Some would suggest that the day of the book is coming to an end that we now turn more often to Google for our gardening information than we do to a reference book. This may well be true – turning to Google for quick reference – but there is still a wonderful selection of books available to us and whose content is not elsewhere available. Here is a selection for this Christmas, all recently published and each worth a read:
Heritage Trees of Ireland by Aubrey Fennell with photographs by Carsten Krieger and Kevin Hutchinson is the book that the Irish gardener will want this Christmas. Aubrey spent about 15 years tracking down the most remarkable trees in the country, researching the interesting stories which invariably go with these wonders and recording them in a sense as one would record any wonders of our Irish heritage. Some are included for their age, others for their size, others for their social significance and many simply for their beauty. One hundred and fifty are recorded in total and each is a joy to read. Above all others, this is the book for the fireside this Christmas. Available online from The Collins Press in Cork €30– or bookstores! Should I say “all good bookstores”?
A recent review in The Telegraph newspaper described The New English Garden by Tim Richardson as the most important gardening book printed this century. My own preferences are inclined to be more Irish but I certainly could not deny that this is an excellent book and one I am positive gardeners will read with great pleasure. Twenty five gardens are described and all have been made or remade in this century so the book presents a perfectly current view of the most recent developments and trends in English gardening. The naturalistic style of planting, as might be expected, features strongly along with many innovative gardens – Keith Wiley’s “Wildside”, Piet Oudolf’s Bury Court, Tom Stuart-Smith’s Trentham, Arabella Lennox-Boyd’s Gresgarth, Nigel Dunnett’s Olympic Village, Highgrove, Great Dixter and many more. It is a substantial book, packed with excellent photographs and perfect text. A must have! Frances Lincoln, £40.
Dermot O Neill has written a book to accompany the television series on Clondeglass the walled garden he purchased and is restoring. In the manner of his television presentation, Dermot writes in a very pleasant and easily read manner and describes the state of the gardens when he first arrived and his various projects in its restoration with information on his plant selections and plant loves for he truly does love his plants and has a very special interest in plants of Irish origin. My one complaint is that he doesn’t write enough and I would have truly liked almost every chapter to have continued and expanded on its topic. It does read as a collection of snippets rather than a cohesive whole. The editing was poor. Published by Kyle Books. £25
In Contemporary Designers’ Own Garden Barbara Baker selects the gardens of well-known contemporary garden designers and gives us a peep behind the garden gate to see what gardens they have designed at home. The photography is simply divine and the text is insightful. I think the fact that the author is a well-known designer herself led to those she interviewed being quite open and candid with her when discussing their gardens. The outcome is an informed, informative and incisive account of 20 interesting gardens from around the world. To mention a few: Patrick Blanc, Fernando Caruncho, Kate Cullity, Jim Fogarty, Dan Pearson, Shunmyo Masung and Jacques Wirtz – among others equally interesting. Garden Art Press. £35
Over the last number of years Italian gardens have enjoyed a great following and Jenny Condie has written on The Gardens of Venice and The Veneto, filling a gap in the literature of Italian Gardens. With a glass of Bardolino in hand one could browse this book and be in Venice. It is sumptuously illustrated and each of the 20 gardens is described at length though lacking some details which would have been helpful, given that most are open to the public – directions, opening times etc. Three of the gardens are in Venice itself with others in The Veneto at Verona, Vicenza, Rovigo, Padua and Treviso. Given the wealth and historic significance of Venice it is no surprise that it is home to many outstanding gardens and this book is an excellent introduction to them. Frances Lincoln. £35. Favoloso! Facciamo pianificare una vacanza.
This book, Planting – A New Perspective by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury, prompted great discussion in gardening circles in England much of which centred on the merits of planting in blocks or by intermingling plants. It was an amusing discussion but I found the book and discussion had little relevance or appeal to the everyday gardener. This is a book for the landscape architect written by the present leaders in the field seeking an approach to planting which will look natural, be sustainable and long-lived and be easily maintained by unskilled labour. Many of the resultant plantings were pleasing to the eye and suited to their situation. As an approach to parkland planting or the reclamation of post-industrial sites it is to be commended but it has little to contribute to the domestic garden. I laboured my way through reading it. Timber Press. £30
- Our next Newsletter is in preparation and will be in the post in early January.
- Moorea: After a break of a number of years an edition of “Moorea”, the official journal of the society, is in preparation and should be with the printers shortly. This will be posted to all current members and is free as part of your membership. The selection and quality of the articles is outstanding – I have had a preview – and I am really looking forward to having a copy to hand.
- Past issue of Moorea: All past issues of Moorea, the society’s journal, are available here on the website – check “Publications” above
- New Members are always welcome and easy with our Quick web payment for Memberships and Renewals » Of course, you can always come along to one of our events and join the society at the same time if it would be more convenient for you.
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