Thursday, January 2, 2014

Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life; Marta McDowell

2013 - Timber Press

Many of us grew up with fond memories of Beatrix Potter's many children's tales (at least the one about Peter Rabbit - right?) In this charming and beautifully illustrated book, adult readers will get a good feel for who Beatrix Potter was and how her love of nature and passion for gardening inspired her.
The book is divided into sections - parts one, two and three. Part One, Beatrix Potter’s Life as a Gardner, a biography of sorts, explores her love of plants and gardening and how this love of nature was incorporated into her books.  Part Two, covers a year in Beatrix Potter’s life by season, exploring not only the gardens when she lived with her husband, Hill Top Farm and Castle Cottage. I loved all the detail about the individual plants. Part Three, Visiting Beatrix Potter's Gardens allows readers to explore other magical gardens in England (she lived in many different places), from the places where grew up to how they exist today.

The Magic of Hill Top Farm
(pp 264-265)

The author, Marta McDowell, also published Emily Dickinson's Gardens in 2005 which I need to check out. McDowell's passion for horticulture and her affiliation with the Beatrix Potter Society shows. She does a terrific job telling Potter’s life story through her love of nature and gardening. The watercolor illustrations add interest and help the reader to get a better understanding about what inspired Potter as a person and as an author. Her well-loved tales are certainly books that many have come to love through the generations.  Although this book is written with adults in mind, there are images that children will love as well. It is one of those rare books that will magically transport you back in time.

Informative, unique, and filled with gorgeous illustrations, this beautiful book that would make a great gift for the garden lover in your life.

 Highly Recommended! 
5/5 stars
( Library hardcover)


  1. Isn't she endlessly fascinating? A couple of years ago I read the biography, written by Linda Lear. It's called Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature and it was really well-done. She was truly a remarkable woman.

  2. I love Beatrix Potter! I will have to add this book to my wish list. :)

  3. Sounds like a beautiful book. I love the picture - The Magic of Hill Top Farm.

  4. That has to be so interesting! We are ready for garden season to show up.

  5. Thanks a bunch for the thoughtful review . Let me know if you have any questions about the book or Miss Potter. Linda Lear's biography is terrific, and was an inspiration for my look into BP's gardening interests.

  6. I am always looking for something for my aunt, a retired elementary school librarian. I'm making a note of this one.

  7. This looks lovely. I have always enjoyed her books.


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