Down, down, down, I ventured into the rabbit hole. One search led to another, as I typed in terms like “Ida D. Bennett” and “Ida Dandridge Bennett”. Along the way, I encountered Annie in Austin, who has joined me in the search down in this rabbit hole to find out more about this garden writer.
There aren’t a lot of references to Bennett on the Internet, but down in that rabbit hole, if you go deep enough, there are still some tidbits to be found. Going off in different directions, Annie and I have managed to piece together quite a bit of information about Ida D. Bennett, the author of several gardening books, including The Flower Garden (1903).
One of the most fascinating references to Ida D. Bennett that I've found so far is in a letter from Katharine S. White to Elizabeth Lawrence, referencing a column Lawrence had written on Bennett.
It took me just a few minutes to pull Through the Garden Gate, a compilation of columns written by Lawrence, off my book shelf, flip to the index, and go right to the column she wrote.
What a coincidence! In July 1959, one of my favorite garden writers, Elizabeth Lawrence, wrote an entire column about Ida D. Bennett. Lawrence, as it turns out, also did not know much about Bennett but did speculate about her personal life in her column. In August 1966, Lawrence also references Bennett in another column about bedding out annuals, along with garden writers E. A. Bowles and William Robinson.
Funny thing about these rabbit holes. There are twists and turns that can take you off in one direction and then another, sometimes leading to a goldmine of information, other times dragging you through a quagmire of questions, but always enticing you deeper into the rabbit hole, until you almost forget what you are there for.
I’m coming out of this rabbit hole for awhile, with a bag of information on Bennett and some questions, too. I’ll combine what I have with whatever Annie in Austin found and also see if commenter “T”, who lives in Bennett's home town of Coldwater, Michigan and belongs to their local garden club, comes up with anything from the local library. Then I’ll write it all up so that if someday someone else picks up one of Bennett’s books and decides to find out more about her, they will find the information we’ve found all in one place.
While that may not give them the same thrill of going down into the rabbit hole, it should save them time, which can be used to go find another rabbit hole that has yet to be explored. What connections will they find there between what they are looking for and what they already have?