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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

February 04, 1996|SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS

ALL MY EDENS: A Gardener's Memoir by Pat Welsh (Chronicle Books: $24.95; 214 pp.). More halcyon days, more picturesque memories and serene gardens to remember them in. From her garden in Del Mar, Pat Welsh looks back on the gardens of her childhood, from a thatch-roofed cottage in the south of England to a palm forest in Daytona Beach, Fla., to an island off the coast of Maine and a farm in Pennsylvania. Perhaps her favorite is a storybook manor house built by her grandfather in 1910 in Yorkshire, England, called Hoyle Court. Hoyle Court has a gardener and herbaceous borders with fragrant herbs planted right up to the edge so that when they are stepped on they give off the aroma of thyme. While Welsh is a happy convert to the blue lupine and California poppies of her chosen home, she still rhapsodizes over the daffodils of England, "where pebbles glint beneath clear water, where steppingstones stand too far apart for crossing, and cows graze among the ruins." The photographs, nicely woven in with the text, tell of a more flamboyantly upper-class upbringing than Welsh, to her credit, admits to in the text. But still, it's a precious world, and gardening one of its greatest pleasures.

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