Nina Schneider, author, poet, teacher, children’s book editor, Shakespearean scholar and noted Vineyard gardener, died Sept. 8 at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. She was 94 .

She and her husband, Herman, who died in 2003 at the age of 96, had been year-round West Tisbury residents since 1980. It was then that they bought the former Harry West barn off Music street that had been turned into the simplest of living quarters — and made it and its grounds into an Island showpiece.

Mrs. Schneider’s eye for color and design transformed the land behind the former barn into a year-round garden edging Look’s Pond that brought nature lovers from everywhere to view her plantings.

“A garden for Nina was like a three-dimensional painting that she was constantly studying and trying to better,” Zada Clarke, the gardener who has worked with her for the past 13 years, remembers.

The island that was a centerpiece of her garden was called Nina’s Folly and in that quiet place, in a gazebo made of locust wood, she and Herman or she and a beloved grandchild, would go to be away from interruptions and to hold serious conversations. Or sometimes she would simply sit and watch the water lap at the rowboat moored there. It was painted to fit with the garden colors “in a shade of blue that Monet would have loved,” Boston Globe garden writer Carol Stocker wrote after an admiring visit.

Roses were Mrs. Schneider’s favorite flowers; pink her favorite color, but as important as the flowers and the colors was the structure of the garden. It was so artistically planned that it was quite as lovely in winter as in the flowering seasons. “Indeed, she would often say,” according to Zada Clarke , “that she especially loved the garden’s quiet and starkness then.” Another Island garden in which her artistry played a part is that at the Beach Plum Inn in Chilmark.

Before they were year-round West Tisbury residents, the Schneiders had summered in Edgartown and Chilmark. They were brought to the Island by their friendship with Chilmark seasonal residents Jacob and Nikki Weissman, friends from New York. Mrs. Schneider’s early Island gardening experience in Chilmark had been a mix of frustration and delight: frustration because the rabbits ate so much of her garden; delight because of the families of swans that swam so gracefully on the pond on which the house was situated.

Nina Schneider was born Nina Zimet in Antwerp, Belgium, on Jan. 29, 1913, a daughter of the late Helen Silber Zimet and Manassah Zimet. She inherited much of her love of beauty from her parents. Her father, born in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was a diamond cutter first in Antwerp, then in New York. Her mother, though principally a housewife, in the last five years of her life discovered that she had a talent for art and her primitive paintings came to be highly prized nationally.

Nina was graduated from Evander Childs High School in the Bronx, and married while still in her teens. She and her husband, an engineer named Saul Chernowitz, moved to a Jewish Utopian community that had formed in New Jersey. There her first child, Steven, was born. But neither the community nor the marriage was a success and after a divorce, Nina moved to Brooklyn to attend Brooklyn College, one of the premier city colleges, from which she was graduated magna cum laude. It was there that she discovered literature, in particular the works of William Shakespeare. They remained a lifelong passion.

In 1941, Nina’s younger brother, Julian, decided that it was time his sister marry again and thought the perfect match would be his high school science teacher, Herman Schneider. (Also assisting in the match-making was Herman’s son, Robert. ) It was, indeed, a perfect match and for the next 52 years, until Herman Schneider’s death, they were together — reading aloud together, traveling, thinking, designing, studying, writing. Always eager to continue their educations, they took classes in art at the New School with the late John McDonald Moore who, with his wife, became the fastest of friends of the Schneiders.

For 20 years, Mr. Schneider taught science in the New York city public schools, becoming, in time, the supervisor of science in the school system. And together, beginning in 1946, he and Nina began writing science books for children, with Nina (who had been teaching at the progressive Bank Street School) asking the questions a curious child might ask about science and Herman supplying the answers in the more than eighty volumes on which they collaborated.

