My City Highrise Garden (Hardcover)

By Susan Brownmiller

Rutgers University Press, 9780813588896, 166pp.

Publication Date: March 31, 2017

List Price: 26.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Gardening on rooftops, balconies, and terraces is a popular trend. After thirty-five years of experience, Susan Brownmiller writes with honesty and humor about her oasis twenty floors above a Manhattan street.

She reports the catastrophes: losing daytime access during building-wide renovations; assaults from a mockingbird during his mating season. And the joys: a peach tree fruited for fifteen years; the windswept birches lasted for twenty-five. Butterflies and bees pay annual visits. She pampers a buddleia, a honeysuckle, roses, hydrangeas, and more. Her adventures celebrate the tenacity of nature, inviting readers to marvel at her garden’s resilience, and her own.

Enhanced by over thirty color photographs, this passionate account of green life in a gritty, urban environment will appeal to readers and gardeners wherever they dwell. 

About the Author

SUSAN BROWNMILLER is a feminist journalist, activist, and best-selling author. Her most acclaimed title is Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape. Her other books include, Femininity, Waverly Place, Seeing Vietnam, and In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution.

Praise For My City Highrise Garden

"In this charming collection of essays, feminist journalist, activist, and author Brownmiller writes with passion, humor, and complete candidness about 35 years of gardening on the 20th-floor terrace of her Greenwich Village apartment. Along with weather, climate, and critter issues, Brownmiller also describes unique gardening problems that a more traditional yard gardener couldn’t fathom, such as building renovations and neighbors unappreciative of leaf drift—although plenty of them are eager to share plants and pots for Brownmiller’s urban oasis, too. From stories of the loss of her beloved birch trees in the wake of a hurricane to tales of victory at her garden’s thrilling achievements, the author reveals all, including the odd assortment of detritus she discovered thrown down from the shared rooftop garden above ... With a style reminiscent of Eric Grissell’s Thyme on My Hands and A Journal in Thyme, Brownmiller’s meandering musings will delight readers. Memoir lovers and gardeners alike will enjoy these adventures in urban gardening."

— Library Journal

"Susan Brownmiller's delightful book is a gift not only for lucky city-dwellers able to cultivate green outdoor spaces of their own but for those who can only garden mentally. Nothing I've  read has done a better job of capturing the inherent drama in gardening—the constant struggle against weather, drought, insects, disease, as well as the special challenges in cities posed by altitudes, landlords, developers and neighbors. Brownmiller's observant and witty writing has taken me back all over again to the special thrill and satisfaction of making things grow."

— Joyce Johnson

"Charles Darwin made us aware of the ingenious adaptations plants evolved to survive in unlikely environments. Susan Brownmiller delights us with the ingenious adaptations plant growers like herself evolve to garden on the 20th floor. Defying drying winds and pests of several species, including homo sapiens, Brownmiller keeps the clematis climbing. My City Highrise Garden is a terrace gardener's how-to and every gardener's why-to. It's ardent, informative and also funny."

— Barbara Garson

"A beautifully produced book. Beginning to end, Brownmiller informs, amuses and delights with her wit, knowledge and urbanity."

— Lilith

"For those who enjoy garden journals, My City Highrise Garden is an wonderful journey and escape." 

— NYBG Plant Talk blog