An Island Garden

The illustrated classic of an inspired woman and her flower garden on Appledore Island. Celia Thaxter’s small garden with hollyhocks and poppies and scarlet flax was much admired by friends, neighbors, and visitors to the island off the coast of Portland, Maine. There, she wrote this collection of remembrances and gardening advice and it was originally published in 1894, shortly before her death.

In vivid prose, Thaxter captures the stretching stems and blossoming flowers in moods ranging from bitter defeat, delivered by unrelenting slugs, to the exultant triumph of birdsong and bursting blooms. Any gardener will understand and take heart from Thaxter’s philosophical outlook. “I am fully and intensely aware,” she writes, “that plants are conscious of love and respond to it as they do to nothing else.” Many artists found inspiration on Appledore including the American impressionist, Childe Hassam, who provided this enduring book’s many full-page paintings and chapter head decorations. This book is perfect for anyone passionate about flowers and classic books on gardening.

Godine, Publisher is distributed to the trade by Two Rivers Distribution, an Ingram brand. For more info, click here.

Celia Laighton Thaxter was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and when she was four her father became the lighthouse keeper on White Island. He subsequently built a legendary hotel on Appledore Island, on which she grew her famous garden. In addition to her poetry, she also published a human and natural history called Among the Isles of Shoals (1873).

Childe Hassam was a pioneer of American Impressionism and perhaps its most prolific and successful practitioner. He was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, into a family descended from settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Hassam is best known for his urban and coastal scenes.