Gardens in Winter by Elizabeth Lawrence

by Katharine S. White

I have had to enjoy the winter garden vicariously, with the help of books. The best for this purpose I’ve found is Elizabeth Lawrence’s new one. Gardens in Winter (Harper), which has allowed me to share the delights of the author’s garden in Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as the gardens and woods she knows from her wide reading.

Miss Lawrence is a classicist and can cite Virgil and the English poets as freely as she does Gertrude Jekyll and Jane Loudon. In this volume, she leads us most often to the English garden of Canon Henry Ellacombe, from whose two books In a Gloucestershire Garden (1896) and In My Vicarage Garden (1902) she often quotes.

She also takes us to Walden Pond and Concord, in the winter sections of Thoreau’s Journal. In North Carolina, Miss Lawrence says, there are two springs—the first in autumn, just after the killing frosts, and then the true spring, which starts on St. Valentine’s Day—but she reminds us that it was Thoreau who wrote, “All the year is a spring,” and her book seems to prove this to be true, even in the North.

She has collected winter-garden notes and-flowering dates from her network of correspondents all over the United States and shares these with her readers. Though we Northerners will envy her her iris and camellias in November, her roses and hardy cyclamens in December, and her violets and hoopskirt daffodils in January, she shows us that all winter, even in the most frigid and unlikely spots, there are flowers or shrubs in bloom or, at the very least, in fruit, if we look for them carefully.
— Katharine S. White, gardener and garden writer, Onward and Upward in the Garden

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Gardens in Winter by Elizabeth Lawrence
Gardens in Winter by Elizabeth Lawrence

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