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Elizabeth and Her German Garden
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Elizabeth and Her German Garden

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,251 ratings  ·  186 reviews
"Elizabeth and Her German Garden," a novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, was popular and frequently reprinted during the early years of the 20th century. "Elizabeth and Her German Garden" is a year's diary written by Elizabeth about her experiences learning gardening and interacting with her friends. It includes commentary on the beauty of nature and on society, but is primarily ...more
Hardcover, 207 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by Random House (NY) (first published 1898)
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Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
Elizabeth and her German Garden is a semi-autobiographical book written in 1898 by Elizabeth von Armin (author of The Enchanted April) about her life and garden in the area of Nassenheide, Pomerania, where the family had their estate (her husband was minor nobility).


Pomerania is an area in the northeast part of Germany and northwest part of Poland, on the south shores of the Baltic Sea. And just because I like this picture, it's also the home of Malbork Castle, the largest castle in the world:

Has there ever been an author/protagonist that you loved...but that you weren't sure others would that you felt compelled to defend her...before anyone else had even said anything?...

For me, this is one of those books! I adore Elizabeth, both the author and the protagonist. However, I do get the sense that, being privileged, being sheltered, and being solitary, besides, she wasn't always aware of how she sounded. It's not me judging her, mind you. It's those awful people...that I made
Elizabeth is the young wife of a minor Prussian nobleman whose estate in Northern Germany near the Baltic is the setting for the garden she is planning. Elizabeth is at her best and happiest in spring and summer, nominally overseeing the renovation of the her husband’s house, but in truth, reveling in long indolent days in the utter solitude of her garden--reading, dreaming, delighting in each new glory of the unfolding spring. She fills the house with lilacs and rejoices in fields of daisies an ...more
Where I got the book: purchased on Kindle.

"I do sincerely trust that the benediction that is always awaiting me in my garden may by degrees be more deserved, and that I may grow in grace, and patience, and cheerfulness, just like the happy flowers I so much love."

This little gem of a book, the first novel by Elizabeth Von Arnim I had read, both delighted and intrigued me. It is about a woman called Elizabeth who has moved, with her husband and children, to their country estate in a remote part o
This is a book to disappear into and I did. Where Virginia Woolf said that women need a room of their own, von Arnim makes a strong case for a garden as that most necessary of settings. As Voltaire before her said that happiness lies in the cultivation of a garden; as Cicero said that if you have a garden and a library you have everything you need; as the garden was where Jane Austen went and refreshed herself and as gardens frequently featured in both her novels and her letters, Elizabeth von A ...more
Described as a novel, Elizabeth and her German Garden has the feel of a memoir. Written in the form of a diary, it was Elizabeth von Arnim’s first novel, originally published anonymously. It is immediately very personal as it recounts the first couple of blissful months that the Elizabeth of the title spends alone supervising the redecorating work at her German home.
Here in the garden of her home, Elizabeth is able to escape the traditional routine of German wife and mother. Her simple joy in he
Diane Librarian
A lovely novel about an English noblewoman who lives in a house in Germany with a beautiful garden. Elizabeth dislikes her husband -- who she calls the Man of Wrath -- and she keeps a wicked and humorous commentary in her diary entries. She prefers to spend as much of her day as possible outdoors in the garden, even on the coldest days of winter, and gets labeled as eccentric by her neighbors.

The book has so many marvelous quotes that I would have made countless notes in the margins if I hadn't
Fictional autobiography would be the proper way to describe this book. Elizabeth is snarky and opinionated but in such an adorable way that you can't help but like her. All she wants to do is take care of her large garden and her three young children and be left alone. She tolerates her husband and refers to him as the "Man of Wrath". He "talks the talk" but Elizabeth doesn't let him "walk the walk". Her oldest baby girl is five, born in April and is appropriately called "The April Baby". The fo ...more
Oh, Elizabeth. Words cannot express the solidarity I feel with you! I need to get my own copy of this. Because this is a book I want to always have nearby, so I can read over its lovely passages, nodding my head because she understood. Or read over so I can laugh, because there are so many parts of this book so humorously told one can't help but at least snicker a little.
I wish I could write more about this wonderful book but I've spent the afternoon being social and am so beaten down I'm havin
Although this book is a short novel, it is semi-autobiographical. I read the book for a book discussion group led by Rob, librarian extraordinaire. He had some wonderful background information on Germany just before and during the time in which the book was set. I had never heard of this book, but it apparently was a bestseller in the early twentieth century. Rob also told us a bit about the author, who was an altogether interesting person. Although I was not familiar with this book, I had heard ...more
Afton Nelson
A charming memoir of young mother and wife Elizabeth Von Armin. She's content with herself, her family, her books and her garden and I could relate. Lots of highlight-worthy quotes if only I'd had my own copy and not the library's.

