Philosophy in the Garden – Damon Young

Australian writer Damon Young’ Philosophy in the Garden is my non-fiction book of the month. In addition to this book, he is also known for his book The Art of Reading in the “professional readers” community. I haven’t read The Art of Reading yet, but I have to say that I’ve read Philosophy in the Garden with great pleasure so I’ll give it a try. Given that I am fond of both gardens and reading about the writers’ lives, it would be insane for me to not like the book.


Philosophy in the Garden examines Austen, Proust, Leonard Woolf (and of course Virginia Woolf), Nietzsche, Colette, Rousseau, Orwell, Emily Dickinson, Kazancakis, Sartre and Voltaire. It tells the relationship between these thinkers, writers’ and the gardens (and nature in general), while also touches some moments and thoughts from their lives. Also, you’ll learn so much about philosophers and the importance of nature. I know I did!

Philosophy in the Garden - Damon Young
Turkish version of the book. The cover is beautiful!

Philosophy in the Garden and intriguing authors

I was particularly impressed by the parts of Marcel Proust, Leonard Woolf and Colette. I’ve been thinking about rereading Proust for a while, and after that book, I made my final decision. Virginia Woolf was already in my reading list, and I wanted to know more about her. Leonard Woolf didn’t even come to my mind, frankly, but I was very interested in the part about him. And Colette is one of the most curious names. What a terrific woman! If you’re interested in a little bit of these names, get the book and start reading. Enjoy!


About the book: Philosophy in the Garden

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.

About the author: Damon Young

Damon Young is an Australian philosopher, writer and commentator, and author of the books Distraction, Philosophy in the Garden and How to Think About Exercise. He is an Honorary Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne.

Philosophy in the Garden Damon Young

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

A Non-fiction a Month

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