Cutting Back

Cutting Back

My Apprenticeship in the Gardens of Kyoto

eBook - 2017
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Workman Press.
“An unusual and entertaining memoir.” —New York Times Book Review

At thirty-five, Leslie Buck made an impulsive decision to put her personal life on hold to pursue her passion. Leaving behind a full life of friends, love, and professional security, she became the first American woman to learn pruning from one of the most storied landscaping companies in Kyoto. Cutting Back recounts Buck’s bold journey and the revelations she has along the way. During her apprenticeship in Japan, she learns that the best Kyoto gardens look so natural they appear untouched by human hands, even though her crew spends hours meticulously cleaning every pebble in the streams. She is taught how to bring nature’s essence into a garden scene, how to design with native plants, and how to subtly direct a visitor through a landscape. But she learns the most important lessons from her fellow gardeners: how to balance strength with grace, seriousness with humor, and technique with heart.

This absorbing debut memoir recounts an American gardener’s apprenticeship with the most prestigious gardening firm in Kyoto. 

Publisher: Portland, Oregon :, Timber Press,, 2017
ISBN: 9781604698046
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks


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Apr 06, 2018

Too repetitive. Unoriginal and tedious.

Feb 12, 2018

This is an interesting & insightful account of a California woman with a pruning business who ventures to Japan to be a gardening apprentice. She learns not only Japanese pruning techniques & philosophy but also, about their work ethic, culture, & humility---all by nonverbal instruction.


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