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The Writer in the Garden
Synopses & Reviews
Show me a person without any prejudice of any kind on any subject and I'll show you someone who may be admirably virtuous but is surely no gardener.--Allen Lacy. Idiosyncratic, determined, and occasionally obsessed, gardeners have a lot to say about their outdoor passion. THE WRITER IN THE GARDEN brings together a host of writing gardeners and gardening writers reveling in their quirks, confessing their shortcomings, and sharing their experiences. Combing through a hundred years of garden writing, editor Jane Garmey has discovered some great contemporary works and rediscovered many classics: "I am strongly of the opinion," declares Gertrude Jekyll, "that the possession of a quantity of plants, however good the plants may be themselves and however ample their number, does not make a garden." "It isn't that I don't like sweet disorder, but it has to be judiciously arranged," writes Vita Sackville-West. "Gardeners are--let's face it--control freaks," Abby Adams admits. "Who else would willingly spend his leisure hours wrestling weeds out of the ground, blithely making life or death decisions about living beings, moving earth from here to there, changing the course of waterways?" Drawing on the work of more than fifty writers, THE WRITER IN THE GARDEN covers subjects ranging from the beauty of the garden to ornery weeds, the hazards of rare plant collecting, and the tribulations of inclement weather. The collection includes a range of authors from both sides of the Atlantic: from Edith Wharton, who insists that we could all learn a thing or two about design from the Italians, to Stephen Lacey, who reveals that his most exciting gardening moments are spent in the bath. Some of the other writers in the collection are: E. B. White, Beverly Nichols, Ken Druse, Eleanor Perenyi, W. S. Merwin, Mirabel Osler, Henry Mitchell, Jamaica Kincaid, Robert Dash, Sara B. Stein, Michael Pollan, M.F.K. Fisher, Anne Raver, Patti Hagan, Paula Deitz.
Edith Wharton, Under the Spell of evergreen foliage and stone, celebrates the magic of Italian gardens. Charles Kuralt waits on the bloom of a single daffodil like an expectant father. Gertrude Jekyll, after a month-long drought, praises the coming rain. Allen Tracy rails against hydrangeas.
Here is an engaging group of more than fifty gardening writers - and writing gardeners - reveling in their likes and dislikes, confessing their shortcomings, and sharing their successes and failures. The Writer in the Garden presents a colorful bouquet of prose and poetry from both sides of the Atlantic. With subjects ranging from an old-fashioned rose to ornery weeds, the hazards of rare plant collecting, and the tribulations of inclement weather, The Writer in the Garden brings together an entertaining selection of garden writing from the past one hundred years. From Thoreau to Jamaica Kincaid, the writers and gardeners here express the trials and joys of gardening in the country as well as the challenges and rewards of trying to make things grow in the city. But whether a garden is large or small, thriving or failing, every gardener has a story.
Bursting with personality, strong opinions, and bright ideas, The Writer in the Garden is a book to read and enjoy - season after season.
I didn't know what narcissism was until I beheld my own narcissus.
- Charles Kuralt
"People who don't really understand gardening think of it as a patrician and benign hobby. That couldn't be further from the truth. To serious gardeners, it's blood sport."
- Cynthia Kling
'If it's rare, we want it. If it's tiny and impossible to grow, we've got to have it. If it's brown, looks dead, and has black flowers, we'll kill for it.
- Ken Druse
"Show me a person without any prejudice of any kind of any subject and I'll show you someone who may be admirably virtuous but is surely no gardener."
- Allen Lacy
"It isn't that I don't like sweet disorder, but it has to be judiciously arranged."
- Vita Sackville - West
About the Author
JANE GARMEY is an independent television and audio producer and the author of Great British Cooking: A Well-Kept Secret and Great New British Cooking. She has published articles in various publications including The New York Times, Food & Wine, and Garden Design. Her audio book, also titled The Writer in the Garden, won a 1998 Quill and Trowel Award.
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