Talking about contaminants, when the gardening season has not yet begun, overshadows an enthusiasm fueled by bucolic images and desires for healthy vegetables. The reality is, however, that no vegetable garden is cut off from the world and protected from pollutants which storm the environment through soil, water or air.

Gardening in the ruins lifts a carpet of vegetation to reveal what we would prefer not to see: contaminants – ozone, acid deposition, heavy metals, PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), pesticides, GMOs, plastics, nanomaterials, drugs, radionuclides. The situation is not encouraging – we know it or suspect it – and the portrait that Bertille Darragon paints leaves no room for denial: our current ecosystems are increasingly weakened.

Ms. Darragon takes no detours in dissecting the situation and addressing each family of pollutants one by one to expose their destructive effects. Enough to make you want to put down your rake now and apologize to your seedlings.

The botany facilitator is, however, interested in ways to limit the damage through concrete solutions, based on her experience in the field. Bertille Darragon suggests gardening practices, preferred plantings, types of arrangements and long-term solutions. Without being certified recipes, these proposals are avenues that she invites each small-scale gardener or market gardener to pursue, with the idea of ​​transforming gardening from a solitary activity to one of solidarity.

This first work is an informative essay that ranks among the very rare books to approach gardening from the angle of pollutants. Far from the inspirational content that comes out at this time of year (do not look for any images of the plants on offer), Gardening in the Ruins uses gardening as a gateway to address in an educational manner a problem that we know is infinitely broader . One thing is certain, after reading, it is with full knowledge of the facts that we will then put our hands to the ground.