Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden

Front Cover
Algonquin Books, 1997 - Gardening - 233 pages
3 Reviews
Mrs. Whaley's tiny, walled garden is said to be the most visited private garden in America. And no wonder. It is the life's work of a forceful, vibrant, sociable, opinionated, determined woman who has spent the last eighty-five years cultivating whatever life offered. Now, in conversations with award-winning lowcountry novelist William Baldwin, Mrs. Whaley takes us on a tour of her garden - and of her life. Each year since 1940, Mrs. Whaley has made her garden new again and herself through it. She yanks out annuals and perennials alike. She prunes with a vengeance. ("I never walk into my garden without my clippers in hand.") She is careful not to overdo. ("Remember! There's such a thing as too many dancing girls!") As an ever-evolving work of art, the garden reflects Mrs. Whaley's hard-headed determination to make the most of her own remarkable existence. William Baldwin captures and preserves in these pages an intuitive gardener's wisdom. And thanks to this gardener's bracing, positive attitude, we see how a practical personal philosophy might indeed grow out of one's beloved garden.

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User Review  - lucybrown - LibraryThing

Miss Whaley was a charming woman so it is no surprise that her memoir would be charming as well. One episode I remember her description of the teen dances where an elderly woman raucously played on ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - leavesandpages - LibraryThing

The garden is rather incidental to the rest of the memoirs of Mrs. Whaley. A pleasant, possibly rather rose-coloured vision by a woman who by and large was extremely fortunate in her privileged life ... Read full review


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About the author (1997)

Emily Whaley was born in 1911 in Pinopolis, South Carolina. The mother of three daughters and grandmother of seven, she divided her time between her houses (and their kitchens) in Charleston, South Carolina, and Flat Rock, North Carolina. She died in June 1998.

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