Beacon Press: No One Gardens Alone
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No One Gardens Alone

A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence

Author: Emily Herring Wilson

An illuminating biography of the renowned Southern gardening writer Elizabeth Lawrence by the editor of the acclaimed book Two Gardeners.

No One Gardens Alone tells for the first time the story of Elizabeth Lawrence (1904-1985). Like classic biographies of Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, this fascinating book reveals Lawrence in all her complexity and establishes her, at last, as one of the premier gardeners and gardening writers of the twentieth century.

“In this first biography of the renowned gardening writer Elizabeth Lawrence, Emily Herring Wilson reminds us that even quiet lives hold unsuspected passions. Written with graceful clarity, sensitivity, and empathy, this life is a perennial.”

-Linda H. Davis, author of Onward and Upward: A Biography of Katharine S. White

Elizabeth Lawrence (1904-1985) lived a singular, often contradictory life. She was a traditional southerner; a successful, independent garden writer with her own newspaper column and numerous books to her credit; a dutiful daughter who cared for her elders and lived with her mother; a landscape architect; a passionate poet; a friend of literary figures like Eudora Welty and Joseph Mitchell; and a very private woman whose recently discovered letters illuminate aspects of her mystery. Lawrence earned many fans during her lifetime and gained even more after her death with the reissue of many of her classic books. When Emily Herring Wilson edited a collection of letters between Lawrence and famed New Yorker editor Katharine S. White in Two Gardeners, she found legions of readers who were eager to know more about the legendary Lawrence.

Now, one hundred years after her birth, No One Gardens Alone tells for the first time the story of this fascinating woman. Like classic biographies of literary figures such as Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, this book reveals Lawrence in all her complexity and establishes her, at last, as one of the premier gardeners and garden writers of the twentieth century.
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“A touching, insightful, and always engaging account of the complicated life of a talented southern woman finding her way over the course of the twentieth century. Based on painstaking research and extensive interviews, Wilson places the professional life of Elizabeth Lawrence, the ultimate gardener’s icon, within the larger context of Elizabeth Lawrence, the living, breathing, gracious-but-fallible, irritating-but-illuminating daughter, friend, and author we wish lived next door.” -Michele Gillespie, Kahle Associate Professor of History, Wake Forest University

“This is the biography of Elizabeth Lawrence that we have all been waiting for. Even though Lawrence’s writings are legendary among southern gardeners, her personal life has always been somewhat elusive. Emily Herring Wilson deftly weaves together Lawrence’s passions-her gardens, family circle, cherished friendships, and even her religious beliefs-in a compelling narrative.” -Judith B. Tankard, Landscape Institute, Harvard University

“Elizabeth Lawrence, who was my friend and mentor, would be delighted with Emily’s Wilson’s writing style and sensitive approach. Steeped as she is in the lore and history of the Southeast, Wilson is the perfect biographer for this southern lady.” -Pamela Harper, author of Time-Tested Plants

“The great merit in Emily Wilson’s biography of Elizabeth Lawrence is the meticulous piecing together of the facts of Lawrence’s life—the people who influenced and goaded her, her gardening correspondents, and her inquisitive and determined mind-all of which set the stage for the garden observations and writings that have become American classics.” -Bobby J. Ward, author of The Plant Hunter’s Garden: The Explorers and Their Discoveries

“Elizabeth Lawrence’s life, like her gardens and her writing, reflects the richness that comes from patient observation and acceptance of life’s most evanescent changes. Emily Herring Wilson has captured Lawrence’s ‘gardener’s spirit’ with all its interior complexity, joy of discovery, and delight in sharing. Wilson is cautious not to trample or invade, but with candor and insight she uncovers the gardener’s own bloom-time and poetic voice. This biography unlocks Lawrence’s secret garden as only another gifted southern poet and writer could do.” -Linda Lear, author of Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature

Reviews

Review by: Judith B. Tankard, Landscape Institute, Harvard University - September 15, 2005
This is the biography of Elizabeth Lawrence that we have all been waiting for. Even though Lawrence's writings are legendary among Southern gardeners, her personal life has always been somewhat elusive. Wilson deftly weaves together Lawrence's passions - her gardens, family circle, cherished friendships, and even her religious beliefs-in a compelling narrative.
Review by: Carol Haggas, Booklist - September 15, 2005
"Lawrence’s life is celebrated with joy, reverence, and clarity in this captivating biography of the quintessential horticulturalist whose columns and books about her private Southern garden inspired gardeners throughout the country. Wilson vibrantly traces Lawrence’s developments from a shy, devoted daughter to a pioneering landscape architect and prolific garden writer."
Review: Kirkus Reviews - September 15, 2005
“A perceptive biography of one of the country’s great gardeners and gardening writers. Sensitive and luminously written.”
Review by: Janet Lembke, Raleigh News & Observer - September 15, 2005
“How can anyone resist reading this life, well-illustrated by photographs, of this small, beautiful woman?”
Review by: Norma Prendergast, American Gardener - September 1, 2005
"[A] well-written and carefully researched biography of a giant in gardening literature . . . It brings to life a world that seems to have disappeared, one where women's lives were bound by family and social convention, but one in which it was still possible to live a rich life, nourished by a passion for gardening and the love of friends."
Review by: Marianne Binetti, Seattle Post-Intelligencer - September 1, 2005
"Gardeners who enjoy history and literature will be fascinated as a life unfolds . . . the reader will have the satisfaction of knowing a remarkable woman who loved her garden and fellow gardeners, a person you wished lived right next door."
Review: Boston Globe - September 1, 2005
"Emily Herring Wilson lifts the veil on an elusive figure whose classic garden books have delighted generations."
Review by: Diane Heilenman, Gannett News Service - September 1, 2005
"Reading for a winter's night for those, like Lawrence, who ponder why we garden."

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No One Gardens Alone

ISBN: 978-080708563-9
Publication Date: 9/15/2005
Pages: 352
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $16.00
Format: 
Availability: In stock.
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