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SD HORT BOOK CLUB: Next Books And A Book Report

By Karen England.

SD Hort Book Club meets the LAST Monday of every month on Zoom.

June 28, 2021 at 5 pm on Zoom

Zoom link is emailed to SD Hort Book Club members and anyone can join, just send Karen England an email with the subject "SD Hort Book Club" to join.

We will be reading Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim.

GREAT NEWS! The ebook Elizabeth and Her German Garden is free on


also, the audio book is free for Audible Plus subscribers.


Originally published in 1898, “Elizabeth and her German Garden” is the first book by Marie Annette Beauchamp—known all her life as “Elizabeth”. The book, anonymously published, was an incredible success, going through printing after printing by several publishers over the next few years. (I myself own three separate early editions of this book by different publishers on both sides of the Atlantic.) The present Gutenberg edition was scanned from the illustrated deluxe MacMillan (London) edition of 1900.

Elizabeth was a cousin of the better-known writer Katherine Mansfield (whose real name was Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp). Born in Australia, Elizabeth was educated in England. She was reputed to be a fine organist and musician. At a young age, she captured the heart of a German Count, was persuaded to marry him, and went to live in Germany. Over the next years she bore five daughters. After her husband’s death and the decline of the estate, she returned to England. She was a friend to many of high social standing, including people such as H. G. Wells (who considered her one of the finest wits of the day). Some time later she married the brother of Bertrand Russell; which marriage was a failure and ended in divorce. Eventually Elizabeth fled to America at the outbreak of the Second World War, and there died in 1941.

Elizabeth is best known to modern readers by the name “Elizabeth von Arnim”, author of “The Enchanted April” which was recently made into a successful film by the same title. Another of her books, “Mr. Skeffington” was also once made into a film starring Bette Davis, circa 1940.

Some of Elizabeth’s work is published in modern editions by Virago and other publishers. Among these are: “Love”, “The Enchanted April”, “Caravaners”, “Christopher and Columbus”, “The Pastor’s Wife”, “Mr. Skeffington”, “The Solitary Summer”, and “Elizabeth’s Adventures in Rugen”. Also published by Virago is her non-autobiography “All the Dogs of My Life”—as the title suggests, it is the story not of her life, but of the lives of the many dogs she owned; though of course it does touch upon her own experiences.

In the centennial year of this book’s first publication, I hope that its availability through Project Gutenberg will stir some renewed interest in Elizabeth and her delightful work. She is, I would venture, my favorite author; and I hope that soon she will be one of your favorites.

- R. McGowan San Jose, April 11 1998.


July 26, 2021 at 5 pm on Zoom

Zoom link is emailed to SD Hort Book Club members and anyone can join, just send Karen England an email with the subject "SD Hort Book Club" to join.

Join us

along with a special guest from the author's family

as we discuss

In Praise Of Tomatoes

by Steven Shepherd.

From the publisher:

"This engaging account will strike a responsive chord in gardeners. Shepherd, a freelance writer, grows his tomatoes in a raised bed in the front yard of his San Diego home. His year begins with the arrival of seed catalogues in December; he plants the seeds in March, nurtures the seedlings until planting-out time in April. Shepherd then waits expectantly for the harvest, battling caterpillars and blossom-end rot. He compares his plants with those of his neighbors and relatives (some friendly competition here) with whom he exchanges advice on tomato culture. But Shepherd goes beyond just growing tomatoes--he warmly embraces family, friends and neighborhood for a thoroughly satisfying story."


Book Report:

On May 31, 2021 the SD Hort Book Club met on Zoom to discuss The Founding Gardeners by Andrea Wulf. We give the book our coveted 👍 thumb up!

One member who couldn't attend due to the Memorial Day holiday sent in the following review which echos everyone's thoughts.

"The book we read brought an awareness to me of the fact that our our founding fathers were also gardeners. This was interesting to me because I had only thought of them as being politicians. This was another side of them which makes me realize that we are multi-dimensional. There is so much more to a person than what we see, what our experience is of them."



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