From Publishers Weekly
It takes a committed gardener to characterize a year of unseasonable killing frost, brutal summer heat and drought, and a destructive ice storm as "the happiest year of my life." In this chronicle of tasks and events at Montrose, her historic North Carolina home, Goodwin reveals herself to be as dedicated as she is talented. Montrose became widely recognized during the 10 years Goodwin ran a successful nursery business there and she remains known as much for her personal skill and knowledge as for the series of themed gardens she created and tends on its 61 acres. Each chapter covers one month, interspersing closely observed descriptions of the appearance, habit and care of individual plants with anecdotes about the doings of her small staff, her encouraging husband, their friends and visitors, and the cats she considers "perfect garden companions." These genteel conversations reflect Goodwin's charm, erudition and unconventional approach. For example, while most garden writers begin by drawing up detailed plans, Goodwin goes directly to the soil and often trusts nature to take its course. Patterson's illustrations are impeccably wrought and beautifully positioned on the page, underscoring shifts in focus from intimate views of tiny flowers to broad visions of the landscape. (Oct.)
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In her introduction, historian Maureen Quilligan deliberately describes her neighbor, Nancy Goodwin, as a practitioner of the art of gardening. And Quilligan is right to acknowledge Goodwin's artistry, for the gardens she has created at Montrose, a nineteenth-century estate in the North Carolina Piedmont, are legendary examples of her dedicated understanding of the ways of the natural world. Goodwin limns a year in her classic garden, recounting month by month the steps she and her husband took, first as caretakers of an already-established and renowned garden, and then the plans they made to make it not only something of their own but also a treasure that would be preserved for posterity. Enlisting the talents of artist Patterson, whose pen-and-ink illustrations of vistas and individual plants communicate the detail and personality of Goodwin's unique gardening talents as accurately as any photograph could, Goodwin has supplied gardeners everywhere with a treasure to behold and a standard to revere. Carol HaggasCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved