wait to tell all my guests that "Yay, my friend wrote that book."

But I must admit that prior to receiving my copy, I thought "Can it really be that good?" After all, I wasn't getting this information for the first time. I've heard James speak at multiple events, read and re-read each blog post, seen all his photos, discussed with him basic garden philosophies in person, photographed some parties he's given. Honestly, I thought that I would have a 'been there, seen it, done that' mentality when it came to experiencing his book. I hate to admit this, but I was concerned that I would be underwhelmed.

But my experience was much the opposite. I was stunned. Thrilled. Completely enamored from the moment I saw the cover. For one, the book itself is beautiful. The photography on each page is breathtaking as well as the drawings and illustrations.

In the dedication James references the hymn "For the Beauty of the Earth." I love the last lines of the chorus:

"Lord of all to the we raise 
This our hymn of grateful praise."

This book is just that - a hymn of 'grateful praise' to God's glorious creation.

The second thing that struck me about A Time to Plant is it is so incredibly practical. On occasion, James has asked for my input about his blog. To which I always respond by encouraging him to explain things so the po' folks can understand. How can I, a busy mother of two, who can't even find time to take a shower, begin to dabble in a little gardening? And entertaining? Where do I start? Do I grow herbs? How? Do I plant perennials? But which ones? And what time of year do I plant them?

Y'all, it's all in the book. James gives the most practical instruction and advice about garden living, a concept he describes as bringing the garden in - to your cooking, your home decor, your relationships - and making the most of each season. And he presents it all in a way that is charming and fun to read. I can't say enough good things.

Get this book for yourself, your mom, your mother-in-law, your husband - everybody who's anybody needs a copy. I have no doubt it will become a legendary go-to guide for Southern gardeners and entertainers for years to come.

James, thank you for sharing your time and talents with us. You are a wealth of knowledge and expertise.