Garden Disruptors: The Rebel Misfits Who Turned Southern Horticulture On It’s Head


Estimated delivery between July 28 and July 30.

By: Augustus Jenkins Farmer, III, 2023, Paperback

In the 1990s, a South Carolina town built its first botanical garden. For a small town, that was big news. For a small Southern town, that it was led by two gay men and a feminist was astounding.

Their lives and plant choices raised eyebrows as the Garden became a national showcase for new styles, even earning recognition on HGTV's "Secrets of Great Gardens."

One of the young men, Jenks Farmer, had previously left the conservative South but returned with a mission: to challenge traditional notions of garden beauty, which clung to formality and associated certain plants with stigmas of poverty and race.

These Garden Disruptors challenged genteel social norms of race, homophobia, and sexism while shoveling compost, searching for plants, and planting flowers. The crew of creative misfits built a garden that attracts millions of people today.

In this novel-like true story, Jenks Farmer's soulful voice shares the story of a mismatched crew of real, dirty-handed gardeners who not only planted the garden but set its mission.

Through these characters, Jenks also recounts the history of elitist horticulture, of sexual and racial discrimination in gardens, and of how social norms changed drastically in the South during the period of garden buildings.