Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Shelf 5/28

One of the biggest enjoyments of Miss MoneyPenny's life has been reading, and now that I'm retired I plan to do a lot more of it - along with catching as many matinees at The Rose as possible.  Actually, this weekend we saw The Exotic Marigold Hotel and it was everything I hoped it would be.  Go see it, if you get the chance. 

Anyway, I wanted to make sure that you know about the world's best book on gardening.  The title is Green Thoughts: a Writer in the Garden by Eleanor Perenyi and it is a jewel.  I came across it back in the 80's when it was still in hardcover.  I was charmed by the author's picture on the back.  She was sitting out in her garden in a lawn chair and looked to be holding a martini and a cigarette.  I knew I had to read what she had to say and I've been hers ever since.

Mrs. Perenyi, who died in 2009 at the age of 91, was married to an Hungarian count if you can believe that.  I'm not real sure of the details, but she lived in a castle over there and they were run out by World War II and all of it's goings on.  It was at the castle, as a young bride, that she developed a love of gardening, particularly organic gardening.  After that, they lived in New York with a home in Connecticut, where she eventually moved and took up gardening full time.

Green Thoughts is in essay form so it is perfect for beside the bed for night time reading.  I've been trying to remember how I ended up with my paperback copy and I believe that Miss Know-It-All found it for me.  For sure, she was somehow involved, but we both love that picture of her, which shows that she is our kind of woman.  And that lady has opinions!!  This is kind of like Elizabeth Zimmerman, but instead of knitting, we are talking gardening here.  Here is a sample that I lifted from her obit in The New York Times:

“It hasn’t escaped me that mine is the only WASP garden in town to contain dahlias, and not the discreet little singles either,” Mrs. Perenyi wrote. “Some are as blowsy as half-dressed Renoir girls and they do shoot up to prodigious heights. But to me they are sumptuous, not vulgar, and I love their colors, their willingness to bloom until the frost kills them and, yes, their assertiveness.”

It was in reading her essay on dahlias that I realized that I had done something wrong when I planted mine in the veggie garden and they had yet to show their little faces.  I got on the phone and called the dahlia expert, my sister, and she agreed with Mrs. Perenyi (I just can't call her "Eleanor") and I think that I am back in business.

So if you are a gardener and a reader, you are in luck as this book is still in print.  I've learned a lot from this lady who writes so beautifully.  Her feisty attitudes and opinions are just icing on the cake.  I know that her picture is a little blurry, but you get the idea.

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