designed for the way women work.
womanswork presents dorian winslow's
the curious gardener
Womanswork is giving away a signed hardcover copy of “Essential Perennials” by our friend Ruth Rogers Clausen and Tom Christopher, published by Timber Press. Photos are by the husband and wife team of Alan and Linda Detrick. Margaret Roach says, “Finally, a guide to navigating the staggering possibilities among perennials.”
I interviewed Ruth Clausen about the book and about her life as a gardener and writer. She and her writing partner wanted to make a book that is a reader-friendly reference for inexperienced gardeners, but also provides a resource for the more experienced gardener. I find the book to be an inviting one. It’s not a densely packed reference book, it has lovely colorful plant photographs, lots of white space on the pages, and bullit points that help facilitate comparisons between plants.
I have known Ruth for years but have never talked to her about how she first became interested in gardening . So we talked about her mother and grandmother in South Wales where Ruth grew up. She remembers putting pieces of broken pottery around the base of plants that needed extra alkaline; she remembers making sachets with her mother, using the lavender growing in her grandmother’s garden. As a young girl she road horseback along the coastline near her home, observing the seaside plants growing along the paths. She grew up learning words like Hamamelis and other latin names.
I asked her what her favorite perennial is. It is difficult to pick, she said, but “Today it is the epimedium. I like it because it comes up early in the season, likes shade, grows among tree roots, is drought resistant, has dainty flowers and looks good all summer. Tomorrow I will have another favorite.”
Please tell us what your favorite perennial is, or share with us your stories about gardening, past or present. What are your memories, who inspired you, what do you dream about? Write your comments below and we will select one person to receive a signed copy of Ruth’s book. Thank you!