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

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

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Marta McDowell combines the skills of a historian, biographer and gardener as she explores Beatrix Potter's passion for plants.

Her book combines rich visuals with quotations from the writer's works, letters and diaries, to introduce the reader to Beatrix Potter's Lake District gardens.

The author's passion for her subject and her own horticultural knowledge provide new insights for the reader, as she frames Beatrix Potter's works in the context of her gardening life.


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We all know Beatrix Potter from her creation, Peter Rabbit and Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. And we know she was a wonderful artist. But what I didn’t realize was she was much more than an artist/writer. She was an avid gardener and a conservationist. Gardening was a prominent part of her life and her homes in the English countryside were donated to a land trust and have been preserved.BeatrixPotterFlowers2Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is a wonderful book. Divided into four parts, the first is her biography. But instead of being a mere narration of her life, it emphasizes her many drawings of flowers, giving examples and explaining how her real life gardens made their way into her books. Her artistry, even at the young age of 10, was apparent and the watercolor with pen and ink drawings throughout the book are testament to her abilities.BeatrixPotterFlowersThe second part of the book describes her garden in the four seasons, with enough current photos, drawings by Potter and quotes about her garden to give readers a fantastic idea of what her garden looked like, how she felt about it and how she tended her garden.The third section prescribes a tour of Potter’s various homes and gardens.BeatrixPotterFlowers3The last section, part of which I found most interesting, was a listing of all the plants Potter grew in her garden and a list of which of her plants appeared in which of her books.If you love flowers and gardening and watercolors of flowers and Peter Rabbit, you will love this book. Small in size. Big in color. It makes me want to visit Potter’s various homes in the English countryside. Just wonderful.

Review by

My Daughter bought this book for me knowing how much I love Beatrix and her tales. I am an obsessive flower gardener and lover of all things in nature. This book was a delight. So often with books like these I never quite finish them but even taking my time to just enjoy this book I read it in a week. After finishing I promptly went on the internet to get an idea how much a trip to see Miss Potter's home would set me back! I will begin saving for this trip tomorrow!