Allen Lacy--while we're on the topic...

ginny12March 5, 2005

While we're on the topic of great garden writers, what has happened to Allen Lacy? He has also disappeared from view tho I haven't seen an obit and have no reason to think he is deceased. He is up there in age but he is another who has added a great deal to our garden literature. Anybody heard anything?

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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

Sorry, I've never seen any of his books. What did he write?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 12:31AM
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I'm a little surprised at this question, if you'll forgive my saying so. Don't mean to sound rude. Allen Lacy is one of the most prolific and highly thought-of garden writers of our time. Too many books to list here. Check or Amazon. He was a professor of philosophy and began to write a garden column, based on his NJ garden, for the Wall St. Journal, I believe. These were collected in a number of books--then he wrote others. But he must be quite elderly now and I assume that is why we haven't heard from him in the last few years. And I absolutely don't mean to sound inflammatory in any way, but I am surprised at people's seeming unfamiliarity with his name on the Garden Writers forum, of all places. But John_D, I'm glad you asked and hope someone can provide updated info on Allen Lacy.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 9:04AM
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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

That explains it. I find Wall Street Journal columnists rather dull and rarely even scan their columns anymore (and, yes, we subscribe to the Journal).

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 9:20AM
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habitat_gardener(z9 CA/Sunset15)

The last I heard, he was publishing his own newsletter.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 10:42PM
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habitat_gardener(z9 CA/Sunset15)

According to
Allen Lacy's Homeground "is a quarterly newsletter for gardeners everywhere, developed and written by Allen Lacy. Gardeners enjoyed his columns for years in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He covers a full range of gardening topics in this newsletter, and from time to time, you'll find guest contributions by writers like Graham Stuart Thomas, Nancy Goodwin, and others. Good resource for garden book reviews. Order the newsletter (check for current price) at Allen Lacy's Homeground, P.O. Box 271, Linwood NJ 08221. You can read some of Allen's past articles at Virtual Garden; search under "Allen Lacy." "

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 10:52PM
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Thanks, habitat_gardener, but people have told me that the newsletter is no longer being published. That's one of the reasons why I asked if anyone had news of Allen Lacy. He also wrote for many of the major garden magazines and I haven't seen his byline in quite awhile. Or a new book.

And John_D, I can promise you that you won't find Allen Lacy a bit dull. Get one of his books from the library--I think you'll enjoy them immensely.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 9:01AM
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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

I believe you, but first I have to work my way through the pile of books I have to read, before I can once again read for pleasure alone.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 11:34AM
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I do have both The Garden in Autumn & Home Ground: A Gardener's Miscellany from '84 on my "book list", but haven't got to them as yet.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 6:24PM
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clfo(z7 with luck)

"I believe you, but first I have to work my way through the pile of books I have to read, before I can once again read for pleasure alone."

John! You who (I assume from the subject of your books) love good food and wine should understand the value of making time for the pleasure in and among the "have to." Would you ever say that you have to work your way through the food that is really good for you before you eat something you enjoy? Would you ever say that you can't take an enjoyable walk through the woods, or on the beach, until you do everything that that you "have to do" in the house? You can read for pleasure just before bed, without taking time away from work... not to mention fifteen minutes after breakfast, or books on tape in the car.

The Bread and Puppet Theatre says "Man does not live by bread alone, but by puppets too." if you get my drift.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 6:45PM
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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

I don't disagree -- but sometimes things just pile up (albeit temporarily). Even food you enjoy can turn into a chore -- if you're writing restaurant reviews. :-)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 9:54PM
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I would have to sympathise with John on this one. I had not heard of the gentleman either. My excuse perhaps is being from the other side of the pond where the New York publications rarely made it to the midlands. However as we have been here 20 yrs that is perhaps a poor excuse. More likely is the fact that unless it was in the bookstore and caught my fancy, I didn't pick it up. We are creatures of habit and I tend to gravitate toward herb books and general 'how-to' topics.

Which begs the question as to how to get the name out into other areas/genres when we need to. I am/was quite well known in the midwest for herbs, but since I have moved - I have had to reinvent myself (with some advantages)and promote myself all over again.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 5:53PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

Go to the Houghton-Mifflin site below, click on the "About Us/FAQ", then click on "Authors". The drop-down window will instruct you on how to write to their authors. You could contact Mr. Lacy to ask about his publications in the offing, his well-being, etc. There seems to be no current information about him on the internet. A fine writer.


Here is a link that might be useful: Houghton-Mifflin Author's BioPage 2005 - Alan Lacy

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 9:34PM
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Thanks for comments, everyone. But two things, if I may. Allen Lacy is not a regional writer. He has been, as I said earlier, one of the best known and most widely published garden writers in the US in the last twenty years or so. I would go so far as to say he is known internationally. And Ginger, thanks for the Houghton Mifflin info, but people in the industry have said they have not had any response to queries about him. And I wouldn't feel comfortable writing a total stranger to ask about his health. Just thought someone here might have heard something more definite.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 11:36PM
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He seems to be listed as faculty at Richard Stockton College. Not sure if their page is up to date, but one would hope so.

Here is a link that might be useful: Faculty page

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 5:31PM
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I had checked that out early in my search. He is a professor *emeritus* which usually means highly distinguished but no longer actively teaching. No, from his disappearance these last few years and from no one in the biz or here having any recent info, I have to assume he is, at the very least, retired. I know several people who have had mail returned. Well, if you haven't, read one of his books. He is one of the best.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 5:55PM
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"The Garden in Autumn" is a classic on the subject of fall gardening.

He's an excellent writer and very knowledgable about his subject.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 9:31PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I have to ditto on this one. I subscribed to Homeground for a few years, until the renewal notice hit during a budget crisis. It was the best gardening newsletter that I've ever read. About that time, I happened to find "The Garden in Autumn" at a discount book store. Didn't even notice when I bought it that Lacy was the author. I shouldn't admit it, but it was priced around $2.00 and the pictures were nice, so I bought it on impulse. When I got it home, I realized who the author was and found it to be a wonderful, inspiring book to read.

Lacy is a great writer and if you haven't read his work, check out some of his books. I do hope that he's just retired.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 2:20PM
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While the attached link only begins to show early development and the basis of my garden, four seasons later I am benefitting from having read a couple Allen Lacy books. Allen was a great friend of my father's in college and they corresponded often over the years. Apparently my mother was quite fond of him too since she allowed his last name to become one of my middle names... I would dearly appreciate any information helping me to contact him or his family. I would love to share current photos of my young garden that he and my mother inspired and to tell him thank you for sharing his name with me and for all that he has so eloquently spoken of in his writings... And if possible, have my set of Allen Lacy books autographed.... Thanks if anyone can help make that happen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ian K.L. O'Shea's young garden @ Habersham

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 9:05AM
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Just found this news dated April 28, 2010 about Allen in his hometown of Linwood, NJ. He's the curator of a new arboretum he helped to create. There are a few pictures, with one of him at a podium.

I too miss his writings and presence. He was very active and congenial on the GEnie gardening bulletin boards right before publishing the Homeground newsletter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shore News Today, 4/28/10

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 5:54AM
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What a surprise to see this thread pop up after so long. And this forum, alas, is almost completely inactive.

After my initial postings, I did in fact locate Allen Lacy. He was alive and well then and I am so glad to hear that he is still actively involved with gardens. Thanks for your news update.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 10:36AM
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