Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children's Talesby Marta McDowell
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/i>
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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.
“You may well want to buy a copy to keep and several to give friends... the book is a visual delight.”
“Gardeners brought up on the mishaps of Peter Rabbit can now curl up with Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life… This work brings Potter, as much as her garden, to life, as an energetic, sturdy soul with an uncanny understanding of animals.”
“McDowell leads her readers on a virtual tour of the gardens that were important in Potter's life and provides season-by-season descriptions of the flowered landscapes the author created at Hill Top Farm and Castle Cottage."
“A volume rich with photographs and Potter's own enchanting sketches and watercolors.”
"McDowell brings to light a delightfully different side of the celebrated author... The book recounts Potter's life through a gardening lens and is copiously illustrated with her sketches and watercolors of plants."
"A beautiful book that gives a strong sense of the strong and practical woman that Potter was. Nearly every page has a photograph or delicate painting from one of her books… a visual feast."
“One of the best books this year for the gardener on your holiday gift list… a gem.”
“Illustrated on every page with scenes from Potter’s life and her botanical illustrations… If you love gardening, you will love this book.”
“In this visually charming book, McDowell takes us from her childhood summers in the country to her adult homes and gardens.”
“A richly illustrated exploration of Beatrix Potter's evolution as an author-illustrator, gardener, sheep farmer and land preservationist.”
“Potter springs to life from the pages of this fascinating and beautiful book.”
“Stir your imagination… a biography written through plants.”
“McDowell traces the journey of Potter the gardener, which is inextricable linked to Potter the writer... A fascinating insight into how Potter's writing and passion for plants (she experimented with a wide variety of species and was a prodigious propagator) fed each other."
“Gardening lovers and children's literature lovers alike will find beauty in these pages of photographs and stories about Beatrix Potter and her characters and flowers."
“This is not an historical novel with a plot, but neither is it a mere documentary of facts. It is the perfect blend of both.”
“Horticulturalist McDowell tells of famed children's author Beatrix Potter's magnificent garden on Hill Top Farm, in England. Filled with vivid descriptions, photographs, maps, illustrations, and quotes from Potter, this book details the landscape that provided inspiration for some of the most well-known childhood tales of all time.”
“The first book to explore Beatrix Potter's garden and how it influenced her children's stories... A great gift book for old and new fans alike."
“Illustrated throughout with Potter’s charming watercolors and historic photographs, this book is a delightful exploration of the landscape that inspired one of the world’s great authors… about as charming as a garden book can be.”
“Rich with photographs and Potter’s watercolors, this is destined to be a coffee table classic.”
“Brings the reader into the life of the beloved author and illustrator… chock-full of wonderful photographs of Potter and her gardens... a book to banish winter blues.”
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Meet the Author
Marta McDowell lives, gardens, and writes in Chatham, New Jersey. She consults for public gardens and private clients. Marta writes and lectures on gardening topics and teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, where she studied landscape design. Her particular interest is in authors and their gardens, the connection between the pen and the trowel. She is the author of Emily Dickinson's Gardens and Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I originally bought two books as gifts for friends who are master gardeners. I personally have no interest in gardening. I thought I would just skim through the book and look at the wonderful pictures and illustrations. However, skimming became reading and I found myself thoroughly enjoying the words and descriptions of the gardens and the love Beatrix Potter had in her work in the gardens. I also found so interesting the identification of the plants and areas from her real gardens to her books.
In the first half of the book the author presents the reader with a biography of Beatrix Potter. She was an author, artist and gardener. Her drawings(not only from her books), photographs from her gardens and surrounding area are beautiful. The second half of the book tells us about her gardens in the four seasons with lovely accompanying photographs. This book was carefully researched. I never knew she drew the pictures for her books, was a dedicated gardener and donated the land she owned to the National Trust in England which can be toured today.
This book is a treat for a gardener and any one who is interested in botanical art. A great insight into a very talented, independent and intersting woman who was ahead of her time. It also has some wonderful reference material as well.
This book is a biography of Potter's life but it is chock full of drawings and paintings of hers and photos of her and family and friends. It's amazing the talent had even at the age of 10. This is a most enjoyable book. Picture book enthusiasts, artists, will love this.