For most of their New York married life, the Schneiders lived on 11th street in Greenwich Village where Nina happily nurtured a little garden and entertained friends in literature and the arts. The tables she set and the dishes she prepared were done with the same artistry and elegance as her gardens. Frequent visitors to Nina’s “salons” in those days were the writers Hortense Calisher, W.H. Auden and Philip Roth. Herman would often remember with amusement how his five-foot, two-inch wife and the towering Miss Calisher both had the same Chanel handbag.

Exquisite clothes were as important to Nina Schneider as exquisite table settings, furnishings and flowers. “When you are decorating a home,” she told Mansion House hotelier Susan Goldstein when she was recreating the hotel after its predecessor had been destroyed, “you should decorate with the same colors as the clothes that hang in your closet because those are the colors that look well on and around you.”

In recent years, even though she had been debilitated by several strokes, Nina always took pains to see that she was impeccably and stylishly dressed.

Devoted as she was to literature, it was not surprising that she wrote herself. Her poetry appeared in The New American Review and The Nation. Then, in 1979, when she was 66, she produced a highly acclaimed novel, The Woman Who Lived in a Prologue. It is the story of a Jewish matriarch who follows her progress from immigrant child in New York to emigrant grandmother helping her peace-activist grandson to get across the border to Canada during the Viet Nam war. Although Nina denied that it was autobiographical, clearly her own past was reflected in it.

On the Vineyard, there was somewhat less access to notable literary figures than in New York, but writers continued to be among her favorite people and she numbered among her close friends Chilmark novelist and poet Margaret Freydberg, the late children’s poet Shel Silverstein (whose Oak Bluffs garden she had helped design), the late poet and editor Stanley Burnshaw of West Tisbury, the cartoonist Jules Feiffer of West Tisbury and the novelist Marianne Wiggins of Chilmark.

Nina Schneider read indefatigably and was an inspiring member both of a Torah study group at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center and of a more general reading group whose members recall how her insights and interpretations of works being read enriched their lives.

Anne Bassett remembers her proposing reading such Russian authors as Gogol, Pushkin and Lermontov as well as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and shepherding group members through their difficult works. “She was absolutely marvelous in comparing literary styles,” Ms. Bassett said.

“No one could match Nina’s ability to deconstruct literature and to interpret the beauty of it. She made literature a pivotal part of our lives,” Susan Goldstein remembers.

Earlier, in precisely the same way, she had helped develop the minds of two of her granddaughters, Daisy Colchie Eneix and Gabrielle Deem by reading aloud to them from her favorite Shakespearean plays, Hamlet, and King Lear, and even before Gabrielle was in school, she had presented her with a two-volume edition of Shakespeare. Both granddaughters attribute their lifelong love of art, literature and learning in general to “Mina,” their nickname for their grandmother.

Although in recent years, travel had been somewhat curtailed for the Schneiders as their ages increased, in younger days they frequently visited Italy, where Nina’s brother had made his home, and France, where her son lived. Curtailed, similarly, in recent years, were Sunday afternoons examining the art at West Tisbury galleries (Nina was something of an art collector), and visits and walks on the Lambert’s Cove Beach.

Survivors include her sister, Judith Singer of Los Angeles; her brother, Juilan Zimet of Rome, Italy; her son, Steven Schneider of Bordeaux, France; and two daughters, Elizabeth Schneider of New York city and Lucy Schneider of Portland, Ore.

A stepson, Robert Schneider, predeceased her.

Also surviving are her grandchildren, Daisy Colchie Eneix of San Francisco and Gabrielle, Ariel and Raphael Deem of Portland, Ore., Adam Schneider of London, England, and Micaela Harari of Jerusalem, Israel; five step-grandchildren, David, Benjamin and Noah Schneider of California and Jennifer Ahrens and Deborah LaBuzzo of Long Island, and numerous great-grandchildren.

A private memorial service for Nina and Herman Schneider will be held for family and close friends on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the garden of their West Tisbury home. In lieu of flowers, donations in Mrs. Schneider’s name may be made to the Vineyard Nursing Association or Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard.