Eudora Welty’s Mississippi garden ran riot with the camellias, roses, and daylilies that she tended as zealously as her prose. The novelist, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for The Optimist’s Daughter, cultivated characters for her stories along with the flowers that she grew in her modest Jackson garden.
A fine new book by Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown looks at Welty’s enduring relationship with her garden, to which she turned as a respite from her travels and the pressures of making a living as a writer. The garden and house where Eudora Welty (1909-2001) lived and wrote is now a museum, and the garden has been restored to its heyday in the 1920s through the ’40s.
Welty’s letters, published for the first time in this book, reveal witty and telling observations about not only gardening, but also fellow gardeners. She wrote to a friend, “The delphiniums I planted in my ignorance have all bloomed like everything and are getting ready to bloom for the second time and Mother says the ladies of the garden club come over each day to worship and grit their teeth.”
On Wednesday, December 7, from 3 – 5, come hear Jane Roy Brown speak about Miss Welty’s garden and how its formation also offers a compelling look at the broader social trends of the time, including the flourishing of womens civic involvement through garden clubs and the development of streetcar suburbs. Brown serves as director of educational outreach at the Library of American Landscape History. Her writing has appeared in the Boston Globe as well as in national publications.
Admission to the book talk is free but an RSVP is requested to firstname.lastname@example.org. The event is co-sponsored by COGdesign (www.cogdesign.org) and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (www.masshort.org).Â The event takes place at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at Elm Bank, 900 Washington Street in Wellesley.