A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Two Gardeners

I finished Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence - A Friendship in Letters last night. I was enthralled and deeply moved by this book. Enthralled, because reading their letters was akin to reading modern day garden blogs. I was deeply moved by their deaths because I felt by the end of the book that I knew them.

Their letters also brought back a lot of memories for me. My maternal grandmother was a few years older than Katharine White. Unlike many women of her time, she married late in life and had my mother when she was close to 40. When I knew her, she had retired and was living in an apartment. I loved accompanying her when she went "visiting". Part of those visits involved tours of her friends' gardens. Gardens that looked very much like the photos and descriptions of Katharine's and Elizabeth's gardens. Their letters sounded eerily like the conversations during those visits.

The descriptions of the flower shows made me laugh! I remember shows like those derided in their letters. My poor mother tried and tried to learn flower arranging. Books, classes, garden club lectures, nothing helped. She finally settled on just entering specimen plants and flowers. I should add that she won several prizes in local shows. And that I inherited her inability to arrange flowers in an attractive manner.

Having enjoyed this book so much, I am looking forward to the Garden Bloggers' Book Club March selection, The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek. It was written in 1929, which satisfies my interest in "historical" gardening and is about his garden in Czechoslovakia which satisfies my interest in what gardens outside of the US are/were like.

Amazon.com has notified me that my order has been mailed. To qualify for free shipping, my order had to total at least $25.00, so I added two other books,The American Gardener by William Cobbett and originally published in 1856 and Herbs and Herb Lore of Colonial America by the Colonial Dames of America. My garden library is growing by leaps and bounds!


At 10:27 AM, Blogger Carol said...

Old Roses... thanks for participating in the book club again and I'm pleased you liked the book. I also loved reading it and am working on my own post about it.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Colleen said...

I loved it too! And I agree with you...I felt like I knew them both after reading all of their letters. Elizabeth's second letter to E.B. White after Katharine's death just got to me completely. She's thanking him for sending her a copy of Onward and Upward, and she says: "I have been re-reading and re-reading ever since, with great pleasure and great sorrow. I can't bear not to be able to tell Katharine again what a wonderful book it is." Isn't that everyone's fear when it comes to losing someone---the things you won't be able to tell them? I'm working on my review now...and looking foward to the Kapek book as well :-)

At 7:49 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Colleen, I know it sounds sappy but I was fighting back tears as I read Elizabeth's letters to Katharine's husband after her death.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Colleen said...

If it's sappy, than count me in for being sappy too :-) I felt the same way reading those letters between Elizabeth and E.B. at the end.

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Old Roses, although I also liked this book a great deal, one of the charms for me was that Elizabeth and Katharine were so different from anyone I'd known that was in that age range.

I hope it's okay that I linked to your flower show review in my book club post.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose


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