Longwood Gardens Community Read

Longwood Community Reads white logo over trees

Longwood Gardens Community Read is a collaboration between Longwood Gardens, local libraries, and museums to provide a community-wide read of three books, one for children and two for adults, that takes place from March to May 2024.

This winter and spring we join other local libraries and community partners for the tenth year of Longwood Gardens Community Read! 


The Last Garden in England coverThe Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly

Community Read—Adult Selection

The Last Garden in England exemplifies the meaning that we can all find in gardens. Just as Longwood Gardens has brought beauty to the lives of generations, so too does Highbury House—whose lovely gardens are at the center of this historical fiction spanning three generations. Taking place in 1907, 1944, and present day, this novel connects five women—from the gardens’ original designer through to the modern-day designer charged with restoring their beauty—all of whom find true meaning and solace in the gardens.

Author Julia Kelly took inspiration for the book from a visit to Upton House in Warwickshire, England. Upton’s gardens were designed by Kitty Lloyd Jones, hired by wealthy homeowners to “lend a sense of good taste” to their grand homes’ gardens. Lloyd Jones and famous British garden designer Gertrude Jekyll gave inspiration to the character of Venetia Smith, hired to design Highbury’s garden in the novel. Venetia visits the real-life Hidcote Manor in the novel, whose garden rooms designed by owner Lawrence Johnston inspired Kelly to create garden rooms at Highbury House. 

Read the book here: Print  |  eBook  |  eAudiobook


The Secret GardenThe Secret Garden based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, adapted by Calista Brill, illustrated by Adelina Lirius

Community Read—Children's Selection

In this picture book adaptation of the classic novel, our younger readers will follow Mary Lennox as she moves into a confusing new home and only finds comfort from exploring the grounds and gardens surrounding the imposing manor house. Through unexpected friendships, good fresh air, connecting to nature, and a mystery surrounding a secret garden, Mary is transformed.

Read the book here: Print