"The Life & Gardens Of Harvey Ladew" 1999 WEEKS, Christopher
The John Hopkins University Press
10.25" x 7.25"
An account of the life of Harvey Ladew and the glittering world he inhabited. When Ladew bought his Maryland farm in 1929, he had already lived a life that few, if any, could equal: born into the upper stratum of New York society in 1887, he spoke French before he spoke English and took boyhood drawing lessons from Met curators. As an adult he gave decorating instructions to Billy Baldwin (the dean of American interior design), lived as a houseguest of the Maharajah of Kapurthala, took a camel caravan across Arabia (with travel tips kindly provided by his good friend T.E. Lawrence), weekended at the stateliest of England's stately homes, lent his favourite horse to the Prince of Wales, matched wits with Edna Ferber, Noel Coward, Gertrude Stein and Dorothy Parker (in English), and with Jean Cocteau and Colette (in French), and (with Charlie Chaplin) saw Gertrude Lawrence off as she sailed from New York. To this story of multicontinental revelry, Weeks adds the background and development of Ladew's wonderful gardens, which attract thousands of visitors each year, and his important role as an environmentalist. When he began his garden in 1929, Ladew pioneered new artistic ground, for he was one of the first people in America to follow the tenets of the English arts and crafts garden. In 1971, the Garden Club of America awarded him the year's Distinguished Achievement Award. Christopher Weeks draws on photograph albums, scrap books, garden catalogues and memoranda, an unfinished autobiography, letters and guestbooks. There are photographs reproduced from Ladew's albums - some taken by him, some by leading photographers of the day, including many by Horst. There are also interviews with Ladew's friends from New York to Florida, to help illumine his remarkable personality.