Monday, February 26, 2007

Garden Blogger's Book Club Post

The book for February was Two Gardeners. This is the first time I participated in the book club and I am afraid to say how I honestly felt about this book. I don't want to hurt any feelings, but I think this was right up there with Vonnegut's Intruder in the Dust.
This book has very little to do with gardening. I really didn't learn anything about gardening. I did read extensively about spine surgery and dermatitis. Less than halfway into this book, Katharine White's letters to her southern friend Elizabeth Lawrence became more of a list of her current ailments and reasons why she had not written- than anything else.
It seems I liked Elizabeth Lawrence more. I was more familiar with the plants she grew and it seemed to me that she was a real gardener and a designer.

This opinion points out to me several things about myself. I am not very academic. I don't enjoy reading chit chat from 1960, I don't care who the author is!

I have read my Ruth Stout books over and over and they are from the '60s. I love these books and read them often. It is instructional and down to earth. But these ladies, they are for the more academically mature garden reader, I think. I became bored with the letters and they even became depressing as the book wore on. The letters tell of aches and pains and friends dying off and the inability to do physical work. Every night, I would put the book down on my nightstand and wonder why anyone would write about all that.
It turns out those ladies met. Once. (Don't you know the Southern lady finally came North-even though the Northern lady went right by the Southern lady twice a year on her way to Florida...)
After they met face to face, something happened. They did not write each other for a long time. Something must have happened during that luncheon in New York. The reader never discovers what the problem was, but it was really disturbing to me. What could have possibly bothered Elizabeth Lawrence enough that she would not write to Katharine White for almost a year? Up until then, she was the more loyal letter writer.

Another thing I learned was that I don't read for pleasure. I read to learn. Perhaps that is why I didn't enjoy the book as much as the others in the club did.
One good thing did come out of this reading. I discovered some really good design principle books suggested by another blogger! Right now, I am in the middle of planning the potager garden out back and am reading alot about the potager. Colleen has a list of books she is reading on her site. I have really become a big fan of Mrs. Greenthumbs and Cottage garden books!
I did get the next two books for the book club. I am excited to read them.

You know, I did learn one thing from this book. I will be planting species tulips in the fall. Lots and lots of them.


  1. Sissy, thanks for participating and posting. Not every book is for every gardener, which is a wonderful thing, in and of itself! I'm glad you did discover a few other books along the way, and will participate again.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  2. I've read a couple of reviews about this book and both had different opinions of it! lol Not everyone enjoys the same kind of books, though...if I'd wanted to be learning about gardening and such, I don't think this book would do it for me! xox

  3. Sissy: Don't worry about it! Everyone likes different books. Hey - I went to graduate school for literature and I *hate* Moby Dick and anything by Charles Dickens.

  4. I think I enjoyed it more than you did because it had less to do with gardening and more about their lives. Especially at this time of year when I am more focused on my genealogy hobby.

    There were times in the book when Katherine seemed, what?, maybe uppity? but I saw this as more the big city girl, vs. the small town girl. Katherine often sounded as if corresponding was a chore and I was offended for Elizabeth when her (Katherine) letters were dictated. Elizabeth's letters were usually more pleasing to read because of this.

    Sorry you didn't like it but I'm certain there will be books in the future that you'll enjoy.

  5. I'm impressed that you hung in there, Sissy, and having other points of view is valuable. It's probably harder to read this book without having been previously 'introduced' to the authors as I had been.

    Mrs Greenthumbs has been in my library since the book was new - I'm glad you and Cassandra hit it off!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. I had a feeling I wouldn't like this book either, but I did enjoy it, to my surprise. In all honesty, I liked Mrs. Greenthumbs better, but it was interesting to me to read these two ladies anyway. I totally agree with you about the endless lists of ailments.

    I'm glad you're liking the list on my site! And, thanks for reminding me...I need to update that. I've read a couple more good ones in the past couple of weeks :-)

  7. Sissy, I loved what you said about Ruth Stout. I too love reading the zeal Stout and other somewhat wacky Rodale followers pour into their books; some of my favorite garden reads are old (1960-70s) Organic Gardening magazines: there are such tips there, so much to learn.

    But I do love a good looking garden, and always wondered how pretty a non-dug, pile-it-on-top garden like Stout's would have been. Untidy, maybe. But the plants would have loved it. It surely wouldn't fly in EL and MW's gardens.


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