A favorite on New Year's resolutions: "And I find my resolutions carry me very nicely into the spring. I revise them at the end of each month, and strike out the unnecessary ones. By the end of April they have been so severely revised that there are none left."

On taki
This was a beautifully written book that was ever so appropriate for me to read since Spring is here. Elizabeth through her garden gives us a look inside not only its environs, but also a look into her life as the wife of a German Count. The book's words bring the reader a sense of peace and tranquility so well as Elizabeth finds and makes us remember the beauty of nature to be found right outside our doors.

Written as a diary of sorts, Mrs von Arnim, an author I must be read of, lets us step int
I initially thought this author's writing would be a little too flowery for me, but not a bit of it. This is the second book of hers that I've read and I love her writing style. Yes, in this one, as would be expected, it's heavily descriptive of her beautiful garden, but "heavily" is surely the wrong word, because there is such a lightness of touch, and all interspersed with the most witty observations of characters and people generally. Elizabeth von Arnim is a real find for me, and I'll defini ...more
Elizabeth has a privileged life and has moved from England after her marriage to her German husband. She is uninterested in the expectations that she spends her many hours sewing, visiting neighbours, organising her household and supervising her servants. She wants only to escape into her wilderness garden and plan its transformation. She is a novice gardener but is passionate in her choice of plants, seeds and bulbs and she learns from her planting success and occasional mistakes. She has a gar ...more
Jenna Anderson
The Diary of an Introverted Woman

(I read the free, Kindle classic offered via Amazon. Unfortunately at the time of my review, that version was not an option on Goodreads.)

If you enjoyed The Enchanted April due to its lovely setting and reflective thoughts of the characters, then you will also enjoy Elizabeth and Her German Garden.

What a wonderful story. We follow the main character during her time spent, mostly alone, in her garden. It's on a hill and far away from town and any social responsibi
I had never heard of Elizabeth Von Arnim before. Just when you think you’re starting to get a hold of a certain period of literature, some gem like this pops up and send you reeling down some new pathway of literary wonder.

This is a relatively short story, written in a diary format that centers on the reflection of a woman in relation to life, family, and often using her garden as a foil for her religious sentiments. You learn a lot about the position of women in German society in the late 1800’
Claire McAlpine
Originally published anonymously in 1898, Elizabeth von Armin (born Mary Annette Beauchamp) was the cousin of Katherine Mansfield who married a German Count and wasn't too enamoured with city life in Berlin, however once she discovered the rural home and garden her husband owned, she spent much of her time there, much to the chagrin of her husband, whom she affectionately refers to throughout the book as The Man of Wrath, and he referring to her as a woman with eccentricities.

This is no gardeni
2.5* I've only read a couple books now about gardeners, and it's been a revelation. I thought they would be gentle souls, overflowing with the peaceful and patient influence of nature - well! overflowing alright! With vitriol toward mankind - if Elizabeth and Beverly Nichols are the norm, anyway. I don't know if I liked or disliked her - but I enjoyed her naked honesty - this must have been refreshing at the time this book was published. She's shallow and speaks with the prejudice of privilege, ...more
When you are leading a very urban life nowadays, spending time daily in either the subway and/or in the car, and keeping an eye on the watch constantly, reading a book about white blossoms, dandelions, blue hepaticas, snow-drop anemones, violets and bright celandines, silvery-pink peonies and delicate lilacs, seems to me as far off as reading about Life in Mars.

