Thursday, March 26, 2020

Elizabeth and Her German Garden

Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

"Oh, I could dance and sing for joy that the spring
is here! What a resurrection of beauty there is in my
garden, and of brightest hope in my heart."

I was so happy to find this little gem written by Elizabeth Von Arnim on one of our visits to a National Trust garden gift shop during our trip to England a few years ago. You think I would have taken and read it right away -- I knew I'd love it -- but I have a peculiar habit of holding onto books until it feels the right time to read it, something about reading in sync with the soul season I am in. So it's been sitting on the shelf these four years, like a gift in waiting.

And now, for whatever reason, this is the Spring I'm ready for it. Today I offer this excerpt from Elizabeth's garden with gratefulness and a heart filled with little prayers that you and all those you hold dear will be lifted up and kept safe during this season.

March 26th
Elizabeth and Her German Garden, p 9-10
by Elizabeth Von Arnim

"May 7th.--I love my garden. I am writing in it now in the late afternoon loveliness, much interrupted by the mosquitoes and the temptation to look at the glories of the new green leaves washed half an hour ago in a cold shower. Two owls are perched near me, and are carrying a long conversation that I enjoy as much as any warbling of nightingales. The gentleman owl says #C-C-E, and she answers from her tree a little way off, #E-#F, beautifully assenting to and completing her lord's remark, as becomes a properly constructed German she-owl. They say the same thing over and over again so emphatically that I think it must be something nasty about me; but I shall not let myself be frightened away by the sarcasm of owls.
This is less a garden than a wilderness. No one has lived in the house, much less in the garden, for twenty-five years, and it is such a pretty old place that the people who might have lived here and did not, deliberately preferring the horrors of a flat in a town, must have belonged to that vast number of eyeless and earless persons of whom the world seems chiefly composed. Noseless too, though it does not sound pretty; but the greater part of my spring happiness is due to the scent of the wet earth and young leaves." ~ Opening chapter, pages 1-2 
* * *
"... but I love the dandelions and daisies even more passionately now than then, and never would endure to see them all mown away if I were not certain that in a day or two they would be pushing up their little faces again as jauntily as ever. During these six weeks I lived in a world of dandelions and delight. The dandelions carpeted the three lawns -- they used to be lawns, but have long since blossomed out into meadows filled with every sort of pretty weed -- and under and among the groups of leafless oaks and beeches were blue hepaticas, white anemones, violets, and celandines in sheets. The celandines in particular delighted me with their clean, happy brightness...
And then, before I had a little got used to the joy of their flowers against the sky, came the lilacs -- masses and masses of them, in clumps on the grass, with other shrubs and trees by the side of walks, and one great continuous bank of them half a mile long right past the west front of the house...I have felt so absolutely happy, and blest, and thankful, and grateful, that I really cannot describe it. My days seemed to melt away in a dream of pink and purple peace." ~ page 9-10 

* * *

I feel alive having read these lines. Indeed, 'tis the season for me and this wee volume. And now, dear friends, I wish you a beautiful day with glimpses of heaven in unexpected places.

Heart Hugs,


  1. Sounds delightful! If I ever run into it, I shall pick it up. I am purposely trying (and failing) not to bring books into a house already burdened with so many.

    1. I certainly know what you mean about trying (and failing). My house is definitely feeling that burden these days. My soul is too.

      Our library has a perpetual book sale table, so every time I visit, I check it out. Not always but often I find one or two that come home with me. During this season of isolation, I've been going through the piles and culling. Being honest with myself if I really will read that book. If I keep skipping by it when looking for something to read, I'd say it's a good sign it's safe to let it go.

      Thanks for stopping by, Vee! xox

  2. I know it's a classic, but to my shame I have never read it. Now I must! Beautiful words Brenda, thank you.

    1. I hope you'll find it one day when bookshops are open again to the public. It's a lovely read.

  3. I have her book The Enchanted April, but have not read Elizabeth and Her German Garden. It sounds delightful. Perfect excerpts for this season.

    I just looked to see if it's available online, and it IS - through Gutenberg Press! Hooray!

  4. I love The Enchanted April too, especially the old movie of it. I'm so glad you found Her German Garden online. Hooray indeed!

  5. Wow the words just transport us to the garden and all those early delights that deliver such joy. I have never read this book but will be checking it out - thank you for sharing.

  6. After seeing the movie of Enchanted April and reading the book, every April!, I started collecting her other books and this one is one of my favorites. It is a book of a woman's heart, isn't it? I must be sure that it goes next to one of my daughters-in-law who is a true gardener.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo