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Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children's Tales

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A New York Times Bestseller There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter. Her characters—Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and all the rest—exist in a charmed world filled with flowers and gardens. In Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, bestselling author Marta McDowell explores the origins of Beatrix Po A New York Times Bestseller There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter. Her characters—Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and all the rest—exist in a charmed world filled with flowers and gardens. In Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, bestselling author Marta McDowell explores the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and shows how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her. Next, follow Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler’s guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter’s gardens today.


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A New York Times Bestseller There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter. Her characters—Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and all the rest—exist in a charmed world filled with flowers and gardens. In Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, bestselling author Marta McDowell explores the origins of Beatrix Po A New York Times Bestseller There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter. Her characters—Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and all the rest—exist in a charmed world filled with flowers and gardens. In Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, bestselling author Marta McDowell explores the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and shows how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her. Next, follow Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler’s guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter’s gardens today.

30 review for Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children's Tales

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Crane

    Anyone interested in gardening, biography, and the creative process will find this book enchanting. Potter was far more than just the creator of Peter Cottontail and Mr. McGregor; she was a watercolorist, a farmer, an enchanting personality. This elegant book's carefully researched text, accompanied by period photographs, Potter illustrations, and recent photographs, captures Potter's wide-ranging interests. The book shows us a complex and accomplished woman. Anyone interested in gardening, biography, and the creative process will find this book enchanting. Potter was far more than just the creator of Peter Cottontail and Mr. McGregor; she was a watercolorist, a farmer, an enchanting personality. This elegant book's carefully researched text, accompanied by period photographs, Potter illustrations, and recent photographs, captures Potter's wide-ranging interests. The book shows us a complex and accomplished woman.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    ” I am always better on fine days when I can work in the garden.” Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is a lovely biography of Potter’s life via photos, quotes from personal correspondence, and her watercolor drawings of flora and places that impacted her character and were the origins from which she drew inspiration for her beloved children’s tales like The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Forty percent of this book contains photos that are best viewed in a print format. The first half is her biography – thi ” I am always better on fine days when I can work in the garden.” Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is a lovely biography of Potter’s life via photos, quotes from personal correspondence, and her watercolor drawings of flora and places that impacted her character and were the origins from which she drew inspiration for her beloved children’s tales like The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Forty percent of this book contains photos that are best viewed in a print format. The first half is her biography – this is the part I most enjoyed. The author seamlessly incorporated a rich visual display with the text that is beautifully written and quite interesting. The second half had a seasonal guide to Potter’s Garden (from a theoretical viewpoint rather than from a garden journal.) Each season and its flora and climate are described in detail along with artwork. I found this less engaging overall. Lastly, there are notes for making a pilgrimage to view Potter’s gardens. And an index of plants she had in her gardens and an index of plants in her books complete this treasure for Beatrix Potter enthusiasts. “Beatrix discovered that gardening is an ongoing experiment, and sometimes a trial to one’s patience.” This statement and the book in general were a source of inspiration for my gardening thoughts. Like Potter, I developed an interest in garden later in life – though I would never achieve the practice on her scale! Besides gardening, she developed interests in farming and animals which seems natural for her given her personality. “She left a legacy of land as well as words and pictures.” By acquiring a huge estate, in addition to her already large holdings, she made efforts “to conserve the Lake District and, more broadly, sites of history and natural beauty around England.” She was “landscaping on a regional scale.” She bequeathed 4000+ acres to a National Trust. Recommended for anyone who enjoys nature/gardening, watercolors, historic photographs.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    A Review of “Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life” The plants and places that inspired the classic children’s tales By Marta McDowell Only rarely in a reader’s life will a book come along a book that is so perfectly suited for the reader’s character that it brings out the schoolgirl in her and perhaps a squeal of delight and a series of silly, wistful sighs. Reader, that is what Marta McDowell’s latest book has done for me. I admit I didn’t exactly love her book on Emily’s Dickinson’s garden but perhap A Review of “Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life” The plants and places that inspired the classic children’s tales By Marta McDowell Only rarely in a reader’s life will a book come along a book that is so perfectly suited for the reader’s character that it brings out the schoolgirl in her and perhaps a squeal of delight and a series of silly, wistful sighs. Reader, that is what Marta McDowell’s latest book has done for me. I admit I didn’t exactly love her book on Emily’s Dickinson’s garden but perhaps it was just my lack of enthusiasm for Dickinson herself that underwhelmed me. What a contrast is this treasure before me now. Shall I tell you all the things I love about it? The cover is what delights the eyes at once. Part of the wonder of Beatrix Potter was that she was an amazingly accomplished artist, even from a young age. The cover is beautiful and includes a watercolor of a sweet garden gate, another of a handful of adorable little guinea pigs busy at their vegetable patch (both done by Potter, of course) and