The Writer's Garden Book Review and Giveaway

I don’t think it’s a surprise that many writers are also gardeners. Being outside and in nature gives the mind the freedom to rest or roam that writers (and other artists) need to be creative, to find inspiration. So, the new book, The Writer’s Garden: How Gardens Inspired Our Best-Loved Authors by Jackie Bennett with photography by Richard Hanson (Frances Lincoln Ltd., 2014) is fascinating for those who love books and gardens.

writers gardenThe book explores the gardens of 20 authors, all of whom lived in England. The authors range from Jane Austen to Roald Dahl to Winston Churchill. The book is part biography, part literary history and part garden tour. Enhanced with many photographs, The Writer’s Garden gives readers insight into the places and the stories they inspired.

For instance, Henry James (an American author who spent most of his life in England) wrote several stories about scary old houses and their gardens, including the masterpiece The Turn of the Screw, while at Lamb House in Rye. And, the gardens and home at Jane Austen’s Chawton House (described by Bennett as most similar to Barton Cottage from Sense and Sensibility) provided Austen with time, privacy and inspiration enough to revise and publish that book and Pride and Prejudice and had “every outdoor setting necessary for the characters of Emma, Mansfield Park and Persuasion, some of the books Jane wrote while living in the village,” Bennett notes.

Fans of the fiction of Roald Dahl will be interested to see the Gipsy Caravan that is featured in several of his books, and anyone who has enjoyed the picture books of Beatrix Potter will recognize the farms and gardens of Hilltop and its surroundings. But gardens also influenced the work of poets, such as Ted Hughes, and mystery writers, such as Agatha Christie.

This is a beautiful book, fun to dip into to admire the photos or learn about a favorite author or to study for ideas for your own garden or your next reading adventure.

We are fortunate to have a copy of the book to giveaway to a blog reader or Facebook fan. Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page  (we’d love to know your favorite book with a garden theme or your favorite author) and we’ll draw the name of the winner on Tuesday (Oct. 28).





  1. Marla Petersen on October 23, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Lois Hole is my favorite gardening author
    since any plant she recommends is in my growing zone combined with great photography and plant combination recommendations. My two favorites are Perennials along with Trees and Shrubs.

  2. Walt Anderson on October 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    I have many favorite garden books, and one I have read more than once is “Eat More Dirt” by Duluthian Ellen Sandbeck. Also follow her on FB.

  3. Pat Roth on October 24, 2014 at 6:06 am

    My favorite writer is generally the book I am currently reading. But if I had to be pinned to just one that i am reading for pleasure and not improvement it iwould be Agatha Christie. I find Miss Marple to be sharp, penetrating, and all wrapped up in fluffy goodness.

  4. Sally on October 24, 2014 at 9:54 am

    One of my favorites is A Way to Garden by Margaret Roach. She has a wonderful lobby the same name

    • Sally on October 24, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Correction. A Way to Garden is a blog by Margaret Roach

  5. Mary Lahr Schier on October 24, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Sally — A way to Garden is both a book and a blog — and both are wonderful! I also like “And I Shall Have Some Peace There…” which is a memoir about her decision to leave her high profile career with Martha Stewart and move out to her summer home permanently. She’s a fantastic writer.

  6. Emma Cooper on October 27, 2014 at 6:58 am

    I was inspired as a youngster by the Secret Garden – still one of the best books with a gardening theme 🙂

  7. Mary Lahr Schier on October 29, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Thanks for participating everyone! The winner is Karen Wright, who commented on our Facebook page.

  8. on October 30, 2014 at 9:53 am

    I like the book “Container Gardening Made Easier: The Fun, Easy Way to Grow Vegetables, Flowers and Herb”.

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