06 January 2022

Beatrix Potter offered apologies to "Mr. McGregor"

After Beatrix Potter moved to Hill Top farm to live, she took up gardening as a primary occupation (using her writing to support her gardening and land preservation activities).  From this new viewpoint, she became rather less tolerant of the animals she had described in her books.  Birds ate blossoms from her fruit trees (“They are very pretty, but they really want shooting, whether protected or not.”)  Deer and sheep damaged her vegetable garden.  And she sent this doggerel poem to a friend:
But now that I’m a bit too hoary
To lose myself in a bed-time story,
I’ve slightly altered my firm conviction
Regarding my furry friends from fiction;
And might not weep at a grim autopsy
Of Peter, Cotton-tail, Mopsy, Flopsy.
All of whom plus countless dozens
Of nameless ravenous rabbit cousins,
Pay frequent calls on my straggling garden –
Mr. McGregor, I beg your pardon.
Information from Marta McDowell's book Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life - about which more later.

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