North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) Lecture

Cohosted by the Piedmont Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society and the JC Raulston Arboretum

"Lessons Learned from a Poet's Garden"
Jane Baber White, Anne Spencer's Garden

  • Saturday, March 16, 2013 – 10:00 am11:30 am

Book Reviews

From The Chicago Tribune, by Barbara Mahany

If not for Lessons Learned from a Poet's Garden, the story of Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer's garden would have been lost. Through the pages of this fascinating book, the story -- as well as the garden itself in Lynchburg, Virginia—has been resurrected and its lessons laid out for learning. Told by Jane, the unlikely restorer of the garden who was swept away the first time she saw it nearly 30 years ago, this is many stories folded into one: It is the story of a garden used as a sacred retreat by the African-American poet during difficult times; it is the improbable story of the garden's rescue, from the remnants of a once loved sanctuary to its eventual reblooming; and, above all, it is a blueprint for anyone who might aim to be a resurrection gardener.

If you know little about Spencer, this might be your springboard to deeper reading of her life's work. If you are curious about how one restores a garden that has crumbled into bits, these pages will hold your attention, as if unraveling a long-held mystery. it's not every day that we are invited to poke around the attic of a great literary mind who, for 70 years, labored in this once profuse poetic garden. In poems and pictures, in typewritten and hand-scrawled scraps from Anne's garden notebooks, we find here a nearly extinguished treasure. In her lifetime, Anne, who counted W. E. B. DuBois among her frequent visitors, called the garden "half my world." And we are all the richer for its robust return to life.

From Retailing Insight, by Anna Jedrziewski

This small-publisher gem is a visual and intellectual feast. It tells the story of Harlem Renaissance Poet Anne Spencer's dream of a garden sanctuary come true. it tells that story through the lens of the garden's restoration. The storyteller is Jane White, who discovered the garden after Anne's death and heard Anne Spencer's poetry echoing from the earth Despite the overgrowth and disrepair, Jane knew that the heart of Anne's 70-year labor of love still beat solidly. The book overflows with stunning photography, some of it vintage, most of it modern day, documenting both Anne's creation and the community-based restoration and preservation effort which restored its glory. This will be a very special gift for gardeners, poets, historians, preservationists, and, of course, artists!

Free for Friends of the JC Raulston Arboretum and North American Rock Garden Society (Piedmont Chapter) members, NC State University students (with ID), and Department of Horticultural Science faculty and staff, all others $5.00.
Advance registration is not available.
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Please call (919) 513-7005 for more information about this lecture.