a wonderful old black and white photograph of Potter herself looking young and radiant with a posy under her nose. The colors are charming in the way that all her watercolors are. Of course that sent me, with schoolgirl squeals, diving into the book where I was happy to discover a most generous selection of photographs and examples of her art; watercolors, sketches and even maps of the places important in her life. The book is organized into three main parts. The first is about her life in general and all the people and places that influenced her work and her gardening. The photographs of these people and places are the best collection of such that I’ve seen. The second part is about “The Year in Beatrix Potter’s Garden”. Here McDowell explores the day to day gardening life of Potter through each of the seasons of winter, spring, summer and fall. She really is gifted writer. Here’s an example of what could have been just a simple intro to the bit about winter. See for yourself how skillfully she takes the reader to Sawrey in winter. “Winter perches on Sawrey like a large black bird. The nights draw out into the darkness of the north, cut by glow of lamplight and the smell of fireplaces burning wood and coal in the village cottages. It is the selvedge of the year.” See what I mean? The book if full of bits like that. So pretty. The third part, “Visiting Beatrix Potter’s Gardens” left me delighted and deeply, deeply envious of McDowell, who has tromped all over England to write this book. One thing I’ve liked about reading since I first picked up the habit is that it can take you anywhere in the world you care to go for the trouble of opening a book. After reading this section, I feel like I, too, have tromped ‘round the lake district and seen the green gate of Hilltop Farm. I have believe I was there in another life or in a dream. Just when you think the charming journey into the life of dear Beatrix Potter is over, you find one final gem at the back of the book. Something those of us who garden and also love our favorite writers like sisters will pounce upon with glee, and perhaps another squeal. It is a lovely list of Potter’s plants. But not just any old list. No! It includes each plant’s common name, botanical name, type of plant (shrub, perennial, etc) and the primary source from where she found it (which exact letter written by or to Potter where it was mentioned). I know. You’re in raptures. But I’m not done. Next there’s a chart/list of plants in her books. It includes what book, date, common and botanical names, and whether the reference was text or artwork. Squeal! I do apologize to non-gardening readers, you probably don’t understand the pleasure to be found when traipsing through ones’ own garden and pointing out to a friend and saying, “Look there. That’s a variegated geranium I planted after reading that Beatrix Potter book. It’s just like the one on page 20 of The Fairy Caravan.” Sigh. The rest of the book is a fancy index and lists of books for further reading. It’s a lovely book, sure to delight the following: children’s literature fans, children’s lit illustrators fans, gardening enthusiasts and Anglophiles. Sigh, I am all of the above. Thanks to Ms McDowell for sending this lovely autographed copy of what has become one of the great treasures of my library.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    She has just signed the contract for Hill Top Farm, her first property. Her blue eyes are wide, imagining the garden she will lay out, its walls and walks, and perhaps a long trellis like the one at her uncle’s home in Wales. Beatrix Potter can picture the garden built and full of flowers: snowdrops in the winter, a spring torrent of lilacs and azaleas and daffodils, summer covered with roses, chrysanthemums for autumn. Fruit trees are a must. A pear tree and some plums can go in with the old ap She has just signed the contract for Hill Top Farm, her first property. Her blue eyes are wide, imagining the garden she will lay out, its walls and walks, and perhaps a long trellis like the one at her uncle’s home in Wales. Beatrix Potter can picture the garden built and full of flowers: snowdrops in the winter, a spring torrent of lilacs and azaleas and daffodils, summer covered with roses, chrysanthemums for autumn. Fruit trees are a must. A pear tree and some plums can go in with the old apples in the orchard, some currants and gooseberries with the flowers. Going into reading this nonfiction book, I really did not know much about Beatrix Potter other than the fact she wrote and illustrated short stories for children. One of the first books I ever owned was The Tale Of Squirrel Nutkin and I actually still have that copy of the book. This book is arranged into three sections: PART ONE Beatrix Potter, Her Life as a Gardener PART TWO The Year in Beatrix Potter’s Gardens: Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn PART THREE Visiting Beatrix Potter’s Gardens I learned quite a bit about Potter's gardening obsession in part one, but I especially enjoyed learning about the plantings by season in part two. The most outstanding aspect of this book is the multitude of lovely garden related illustrations and watercolors. While reading, it made me wonder how Potter found enough time and energy in the day to work in her garden, tend to her animals, write her stories and create her iconic bunny illustrations. Of course she did have helpers in the garden, especially during the most active parts of the growing season. I also wondered what she really thought of the bunnies and other critters munching on her garden plants. (Anyone who has ever worked hard to plant a garden only to have it destroyed by animals or insects, can probably surmise their own answer.) In a way it was a weird twist of fate that the money she made from her stories depicting humanized bunnies, allowed her to purchase a house and create the gardens of her dreams. Recommending this book to anyone who has an interest in gardening or botanical illustrations. You don't necessarily need to be a fan of Beatrix Potter's stories to appreciate the legacy she left with her prolific gardens.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    "Every garden tells a story, if you know how to read it." A truly delightful book is so beautifully presented. Marta McDowell takes us into the background of Beatrix Potter, complete with photographs of her life, giving us more of an intimate portrait of the passionate gardener of her solitary pursuits as a writer as well as a painter. The book includes Miss Potter's pen and ink drawings, talented watercolor illustrations, which was lovely to see what she captured in her time. I found her insight "Every garden tells a story, if you know how to read it." A truly delightful book is so beautifully presented. Marta McDowell takes us into the background of Beatrix Potter, complete with photographs of her life, giving us more of an intimate portrait of the passionate gardener of her solitary pursuits as a writer as well as a painter. The book includes Miss Potter's pen and ink drawings, talented watercolor illustrations, which was lovely to see what she captured in her time. I found her insights inspiring, as have many gardening enthusiast, from novice to avid. Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life has become a perennial favorite and one definitely recommend to friends.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Élise

