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One Writer's Garden: Eudora Welty's Home Place Hardcover – September 8, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A rich exploration of the garden Welty tended with her mother and how that work affected her writing

About the Author

Susan Haltom, Ridgeland, Mississippi, is a garden designer and preservation and maintenance coordinator of the Eudora Welty garden. She has published in Mississippi Magazine, Mississippi Gardens, Old House Journal, and Magnolia, the journal of the Southern Garden History Society.

Jane Roy Brown, Conway, Massachusetts, is a freelance travel and garden writer with a focus on historic gardens and landscapes. She is also director of educational outreach for the Library of American Landscape History. She has published in Horticulture, Preservation, Garden Design, and the Boston Globe, and she serves as a contributing editor to Landscape Architecture.

Langdon Clay’s photographs have been featured in such publications as Jefferson’s Monticello by Howard Adams and From My Chateau Kitchen by Anne Willan. His art photography can be found in museums in Paris, London, New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and Jackson, Mississippi.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi; First Edition edition (September 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617031194
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617031199
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #939,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Eudora Welty grew up in an era when gardens were taken seriously, seen as an escape from the increasingly busy world and thought to prevent nervous breakdowns, so it's not surprising that both Welty's fiction and letters are full of references to flowers. This gorgeous book is packed with color photographs of the garden Welty helped restore before her death in 2001, a garden that had originally been tended by her mother, but flowers are not the sole focus of One Writer's Garden. While tracing the role of gardening in the lives of Welty and her mother authors Haltom and Brown also deliver an interesting angle on the social history of the early 1900's. Women's garden clubs were flourishing then with greenery seen as the cure for all of society's ills. Even during the height of the depression garden clubs were still multiplying and their members were busy planting trees along city streets and flowers in gas stations. One Writer's Garden is full of fascinating anecdotes of a time when magenta was not well thought of because, being the color of arsenic used in pesticides, it represented pollution in the minds of the purist gardening club women. Planting magenta flowers was actively discouraged then, and Eudora Welty's mother preferred to avoid walking down streets with that color in its gardens.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating history, well illustrated with historic photos as well as images of the garden in its current, beautiful state. This volume deserves a place alongside "The Orchard: A Memoir" by Theresa Weir, on any bookshelf! The best garden book I have read in a long, long time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Looking back at it, I'm not sure what I expected of this book, but a little more than it delivered. Certainly more than its cover, format, and publicity suggest.

In it, the writers trace the creation and evolution of the Welty garden and put the design into the context of the early twentieth century. Using various resources, they suggest some of the meanings and values the garden had both for Eudora and her mother, Chestine Welty, who created it. The photographs are beautiful as well as ample, with most of the photographed plants identified properly. The writers also point out certain plants and descriptions of plants that appear both in Welty's fiction and personal writing.

Yet when I had finished this book, I found myself a little puzzled. I felt I had read through several different books--the history of a modest garden, the gardeners' attitude toward it and one another, the story of a possible love affair that did not work out, the role of gardens in the early 20th century, and lots more. I had no central insights into the uniqueness of the gardeners or the influence of the garden on the writer's work. The authors depended on chronology as an organizing device and at times seemed uncertain of their task. Was it to report the history of a garden? Or---as the title certainly suggests---was it to show a gardener's relationship to her garden and to suggest what that relationship revealed about her and finally her work? In a word, this book lacks focus.

The Welty garden is a simple garden, interesting primarily because it belonged to the writer Eudora Welty. Designed by her mother, then modified by her own interests in plants like camellias, it is finally modest, certainly by this day's gardening standards.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book,on fine paper with elegant typography and stunning color photographs, but it is more than a garden book and more than a coffee table book. It deserves to be read. The writing is as crisp and elegant as the book's design, and it is packed with interesting and often humorous detail about Eudora Welty's life and times, about gardening in the South in the early twentieth century, and about the influence of gardening on Welty's works. This would be a great present for anyone who loves the writings of Eudora Welty or who enjoys gardening. (Treat yourself, too.)
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Format: Hardcover
This beautiful book documents the history, decline and restoration of the garden at Eudora Welty's home in Jackson, Mississippi. The garden was actually created by Welty's mother, Chestina, and the book is about her as much as it is Eudora. Chestina was actively involved in garden clubs in the Jackson area. When the Welty's built their home in mid 1920s, Chestina was already a serious gardener and she read widely about gardening styles and practices of the day. Before the home was completed, she had already started designing the garden which was be composed of three garden rooms with areas for growing perennials (there was a large collection of daylilies), camellias and roses. Chestina kept a gardening journal and fairly detailed records which became valuable when the garden was restored in the 1990s. The book has interesting sidebars and sections with articles about gardening interests of the day ("What to Wear and Wield in the Garden", etc.) as well as photos, brochures and postcards from the era.

Eudora Welty lived her entire life with her mother and she came to love flowers and gardening with as much enthusiasm. The influence of gardening and flowers is shown in snippets from Welty's works and her letters to friends and other gardeners. Camellias and bulbs were her favorites and she was a lifelong subscriber to the Mississippi Market Bulletin, a publication where people sold and traded plants. She also corresponded with many garden writers including Elizabeth Lawrence, author of the influential "A Southern Garden". Welty was also interested in photography and many of her original photos of the garden are included. The vintage photos are accompanied by recent photos taken by Langdon Clay.
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