Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden

Overview

Mrs. Whaley's tiny, walled garden is said to be the most visited private garden in America. And no wonder. It is the life's work of a forceful, vibrant, sociable, opinionated, determined woman who has spent the last eighty-five years cultivating whatever life offered. Now, in conversations with award-winning lowcountry novelist William Baldwin, Mrs. Whaley takes us on a tour of her garden - and of her life. Each year since 1940, Mrs. Whaley has made her garden new again and herself through it. She yanks out ...
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Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden

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Overview

Mrs. Whaley's tiny, walled garden is said to be the most visited private garden in America. And no wonder. It is the life's work of a forceful, vibrant, sociable, opinionated, determined woman who has spent the last eighty-five years cultivating whatever life offered. Now, in conversations with award-winning lowcountry novelist William Baldwin, Mrs. Whaley takes us on a tour of her garden - and of her life. Each year since 1940, Mrs. Whaley has made her garden new again and herself through it. She yanks out annuals and perennials alike. She prunes with a vengeance. ("I never walk into my garden without my clippers in hand.") She is careful not to overdo. ("Remember! There's such a thing as too many dancing girls!") As an ever-evolving work of art, the garden reflects Mrs. Whaley's hard-headed determination to make the most of her own remarkable existence. William Baldwin captures and preserves in these pages an intuitive gardener's wisdom. And thanks to this gardener's bracing, positive attitude, we see how a practical personal philosophy might indeed grow out of one's beloved garden.

Emily Whaley's garden in Charleston, South Carolina, may be the most visited private garden in the country. It is the life's work of a vibrant, sociable, opinionated, determined, forceful woman who has spent the last 85 years cultivating whatever life offered her. Thanks to Baldwin's unfailing ear, Whaley's distinctive voice offers readers a clear understanding of how one might cultivate a practical personal philosophy alongside one's garden.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This book constitutes an ageless and captivating visit with 85-year-old Emily Whaley, the daughter of a South Carolina country doctor and his wife, who married a successful lawyer and moved to Charleston 60 years ago. As a special gift, Whaley's husband hired a professional designer to plan a formal garden with a "romantic natural background" for the house on Church Street, where she still lives. Thousands of people visit the garden each fall during the city's garden festival. Chatting with William Baldwin, a writer, home designer and fellow South Carolinian, Whaley breathlessly and delightfully describes her garden, other gardens she's known and recollections of her childhood, with her fresh mind and mint-condition memory stitching the strands into a rich memoir. Whaley's simple, direct language conveys not just her many frank opinions but her self-described joie de vivre and appreciation of the houses and gardens in her life. Hers is a world full of sunlight, "uncluttered space," Southern-city charms, idiosyncratic tradition, hearty gregariousness and the ubiquitous presence of flowers. In the South, as the author describes it, gardens are not simply decorative outdoor areas but places where one lives out one's life, as in the rooms of one's house. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786213184
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 2/1/1998
  • Pages: 219
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Emily Whaley was born in 1911 in Pinopolis, South Carolina. The mother of three daughters and grandmother of seven, she divided her time between her houses (and their kitchens) in Charleston, South Carolina, and Flat Rock, North Carolina. She died in June 1998.

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