Clover Garden

A Carolinian's Piedmont Memoir

By Bland Simpson

Photographs by Ann Cary Simpson

Clover Garden

200 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 43 halftones, index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-8289-1
    Published: September 2024

Hardcover Available September 2024, but pre-order your copy today!

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Between North Carolina’s coastal plain and the Blue Ridge Mountains lies the Piedmont: some 250 linear miles of rolling, long-settled lands covering almost half of the state. Geologically speaking, piedmont regions are found all over the world, but North Carolina's Piedmont is among the largest in the United States, sitting along an environmental crossroads where northern and southern flora and fauna overlap, offering an incredibly rich natural diversity. Inhabited continuously for thousands of years, the state's rural heartland is today home to an increasingly dense population. Yet most who reside in the region's cities, suburbs, and smaller towns still live within reach of red-clay farmland, oak and hickory forests watered by small creeks, and rocky river valleys. These places—as they have been and as they are now—remain essential to the character of life in the South.

Through his long, celebrated writing career, Bland Simpson has earned a reputation as the bard of North Carolina's coasts and sound country. Here, for the first time, he trains his attention on Clover Garden, the Piedmont community where he has lived for some fifty years. With a naturalist's eye, a storyteller's mind, and a poet's soul, Simpson guides readers into a deep engagement with the Piedmont, both as a material place and as an idea. Illustrated with photographs by Ann Cary Simpson, Clover Garden invites us to think more broadly about the natural and human history of the piedmont South. This book will be treasured by all who seek to live deeply in the places we call home.

About the Authors

Bland Simpson is Kenan Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also pianist for the Red Clay Ramblers, the Tony Award-winning string band, and has collaborated on such musicals as Diamond Studs, Fool Moon, Kudzu, and King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running. In 2005 he was the Fine Arts recipient of the North Carolina Award, the state's highest civilian honor.
For more information about Bland Simpson, visit the Author Page.

Ann Cary Simpson, photographer, served for thirty years at national and North Carolina environmental organizations and as associate dean for development at UNC’s School of Government, for which she received the Chancellor's Award. She is now a senior associate with moss + ross consulting.
For more information about Ann Cary Simpson, visit the Author Page.


"This lush praise song of the North Carolina Piedmont is written in prose that truly sings. Through portraits of people, places, and incidents historic and recent, Clover Garden documents everyday life on the land—gardening, fishing, fixing fences, timbering, training up dogs, sharing beers in a biker bar, and caring for neighbors. At a time when sprawling development is moving ever faster in North Carolina, this bright narrative beckons us to consider what we are losing and how simple and glorious the pleasures of this verdant landscape we must protect."—Georgann Eubanks, author of Saving the Wild South

"Clover Garden is a wonderful read. Starry nights and country characters, pool halls and draft horse–pulling contests, even a conga line in a dance hall that’s afire: This is one of Bland Simpson’s best."—Jan DeBlieu, author of Year of the Comets