The hollyhocks from Louise Beebe Wilder's garden at Balderbrae

In June She Reads Louise

“What a chaos of beauty there is upon a June morning! Standing in the midst of the garden one experiences a sort of breathlessness of soul.” (Louise Beebe Wilder, 1918)

This week I combined another botanical garden tour with a favorite gardening book. On this trip, I’ve brought along Adventures in My Garden and Rock Garden, by Louise Beebe Wilder.

garden books by Louise Beebe Wilder

A selection of garden books by Louise Beebe Wilder

The garden, Leach Botanical Gardens, introduces us to another grand old lady of gardens—Lilla Leach.

I just discovered ‘Lilla’ a couple of years ago, and have visited her garden now several times since, but ‘Louise’ has been my garden companion and mentor for over thirty years.

There are many pictures of Lilla to be had, but as for the authoress of my book–Louise Beebe Wilder–? I cannot tell you. Her likeness remains elusive. Not even Google has the power to conjure up her image. [update: I have unearthed some glimpses of her]

She was described by contemporaries as ‘contagiously charismatic’, with deep-set eyes in a round face.

Yet her words are with us. The image of her garden is with us. Her passion, vision and enthusiasm is still with us. Continue reading