Patricia Murphy was only a slip of a girl during the Depression when she opened the first of what is now a chain of Candlelight Restaurants in New York and Florida. Raised in the bleakest part of Newfoundland, she had a ""fierce love of flowers and plants"" that later caused her to turn much of the profit from her restaurants into horticultural experiments and gardens of her own. She divides her book into three sections -- me, my gardens, and my menus (and recipes) -- and that about tells the whole story. Everything was ""hers"" even when she shared it with her late husband. For this reason, and because she prefaces everything with a quantity (10,000 chrysanthemums, 5,000 patrons), her style quickly palls on the unwary reader. In her nouveau riche ingenuousness she makes it imperatively clear that Mercedes-Benz limousines transport patrons from outlying parking lots to the doors of her restaurants. ""With a greenhouse to draw upon,"" she gushes, ""I find it difficult to restrain myself in the use of plants and flowers in my New York home"" (a many-terraced penthouse once featured in the Times). Her enterprises are flourishing, beyond a doubt. She knows whatever one must know to be a successful restaurant proprietor, and she has had the perseverance to coax temperate plants to thrive in the semi-tropical climate of her Florida estate (lots of valuable tips in that part of the book, if you're going to garden in Florida). All due credit to her, but as a book, her autobiography suffers from an overpersonalness that only a good copy editor could cure.