London: Macmillan, 1899. Hardcover in slightly marked and worn green boards (see photograph). The fifth reprint of this gardening classic, a novel, in the first year after publication.
The story is a year's diary written by the protagonist Elizabeth about her experiences learning gardening and interacting with her friends. It includes commentary on the beauty of nature and on society, but is primarily humorous due to Elizabeth's frequent mistakes and her idiosyncratic outlook on life.
She looked down upon the frivolous fashions of her time writing “I believe all needlework and dressmaking is of the devil, designed to keep women from study.”
The book is the first in a series about the same character. It is noteworthy for being published without a named author.
In popular culture
Molesley lends a copy of this book to Anna in the second episode of the second season of Downton Abbey.
In the novel The Shell Seekers (1988) by Rosamunde Pilcher, Sophie reads Elizabeth von Arnim’s "Elizabeth and her German Garden“. In chapter 9 ("Sophie“), Sophie says to Penelope: "[…] I always go back to it. It comforts me. Soothes me. It reminds me of a world that once existed and will exist again when the war has finished.“
In the novel The Gurnsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society, it is referred to by Elizabeth as having been the topic of discussion at the society meeting that she pretended had taken place on the night of the roast pork dinner.