A legendary editor at "The New Yorker" during its first thirty-four years, Katharine S. White was also a great garden enthusiast. In March 1958 she began publishing her popular column, "Onward and Upward in the Garden." Her first column elicited loads of fan mail, but one letter in particular caught her attention. From Elizabeth Lawrence, a noted ...
A legendary editor at "The New Yorker" during its first thirty-four years, Katharine S. White was also a great garden enthusiast. In March 1958 she began publishing her popular column, "Onward and Upward in the Garden." Her first column elicited loads of fan mail, but one letter in particular caught her attention. From Elizabeth Lawrence, a noted southern garden writer, it was filled with suggestions and encouragement. When Katharine wrote back her appreciation, she reported on her Maine garden and discussed the plants and books that interested her. Thus began a correspondence that would last for almost twenty years, until Katharine's death in 1977. "Two Gardeners" is a collection of these luminous letters, edited and introduced by Emily Herring Wilson. The letters bring to life the unique epistolary friendship between two intelligent women, the "formidable" Mrs. White and the "shy" Miss Lawrence, both avid gardeners and readers, both at a stage of life when to make a new friend was rare indeed: when they first wrote to one another, Katharine was sixty-two, Elizabeth, fifty-four. More than 150 letters went back and forth during the course of their correspondence, though Katharine and Elizabeth would meet face-to-face only once. Whether talking about gardens or books, friends or family, each held a special place in the other's life. Illustrated with photographs of both Katharine White and Elizabeth Lawrence, their families, gardens, and houses, this book is a special treat for gardeners, literature lovers, and anyone who delights in reading about women's friendships.
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-03-11 In 1958 White, wife of the essayist E.B. White, published the first of many horticultural articles in the New Yorker, where she had been an editor for years. It was a critique of the catalogues from which she ordered seeds, bulbs and plants for the gardens around her house in North Brooklin, Maine. It prompted Lawrence, a noted garden writer in Charlotte, N.C., to send a fan letter recommending other catalogues for the author to look into. White gratefully wrote back, and thus began a friendship by mail that lasted until White's death in 1977. Because White often asked for advice about books, catalogues and plants, there is a good deal of gardening information in these 160 letters. Mutual encouragement is a major theme. White praises Lawrence's books, Southern Gardening and The Little Bulb Book, and in her last letter claims to have learned almost everything she knows about horticulture from Lawrence. Though somewhat in awe of the older, more famous woman, Lawrence doesn't hesitate to act as her teacher. Mixed in are accounts of their daily lives, bits of family history and news of Lawrence's aged mother and White's grandchildren. These graceful letters by two women well-known in the gardening world are a joy to read. The book is nicely assembled by Wilson (Hope and Dignity: Older Black Women of the South), whose footnotes are informative but unobtrusive. Photos. (Apr. 16) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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