FOUR TENTHS OF AN ACRE: Reflections on a Gardening Life

Laurie Lisle, Author . Random $24.95 (219p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6167-9

The descendant of generations of women gardeners, Lisle casually dispenses advice for meeting the challenge of creating a "little acadia" in a space that "looked like no one had ever gardened there before." In her rural Connecticut backyard, Lisle deals with common problems, including the vicissitudes of weather; the always-encroaching woods; and pests and deer that can, within minutes, destroy what has taken her years to grow. Lisle's range, wider than her long and narrow garden, takes in a world of horticulturists (both growers and fanciers) from well-known literary figures like Hawthorne and Wharton to those revered for their gardening-centric works, such as Gertrude Jekyll. Having recently moved north from Manhattan, Lisle immerses herself not only in her new home but in the depths of its three-century history, unraveling the construction of a local Georgian manor and analyzing the drawing of a young girl that Lisle finds at a neighboring town's historical society. Lisle (Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe ) finds "many similarities between the rules and routines of writing and gardening." As gardeners try to give shape to nature, Lisle's book does to a life, which is as challenging, complex and resistant to order as a garden. Her work will satisfy armchair gardeners as well as those already elbow-deep in dirt. Agent, Charlotte Sheedy. (On sale May 3)

Reviewed on: 04/04/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-7862-7926-5
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