Cover image for The writer in the garden
The writer in the garden
Garmey, Jane.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1999.
Physical Description:
xv, 250 pages ; 21 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6071.G27 W75 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Show me a person without any prejudice of any kind on any subject and I'll show you someone who may be admirably virtuous but is surely no gardener.--Allen Lacy. Idiosyncratic, determined, and occasionally obsessed, gardeners have a lot to say about their outdoor passion. THE WRITER IN THE GARDEN brings together a host of writing gardeners and gardening writers reveling in their quirks, confessing their shortcomings, and sharing their experiences. Combing through a hundred years of garden writing, editor Jane Garmey has discovered some great contemporary works and rediscovered many classics: "I am strongly of the opinion," declares Gertrude Jekyll, "that the possession of a quantity of plants, however good the plants may be themselves and however ample their number, does not make a garden." "It isn't that I don't like sweet disorder, but it has to be judiciously arranged," writes Vita Sackville-West. "Gardeners are--let's face it--control freaks," Abby Adams admits. "Who else would willingly spend his leisure hours wrestling weeds out of the ground, blithely making life or death decisions about living beings, moving earth from here to there, changing the course of waterways?" Drawing on the work of more than fifty writers, THE WRITER IN THE GARDEN covers subjects ranging from the beauty of the garden to ornery weeds, the hazards of rare plant collecting, and the tribulations of inclement weather. The collection includes a range of authors from both sides of the Atlantic: from Edith Wharton, who insists that we could all learn a thing or two about design from the Italians, to Stephen Lacey, who reveals that his most exciting gardening moments are spent in the bath. Some of the other writers in the collection are: E. B. White, Beverly Nichols, Ken Druse, Eleanor Perenyi, W. S. Merwin, Mirabel Osler, Henry Mitchell, Jamaica Kincaid, Robert Dash, Sara B. Stein, Michael Pollan, M.F.K. Fisher, Anne Raver, Patti Hagan, Paula Deitz.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Editor Jane Garmey has gathered a sweet bouquet to carry us through winter and beyond. There is, for example, the touching tribute by E. B. White to his beloved wife, Katherine: "she . . . walked among her flowers as she walked among her friends--nicely dressed, perfectly poised." There's Geoffrey B. Charlesworth's unadorned account of the quotidian life of the gardener, who's perpetually chased by bugs, dodgy weather, and his own shortcomings. And the poet Homer: "The balmy Spirit of the Western Gale/Eternal breathes on Fruits untaught to fail." These 65 pieces from more than 50 writers past and present form a sort of roundtable discussion on the nature of gardening. Garmey, a garden writer herself, has judiciously weeded out the self-indulgent (an occupational hazard among garden scribes) and the proscriptive. The talk is mostly light, informed, and--like the idea of gardening itself--ever contradictory: "It isn't that I don't like sweet disorder [in a garden]," Vita Sackville-West tells us here, "but it has to be judiciously arranged." (Reviewed November 15, 1998)1565121813Alan Moores