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Garden Tours:  LarryR, Larry Rettig

By Sharon
December 3, 2011

It's to Iowa we travel this week, to visit the gardens of Larry Rettig and his wife, Wilma. I've been fortunate, I met Larry's Amana Colonies garden face to face earlier this year. I wandered those garden paths for days and every day I found something new. Let's take a look at these unbelievably beautiful Iowa gardens.

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Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
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LarryR
Dec 6, 2011 12:34 AM CST
Several readers have expressed an interest in reading my book, Amana Today. Unfortunately, it's out of print. However, you may be interested in knowing that I'm actively working on a new book as we speak. It's tentative title is "Amana Gardening: Then and Now"

Here is a very rough draft of the preface:

Preface

Gardening in the seven villages of the Amana Colonies is a continuation of growing and cultivating plants that stretches back several centuries to Central Europe. It was a natural outcome of the need to provide food for a growing number of adherents to a new faith called “Die Gemeinde der Wahren Inspiration” (The Community of True Inspiration). Persecution for their beliefs forced this new subculture to form its own communities for mutual protection.

This book traces Inspirationist communal gardening and the communal spirit from its beginnings in Europe to its continuing evolution in the the Inspirationists’ new home here in the United States. We’ll see how they work together in their gardens, orchards and fields to produce enough food to feed themselves and what becomes of their gardens when inner turmoil and the Great Depression cause the breakdown of communal living.

As a child of parents who were part of communal life in the Amanas and as an heir to the Amana gardening tradition, I’ll show you how my gardening has been influenced by that tradition and how it differs from it. We’ll explore the founding of Cottage-in-the Meadow Gardens, as well as the philosophy that drives it. I’ve included lots of information on the plants that my wife and I grow in these gardens.

Finally, I’ll offer some how-tos for gardeners interested in my methods. Crafters using plant material in their creations will find some interesting projects here, too.

Plants, methods, projects, whatever your gardening passions are, I hope you’ll find this book interesting and informative.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Dec 6, 2011 12:50 AM CST
Sold!!!

You know, I've wondered often how much they used medicinal plants. There are so many similarities in the way you grew up and the way I grew up, it's a little odd that we haven't really discussed medicinal plants.

At any rate, I can't wait to read your next book.
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Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
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LarryR
Dec 6, 2011 1:02 AM CST
Thanks, Sharon. You're right about not having discussed medicinal plant usage in our two cultures. I've never brought it up because I've never really thought to explore that aspect of the Amana culture. I do remember being given chamomile tea as a remedy for upset tummy when I was a child. I'll have to look into medicinal plant usage in Amana further. Might even add that as a topic in my book. Thanks for bringing this up! Thumbs up
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!

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