This is a delightful book but also naughtily mischievous.
Mi aspettavo decisamente qualcosa di diverso, qualcosa, tipo alla Sackerville – West, una giardiniera un po' esperta, che parla di piante con cognizione di causa e con affetto qui c'è una giardiniera in potenza, che con molto affetto, va detto, parla di quanto è bello il suo giardino, quanto era brutto prima, che ci fa partecipi dei suoi (maldestri) tentativi di rimetterlo in sesto, che ogni piè sospinto si lamenta di quanto siano sciocche le signore tedesche che frequenta, del resto sono 1. bio ...more
What a lovely book! I so appreciate period nonfiction that is sly and a little snarky; it helps make the people of the age seem more human, and likely ancestors for modern people. This really delivers: Elizabeth refers to her husband as "The Man of Wrath" throughout the book; houseguests who overstay their welcome are subtly edged out the door with offhanded remarks about ghosts and/or visits to the mosquito-infested Baltic Sea. Elizabeth is certainly a product of her environment, that being the ...more
Nike Sulway
Apr 17, 2013 Nike Sulway rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers who like gardening and Austen novels, but like a bit of lemon in their tea
Recommended to Nike by: Lauren Groff
Elizabeth von Antrim published this wry, hilarious memoir of her days gardening in Germany about a century ago. The prose is of its time in many ways, as are the politics of class and gender, but Elizabeth's sense of humour, her self-deprecating, honest and clear-eyed reflections on herself, her children, her husband (the Man of Wrath) and her gardeners rendered me almost speechless with laughter.

I became one of those annoying readers who kept interrupting my long-suffering partner's silent read
I had started listening to Elizabeth and Her German Garden, with Librivox and hadn't liked the reader so had put the book on hold. I found another version, which I found perfectly boring too and finally tried the ebook.
Well, I am normally a fan of Elizabeth von Arnim, and I do love visiting gardens, but the audio book put me to sleep and I had to force myself to finish the ebook. I felt like I was reading lists of flower names. I am interested in looking at gardens, smelling flowers and such bu
Elizabeth von Arnims Roman über ihren Garten auf dem Landgut Nassenheide nahe der Ostsee mag die perfekte Lektüre im Frühling sein. Vorausgesetzt man begibt sich dazu selbst in die Natur, bestenfalls in einen farbenfroh blühenden Garten, setzt sich dazu bequem in einen Sonnenstuhl und genießt dazu nach englischer Art eine Tasse Tee. Dazu nicht vergessen, alle Sinne für die Kostbarkeiten der Natur offen zu halten, um bestens vorbereitet in diesen Roman einzutauchen. Denn genau darum geht es. Die ...more
I stumbled upon this while looking for a downloadable audio to listen to while working in my own garden, and it was perfect for an afternoon spent painting fence board, and tending to plants. There's a slight resemblance to a Jane Austen novel in the sly observations and languid lifestyle depicted. I didn't know quite what to make of some of the opinions offered, but shrugged it off as representative of the times, as the first publication was in 1898. A lovely book for a summer day.
Apr 03, 2012 Bea rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves flowers or comedies of manners that are light on plot
Recommended to Bea by: Victorians!
A delightful short read about a happy woman, for a change of pace, and her love of the outdoors. I felt lucky to have come across this book in spring when my own heart is stirring to the new blossoms everywhere.
Susan Branch
Elizabeth von Arnim's first book published in 1899 and still, perfection for today. Smart, witty, she calls her husband "Man of Wrath." You will love this book.
Another splendid and poetica novel by Elizabeth von Arnim.
Sam Schulman
High society in the Third Reich reminds me of this book, that all should read. Elizabeth was an Englishwoman, really a New Zealand girl (a cousin of Kathryn Mansfield) who married a Prussian Junker and wrote this extremely droll, highly ironic book about how completely mad the German upper class really was and has always been. Everything she writes is beautiful - and her cousin Kathryn Mansfield shared her skill at delineating the oddity of German bourgeois manners by exact translation. Mansfiel ...more
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Missing chapter? 4 30 Feb 01, 2013 10:19AM  
Victorians!: German Garden - January-onward 8 24 Apr 24, 2012 03:45PM  
Victorians!: German Garden - November-December 5 26 Apr 11, 2012 01:22PM  
Victorians!: German Garden - May-Sept 21 34 Apr 10, 2012 01:18PM  
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Elizabeth, Countess Russell, was a British novelist and, through marriage, a member of the German nobility, known as Mary Annette Gräfin von Arnim.

Born Mary Annette Beauchamp in New Zealand while her family resided in Sydney, Australia, she was raised in England and in 1891 married Count Henning August von Arnim, a Prussian aristocrat, and the great-great-great-grandson of King Friedrich Wilhelm I
More about Elizabeth von Arnim...
The Enchanted April The Solitary Summer Vera The Pastor's Wife Mr Skeffington

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“Who can begin conventional amiability the first thing in the morning?” 12 likes
“She belongs to the winter that is past, to the darkness that is over, and has no part or lot in the life I shall lead for the next six months. Oh, I could dance and sing for joy that the spring is here! What a ressurection of beauty there is in my garden, and of brightest hope in my heart.” 9 likes
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