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Laughter in the Landscape

Articles: Laughter in the Landscape

Portrait of Betty MacDonald in her Vashon Island garden.

“The Earth Laughs in Flowers”---Ralph Waldo Emerson

Opposites attract. It’s when they marry that the trouble starts. Ever since Adam and Eve left the Garden, couples have been trying to recreate paradise in spite of their differences. Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West created the beautiful and grand Sissinghurst. But most of us don’t inherit a medieval manor or have a fortune to invest. Our resources are strong backs, the willingness to compromise, and a sense of humor.

No one wrote more humorously about the travails of couples-who-garden than Betty MacDonald, best-selling author of The Egg and I, the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Series, and many other books. She recounts her adventures creating a garden with her husband, Don, in Onions in the Stew, the last of her four semi-autobiographical books.

Historical photo of the MacDonald house from the back, 1938. Washington State archives

In 1942, Betty and Don bought a hand-built cabin with seven acres on Vashon Island just south...

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