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The Writer in the Garden

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Not the least of the charms of this collection is that it is printed on quality paper, with delightful line drawings, and is just the right size to encourage the reader to take it in hand and turn the pages--which they will surely want to do once they have dipped into any chapter, where they will find some of the finest garden writing of the last hundred years. The famous ...more
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by Algonquin Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I checked this book out of the library and liked it so much I went out and bought a copy. A very enjoyable read!
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Everything grows for everybody. Everything dies for everybody, too.” Henry Mitchell, from The Essential Earthman

I really love reading about gardens and gardeners. Humorous, serious, opinionated and sometimes critical, there's something for everyone here, including some poetry and a section from The Secret Garden; this collection had some wonderful writing in it. I just usually wanted to read more, and unfortunately I don't have access to many of the originals. Still, I quite enjoyed reading thi
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: friday-reads
In one of my earliest writing workshops many years ago, the leader—a very successful novelist—encouraged us to go on a guided hike and document all the plants and creatures we came across. This, she said, was the stuff of textured settings. How rich your writing could be, fiction or otherwise, when you familiarized yourself with the smell, color, sound, and feel of nature.

The Writer in the Garden, a carefully curated anthology of narrative nonfiction essays featuring writers ruminating on all th
MaryAnne Pennington
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lovely short essays written by people who garden. Book format is beautiful.
Paul Bauer
Apr 21, 2012 rated it liked it
No daylillies! I was amused by one gardener's prejudice against flowers w/ prominent stamens. Freud would have made a case study of her. ...more
Jan 01, 2018 added it
A delightful collection of essays on gardening - such a good selection that features great nature writing, solid humour and just a touch of the eroticism of plants.
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent and most readable collection of essays from men and women who know how to garden, who are generous in passing on their observations, who can admit to flaws in their art of gardening, and all who have the gift of expression.  Some essays are serious, offering learning opportunities, some are funny, some wry or curmudgeonly, but ALL are engaging and can be read in just a few minutes.  I reaped the joy of picking up some valuable tips and enjoyed a few chuckles as I recognized ...more
Compendium of thoughts on gardening from a wide variety of writers.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is not one of those books you read in a day (I had to renew it from the library several times). It's one that you dip into, think on, savor. Ideally, it's one you read outside, sitting in your own garden, no matter what shape it's in.

I added this to my to read list as one of many books I hoped would inspire me to get out and "do something" with the small mess that is our backyard. Some of the essays are way beyond my skills (and interests), but others had me scribbling notes about plants to
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
A charming collection of essays and garden meditations from literary-minded gardeners, spanning from 1900 until about 1995. I particularly enjoyed the introduction to Gertrude Jekyll and, naturally, the necessary snippets from the beloved, ever-effusive Vita Sackville-West. This would make an especially nice gift for a person who loves to read and loves to while away entire days working outside among carefully tended plants.
May 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Selections of writings from gardeners who felt moved to record their experiences with dirt and plants. Some practical in approach, others more lyrical, they range across the last century and cover all kinds of personal gardens, at least the parts I read were such, no great botanical or institutional gardens were included. Great for dipping into as you please.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
I finally finished this! Some passages were very nice but the majority were just OK. Apparently I like to read technical works about gardening much more than I like to read other people's musings about their gardens. Nothing was bad, just a little dull. ...more
Robert Paul Olsen
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
All the great ones plus are here, Sackville-West, E.B. White, Gertrude Jekyll, Edith Wharton, Jamaica Kincaid, Michael Pollan, Louise Beebe Wilder, even Henry David Thoreau, and many more, speaking of their likes and dislikes. As Vita Sackville-West asserts, "sweet disorder judiciously arranged". ...more
Really 3.5/5.

While I really enjoyed the book (who doesn't love little anecdotes about gardens), the production wasn't what I would have liked. There were no pauses between tracks, which make it really jarring.
May 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Generally enjoyable, many of the pieces are thoughtful and original, a few less so.
Rusty Tobin
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Good book for winter reading. Mostly consists of essays about one's garden experiences and some are very funny. Not a book about how to create a garden but more about the enjoyment a garden brings. ...more
Marie P.
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A interesting and enjoyable collection of garden themed passages and essays by multiple writers.
Jun 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Throughout the course of the book, I felt like I was a fly on the wall.
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I want to give this book to every gardening friend this year.
Amy Weston
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31 likes · 6 comments
“Wherever humans garden magnificently, there are magnificent heartbreaks.... I never see a great garden, (even in my mind's eye, which is the best place to see great gardens around here), but I think of the calamities that have visited it, unsuspected by the delighted gardener who supposes, "It must be nice to garden there."
It is not nice to garden anywhere. Everywhere there are startling winds, once in every five centuries floods....
Now the gardener is the one who has seen everything ruined so many times that, even as his pain increases with each loss, he comprehends, truly knows, that where there was a garden once there can be again.”
“I have a friend who can’t bear the sight of any flower whose stamens show. It may sound Victorian and quaint, but this antipathy makes her gardening exquisitely simple.” 0 likes
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