Pixies in Tulips

I'm not sure how it happened. I was searching for information about gardening books and came across a reference to a book by Mrs. Alice T. A. Quackenbush.

In the book's introduction, Helen Morgantheu Fox writes, "Mrs. Quackenbush has not taken the conventional attitude of dwelling upon the color scheme and cultivation of a garden.  Her deep love and interest in flowers has led her to find out about their "personal relations" and all the flower gossip."

Personal relations amongst the flowers? Flower gossip?

Welcome to "All in a Garden Fair" by Alice T. A. Quackenbush (A. T. De La Mare Company, Inc., 1925)

When I received my copy in the mail today, I flipped it open and thought how nice it was that the giver of the book had written a little inscription on the inside cover.  I love to get old gardening books with little personal hints about the people who first owned and read them.

Then a few minutes later it occurred to me.  Alice T. A. Quackenbush wrote that note and signed the book.  "For the lady who is just as good a friend as she is a secretary - and that's going over!"

What a nice surprise.

In the forward, Alice wrote,

"This tiny book about plant names and their significance does not presume to be scientific. It is merely a suggestion offered by one garden lover to another, that there is more in the garden than a first glance reveals; further, that botanical names are not so formidable as some of us may have thought; and further still, that the most satisfactory place to learn them is in the garden.

If it be the means of reminding a few amateur gardeners of the pixies which cradle in their Tulips, or of sending them to the dictionary for a better understanding of the names of the flowers they grow, it will have served its purpose."

Alice T. A. Quackenbush

Cold Spring-on-Hudson, N.Y.
July, 1925.

I know nothing of Alice, her secretary, or Helen, who wrote the introduction.  That doesn't matter to me. I hold in my hand an old gardening book and there is information in it about "pixies which cradle in their Tulips".

When I hold these books, and read phrases like that, I'm glad for winter, happy that it gives me time out of the garden to go down these rabbit holes to learn and explore and get lost in another gardening world.

I'll leave a little trail of flower petals and hope to find my way back in a few days.


  1. what a lovely book! and the personal note by the author makes it so much more special. congrats on this find!

  2. That is so cool! I love it! That's a keeper.

  3. A great journey back in time!
    Lea's Menagerie

  4. What a terrific find. The cover is really charming.

  5. That is just so cool. It is quite amazing that the author itself wrote a note for you!I'm really happy for you.

  6. What a great find!

    Wonderful blog as well, I'm a fan!


  7. Carol, what a great find! This is yet another inspiring and wonderfully written post. I always enjoy your writing and have, therefore, nominated you and your Blog for The Versatile Blogger Award. My post this week includes your nomination and a link to your writing. ~Debra

  8. How exactly did you obtain the book? It looks very interesting!

  9. That's lovely. I love coming upon old books like that. There are so many wonderful old books that I wonder why I waste so much time on the Internet...except in rare cases like this where it leads me to finding wonderful old books.


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