Montrose

Life in a Garden

Book Pages: 312 Illustrations: 168 color illustrations 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 trim size Published: October 2005

Author: Nancy Goodwin

Contributor: Maureen Quilligan

Subjects
General Interest > Gardening, NC and Regional U.S.

Something is blooming every day of the year in the renowned gardens at Montrose, Nancy Goodwin’s nineteenth-century property in historic Hillsborough, North Carolina. Since moving to Montrose with her husband Craufurd in 1977, Goodwin has transformed more than twenty acres into an extraordinary complex of interlocking gardens that come in and out of focus as the seasons overlap and change.

Beautifully written and illustrated, Montrose: Life in a Garden is Goodwin’s affectionate biography of her gardens, recounting how and why each section was developed over the years, including the Dianthus Walk, Nandinaland, Hellebore Slope, Mother-in-Law Walk, Snowdrop Woods, and Jo’s Bed. It is also a meticulous month-by-month chronicle of a specific year in these gardens—a year that saw a punishing drought that threatened Goodwin’s no-irrigation policy, a damaging December ice storm, and the beginnings of a plan to preserve Montrose in the future.

Working on her knees for long days throughout the year, Nancy Goodwin always has a vision of how her gardens will appear in twelve months or in twelve years. She will spend weeks, for instance, planting hundreds of snow drops along a woodsy path in order to enjoy a fleeting week of exquisite beauty in coming years. She never puts anything into the ground without imagining what form, color, and texture it will add to a bed. With tireless patience and unflagging optimism, Goodwin will wait years to see a single plant bloom.

Following Goodwin’s activities throughout the year, readers will learn the fundamentals of maintaining a four-season garden in Zone 7 in the South. Award-winning garden illustrator Ippy Patterson has provided more than 160 lavish illustrations of the gardens at Montrose and these meticulously detailed drawings appear throughout the book.

Praise

“[E]ngaging … reads like a memoir of a year in the life of Nancy Goodwin’s 20-acre North Carolina garden…. [A] triumph.” — Barbara Pleasant, American Gardener

“Beautiful botanical illustrations by Ippy Patterson add an immense measure of charm to this delightful journal by noted North Carolina gardener Nancy Goodwin. As we journey month by month through one year’s time in the acclaimed gardens at Montrose, we learn from this passionate grower about the plants, people, and creatures that thrive under her dedicated and loving guidance.” — Southern Lady

“This lovely little book, exquisitely illustrated with a friend's penciled and watercolored botanical drawings, chronicles a year in her garden. It's a story of the seasons, the weather, hard work, triumphs, and disappointments. Goodwin's voice, precise and detailed when discussing the differences between various hellebores and snowdrops, remains fondly appreciative of the treasures she grows so lovingly and well. The book is a meditation on the continuity of gardening in one place for more than a quarter century, a life that allows for holding the garden past and present in mind while always imagining next season, and the next.” — Valerie Easton, Horticulture

"Montrose is far more than a book on gardening. . . . [T]he book's vivid yet precise plant descriptions are wonderfully enhanced by 168 pencil and watercolor botanical drawings by Ippy Patterson that combine accuracy and grace. . . . As a garden book, this is a classic. It stands out as one of the best American garden books of the past fifteen years because it transcends its category, embracing so much more than plants and gardens." — Allen Lacy, Duke Magazine

"A meticulous and intriguing month-by-month chronicle. . . . The moving text is accompanied by more than 160 pencil-and-watercolor drawings by award-winning garden illustrator Ippy Patterson." — Country Living Gardnener

"A work of wonder. . . . Every page of this charming book offers treasures beyond measure." — Susan Farrington, Sanford Herald

"[B]eautiful and eminently readable. . . . Ippy Patterson's delicate pastels and black and white drawings gild the lily." — Blue Ridge Business Journal

"Deeply rewarding. . . . [Goodwin] has written her garden's autobiography, and it must be counted among the greats. . . . Soft pencil drawings and watercolors of plants, animal, structures, urns, and garden scenes illustrate the life of Montrose and fill the pages of this exquisitely conceived and lovingly published book." — Patricia Jonas, Plants & Gardens News

"[Goodwin's] enthusiasm for and fascination with plants, creatures, and nature in general are contagious for readers both in and far from zone 7. Patterson contributes countless, lovely illustrations of the flora and surroundings described by Goodwin. This journal of life at Montrose will be enjoyed by garden enthusiasts everywhere—a good winter read for folks who garden during fewer than four seasons." — Cathy Rees, Southeastern Naturalist

