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My Summer in a Garden

Charles Dudley Warner

Book Overview: 

This is Warner's contemplative and humorous account of the wondrous and mysterious workings of a garden he tended for 19 weeks. After this is a essay of remembrance for Warner's beloved cat, Calvin

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I suppose, if my garden were planted in a perfect circle, and I started round it with a hoe, I should never see an opportunity to rest. The fact is, that gardening is the old fable of perpetual labor; and I, for one, can never forgive Adam Sisyphus, or whoever it was, who let in the roots of discord. I had pictured myself sitting at eve, with my family, in the shade of twilight, contemplating a garden hoed. Alas! it is a dream not to be realized in this world.

My mind has been turned to the subject of fruit and shade trees in a garden. There are those who say that trees shade the garden too much, and interfere with the growth of the vegetables. There may be something in this: but when I go down the potato rows, the rays of the sun glancing upon my shining blade, the sweat pouring from my face, I should be grateful for shade. What is a garden for? The pleasure of man. I should take much more pleasure in a shady garden. Am I to be sacrificed, broiled, roasted, fo. . . Read More

Community Reviews

My OH son gave me this little book as he knows me well in this realm of reading about gardening. Charles Dudley Warner, a 19th cent. journalist writes about much more than nicotiana: "The garden thus becomes a moral agent, a test of character, as it was in the beginning". Ah, so.

Interesting, but not nearly as much fun as another book in the series -- Eleanor Perenyi's "Green Thoughts", which, before Michael Pollan spearheaded the reprinting of a number of classics of garden writing, I bought copies of whenever I came across them in used bookstores in order to share her w...more

"Observation: Woman always did, from the first, make a muss in a garden" (11).

Many of Warner's gardening reflections strike a chord. The casual (and incessant) misogyny hasn't aged well.

This book is composed of weekly observations as the author grows his own backyard garden. Warner was a contemporary and friend of Mark Twain, whose humor I love, and shares a similar satire. I marked so many quotes that it would be too much to record them all, so I'll just record a few of my favo...more

I laughed and I cried. Please read this book. It is an absolute delight!

This is a quick, if silly, read about a man & his garden. It is difficult to imagine someone reading this who isn't also into gardening. However, the best part (of my edition at least, which was published by the author in 1898) was the essay at the end about his beloved cat, Calvin. It was th...more

This is written in two sections: one was a study of the author's garden broken down into weekly development in 1870, and the other was a tribute in memory of his late beloved cat and written in 1880.
My friend, a former English faculty member who is an avid master gardener had this short book on...more

“Ogni libro che interpreta la scienza segreta di campi e giardini, ogni saggio che avvicina gli uomini alla comprensione dei misteri che gli alberi sussurrano, i ruscelli mormorano, le erbacce, persino, accennano, è un contributo al benessere e alla felicità della nostra specie”.

Amico...more

I have found a kindred spirit in Charles Dudley Warner. The bad news is that he has been dead for 100 years like most of my literary kindred spirits. The good news is that he was a close friend of Mark Twain which means maybe I would have been as well if circumstances had allowed. This funny coll...more

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