Tonight I'm speaking at the Los Angeles Arboretum in the appropriately named Arcadia, CA. Whoever created the publicity on their website christened my talk "Beatrix Potter for Adults." Here's a link, for as long as it stays active:
The title is hilarious, as Beatrix Potter was far from X-rated. And of course, the Arboretum was differentiating this program from tomorrow's family-oriented activities.
My introduction to Beatrix Potter's gardens came in the form of an article by Peter Parker in the wonderful journal Hortus. Since then I have been drawn to her illustrations, her children's books, her letters and journals and especially to her gardens in the Lake District. Beatrix Potter, later Mrs. William Heelis, first gardened with her paintbrush, and later created a lovely cottage garden of her own.
The memory of my first visit to Hill Top, her first farm and garden, is burnished. It was a golden afternoon when, with a new husband and old parents, I first walked up the flagstone path. (We had spent a week in Scotland with non-stop rain.) The cottage borders embrace the path, creating a long axis to the farmhouse. Beatrix Potter’s garden interests have a long axis as well, through her life story and through the rich legacy of British gardening.
That is what I'll be exploring in my lecture tonight. I "opened" last Sunday in New Jersey with an audience of mostly friends in a program benefitting the Friends of Fosterfields in Morristown.
Miss Potter, I salute you.