Gardeners love books, as the number of titles devoted to the subject attest. We hope this spotlight on some of our members' favorites is a nice change of pace for your Saturday morning.
This book is the result of a personal search that I've been on for many years. I read it as a child over four decades ago and as an adult, I've long wanted to add it to my personal library. I probably read it as a library book, but I couldn't remember the name. Last month, I decided that anything could be located with a good search engine and some key words, and I wasn't disappointed. Robert Lawson, who no doubt, was a gardener, wrote Rabbit Hill in 1944. The tale begins with the little animals that populate the Hill hearing rumors that New Folks were coming. Times had been rough and the house and gardens were in disrepair and abandoned. Food was scarce and they had to forage great distances...even across the dangerous Black Road, for meager meals.
Little Georgie, the rabbit, was the first to spread the news and it quickly flew through the community of small creatures who were full of excitement and apprehension. What if the New Folks had traps and guns? What if they had dogs?...or worst of all...BOYS!
Most were hopeful that they would be Planting Folks and wistfully remembered days with peavine soup with radishes, cabbage and corn. As the New Folks moved in, the animals were excited and relieved that the Man didn't want anyone shooting guns on his property and the Lady was kind and thoughtful when she encountered them. Willie Fieldmouse crept to an open window one night and the New Folks had seed catalogs spread all over the room and were making their orders. He could hardly contain himself until he was able to report to the others that there would be a fabulous Garden!
Their excitement was short lived when a tragic accident upset the balance of everything they knew. Once again, the animals were faced with uncertainty and fear when they gathered in the garden on Midsummer Eve for a surprising conclusion.
Mr. Lawson was adept in bringing the personalities of each animal to life with his own illustrations. Their hopes and fears are in character and plausible. It is well crafted, humorous and heart touching. We seldom think about the impact of our actions on nature and this book lovingly tells the tale through the eyes of the animals, tugging the heartstrings of all readers, regardless of their age.
Rabbit Hill was given the prestigious Newberry Award for children's literature in 1945, but as I finally read my old friend again last week, I knew that it was also a gardener's story that I needed to share with you. All of my life, I've tried to garden using the key phrase that stuck with me all of these years, and the one that finally led me to locating my old and dear friend last month..."There is Enough for All"...
I come from a long line of Kentuckians who love the Good Earth. I love to learn about every living thing, and love to share what I've learned. Photography is one of my passions, and all of the images in my articles are my own, except where credited.