I first began gardening so that I would have something to talk about with my green-thumbed mother-in-law. Little did I realize what an obsession the garden becomes! Many years, rose bushes, geranium beds and Japanese beetles later, while I was again on my knees digging in the dirt, I realized the garden is more than a decoration for the home or town. It connects us with the past and the future, with other people's aesthetics and needs as well as our own. When I began my research for A Lady of Good Family, about professional gardener Beatrix Farrand, I found miracles of connection between gardens and literature; how the past haunts us, and how the future can be so beautifully represented by single seed.

Jeanne Mackin is the author of several historical novels: The Sweet By and By (St. Martinís Press), based on the life of nineteenth century spiritualist Maggie Fox; Dreams of Empire (Kensington Books), a domestic comedy set in Napoleonic Egypt, The Queenís War (St. Martinís Press) a novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Courts of Love, and The Frenchwoman (St. Martinís Press), a romance set in revolutionary France and the Pennsylvania wilderness. Writing as Anna Maclean she is author of the Louisa May Alcott mystery trilogy (NAL). She is also the author of the Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers (Cornell University publications) and co-editor of The Norton Book of Love (W.W. Norton.)She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and her journalism has won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, in Washington, D.C.

She taught creative writing at Goddard College in Vermont, and has taught or conducted workshops in Pennsylvania, Hawaii and New York. She lives with her husband, artist and writer Steve Poleskie, in upstate New York.