Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books: IN AND OUT OF THE GARDEN (1981) by Sara Midda

Sara Midda is an English artist and writer who works in soft watercolor creating charming children's books as well as gardening and visual diaries using illustration and her own beautiful hand lettering. Her drawings are tiny and cheerful and totally enchanting. They have a gentle appeal once seen, never forgotten.

I've owned IN AND OUT OF THE GARDEN in a gorgeous trade paperback edition with a dust jacket for many years and it shows the wear and tear of being held and looked at and enjoyed over and over. This issue was published by Workman and you know the kind of wonderful design work they do.

The book has garden themed illustrations, mostly fruits, vegetables, garden plots, garden accoutrement, flowers, menus, garden lore, fruit and vegetable lore and even tiny rural landscapes and village houses done in the sweetest color tones and also in pen and ink. Sara Midda is excellent with both.

Each page is beautifully designed and even the end papers are gorgeous. IN AND OUT OF THE GARDEN by Sara Midda is a treasure to own.

This is my entry in Friday's Forgotten Books meme hosted weekly by Patti Abbott at her blog, PATTINASE Please check in at Patti's and see what other forgotten or overlooked books are bloggers are talking about today.

P.S. Another book by Sara Midda - SARA MIDDA'S SOUTH OF FRANCE. Doesn't it look scrumptious?

Espadrilles! Tres chic.


  1. I've enjoyed Sara Midda's watercolor illustrations and sense of design for many years. Although her work is uniquely her own, it has a charm that's from another time. The way Sara incorporates lettering into her illustrations reminds me of some of the early 19th century ephemera I've collected through the years ...

  2. Lovely post, and those espadrilles are absolutely irresistible.

    Is your granddaughter old enough by now to enjoy these books together with you? (The most wonderful facebook photo I have seen yet is of a grandfather and his little grandson who ´read´ a picture book together. A moment of sheer joy and happiness, and I am sure the picture was taken by someone who loved them both).

  3. Perfect choice as we head into the dog days of summer. These pictures can only remind me of our hardy toiling in three community gardens. Between the battle with floods, alien weed invasions that rivaled any 1950s monster movie, and hordes of mosquitoes it was not the lovely, relaxing, and charming pastime that these illustrations suggest. Wish our peas looked as nice as Sara's. Most of them were fried in the heat of July then the remainder were drowned as the surprise "monsoons" took over. What a summer! There are always paintings and books like these to remind me of an idyllic paragon of a summer though. Thanks for this, Yvette.

  4. Mark: Yes, I just love her work too. I can't remember where I got them or if they came originally with the book, but I once had these tiny little envelopes which held tiny little cards by Sara Midda. I couldn't imagine what you'd use them for, but they were precious. Her work is unique and really, instantly recognizable.

    Yes, there is an old fashioned quality to it. Part of its charm.

  5. Dorte: She's not really old enough yet, though her parents read to her every night before bed. She already has a stack of books on her shelves. And she's only 14 months old! But I'm going to begin reading to her soon. I have my own little collection of childrens' books in the house.

    That espadrille page is such an eye catcher. :)

  6. John: I wouldn't have thought this your kind of book at all, color me surprised (and pleased). :)

    I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about it and Sara Midda's enchanting work. I don't do much gardening anymore - just don't have the stamina.

    A few pots on the front porch is enough for me.

    Well, at least if your community garden hasn't survived one of the worst summers in memory, then you can look at these wonderful illustrations and pretend. Sara Midda just does such lovely work.

  7. Yes, it's a delightful book. I had it, and read it many times, or perhaps I should say I gazed at it. A friend loved it so much one day I loaned it to her and that was the last I saw of it... I mostly don't load books any more, for just that reason.

  8. How sweet! I just put it on my wish list. My husband and I are currently attempting to grow some of our own food--we have our fingers crossed that something will actually work!

  9. Richard R: I know what you mean. I don't lend books much. They tend to disappear. But if I have two of the same title, then I'm happy to lend.

    This is a lovely book to own not to borrow. :)

  10. Lauren: It's one of my favorites. I never get tired of looking at Sara Midda's work. I think you'll love it.

    Oh, good luck with your 'real' garden. Not the best summer for flowers or veggies. The flowers on my front porch are looking frazzled. Except for the lavender, that's very hardy and it seems to love heat and sun.

  11. new book coming out soon

  12. This is one of my favorite books! I got a copy when it was new, and it's lost somewhere in my storage unit. When I saw a pin of the page with the peas, I went on Amazon to find a used copy of the book. I somehow ended up with 2 more copies, but they make me happy - I will keep both! She is a truly enchanting artist!


Your comment will appear after I take a look.