Garden books are one of my favorite ways to pass the long, long Minnesota winters. While I enjoy learning about new plants and techniques, sometimes it’s enjoyable just to read what others have to say about gardening. There are no more literate or knowledgeable gardeners to eavesdrop on than Katharine S. White (1892-1977) and Elizabeth Lawrence (1904-1985).
Two Gardeners: A Friendship in Letters, is the collected correspondence of White, long-time editor and garden columnist at the New Yorker, and Lawrence, a garden writer who lived in Charlotte, NC. Lawrence wrote A Southern Garden, among other books and articles. Here was a case of opposites attracting. White was older, a sophisticated New Yorker (and a guiding force at the The New Yorker for much of the early 20th century), who along with her famous husband, E.B. White of Charlotte’s Web fame, gardened in New England. Lawrence rarely left home, where she cared for her invalid mother and her garden. The correspondence between Lawrence and White stretched over nearly 20 years and amid the discussions of seeds, catalogs (they were obsessed with catalogs!), lousy Maine winters, writing, family, and illnesses (real and imagined) a fascinating portrait of a friendship and two strong, interesting women emerges.
It’s well worth buying, but if you have a copy, please pass it on to one of your gardening friends.