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A Garden of One's Own: Writings of Elizabeth Lawrence Hardcover – June 2, 1997
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From Library Journal
If you garden in the Southeast, you will want this collection of articles by noted garden writer Lawrence (1904-84), taken from such popular magazines as House & Garden, The Home Garden, Garden Gossip, and others from the 1930s and 1940s. Presenting her personal observations?the key to all good garden writing?Lawrence proselytizes for plants native to the Southeast and for unusual plants that were neglected in her area and time, especially for plants with winter interest. She is no zealot, however, for she also writes about rock garden plants for the mid-South, acknowledging that her climate is not at all ideal for alpine plants. The practical advice she gives about specific plants?e.g., "it takes about three seasons to evaluate a daylily"?and the liveliness of her writing make this volume of interest to all gardening collections but essential only to those in her mid-South area.?Daniel Starr, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
[H]er practical point of view, her literary perspective, and her elegant writing style make this book a delight."Journal American Rhododendron Society"
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Although "A Garden of One's Own" contains a section dedicated to gardeners in the Middle South as well as a nice essay on William Lanier Hunt, it is not just for those living in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. The book is filled with information Ms Lawrence exchanged with plant collectors and gardeners as far away as the northwest coast of the U.S. Many plants that grow well in the Piedmont area of North Carolina can also be viable futher north, in the upper South, and in various higher altitude areas on the Pacific coast. As Ms Lawrence says, the growing zones extend across the country.
I have always found Ms Lawrence's exchanges with folks in Ohio (colder), Missippi (hotter), and other parts of the country quite informative. I do believe she must have been one of the first writers to educate the lay public about the effects of climate and growing conditions on garden plants. As every frustrated rosarian knows, one simply cannot grow everything everywhere. Ms Lawrence informed her readers by sharing the thoughts, concerns, and experinces of her correspondants about some plant, say ground phlox, and well as her own thoughts and experiences concerning the same plant.
Because Ms Lawrence was a botanist, she preferred the Latin names of plants, and always used them in her writing. She included the local coloquial names too -- and on hearing them you understand why the Latin terminology is indespensible. I have find her approach extremely helpful because plants often have dozens of local names, but the Latin identification allows me to know exactly what she's discussing and find it in Hortus. Also, the editors have added footnotes where necessary to update the Latin terminology.
Ms Lawrence loved 'Rock Gardening' and I found the sections addressing this topic most illiminating. She contrasts the mountainous origins of plants growing on rocks, with the efforts of gardeners in the flatlands to build "mountain-like" gardens. You can build a rock garden anywhere, you just have to think about what you're doing, use flora that will survive in your microcosm, and select plants that will not overtake a bed or dwarf other plants with outsized proportions.
On a business trip a few years ago, I visited the Denver Botanical Garden--with the goal of viewing the Alpine Rock Gardens. It was April, the sky was blue and the weather unseasonably warm (70 degrees). Lilacs were in bloom along with hundreds of bulbs, but the thing I will remember the longest are the wonderful Alpine rock gardens. I spent the whole day wandering from plot to plot, and don't recall ever having felt any happier. There are little bits of heaven on earth and the Denver Botanical Garden is one of them.