With books and gardens on my mind, but fresh out of mad money and with public libraries closed in this time of pandemic, I resort to browsing my own bookshelves when Penelope Lively’s Life in the Garden catches my eye. It was just last year when I first discovered this writer and her lively stories that led me on to other garden books. My regular readers may recall the blog I posted in February 2019, “It’s Still Winter: Read Garden Books,” recounted here:
“Have you ever noticed how one book seems to lead you on to the next one, and one after that? Garden writers, I’m thinking. Penelope Lively, for example, devotes a long chapter to renown English gardeners and garden writers Gertrude Jekyll, Vita Sackville-West, and Virginia Woolf, among others. Our Elizabeth Lawrence of North Carolina made her list, too, so I re-visited her right away.
“For decades I have treasured her A Southern Garden and Through the Garden Gate. Lawrence inspired my own late-in-life venture into garden journaling and, consequently, this “Invitation to the Garden” blog series on Word Press.
“Last night I finished reading a genteel biography of Elizabeth Lawrence by Emily Herring Wilson, No One Gardens Alone.
“Next on my reading list, while I wait for the first crocus to poke up through brown bracken by my front door, is Caroline Zoob’s Virginia Woolf’s Garden at Monk’s Head.
“I just hope that I can find Elizabeth Von Arnim’s Elizabeth & Her German Garden still in print, especially after Lively lavished such praise for it. Here is a Renoir-ish painting of von Arnim reading outside her door step with her faithful brown companion at her feet. Reminds me of my own spaniel with me in my summer garden.”
POSTSCRIPT. I did find Elizabeth von Armin’s German garden book as well as A Trio of Stories: The Enchanted April & The Solitary Summer & Vera. You see? I tell myself. You don’t need to buy new books. Just revisit these delightful ones until the sun comes out again, even when (if) the pandemic is lifted. And continue to dig in your own garden. In fact, that’s where I’m going right now.