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Just in time for christmas


There is too much snow in my garden to do anything more active than admire it and turn the compost so that the birds can get at the wrigglies, so I have turned rather addictively to garden reading.

I have been browsing rather a range of books from RHS guides and encyclopedia to the musings of several Gardeners World presenters and backwards to the real golden oldies.

It is a frustrating business – the encyclopedias show mouthwatering pictures without any form of real meat – I can’t really believe in their plants. On the other hand the gardening celebs seem like a dull lot – even Monty Don. But the oldies are a real gem. My memory is already rubbish, but I will go to my grave with echoes of Vita Sackville West commenting on a small garden of “perhaps half an acre” or Margaret Fish plotting all winter to put in a new terraced feature only to have her husband come along and say ‘Alright now we’ll put in the pole roses’.

So a little late perhaps for christmas, but if anyone really wants a decent book to read, my recommendations would be:

- In Your Garden by Vita Sackville West
- We Made a Garden by Margaret Fish
- The Well-Tempered Garden by Christopher Lloyd

On this last one I should add a rider that Christopher Lloyd appears to have been considerably more fond of plants than women for whom he has quite a caustic tongue at times during the book. For me, this is redeemed by the fact that I can close the book when I am cross with him, and also his lovely warm sense of humour, which takes him on several literary digressions as well as into the pond on one occasion.

I would love to know what you are all reading – oh and finally I would avoid Beth Chatto like the plague – long lists of scientific names with scant feeling for the garden itself.

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I shall have to try and get these books, maybe our library can get them for me to borrow. Thank you for mentioning them

21 Dec, 2009


I have Christos book too......a good read!!

22 Dec, 2009


I too like Christopher Lloyd - his caustic tongue was not reserved just for women, he was very spiteful about the great Geoff Hamilton.
Try Dear Friend and Gardener - a book of correspondence between Christopher Lloyd and Beth Chatto who were great friends, you might warm to her a bit more. I enjoyed the book greatly and regularly dip into it.

22 Dec, 2009


Thanks Wagger - May be too late for Christmas but there's normally a book token going spare!

22 Dec, 2009

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