The Writer’s Garden: How gardens inspired our best-loved authors

September 17, 2017 - Comment

Great things happen in gardens. No one can doubt the importance of the garden in Roald Dahl’s life as it was here where he worked, and here that he created James and the Giant Peach. And where would Jane Austen have been if she had never seen a ‘walk’, an ornamental lake, or a wilderness?

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Great things happen in gardens. No one can doubt the importance of the garden in Roald Dahl’s life as it was here where he worked, and here that he created James and the Giant Peach. And where would Jane Austen have been if she had never seen a ‘walk’, an ornamental lake, or a wilderness?

Gardens hold a special place in many author’s lives. For Beatrix Potter, Hill Top house was made possible by the new found freedom and wealth that a literary career can bring; for Sir Walter Scott, laying out his garden at Abbotsford was a way of distracting himself from mounting debts.

In this book of 18 gardens and 20 writers, the author examines how the poet, writer, novelist derived a creative spirit from their private garden, how they tended and enjoyed their gardens, and how they managed their outdoor space.

Jane Austen at Godmersham and Chawton

Rupert Brooke at Grantchester

John Ruskin at Brantwood

Agatha Christie at Greenway

Beatrix Potter at Hill Top

Roald Dahl at Gipsy House

Charles Dickens at Gad’s Hill Place

Virginia Woolf at Monk’s House

Winston Churchill at Chartwell

Laurence Sterne at Shandy Hall

George Bernard Shaw at Shaw’s Corner

Ted Hughes at Lumb Bank

Henry James followed by E.F. Benson at Lamb House

John Clare at Helpston

Thomas Hardy at Hardy’s Cottage and Max Gate

Robert Burns at Ellisland

William Wordsworth at Cockermouth and Grasmere

Walter Scott at Abbotsford

Rudyard Kipling at Bateman’s

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Comments

Margaret A. Vanmeter says:

One of the Best Writer/Gardening Books in my Collection Upon first seeing this book, it reminded me of a “Coffee Table” book that you would just put out for show and nobody would really read it. On the other hand, because I LOVE reading and gardening, this book is one of the most beloved treasures in my library. The authors represented, the gardens shared and the photographs are just superb. I have dozens of books in my library on the subject of writers and their gardening habits and the fact that I was treated to the lives of authors…

alice james says:

a pleasure to read and to look at I bought this book primarily for the photographs, so I wasn’t disappointed by the writing, which is unremarkable. But as an avid gardener (indoor plants & outdoor gardens) and Henry James scholar (ie I’m a “recovered academic”), I knew this type of book would be useful as a pleasant and relaxing read after I reviewed the table of contents on-line. As a practicing attorney, i find it useful to read gardening books with lots of photos as well as plant catalogs after a stressful…

isabella says:

enjoyed it. Once I waded into it….enjoyed it… enjoyed the selection of Writers ….could have been more editing with choice of flowering images I dont think the book needed these fillers its not a gardening catalogue ….especially loved Beatrix Potters double lives ,two houses each in the same village …Wonderful example of how a woman can live … write ,garden , choose to keep a husband as well .

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