One of the first books I can remember getting from the library when I got my card was Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” That cute, mischievous little rabbit in the blue coat made me look at all the garden creatures I encountered and wonder what they did when I wasn’t looking. Was there an entire bunny home under that log? Did the squirrel have brothers and sisters?. Instead of garden pests, they were garden residents. We just needed to look a bit harder to see the intricate details of their lives.
I was thrilled to see Marta McDowell’s “Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales” available (and for Kindle no less) and it’s been an enjoyable read these past few rainy days. This isn’t a book that explores dramatic events in Beatrix’s life, but is rather a sharing of her gardens and the plants contained within as depicted in her writings and correspondence. Because of this, it’s probably not a book for everyone. But if you are a gardener who grew up reading about Peter’s adventures avoiding Mr. McGregor, if you still have a fondness for English country style borders, and if you love collecting varieties of plants knowing their history, then brew yourself a pot of tea and settle in with some biscuits. It’s going to be an enjoyable afternoon.