Beautiful at All Seasons: Garden Bloggers Book Club

– Posted in: Book reviews, Miscellaneous

Have you ever been out with a friend, and another person joins you, who is a good friend of your friend, but you don’t know them? And the two of them start talking about people you don’t know, and even though the conversation is mildly interesting (this one had a baby, that one has a new job), after a while you feel bored and a little left out.

I’m sorry to say that’s how I felt reading Beautiful at All Seasons by Elizabeth Lawrence, the April/May selection of the Garden Bloggers Book Club. It kind of surprised me, as I believe I’d already read all her other books, including Two Gardeners (her correspondence with Katharine White), and No One Gardens Alone (her biography)–and enjoyed them all.

I particularly enjoyed The Little Bulbs: A Tale of Two Gardens, which compared the bulbs blooming in her garden with those of Mr. Krippendorf, her northern gardening friend. Carl Krippendorf planted thousands of daffodils at Lob Woods, and it was very interesting to read about the differences in the two gardens.

And I found Gardening for Love: The Market Bulletins fascinating. As best I can tell, market bulletins were a kind of newspaper farmers subscribed to. Many farmers’ wives sold plants in the ad section, and Lawrence not only purchased plants from them, but corresponded with many. These women were often dirt poor, living isolated lives way out in the sticks, but loved plants and went through great trouble to preserve their passalongs. This book is as much social history as horticultural adventure.

Beautiful at All Seasons just didn’t hold my attention the way so many of her other books did. I hope that doesn’t stop you from reading it, because I’m sure any Southerner would get a lot out of it, or anyone who hadn’t yet read much of Lawrence’s writing.

Visit May Dreams Gardens and join the Garden Bloggers Book Club.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.

Oldroses June 2, 2008, 12:53 am

Phew! I thought I was the only one who didn’t care for this book. I couldn’t even finish it.

Don June 1, 2008, 11:29 am

You’re smack-on about this book (or at least you and I exactly agree). I got the feeling with Beautiful At All Seasons that she was just sticking all of these people into her book; they had no flesh and blood. Perhaps that was because they were just people who wrote her a few letters rather than those she actually knew? At any rate, this was a book I could easily skip, whereas The Little Bulbs, I read every winter.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens May 31, 2008, 9:02 pm

I know what you mean about listening to a conversation between two people who know each other, and you know one of them, BUT for me, as soon as the conversation turns to gardening, I’m in!

I’ve enjoyed reading this book not cover to cover, but topic by topic, spending time on the columns that interested me, breezing by the one’s that didn’t. I find passages throughout that get me thinking about my own garden.

I think I have all of her books except for one, but I’m still working on reading them all.

Thanks for joining in for the book club again!
Carol, May Dreams Gardens