Marjorie Harris's Garden of the World

Marjorie Harris's Garden of the World logo
Marjorie Harris's Garden of the World

In this season of spring and renewal, we present an exhibition about gardening.

There is a garden in her face,
Where roses and white lilies show;
A heavenly paradise is that place,
Wherein all pleasant fruits do grow.

These lines of verse, set to music by Richard Alison in Oliphant's "La Messa Madrigalesca" in 1606, could have been written for Marjorie Harris, an alumna of McMaster University, free lance writer, editor, and one of Canada's foremost experts on gardening. Our exhibition chronicles her wonderful, tumultuous career. Complementary to the work of Marjorie Harris is a selection of rare books about the art of gardening, beginning in 1648 with The Country Hovse-Wives Garden. We have even included material from the Bertrand Russell archives, although we would not want to give the impression that Russell tilled the soil literally. He was more inclined to Voltaire's dictum from Candide: "Il faut cultiver notre jardin."

Gardens offer us nourishment for the stomach and the mind. They appeal to the senses, the intimate link between ourselves and our environment, and the vibrancy of life itself and its fleeting nature. We hope that you will enjoy this exhibition that celebrates the literature of gardening and the flourishing accomplishments of Marjorie Harris.

On 30 May 2007, Marjorie Harris returned to McMaster University and gave a splendid presentation at the University Club about her life as a writer and gardener. We are pleased to include photos of her presentation and the introductions of Peter George, University President and Vice-Chancellor, and Jeffrey Trzeciak, University Librarian.