    Beautifully written and illustrated, Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The plants and places that inspired the classic children's tales is an enchanting portrait of the beloved writer and artist. There are some lovely ideas here for those of us who garden. :) A must read and one for the keeper shelf. Beautifully written and illustrated, Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The plants and places that inspired the classic children's tales is an enchanting portrait of the beloved writer and artist. There are some lovely ideas here for those of us who garden. :) A must read and one for the keeper shelf.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary Warnement

    What a breath of fresh air. Just what I needed for spring, in the midst of grey skies and chill that go along with my main reading this winter on the history of Berlin. Beatrix and her bunnies bounced through my weekend. I wouldn't have even cared if her Peter had gnawed on my garden. He'd have to gnaw very hard to get through the frozen stems. I'd call this book thin, except that it's hefty. The reproductions of her watercolors are delightful. McDowell paired botanicals with examples of the pla What a breath of fresh air. Just what I needed for spring, in the midst of grey skies and chill that go along with my main reading this winter on the history of Berlin. Beatrix and her bunnies bounced through my weekend. I wouldn't have even cared if her Peter had gnawed on my garden. He'd have to gnaw very hard to get through the frozen stems. I'd call this book thin, except that it's hefty. The reproductions of her watercolors are delightful. McDowell paired botanicals with examples of the plants in her published books in an enchanting way. Both archival photographs and modern photos of her gardens adorn the book. It's a quick read, but the high quality paper, excellent for photos, make the book, even with its sweet dimensions, a heavy tome. This is light but not without research. McDowell knows Potter's biography and knows plants. An excellent pairing. I cannot wait to give this as a gift.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    Very enjoyable.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    A bold move to kill off the protagonist 40% of the way through the book! First we run through a biography of Beatrix Potter's life told through the gardens she knew and owned, and that simply ticked my boxes. Then we take a seasonal tour through a typical year in her Lake District lands, which had me looking up all the namedropped plants and flowers to get the full visual experience. A perfect green remedy for quarantine in a flat whose only balcony plant is a dead Christmas tree! A bold move to kill off the protagonist 40% of the way through the book! First we run through a biography of Beatrix Potter's life told through the gardens she knew and owned, and that simply ticked my boxes. Then we take a seasonal tour through a typical year in her Lake District lands, which had me looking up all the namedropped plants and flowers to get the full visual experience. A perfect green remedy for quarantine in a flat whose only balcony plant is a dead Christmas tree!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katharine Ott

