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Eleanor Perï¿½nyi was for many years the managing editor of Mademoiselle, an editor at Harper's Bazaar, and a contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, and Esquire magazines. She is the author of a biography of Franz Liszt, which was nominated for a National Book Award, and More Was Lost, a memoir of her marriage to a Hungarian baron. She lives on the Connecticut coast. Michael Pollan is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Botany of Desire and Second Nature, named one of the best gardening books of the twentieth century by the American Horticultural Society. He is a contributing editor to Harper's magazine and a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. Pollan chose the books for the Modern Library Gardening series because, as he writes, "these writers are some of the great talkers in the rich, provocative, and frequently uproarious conversation that, metaphorically at least, has been taking place over the back fence of our gardens at least since the time of Pliny."
The "Modern Library Gardening Series" is an American gem of a find - reprints of gardening classics written and published long before today's flurry of overly bright garden books. These are true garden works, not just a photographic procession of perfect plants. Here, you'll find excitement, love, commitment and die-hard horticulturalists imparting their knowledge and experience in a way that makes learning enjoyable. From playwright Reginald Arkell's "Old Herbaceous" hilarious novel to Frank Kingdon Ward's diaries of daring-do in the Far East, American Eleanor Perenyi's pert comments and asides to Margery Fish's late-found desire to build a garden of her dreams in Devon, the passion and ardour with which these writers embrace the subject is sorely missed today. An American garden classic, "Green Thoughts" by Eleanor Perenyi offers an A-Z of essays on topics as diverse as strawberries and sweetpeas, tools and treehouses, vines and ivies. Delivered in a faintly ascerbic and often opinionated fashion, it is an informative and intelligent dissertation on her horticultural love over a period of twenty years. Disparaging, congratulatory, pensive and vivacious, this is a must for every gardener to read in the garden, perhaps at night, with a glass of wine, relaxing to Perenyi's informed, readable prose. - Lucy Watson