Katharine Stuart

Letters to Elizabeth

1961 Today Katharine Stuart wrote to Elizabeth Lawrence.

"My dear Elizabeth,
By now you will have given me up entirely as a friend. It is shocking that I have not written to you in so long and especially that I have never answered your letter offering me some of Mr. Krippendorf’s hellebores. 

Perhaps you can forgive me, though, when you hear all the things that have been happening to me since May 24, the date of your letter. [Turns out, Katharine had an appendectomy.]
I enclose some of Andy’s snapshots of the garden in early spring. As you can see, it isn’t a garden — no plan, no style, no proper arrangement of colors — but at least the picturesgive you the feel of the land in a cold, late Maine spring. 

Everything is very different now. The picket fence hardly shows for the flowers, the grey windbreak is covered with the blossoms of Mme. Baron Veillard, Jackmarie, and Mrs. Cholmondley, and on the little terrace, the hybrid roses are full of bloom. 
We lost one of our big Balm of Gilead trees in a fiercewind and rain storm and Andy has made a mostingenious birdbath from a sectionof its big trunk, into which he poured cement… yesterday, we could watch two song sparrows and a yellowwarbler take their baths [in it] under the pear tree. 
Even if I can'tgarden, I can enjoy the flowers in a maddeninglyremote way. My first water lily is in blossom in the pasturepond..

Today, my first-ever hardy cyclamen is in bloom under the Persian lilac. It is enchantingand a triumphas I havefailed so often with them. I finally raised this one indoors last winter and set it out this spring. I don'teven know the variety, for the tag is lost. It has pink blossoms and variegated leaves. Everything else is at sixes and sevens—iris needs separating; one long perennial bed is too crowded; one is too skimpy thanks to winter losses. It has been a year of frustration. Andy finally sold our beautiful Herefords and there goes my source of manure. Oh, dear, we are crumbling badly! But just writing you gives me hope and I am determined that I shall get back to normal again. We really feel encouraged. 

Ever affectionately, Katharine "

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Katharine Stuart
Katharine Stuart

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