top of page


"Instantly, on waking, we'd know even before we looked. There wouldn't be a sound. Not a car passing by. Not the push and scrape of a snow shovel. Not the grinding rumble of the city's snowplows. Total, absolute, pristine, wonderful silence, which could mean only that the snow was so deep it had shut down the city. Snow Day!"
Gardening in Eden: Seasons in a Suburban Garden

"I wonder if a high school or college student reading Walden can know what Thoreau meant when he said, 'I have travelled a good deal in Concord.' I'm certain I didn't. When we're young, the world is elsewhere. ... But somewhere along the way, sometime in our lives, I think we begin to sense that the world is not somewhere else. It is, in fact, ... wherever we are."

"I'm amazed, now, what little regard I gave the property when I moved into my home twenty-five years ago. ... I don't even remember walking around the property much, small as it is—less than a half acre—and certainly I never ventured into the woodland parcel choked knee-high with weeds and tangled in vines and brambles and briers and poison ivy. I had no grand vision of how landscaping might transform this lot; indeed, I had no vision at all."

"The gardens of which I write are ... on the side of a ridge, and with the steep configuration of the land, the neighbors on three sides don't feel close, and on the fourth side, which overlooks a wildlife reservation, the outlook stretches for miles. The rolling topography allows for stone walls and steps and paths that lead to different vistas, elements that may not work as well on a perfectly flat parcel of land."


"But this is what I have and where I garden, and now not a day goes by, early morning, that I don't wander around to see what's happening before I go to work; not an evening, if there's still light, when I don't check to find out what I've missed. And a weekend when the weather or commitments prevent a good amount of work in the garden feels like a weekend wasted and lost forever."

"Thoreau was right, of course: there's no need for tours and cruises, no need to plan safaris or trips of adventure and discovery. It's all happening right here, right where you are."

—Gardening in Eden

"They will do their feeding dance for me any time of day, morning, noon, or evening, even if they've just eaten a half hour before. Yet if I try to lure them up to the surface by sprinkling in a bit of food so that I can show my visitors just how vicious they truly are, maybe one or two will swim up to take a halfhearted nibble and then quickly disappear."

—Gardening in Eden



Waiting Weather

Spring Fever

Summer Afternoon

September Song


With contagious enthusiasm, Vanderbilt captures the beauty of impatiens and marigolds, the wonder of snowy skies and sprinklers in the sunshine, the satisfaction of a bed well tended, and all the other things that get us out of bed at the crack of dawn to hit the ground digging.


This sensual, literate story of a small New Jersey garden in four seasons over two decades is as vivid as spring tulips, as comic as the frogs in midsummer, and as bright as the stars of Orion on a winter’s night.


Here it is—the armchair gardening book of the season. This is as delightful a book about gardening as I’ve read.


bottom of page