Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!


Posts Tagged ‘gardening’


Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

realizing the lovely bloomsPink geraniums, orange marigolds, sonata mix cosmos, sunscape daisy nasinga white, snow crystals alyssium, brachycomb, a tomato plant, and some herbs. They should be outside enjoying the spring, but tonight they sit in my living room waiting for the season’s last frost to pass us by. I’m certainly an amateur gardener, only filling a few boxes and pots on my brick patio out front, but still, it makes me happy, and that’s what it’s all about, right? I think that Adelaide Laura Van Duzer, one of the authors of home economics textbookEveryday Living for Girls would agree.

1936: Gardening

Pleasure in gardening is age-old and universal. Many find emotional satisfaction in the beauty of growing flowers. Persons who work at high tension find relaxation in digging in the soil, planting, caring for, and realizing the lovely blooms.

Gardening is such a natural, sane outlet for creative self-expression that it is often a means to mental health and contentment. Many a woman in ugly surroundings ~ on a grim, lonely farm or in a smoke-grimed cottage above a steel mill ~ has satisfied her beauty-hungry heart with the rich colors of flowers.

To the beholder, too, flower gardens are a delight. But the grower, the one who creates, gets the most joy from his own and from others’ gardens ~ an enjoyment analogous to that of the musician in his own or another artist’s playing.

Source: Van Duzer, Adelaide Laura, et. al. Everyday Living for Girls. Chicago: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1936.
~ p. 477 ~

1941: Garden Hints

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

“Flowers, shrubs and trees add much to the beauty of a home, and well landscaped grounds, with flower gardens, give an artistic setting to even a small cottage,” reads a section titled “Garden Hints” in Elaine Allen’s Watkins Household Hints (Newark: J. R. Watkins Company, 1941). With this in mind, I tackled my garden last weekend, planting and digging (what’s with this mysterious root system I have underground?) and potting the pots on my deck. I’m certainly no expert gardener, still occasionally confused by the difference between annual and perennial, but I’m trying. Luckily I’ve got the Watkins book to help. Here are a few other tips I read:

Ashes–To Use On Garden Soil
Screened wood ashes from the fireplace are satisfactory to be used as a fertilizer, especially ashes from oak and hickory wood. Store in a dry place and use for garden fertilizer.

Flower Beds–To Plant
The morning sun is best for growing plants. Plan garden site accordingly.

Hands–To Protect While Gardening
Wear a pair of white cotton gloves from the ten cent store. Use Watkins Hand Lotion to keep hands soft and white.

Tools–For Home Garden
All that is required for a small garden is a spade, hoe, steel rake and a line fastened to ten stakes for seeding rows.

Trees and Shrubbery–To Plant
For landscape planting of the home grounds, consult a landscape architect or get advice from a reliable nursery. Successful planting requires expert knowledge of trees and shrubs.

I’ve definitely followed that last bit of advice. I’ve got a tree being delivered and planted (by the pros) this weekend, which should finish up the yard quite nicely!