"A delight to read, the book is made even more so by the exquisitely beautiful pencil and watercolor drawings that illustrate it. . . ." — Kate Tyndall, News & Observer

"As the reader advances through the pages of Montrose, through its gate of words, beautifully crafted by Nancy Goodwin, one comes to appreciate the enormously rich complexity of gardens. . . . If an award exists/existed for the most beautiful garden book, Montrose: Life in a Garden would surely win it." — Davyd Foard Hood, Magnolia

"Author Nancy Goodwin reflects passion and dedication in her pursuit of her vision of the garden. . . . The beautifully written, inspiring book is a personal journal, an authoritative chronicle of garden development over nearly thirty years and a calendar of yearly activities in the garden. Artist Ippy Patterson provided 150 meticulous watercolor drawings that illustrate the text; these lovely, sensitive works of art handsomely link together the story of the garden, its rare plants, and its people." — Marilyn K. Alaimo, National Gardener

"Enlisting the talents of artist Patterson, whose pen-and-ink illustrations of vistas and individual plants communicate the detail and personality of Goodwin's unique gardening talents as accurately as any photograph could, Goodwin has supplied gardeners everywhere with a treasure to behold and a standard to revere." — Carol Haggas, Booklist

"Goodwin grew hardy cyclamen, hellebores and other difficult plants, with a vision of what they would ultimately be that will inspire any gardener brave enough to try the hard work and patience that made Montrose so famous. Ippy Patterson's drawings for the book are so simple and so beautiful that I feel great sadness for never having been to Montrose or met Goodwin. This book makes that loss less painful." — Tony P. Wrenn, Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg VA)

"I have kept Nancy Goodwin's Montrose: Life in a Garden near my bedside for the better part of a year, savoring each chapter as it rolls around. . . . Piedmont gardeners can benefit from Goodwin's experiences, which serve as a guide for gardening in our climate. Gardeners are sure to find new plants to try. Many of them are illustrated by Ippy Patterson's beautiful botanical art, which graces nearly every page. Most of us don't have Goodwin's staff to help us, but there is much for any serious gardener to gain from this small jewel of a book." — David Bare, Winston-Salem Journal

"If A Year in Our Gardens . . . hasn't already proved that Goodwin ranks with the best, her new book puts doubt to rest. . . . Ippy Patterson brings enlightenment with her marvelous, colorful illustrations. . . . What a wise book this is!" — Janet Lembke, News & Observer

"In the transformation of the more than 20 acres of her historic property, Montrose, in Hillsborough, N.C., accomplished gardener Nancy Goodwin does her work on her knees, hands in the soil, instead of by plans and drawings. But Ippy Patterson has done the drawing, bringing Goodwin's wondrous gardens to life with her stunning illustrations of the plant life found there. Together, they show how Goodwin has carefully and diligently created a masterpiece of life, month by month, seed by seed." — Globe and Mail

"Montrose is one of America's favourite gardens and Nancy Goodwin is one of its favourite gardeners. . . . Being in the company of Goodwin . . . is a pleasure. With each of her chapters named for a month, she treats us to a dazzling display of seasonally performing plants, celebrating their shapes, colours, habits and botanical intimacies. Equally beguiling are Ippy Patterson's complementary drawings of individual species." — Alexander Urquhart, TLS

"Nancy Goodwin puts music into her plant descriptions. . . . The exquisite illustrations do perfect justice to the luminous prose. Ippy Patterson, an artist who is a friend and neighbor of the Goodwin’s, created the meticulously detailed portraits of plants, animals and buildings, and infused each one with the spirit of the place. The illustrations have such grace and motion that every bud looks as if it is poised on the brink of opening. Leaves and stems, often given short shrift elsewhere, are drawn with care and precision. Each illustration could be framed and hung on its own." — Betsy Ginsberg, The Gardener's Apprentice

"Nancy has written a new classic of gardening - detailing with her usual insight, quirky charm, and insistent creativity a year in her world class garden, Montrose, in Hillsborough, North Carolina. The book completes itself - becomes a vibrating and moving symbiosis - a living thing in itself - through Ippy Patterson's exquisite and sensitive art." — Jeffrey Bean Editor of, Oyster Boy Review

"Something is always blooming at the historical Montrose gardens near Hillsborough, North Carolina. . . . Spring is one of the loveliest times on the property, especially in Nancy's woodlands and rock garden." — Ruth Rogers, Better Homes & Gardens Perennials

"These genteel conversations reflect Goodwin's charm, erudition and unconventional approach. For example, while most garden writers begin by drawing up detailed plans, Goodwin goes directly to the soil and often trusts nature to take its course. Patterson's illustrations are impeccably wrought and beautifully positioned on the page, underscoring shifts in focus from intimate views of tiny flowers to broad visions of the landscape." — Publishers Weekly