    "Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places that Inspired the Classic Children's Tales" - written by Marta McDowell and published in 2013 by Timber Press. The iconic, delightful illustrations of Peter Rabbit, Mr McGregor's gardens and other floral scenes were not the only artistic achievements of Beatrix Potter. She excelled at watercolor landscapes and detailed botanical drawings, all based on her strong interests in gardening and farming. Her grandfather Edmund Potter employed fift "Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places that Inspired the Classic Children's Tales" - written by Marta McDowell and published in 2013 by Timber Press. The iconic, delightful illustrations of Peter Rabbit, Mr McGregor's gardens and other floral scenes were not the only artistic achievements of Beatrix Potter. She excelled at watercolor landscapes and detailed botanical drawings, all based on her strong interests in gardening and farming. Her grandfather Edmund Potter employed fifteen gardeners on his estate and Beatrix was indulged as a child to explore and investigate. Being a somewhat solitary creature for much of her life, things changed in 1902 when "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" was published - "Her little books brought Beatrix Potter out of her shell." Author McDowell must have been enchanted to recognize scenes from Potter's books in the surroundings where she actually lived - doorways, gates, flowers, et al. McDowell has done a masterful job of telling the story of Potter's life and especially linking it to the flowers and other elements of nature that were so important to her. A lovely book. "Seeds are tiny bundles of next year's garden, there for the asking."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This is a perfect accompaniment to a longer biography such as Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature. It's divided into three sections with the first being a brief biography of Potter's life. The middle section describes her gardens through the four seasons of the year. And the last part describes a Beatrix Potter gardening pilgrimage for those interested in visiting all of the places where she lived and/or stayed on holiday. The text is peppered with quotes from Potter's letters and garden notes and This is a perfect accompaniment to a longer biography such as Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature. It's divided into three sections with the first being a brief biography of Potter's life. The middle section describes her gardens through the four seasons of the year. And the last part describes a Beatrix Potter gardening pilgrimage for those interested in visiting all of the places where she lived and/or stayed on holiday. The text is peppered with quotes from Potter's letters and garden notes and generously illustrated with photos, drawings, and paintings. Quite often a garden sketch is paired with a painting from one of Potter's children's books, showing the important role that setting played in the books. A lovely book for the gardener or Potter fan.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    Great for lovers of gardens and classic children's literature Great for lovers of gardens and classic children's literature

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bekka

    Thanks to Netgalley.com and Timber Press for early access to this title. 4 1/2 stars - A simply delightful book! I thoroughly enjoyed the telling of Miss Potter's life through her interest in gardening. It was such an unusual way to show a person's life story. I liked the second section as well, which showed Beatrix's gardens through the year, highlighting the beauties of each season. The final section is a travelogue of all the gardens which played a part in Beatrix's life, from her early childh Thanks to Netgalley.com and Timber Press for early access to this title. 4 1/2 stars - A simply delightful book! I thoroughly enjoyed the telling of Miss Potter's life through her interest in gardening. It was such an unusual way to show a person's life story. I liked the second section as well, which showed Beatrix's gardens through the year, highlighting the beauties of each season. The final section is a travelogue of all the gardens which played a part in Beatrix's life, from her early childhood vacations with her family to her own beloved Hill Top Farm. Of particular interest is the final tables documenting all the plants in Beatrix's gardens, and which plants are both illustrated and / or mentioned in the text of her books. The notes for further reading gives some marvelous resources for further study into Miss Potter's life and works. The book is liberally decorated with period and modern photographs as well as a large selection of Beatrix's own drawings and paintings, both from her own studies and her works. Highly Recommended to anyone who enjoys gardening and / or Beatrix Potter's works.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    After reading McDowell’s book, I not only feel inspired to plant bushels of daffodils, but I am certain that Beatrix Potter was a beautiful soul and that I would have loved to know her. Beatrix was independent, unpretentious, and practical; yet, she was also artistic, kind, and had a good sense of humor. This is what is so magical about McDowell’s writing: whether she’s delving into the mysterious Emily Dickinson or elaborating on the iconic Laura Ingalls Wilder, she always gives her reader the After reading McDowell’s book, I not only feel inspired to plant bushels of daffodils, but I am certain that Beatrix Potter was a beautiful soul and that I would have loved to know her. Beatrix was independent, unpretentious, and practical; yet, she was also artistic, kind, and had a good sense of humor. This is what is so magical about McDowell’s writing: whether she’s delving into the mysterious Emily Dickinson or elaborating on the iconic Laura Ingalls Wilder, she always gives her reader the sense that they really know the woman behind the garden. And I love Beatrix Potter after reading this book. How can you not be endeared to someone who found hope in snowdrops, planted water lilies with her niece, or mischievously “stole” plants from other people’s yards to transplant into her own garden? When you see a celebrity through their love of gardening, you see them not for their accomplishments, but as someone like yourself. The shared adoration of a garden in bloom and a pink cabbage rose is a great equalizer.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Shepard

