Elizabeth and Her German Garden
Elizabeth and Her German Garden is a novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, first published in 1898; it was very popular and frequently reprinted during the early years of the 20th century. The story is a year's diary written by the protagonist Elizabeth about her experiences learning gardening and interacting with her friends. It includes commentary on the beauty of nature and on society, but is primarily humorous due to Elizabeth's frequent mistakes and her idiosyncratic outlook on life. She looked down upon the frivolous fashions of her time writing "I believe all needlework and dressmaking is of the devil, designed to keep women from study." The book is the first in a series about the same character. It is noteworthy for being published without a named author. Molesley lends a copy of this book to Anna on the 2nd episode of the 2nd season of Downton Abbey. In the novel The Shellseekers (1988) by Rosamunde Pilcher, Sophie reads Elizabeth von Arnim's "Elizabeth and her German Garden". In chapter 9 ("Sophie"), Sophie says to Penelope: "[...] I always go back to it. It comforts me. Soothes me. It reminds me of a world that once existed and will exist again when the war has finished." In the novel The Gurnsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society, it is referred to by Elizabeth as having been the topic of discussion at the society meeting that she pretended had taken place on the night of the roast pork dinner. May 7th.--I love my garden. I am writing in it now in the late afternoon loveliness, much interrupted by the mosquitoes and the temptation to look at all the glories of the new green leaves washed half an hour ago in a cold shower. Two owls are perched near me, and are carrying on a long conversation that I enjoy as much as any warbling of nightingales.