RaveWall Street JournalWhere do gardeners get their inspiration? What is the meaning of gardens in their lives? How will I know when I’m a gardener?\' Answers and insights came from writers as diverse as Cicero and Rousseau; Vita Sackville-West and Gertrude Jekyll; Eleanor Perényi, Henry Mitchell, Penelope Lively and Jamaica Kincaid—all quoted here at length and to moving effect ... When she is gardening, Ms. Marron writes, \'all my skills are engaged and my whole being is involved\' in what some call \'work joy.\' (It is a joy, by the way, that spills over into her attention to the details of bookmaking.)
RaveThe Wall Street JournalWell aware of the difference between patrician gardening in the grand style and the more plebeian approach of cottage gardening, Ms. Lively appreciates both. She glides through a review of history, from the Garden of Eden through ancient civilizations to the earth-moving landscape approach of Capability Brown and Humphry Repton ... For readers already well versed in garden history and writing, she might seem to cover a lot of familiar ground, but she does so in her own delightful voice. In the hands of a less skillful writer, this romp through so many subjects might seem haphazard, but because she is both so informed and idiosyncratic, Life in the Garden feels like a fascinating conversation with a valued friend. The author grows philosophical as she thinks about time and how gardens provide refuge, an escape from the press of daily existence.