Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
Pages: 392
Publication Date: March 17, 2015

Onward and Upward in the Garden

by Katharine White, edited and with an introduction by E.B. White

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In 1925 Harold Ross hired Katharine Sergeant Angell as a manuscript reader for The New Yorker. Within months she became the magazine’s first fiction editor, discovering and championing the work of Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, James Thurber, Marianne Moore, and her husband-to-be, E. B. White, among others. After years of cultivating fiction, White set her sights on a new genre: garden writing. On March 1, 1958, The New Yorker ran a column entitled “Onward and Upward in the Garden,” a critical review of garden catalogs, in which White extolled the writings of “seedmen and nurserymen,” those unsung authors who produced her “favorite reading matter.” Thirteen more columns followed, exploring the history and literature of gardens, flower arranging, herbalists, and developments in gardening. Two years after her death in 1977, E. B. White collected and published the series, with a fond introduction. The result is this sharp-eyed appreciation of the green world of growing things, of the aesthetic pleasures of gardens and garden writing, and of the dreams that gardens inspire.Katharine White, edited and with an introduction by E.B. White


Her writing is so wonderfully clear, so intimate...she leaves you wanting to know her thoughts of every aspect of the garden.
—Jamaica Kincaid

Onward and Upward in the Garden is quite a bit more than a book about flowers. It is itself a bouquet, the final blooming of an extraordinary sensibility.
The New York Times

You don't have to be a gardener to love this collection of essays. White observes that a talent for the soil and a taste for writing and editorializing often go together, and she proves it—creating her own distinctive voice in the process.

[This collection] can be savored by the reader whose closest acquaintance with nature is the corner florist. It is a heady compost of observation, taste, wit, and scholarship.

A special joy for persons of cultivation, be they connoisseurs of grandiflora or mere backyard tomato growers.
Chicago Sun-Times