    This book made me so happy. The first half contained a lovely biography told through the lens of gardening, which was followed by a section on her gardens in each season and a section featuring each of the homes/properties she purchased as part of an ongoing preservation measure. While the book kept fresh memories from visiting Potter's Hill Top and Yew Tree Farm this past summer, I wish I had used it as a travel guide. The package was completed by archival photographs and illustrations of vario This book made me so happy. The first half contained a lovely biography told through the lens of gardening, which was followed by a section on her gardens in each season and a section featuring each of the homes/properties she purchased as part of an ongoing preservation measure. While the book kept fresh memories from visiting Potter's Hill Top and Yew Tree Farm this past summer, I wish I had used it as a travel guide. The package was completed by archival photographs and illustrations of various tales of Peter Rabbit, plant life, and landscapes. Potter had a remarkable eye and a deft touch with the watercolor brush.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joy O’Toole

    Beautiful photos and reproductions of Beatrix Potter's paintings and drawings. It was an inspiration for my own gardening. Beautiful photos and reproductions of Beatrix Potter's paintings and drawings. It was an inspiration for my own gardening.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This is such a wonderful book for Beatrix Potter & Gardening lovers. So charming& the photos & illustrations are beautiful. Must read

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

    TBD

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Ratings: 5 for the beautiful paintings and drawings and general layout of the book 3 for the book as a whole 4 for the biography in the first third. A gentle read that those who love Charlotte Mason's teaching philosophy will likely love. It's full of Beatrix's paintings and drawings, which are just beautiful. The first third is about Beatrix's life, centering on the gardens she grew up in, her scientific/naturalist research in them, and her later years devoted to her farm, gardens, and saving land Ratings: 5 for the beautiful paintings and drawings and general layout of the book 3 for the book as a whole 4 for the biography in the first third. A gentle read that those who love Charlotte Mason's teaching philosophy will likely love. It's full of Beatrix's paintings and drawings, which are just beautiful. The first third is about Beatrix's life, centering on the gardens she grew up in, her scientific/naturalist research in them, and her later years devoted to her farm, gardens, and saving land around her. This is by far the most interesting part of the book. I think it's worth picking up the book to read the first third. The second part is about a year in her gardens as they stand now, and what we know from the past. A bit dry for someone like me who has never gardened much, but I kept reading and was inspired to garden more. The last section was a sort of guidebook for the traveler in seeing where she lived and the gardens that inspired her.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    A wonderful book for Beatrix Potter fans, and gardeners who love history. Because of her love of gardening and putting the proceeds from her books to use by buying beautiful farms, and the creation of the National Trust by a close friend of Potter's, she then willed over four thousand acres of land in the beautiful Lake District, to the National Trust, totally unspoiled by what could have been awful vacation houses everywhere. The layout is lovely, filled with her watercolors and illustrations, A wonderful book for Beatrix Potter fans, and gardeners who love history. Because of her love of gardening and putting the proceeds from her books to use by buying beautiful farms, and the creation of the National Trust by a close friend of Potter's, she then willed over four thousand acres of land in the beautiful Lake District, to the National Trust, totally unspoiled by what could have been awful vacation houses everywhere. The layout is lovely, filled with her watercolors and illustrations, photographs of her, her farms, and the inspirations for her books, along with a succinct biography. There's also a tour of the gardens through the seasons and a section devoted to all of her properties throughout the UK- like taking a tour from your home through the book. There's also a very excellent bibliography. It's a book to browse slowly and come back to again and again. The only thing I could wish for is even more photos, but it definitely has inspired me to visit Hill Top Farm and her other properties one day.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    What a delightful book. Insights into Beatrix Potter herself as well as her gardens. Illustrated with many of Beatrix’s water colours which reveal how good an artist she was as well as Illustrator. Photos of her Darren’s are lovely and comparisons of her paintings of her home, garden and and lakes district compared to her book illustrations show how much of her environs made it into her stories. The second half of the book is devoted to the gardens in each season. Over all a delightful book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    This beautifully illustrated book is partly a biography and partly a travel book told through Beatrix Potter's gardens. It was a delight to read and just what I needed to read at this time; it was so refreshing to read about the beauty and wonder of the natural world. It makes me want to plan a trip to the Lake District to see the beautiful gardens and countryside. This beautifully illustrated book is partly a biography and partly a travel book told through Beatrix Potter's gardens. It was a delight to read and just what I needed to read at this time; it was so refreshing to read about the beauty and wonder of the natural world. It makes me want to plan a trip to the Lake District to see the beautiful gardens and countryside.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Laura

