Gardening Letters to My Daughter

Anne Scott-James, Author, Virginia Powell, Illustrator St. Martin's Press $12.95 (184p) ISBN 978-0-312-05867-8
Having reached ``the creaky years,''sic Scott-James ( Sissinghurst: The Making of a Garden ) began recording her gardening life in a series of letters to her daughter Clare, who was living nearby in the English countryside and had just gotten started on a garden of her own. The result is a comfortably British dialogue on gardening and the cycles of life. Fathers and sons may show love by pondering how life imitates the World Series; this mother and daughter do it by asking each other earnestly, ``How do you feel about dahlias?'' As with gardening itself, equal attention is paid to the practical (``An actively growing lawn loses nine pints of water per square yard in a day'') and the reflective (``I have to garden for myself alone, and I do not like it''). And, as with nearly all mothers and daughters, there is conflict--between the well-planned gardening style of Scott-James and the perceived wildness of her daughter's schemes. For some readers, the tension between the two women will be minor and the mental volleys precious, but for the gardener who calls plants only by their Latin names, it will provide an engaging break from weed guides. Hastings's intricate line drawings are appropriately whimsical. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-1-85089-595-4
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