From The University of Georgia Press:
Finding Nature in Philadelphia
New to living and gardening in Philadelphia, Sharon White begins a journey through the landscape of the city, past and present, in Vanished Gardens. In prose now as precise and considered as the paths in a parterre, now as flowing and lyrical as an Olmsted vista, White explores Philadelphia’s gardens as a part of the city’s ecosystem and animates the lives of individual gardeners and naturalists working in the area around her home.In one section of the book, White tours the gardens of colonial botanist John Bartram; his wife, Ann; and their son, writer and naturalist William. Other chapters focus on Deborah Logan, who kept a record of her life on a large farm in the late eighteenth century, and Mary Gibson Henry, twentieth-century botanist, plant collector, and namesake of the lily Hymenocallis henryae. Throughout White weaves passages from diaries, letters, and memoirs from significant Philadephia gardeners into her own striking prose, transforming each place she examines into a palimpsest of the underlying earth and the human landscapes layered over it.
White gives a surprising portrait of the resilience and richness of the natural world in Philadelphia and of the ways that gardening can connect nature to urban space. She shows that although gardens may vanish forever, the meaning and solace inherent in the act of gardening is always waiting to be discovered anew.
Sharon White is the author of a collection of poetry, Bone House. Her memoir, Field Notes, A Geography of Mourning, received the Julia Ward Howe Prize, Honorable Mention, from the Boston Author’s Club. Some of her other awards include a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction, the Leeway Foundation Award for Achievement, a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Her poems, essays, and articles have appeared in many magazines and journals including Isotope, House Beautiful, Appalachia, Kalliope, and North American Review. She teaches writing at Temple University in Philadelphia.
A volume in the seriesAssociation of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction