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Writing the Garden: A Literary Conversation across Two Centuries Hardcover – October 31, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Rogers is not only a garden writer and landscape preservationist but also a bibliophile. In putting together this artfully produced collection of knowledgeable yet “informal, engaging, and sometimes droll” British and American garden literature, Rogers drew on her own collection and that of the New York Society Library, reveling in the pleasures of rare books. Rogers does share colorful cuttings from the writings of 42 eloquent master gardeners past and present, but her mission is primarily biographical. In a book lushly illustrated with watercolors by Childe Hassam, plates from first editions, and photographs, Rogers vividly, wittily, and incisively profiles such narrating horticulture exemplars as Thomas Jefferson; Gertrude Jekyll, for whom “gardening was horticultural picture making”; William Robinson, who was “sometimes colorfully caustic”; nurseryman Andrew Jackson Downing; Celia Thaxter, a lighthouse-keeper’s daughter and a poet as well as a gardener; the “urbanely quirky, humorously serious” Katherine S. White; and Michael Pollan, who sees the garden as a middle ground, where nature and culture are both enriched. In all, a vital, delectable, and illuminating retrospective of an essential branch of letters. --Donna Seaman

Review

Published to accompany an exhibit at the New York Society Library, this anthology offers a delightful introduction to more than 40 classic garden writers. Rogers (Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History), a legendary park preservationist best-known for her work championing the renovation of New York's Central Park, offers thoughtful selections from 200 years of garden writing. There are nurserymen, novelists, humorists, philosophers, statesmen, and journalists in this eclectic group. Some members of this pantheon, such as Thomas Jefferson and Edith Wharton, will be familiar to all readers. Others, such as Beverley Nichols, may be known only to true gardening cognoscenti. All are masters of this literary genre. Rogers provides an intimate and illuminating introduction to each writer, highlighting the special appeal, idiosyncratic perspectives, and delightful charms of each. She has also included photographs and drawings from their original works. This is an anthology that will pique any garden lover's interest in further reading. --Publishers Weekly

Rogers is not only a garden writer and landscape preservationist but also a bibliophile. In putting together this artfully produced collection of knowledgeable yet "informal, engaging, and sometimes droll" British and American garden literature, Rogers drew on her own collection and that of the New York Society Library, reveling in the pleasures of rare books. Rogers does share colorful cuttings from the writings of 42 eloquent master gardeners past and present, but her mission is primarily biographical. In a book lushly illustrated with watercolors by Childe Hassam, plates from first editions, and photographs, Rogers vividly, wittily, and incisively profiles such narrating horticulture exemplars as Thomas Jefferson; Gertrude Jekyll, for whom "gardening was horticultural picture making"; William Robinson, who was "sometimes colorfully caustic"; nurseryman Andrew Jackson Downing; Celia Thaxter, a lighthouse-keeper's daughter and a poet as well as a gardener; the "urbanely quirky, humorously serious" Katherine S. White; and Michael Pollan, who sees the garden as a middle ground, where nature and culture are both enriched. In all, a vital, delectable, and illuminating retrospective of an essential branch of letters. --Booklist

This wonderful book is full of gardeners active, observant, opinionated. Every gardener included in this work, whether rhapsodist, conversationalist, or philosopher, brings color and character ... If paradise is a mix of intersecting activity in a naturally aesthetic setting, then it is captured here for the luck readers of this book. --Choice

This wonderful book is full of gardeners active, observant, opinionated. Every gardener included in this work, whether rhapsodist, conversationalist, or philosopher, brings color and character ... If paradise is a mix of intersecting activity in a naturally aesthetic setting, then it is captured here for the luck readers of this book. --Choice

This is a title with a little bit of everything and should serve not only as a pleasurable reading experience but a valuable resource for anyone interested in gardening history. --Eclectica Magazine
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: David R Godine; First edition (October 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567924409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567924404
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #924,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading this book is like going to a garden party where you can meet up with garden writers and essayists across two centuries of garden writing. The author's conversational style draws you in and provides the context of when the garden writer was writing and who else was writing about gardening at the same time.

I can only imagine what a daunting task it was to choose who to include in this book. There are many favorite writers "at the party" including Gertrude Jekyll, Celia Thaxter, Thomas Jefferson, William Robinson, Elizabeth Lawrence, Penelope Hobhouse and some new writers, too.

You'll leave this literary garden party wanting to read more by these garden writers and many others. It's a "must attend" party for any avid gardener.
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Format: Hardcover
No less an authority that the mighty Cicero opined: "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." And how true that is, especially if that library contains at least a few really good gardening books. But where to begin? In my own case, I blundered around quite a lot until I found some excellent books in the gardening space. These inevitably recommended others, equally good, and I was handed along companionably from one extremely good writer to another. I was lucky, and despite the carelessness and randomness of my approach, I managed eventually to stumble across many of the great classics of garden writing. But now it is much easier. Elizabeth Barlow Rogers was the main founder of the Central Park Conservancy in New York City; she is also the founder and president of the Foundation for Landscape Studies and the editor of the journal Site/Lines. She has written numerous books in the horticultural space and is a tremendous bibliophile, with a specialty taste for the horticultural genre. She is, in short, a formidable authority in her field and at the height of her powers. And now she has produced this volume, subtitled "A Literary Conversation across Two Centuries", which has rightly won the prestigious American Horticultural Society Book Award. It fluently but never frivolously discusses the garden writing of more than three dozen great writers, sampling their work and presenting it in a superbly enlightening context. The book is divided into twelve sections beginning with "Women in the Garden" and "Warriors in the garden" and going on through ten other categories, including "Rhapsodists", "Humorists" and "Philosophers".Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wish the type was larger in this book so that I could enjoy reading it for longer periods. Referring to the hardcover version, I found my eyes getting tired really quickly concentrating on trying to read the small print in this book.
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