    I don’t have words to express how much I loved this book. I have adored Beatrix Potter since I was a little girl and to read about her gardening life was a dream. I loved the numerous pictures, how the second section of the book followed the seasons, and learning more about Potter’s life. I was inspired in my gardening too. I highly recommended this one!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Roberta

    Delightful! It takes you through the various gardens and plants in Beatrix Potter’s life. Should you choose to read it, take their recommendation and have BP’s books handy. The author offers a sort of cross reference of which book the specific plants and critters make an appearance.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    A lovely book and interesting too. Highly recommend to those who love gardens, art, England, Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    4.5 stars. A lovely read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mariellen

    A lovely walk through Beatrix Potter’s gardens and life!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Brown

    This book delighted me so much with real life pictures, paintings, sketches, and whimsical drawings that I couldn’t have been more pleased! What also impressed me was the way the book was written. It was so nicely balanced and intimately presented that I felt I had private visit and garden tour with Beatrix herself and author Marta McDowell! The garden and plant detail was superbly satisfying.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I got this lovely book as a holiday gift to myself last December and have slowly been reading and savoring this true story about the children's author, illustrator, land conservation advocate and gardener Beatrix Potter..What is wonderful about this book is you learn a side of her that hasn't been explored in much detail: that of a gardener..The book begins by introducing you to her world as a child and how she was inspired by the wild things and plants outside her house in the local park nearby I got this lovely book as a holiday gift to myself last December and have slowly been reading and savoring this true story about the children's author, illustrator, land conservation advocate and gardener Beatrix Potter..What is wonderful about this book is you learn a side of her that hasn't been explored in much detail: that of a gardener..The book begins by introducing you to her world as a child and how she was inspired by the wild things and plants outside her house in the local park nearby...Holiday trips to the countryside provided her true inspiration for writing and painting..Many of her beautiful watercolor paintings have been included in this book..The author does a wonderful job describing and even mapping out the various places Beatrix lived and that visitors today can still tour her houses and gardens in northern England and London..Beatrix was an accomplished amateur botanist and only the fact that she was a woman prevented her from entering academia as a illustrator of botany...The author includes a list of plants grown at her homes in Cumbria and includes a detailed season by season guide of what was growing and why she chose particular plants..The book has many beautiful, historic photographs of Beatrix and her family and friends and includes rare pictures of her garden flowers and plants.. The reader learns of her personal life and later happiness as a land owner and first marriage in her 40s and how these changes signified changes in her houses and gardens...She bought property and supported herself as a children's author at time when single women did not work or leave their parental homes...This book is sure to delight any gardener who has a love of English historic gardens or who is just a fan of her children's books and wants to learn more about her and her extraordinary life...I am totally fascinated by her story...Highly recommended!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Soft, quiet, and a bit sleepy; a pleasant, unchallenging book for some pleasant, unchallenging reading. Very much Gentlehistory for Gentleladies, but still very good popular history. The text is intertwined with beautiful full-color photographs of her gardens, as well as prints of her watercolors and sketches, and there is an appendix at the back of all the plants she painted in her books, which is somehow my favorite part. I now have this elaborate and unrealizable fantasy of taking out my gros Soft, quiet, and a bit sleepy; a pleasant, unchallenging book for some pleasant, unchallenging reading. Very much Gentlehistory for Gentleladies, but still very good popular history. The text is intertwined with beautiful full-color photographs of her gardens, as well as prints of her watercolors and sketches, and there is an appendix at the back of all the plants she painted in her books, which is somehow my favorite part. I now have this elaborate and unrealizable fantasy of taking out my gross fenced-in patio area and putting in an excruciatingly correct Beatrix Potter Garden with foxgloves and puddleducks and all that. A nice book for reading in a dreamy mood as you watch the rain on your patio. I received a reviewer's copy of this book on Netgalley.

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