Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales

April 20, 2014 - Comment

There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter. More than 150 million copies of her books have sold worldwide and interest in her work and life remains high. And her characters—Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and all the rest—exist in a charmed

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There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter. More than 150 million copies of her books have sold worldwide and interest in her work and life remains high. And her characters—Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and all the rest—exist in a charmed world filled with flowers and gardens. Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England’s Lake District. Next, the reader follows Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler’s guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter’s gardens today.

Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter’s classic tales.

Comments

Leslie Readit says:

Exquisite book about Potter’s Gardens! A Review of “Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life”The plants and places that inspired the classic children’s talesBy Marta McDowellOnly rarely in a reader’s life will a book come along a book that is so perfectly suited for the reader’s character that it brings out the schoolgirl in her and perhaps a squeal of delight and a series of silly, wistful sighs. Reader, that is what Marta McDowell’s latest book has done for me. I admit I didn’t exactly love her book on Emily’s Dickinson’s garden but perhaps it was just my lack of enthusiasm for Dickinson herself that underwhelmed me. What a contrast is this treasure before me now. Shall I tell you all the things I love about it? The cover is what delights the eyes at once. Part of the wonder of Beatrix Potter was that she was an amazingly accomplished artist, even from a young age. The cover is beautiful and includes a watercolor of a sweet garden gate, another of a handful of adorable little guinea pigs…

Lois-ellin Datta says:

The Tale of Mrs. Heelis—-A Splendid Story of Beatrix Potter and Her Many Gardens Marta McDowell’s “Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life” is almost sure to delight all who lovingly remember the stories of Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, and Jemima Puddle-Duck which readied us for meeting Mole, Water Rat, Toad, and Badger. Even better, if these admirers of Beatrix Potter are slightly mad about gardens and wander in their dreams among the dreaming spires of English foxgloves & delphiniums. (In this review, as in McDowell’s book, Beatrix Potter is sometimes referred to as Beatrix, sometimes as Beatrix Potter, and after her marriage, sometimes as Mrs. Heelis. Hopefully, this won’t be confusing.)This richly created book offers on almost every page superbly reproduced water colors of landscapes, plants, and the small creatures of hedgerow and streams, or photographs of the more than 10 homes in which Beatrix lived and gardened. No one, not even Durer, has drawn bunnies like Beatrix Potter, bunnies with the softest fur, and on p. 106, the roundest tummies, as six…

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