"While reading Goodwin's book you'll feel as if you're walking by her side in the garden, month by month, through the years. . . . So vivid and detailed is her writing that you'll easily fall in love with her favorites, and appreciate her knowledge of nature's endless miracles and her tolerance of its changes and challenges. Further, Ippy Patterson's delicate pencil-and-watercolor illustrations appearing on almost every page thoroughly enrich and enliven this story." — Carolina Gardener

Montrose: Life in a Garden is a beautifully written account of the joys and trials of gardening through all four seasons in a demanding climate; but even more, it illuminates a life’s work that draws on the deepest levels of creative imagination. Nancy Goodwin likens the evolution of her garden to the unfolding of a visual symphony—a living and constantly changing composition that has grown seamlessly from her richly textured life at Montrose. Her descriptions of work in the garden and her vivid plant portraits are sympathetically enhanced by Ippy Patterson’s lovely illustrations.” — May Brawley Hill, author of Grandmother’s Garden: The Old-Fashioned American Garden, 1865–1915

“A beautiful book about a beautiful garden.” — Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World

“A hybrid between a botany intensive and an internship with one of the most accomplished gardeners in the country, this journal is like being at Nancy Goodwin’s elbow—seeing through her eyes, learning, digging deeper, discovering. And strengthening the illusion of kneeling beside the Master, Ippy Patterson’s illustrations give the text a magical clarity that’s almost as good as growing those hellebores yourself.” — Tovah Martin, author of Tasha Tudor’s Garden

“Nancy Goodwin’s Montrose: Life in a Garden will inspire other gardeners to follow their life’s passion. Her chronicle of a year in the garden reminds us that a keen eye for plants, attachment to place, and tolerance for hard work are what make exceptional gardens. Woven throughout her discerning plant descriptions and Ippy Patterson’s graceful illustrations is a clear dedication to seeing Montrose continue as a garden long into the future.” — Bill Noble, Director of Preservation Projects, The Garden Conservancy

“The list of people who make beautiful gardens, and then afterward write beautifully about them, is very short. Through this book, Nancy Goodwin’s Montrose will be a speaking garden forever, and her flowers—many of them among the rarest things gardeners can grow—are preserved in the achingly lovely images of Ippy Patterson, where they will always remain fresh and fine. How fortunate we are that this wonderful book now joins the short list of books about great gardens, written by their makers.” — Wayne Winterrowd, author of Annuals and Tender Plants for North American Gardens

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Price: $9.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Nancy Goodwin has written for Fine Gardening, American Gardener, Horticulture, Veranda, Country Home Country Gardens, and other magazines. She is a coauthor of A Year in Our Gardens: Letters by Nancy Goodwin and Allen Lacy and coeditor of A Rock Garden in the South, by Elizabeth Lawrence, also published by Duke University Press. From 1984 to 1993, she operated Montrose Nursery, which specialized in unusual perennials, including hellebores and cyclamen.

Ippy Patterson has illustrated garden columns for the New York Times, the Hartford Courant, McCall’s Magazine, and Country Living Gardener Magazine. She has illustrated numerous books, including An Elizabethan Bestiary: Retold, 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names, and No Bones, for which she won the National Academy of Sciences Illustration Award in 1990.

Nancy Goodwin has written for Fine Gardening, American Gardener, Horticulture, Veranda, Country Home Country Gardens, and other magazines. She is a coauthor of A Year in Our Gardens: Letters by Nancy Goodwin and Allen Lacy and coeditor of A Rock Garden in the South, by Elizabeth Lawrence, also published by Duke University Press. From 1984 to 1993, she operated Montrose Nursery, which specialized in unusual perennials, including hellebores and cyclamen.

Ippy Patterson has illustrated garden columns for the New York Times, the Hartford Courant, McCall’s Magazine, and Country Living Gardener Magazine. She has illustrated numerous books, including An Elizabethan Bestiary: Retold, 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names, and No Bones, for which she won the National Academy of Sciences Illustration Award in 1990.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword / Maureen Quilligan ix

Acknowledgments xv

Map of Montrose xvi

Introduction 1

First Steps 4

Late January & February 10

March 55

April 81

May 99

June 126

July 148

August 175

September 191

October 212

November 227

December 246

January 256

Index 2725
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing

2006 Gold Award in the “Best Illustration” category, Garden Writer’s Association


2006 Silver Award for Writing (Books), Garden Writer’s Association


Additional InformationBack to Top
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3604-4
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