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Eleanor Perenyi

  • September is the time to begin again. In the country, when I could smell the wood-smoke in the forest, and the curtains could be drawn when the tea came in, on the first autumn evening, I always felt that my season of good luck had come.

  • ... in Paris one should have everything or nothing. We had often had nothing, and that had had a special charm, because Paris more than any other city has pleasures available to the poor.

  • Sooner or later every gardener must face the fact that certain things are going to die on him. It is a temptation to be anthropomorphic about plants, to suspect that they do it to annoy.

  • It takes a while to grasp that a garden isn't a testing ground for character and to stop asking, what did I do wrong?

  • The kiss of the wind for lumbago, / The stab of the thorn for mirth, / One is nearer to death in a garden / Than anywhere else on earth.

  • I have spoken to plants myself, and if pressed for conclusions would have to say that those I threatened did better than those I — well, I wouldn't say prayed over, but pleaded with, cajoled. A rhododendron that hadn't bloomed for six years was flatly told it would be removed the following year if there were no flowers. Need I say that it has bloomed profusely ever since?

  • Americans resent the vagaries of weather to a degree unknown to other peoples. ... Weather is a force we have lost touch with. We feel entitled to dominate it, like everything else in the environment, and when we can't are more panic-stricken than primitives who know that when nature is out of control they can only pray to the gods.

  • [Petunias are] as hopelessly impractical as a chiffon ball dress.

  • I love blue more than any other color. I am inordinately attracted to any blue substance: to minerals like turquoise and lapis lazuli, to sapphires and aquamarines; to cobalt skies and blue-black seas; Moslem tiles — and to a blue flower whether or not it has any other merit.

Eleanor Perenyi, U.S. writer, amateur gardener

(1918 - 2009)

Full name: Baroness Eleanor Spencer Stone Perenyi.