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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

What could be better for summer reading?

What could be better for summer reading?

I could not resist buying Plant Doctoring is Fun by Cynthia Westcott (1957, D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc.) when I saw it in a used bookstore.  I wasn't sure what it was about but that didn't stop me from buying it.

After I purchased it, I've figured out that Westcott was a pioneering plant pathologist and this is her autobiography.

What could be better for summer reading?

I know, nothing could be better for summer reading.  And I suspect that she'll mention people and places that will send me scrambling through the Internet to find out more about them.  This could be one of the largest, deepest rabbit holes of all the ones I've fallen into.

At that same used bookstore, I found and purchased a hard cover edition of A Southern Garden by Elizabeth Lawrence. Oh, yes, I already own a copy of this book. I own one copy of everything written by or about Elizabeth Lawrence. This was a 50th anniversary edition that had some pretty watercolor illustrations in it, so now you know that I'm buying different editions of Lawrence's books.   

As soon as I finish Plant Doctoring is Fun, I'm going to re-read A Southern Garden.  It matters not that I have a Midwestern garden.  Lawrence writes in a universal language for all gardeners.

In regards to watering, she writes in the introduction of A Southern Garden, "If a plant can survive periods of drought only when it is planted in the shade and given a soil rich in humus and a cool root-run, I give it those conditions. I am even willing to water it in very dry weather - if I can remember and if I am at home.  But I did not mean to construct a system of leaking pipes to supply the moisture that the heavens withhold to alpines loath to leave their mountain tops to summer in the piedmont."

I think this summer drought may self-select some plants out of my garden and I'd do well to adopt Lawrence's approach and avoid fussy plants.

At the end of the introduction, Lawrence concludes with this paragraph. "One thing more. I do not mean to lay undue emphasis on plants. Plants are the material from which the garden is created.  I think of a garden not as a manifestation of spring (like an Easter hat), not as beds of flowers to be cut and brought into the house, but as a place to be in and enjoy every month of the year."

My summer reading is set. First Westcott, then Lawrence.

What could be better for summer reading?


9 comments:

Cindy, MCOK said...

I need to read Elizabeth Lawrence! She made me chuckle with the leaking pipes statement.

Leslie said...

I need to read that also...I can't believe I've never gotten round to it.

Gail said...

I reread Elizabeth Lawrence books all the time. She educated me when I moved to Middle Tennessee and had to embrace a different climate. gail

ProfessorRoush said...

A Southern Garden is indeed a great read. Now I've got to find a copy of Plant Doctoring Is Fun. $31 for a facsimile on Amazon. Do you lend-library Carol?

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Lovely. I do love Miss Elizabeth!~~Dee

Carol said...

ProfessorRoush, check abebooks.com for cheaper copies, some are as little as $1 plus shipping.

Kalantikan said...

I love the title of that book"Plant Doctoring is Fun". I smiled because some people here sometimes don't distinguish a Medical Dr from a PhD. They just know they are called doctors, so when they know the PhD took Agriculture in college, they just surmised that he/she is a Plant doctor or crops doctor, and they really tried asking for advice as to what cause their plants unhealthy looks. Oh maybe i should write about this once, although i don't write well as you do! haha.

Helen Malandrakis said...

Sounds good to me!

Andrea Sprott said...

LOVED meeting you and Jill last week in the Lawrence Garden! It is always so much fun to speak with a fellow Lawrence enthusiast... she certainly left such an incredible legacy to us all. I've read A Southern Garden a few times, and each time find it refreshing, as I do all of her books, really.
Now I need to read Plant Doctoring Is Fun! Lawrence used Cynthia Westcott as a reference in some of her articles for the Charlotte Observer. Besides, I could ALWAYS use a brush-up on plant pathology.
Hope your plants make it back to Indiana alright. Come back and see me sometime!