I was researching an herb topic and decided to search through books on my bookshelf because the internet was not giving me what I was looking for. I discovered two things.
First, I don’t have that many books on herbs.
And second, in the herb books I do have I found Dorothy Childs Hogner, another lost lady of garden writing.
I realized with one search that Dorothy didn’t start out writing gardening books and is probably better know for her children’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, many related to travel.
But she did write several gardening books and I had never heard of her, so she can be a lost lady of garden writing too.
I have one of her gardening related books, A Fresh Herb Platter (1961), which, like many of her books was illustrated by her husband, Nils Hogner. It includes gardening advice followed by recipes for vegetables and herbs. She notes in the introduction that she considers it “sacrilege” when gardeners don’t cook the vegetables and herbs they grow but instead let others do that cooking.
Through various internet searched, I found several other gardening books she wrote including Gardening & Cooking on Terrace and Patio (1964), Herbs from the Garden to the Table (1953) and Good Bugs and Bad Bugs in Your Garden: Back-Yard Ecology (1974).
Amongst her children’s books, she wrote Winky: King of the Garden (1946). “Winky is a scarecrow but doesn’t know what a crow looks like. When a crow does appear, Winky is more terrified than the crow. With the help of a rabbit, squirrel, woodchuck, and mouse, Winky overcomes his fear and becomes king of the garden.”
Gosh that sounds like a fun book to read!
Finding biographical information about Dorothy wasn’t that easy. To figure out some of it, I had to look up information about her husband Nils and then work back through that to find Dorothy.
What I did figure out is that Dorothy was born July 16, 1904, in Manhattan, and died June 6, 1989 in Litchfield, CT. (Her husband, Nils, was born in 1898 and died in 1970.) They had an herb farm in Litchfield called Hemlock Hill Herb Farm.
The picture above of them working together is from the Albuquerque Tribune, August 1939, for an article that talks about their working partnership.
Reading the article, I learned that Dorothy “studied at Wellesley and then went to New Mexico to write a children’s book on the Sante Fe Trail.” That’s where she met and married Nils, around 1932. Dorothy and Nils worked happily together until his death in 1970. They had no children but Nils had a son with his first wife.
They liked to travel. Dorothy is listed on several passenger lists for ships going to and from Europe in the 1920s. The article I read also mentions how they enjoyed traveling and camping, in both the southwestern United States and Canada. About their camping, the author of the article wrote:
I don’t think anyone thought to write an obituary for Dorothy when she died in 1989, or at least I can’t find one. That seems odd considering she was the author of over 50 books. She’s not even listed in Wellesley College’s top 100 alumni, which admittedly is quite the list, but I don’t know if she actually graduated or just attended.
Be that as it may, if anyone else searches for Dorothy, at least now they might find this blog post where I’ve gathered most of what I could find out. She’s a welcome addition to my occasional posts on lost ladies of garden writing.