Saturday, February 6, 2010
I read that Eleanor Perenyi had died a few months ago. It was in one of those reviews on Amazon. The biography that went with it was sorely lacking in accuracy and left me mildly irritated. But more recently I quoted Perenyi in a comment to a fellow bloggers post and since then have started to reread her wonderful garden book Green Thoughts. I eventually found her obituaryin the New York Times ( May 6th 2009) and pleased to find an accurate account of her life.
Green Thoughts was her only garden book and published in 1981, it has a series of 72 essays that are arranged alphabetically starting with Annuals and ending in Woman's Place.. You will find quoted in the new York Times the chapter on Dahlias, it is one of my favourites, showing that Eleanor Perenyi knew her own mind and would not be swayed by fashion or current trends.
"It takes a while to grasp that not all failures are self-imposed, the result of ignorance, carelessness or inexperience. It takes a while to grasp that a garden isn't a testing ground for character and to stop asking, what did I do wrong? Maybe nothing".
Eleanor Perenyi, Green Thoughts, 1981