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Book Review: Gardening the Amana Way

By dave
December 18, 2013

Hot off the presses is a new book by author and ATP member Larry Rettig, about gardening in the Amana Colonies. Let me share my review of this interesting and useful 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
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LarryR
Dec 18, 2013 12:09 PM CST
If any ATP members are planning to visit the Amanas and let me know about it, I'd be pleased to give them a personal tour.
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 18, 2013 12:31 PM CST
I'll interject a little humor here for a minute: I went to visit Larry and to get to know the Amanas with no clue in my mind about what the Amanas were, so I had no thoughts of Amish or Baptist or anything else when I first met Larry. I did find many parallels to the early Amana-ists and my own ancestors both in their beliefs and in their ways of doing things as a community.

Larry took me to the community church and told me that the area in the front was divided into two sections, the women sat to the left and the men sat to the right of the pulpit. Same thing at the church I attended in my childhood, brought from the Old Country by my ancestors and even now kept culturally intact. The very same thing.

So from there, any thoughts I might have had about the Amanas being 'different' were lost; they had a way of life that was similar to many others. They came to a new country and stayed together helping each other and most importantly keeping their culture alive. If they were in any way related to the Amish, Larry wouldn't have one eye glued to the computer every day, nor would he be fighting to keep his dog, Oliver, out of the Electric dishwasher and the multitude of lights on his Christmas tree. Smiling

You know about the Amana appliances? That's where they originated and are still built.
Woven textiles, you'll find them there too.
And all the arts are alive and well in the Amanas.

(Larry, do I get paid for being your PR person??)

The truth is, I just fell head over heels in love with the Amanas. Now if only it weren't so cold in winter. Sad
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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Dec 18, 2013 12:33 PM CST
Larry, what a gracious offer. I know I cannot make it this year but hopefully the year after, and I, for one would take you up on your offer!
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Dec 18, 2013 12:35 PM CST
Sharon, too funny! I had no idea the Amana line of appliances originated there. Quality appliances!
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Dec 18, 2013 1:39 PM CST
Sounds very intriguing. I will likely ask for it to be ordered in to my small town bookstore, which I like to patronize.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Dec 18, 2013 1:43 PM CST
Also available as an e-book from Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/...
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: David Paul
(Zone 9b)
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DavidofDeLand
Dec 18, 2013 1:45 PM CST
I immediately thought of the Amana appliance line when I first saw the cover in Dave's starter. I had no idea they could possibly be actually associated!

Thank you Sharon. You write so well and loved the story and added information! Smiling Thumbs up
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 18, 2013 2:14 PM CST
Yes, Sharon, thanks. And you did get paid. In acorns, of course. Green Grin!
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)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Ferns Daylilies Irises Cat Lover
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Sharon
Dec 18, 2013 2:17 PM CST
Love those acorns, Larry!!
Thank you. And just in time for Christmas. Too bad there's not a Raffle not a Raffle going on. Green Grin!
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Name: Rob Duval
Mason, New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
Region: New Hampshire Vegetable Grower Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tomato Heads
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robertduval14
Dec 18, 2013 2:57 PM CST

Plants Admin

Both the review and all the posts here have been very entertaining.
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier
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jmorth
Dec 18, 2013 3:44 PM CST
Thanks for the info and distinction Larry.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Dec 18, 2013 3:59 PM CST
Hey, does this mean I can complain to Larry about my crummy, defective Amana refrigerator? Hilarious!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Dec 18, 2013 5:54 PM CST
This is so cool; thanks, I am learning so much and I haven't even bought the book yet.
Our family's Amana Radarange was one of the first in our neighborhood; wish I had been interested in history instead of trying to cook food faster!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Dec 18, 2013 8:19 PM CST
I have been to the colonies a few times in ''98'' 2000 and 2001
I use to attend the Herb-fest put on by Frontier Herbs , it is nearby .
I may have even taken photos of your(Larry) place I was always driving/walking around and photographing the houses and gardens.
A beautiful place to live.
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
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 18, 2013 8:58 PM CST
woofie said:Hey, does this mean I can complain to Larry about my crummy, defective Amana refrigerator? Hilarious!

Rolling on the floor laughing

In all seriousness, Woofie, Amana appliances are no longer the top-of-the-line products they used to be. Ownership has bounced around so much that pride in craftsmanship has fallen by the wayside: The founder, George Foerstner, sold the plant to the Amana Society, the Amana Society sold it to an industrialist in Cedar Rapids, the industrialist sold it to Raytheon, Raytheon sold it to a holding company in Texas, the holding company sold it to Maytag, and Maytag sold it to Whirlpool. That's where we are now. The Amana name is still on the product, but the product is made by Whirlpool. The positive aspect in all of this is the fact that none of the owners have decided to close the plant. It currently employs about 1,200 folks. If it ever closes, it's going to send a tremendous shock wave through the local economy.

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: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 18, 2013 9:04 PM CST
It seems we have many history buffs here, including myself. Larry, I was thinking of my grandparents when Dave was talking about the Rawatt as it sounded like something they did. Then you mentioned to Hetty that some Dutch people joined the Amanas. I am Dutch on my father's side so now it all clicks with the Rawatt. And as Sharon said, there are so many similarities to the way of life most of our ancestors had.

Congratulations Larry on getting published! It sounds like quite a worthwhile book. Green Grin!
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



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
Image
LarryR
Dec 18, 2013 9:06 PM CST
Cinda, if you ever come for another visit, please contact me so that we can visit a bit and I can show you our gardens, if you come during the growing season.
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: 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
Image
LarryR
Dec 18, 2013 9:10 PM CST
Thanks, Ann, for your comments about our common history and your kind compliment. I tip my hat to you.
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: Jill
Weatherby, Missouri (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Birds Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader Farmer Daylilies
Irises Region: Missouri Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Dayjillymo
Dec 19, 2013 9:11 AM CST
I have visited the Colonies twice and thoroughly enjoyed both trips. The food is wonderful, the people are friendly and the crafts are unique to the area. Sounds like a must-have book!

Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
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dave
Dec 19, 2013 9:40 AM CST

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