The Nature Writing of William and Adam Summer of Pomaria
The Summer brothers owned farms in Newberry and Lexington Counties, where they created veritable experimental stations for plants adapted to the southern climate. At its peak the nursery offered more than one thousand varieties of apples, pears, peaches, plums, figs, apricots, and grapes developed and chosen specifically for the southern climate, as well as offering an equal number of ornamentals, including four hundred varieties of repeat-blooming roses. The brothers experimented with and reported on sustainable farm practices, reforestation, land reclamation, soil regeneration, crop diversity rather than the prevalent cotton monoculture, and animal breeds accustomed to hot climates from Carolina to Central Florida.
Written over a span of two decades, their essays offer an impressive environmental ethic. By 1860 Adam had concluded that a person's treatment of nature is a moral issue. Sustainability and long-term goals, rather than get-rich-quick schemes, were key to this philosophy. The brothers' keen interest in literature is evident in the quality of their writing; their essays and sketches are always readable, sometimes poetic, and occasionally humorous and satiric. A representative sampling of their more-than-six hundred articles appear in this volume.
"I first met James Kibler in 1993 through a hand-written letter and scholarly article he hoped to publish in Magnolia, the journal of the Southern Garden History Society, which I edited. While I knew little about Pomaria at the time, I was especially intrigued by William Summer—this passionate, poetic, and incredibly astute plantsman. Now, nearly a quarter century later, Kibler fully reveals William and Adam Summer and their remarkable, often lyrical contemplations on nature and their horticultural world."—Peggy Cornett, curator of plants at Monticello
Other Titles by Wendell Berry
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