THE AUTHOR OF “LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE”
THE WORLD OF LAURA INGALLS WILDER
Who does not recall the series “Little House on the Prairie,” which told the story of a family of settlers that in the nineteenth century traversed the fresh territories of the American Midwest in search of sustenance and prosperity? In fact, the harshness of the time was such that the adventure was a permanent fight for survival.
Commemorating the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birth, her daughter Marta McDowell, who teaches historical landscaping and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, effected an exhaustive research among material of that age and now, original documents and annotations, photos and illustrations, which elaborate in a single work the trail covered by the Ingalls and the sylvan heritage developed in each place.
Over the course of several American states, from the woods of Wisconsin, passing by the north of New York, the Native American territories in Kansas, the creeks of Iowa and Minnesota, and the plains of South Dakota, all the way to the Great Plains and the Ozarks, in Missouri. It’s a true pilgrimage through the iconic places where the author of Little House on the Prairie passed by.
The author, a specialist in gardening, describes exhaustively throughout the book each stage of Laura’s life, in childhood like is seen on the TV series as well as in her adult life, always with the themes of agricultural culture, botany and rural work in the background, abundantly illustrated with images, maps, and drawings. She even dedicates a brief chapter on how to replicate a garden from those described by Laura in her writings, whether the reader has a small flowerbed in the lawn or an estate with several square miles.
The second part of this work is dedicated to a suggested guided tour through the regions that made part of Laura’s ninety years of life, which she regularly visited with her husband, Almanzo, with suggestions of “green” attractions appropriate to those who share the “tin can tourist” lifestyle. This is a route prepared for the fans of the outdoor life that Laura appreciated so much, the fields, the flowers, the plants, the houses and the farms.
The tourist should take the due time to venture into the nature, observing the local flora, but the animals, the birds and the landscape as well. McDowell takes into account the meaning each stop had in the life of Laura Ingalls, and provides alternatives to wonderful strolls through the Wilder Trail – the trail that Laura left us as her legacy through her literary work.