Scent Magic – A Review

Scent Magic!  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  November 3, 2019 Isabel Bannerman describes scent wonderfully: Witch hazel has a clean sanatorium smell of pure alcohol and Elastoplast. The crushed gourd-shaped seed pods of Wintersweet, if crushed, smell of dusty cloves, spiced wines and the depths of unused drawers. The rose, ‘Rosarie de l’Hay’ smells of cucumber, tea and laundered […]

A Radical Shift in Perspective

A Radical Shift in Perspective  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  October 3, 2019 Instead of engaging in a constant battle to adapt our gardens to suit plants would it not be better to search for plants that suit our gardens? This would require a radical shift in perspective which has much to recommend it and Olivier Filippi’s book, The […]

Growing Native Orchids

How to Grow Native Orchids  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  October 5, 2019 How to Grow Native Orchids in Gardens Large and Small   Enthusiasts of our native orchids might well fear that a book on growing these precious and nowadays scarce plants in the garden is simply another threat to numbers in the wild but the very first […]

Great Gardens of London

Great Gardens of London gives an insight into a selection of the horticultural jewels of the capital city of what is probably the greatest gardening country of the world. England is a treasure store of wonderful gardens and it comes as no surprise that the capital city, London, is home to a significant and most […]

A Beautiful Obsession – Jimi Blake and Noel Kingsbury

A Beautiful Obsession  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  August 6, 2019 In his seventeen years at Huntingbrook Garden, Jimi Blake has cut a dash through the traditional herbaceous border, the shrub border, the woodland garden and is leading the way in Irish horticulture with his innovative approach to gardening, with his new plant trials and introductions but, most […]

The Hidden Horticuturists

The Hidden Horticulturists  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  June 25, 2019 When historic account is populated with individual stories it becomes real, all the more interesting and more accessible to us. Should we read of a First World War battle, with deaths in the thousands, we are duly shocked but should we be told of a young Lancashire […]

Cherry Ingrim – An excellent book!

The Cherry Man – A Fabulous Story!  Some books give more than they have promised. Some books promise much and give even more and these books are to be treasured for they are rare things, giving testimony, insight and understanding to the deeper matters of our world and our lives. “Cherry Ingram” by Naoko Abe is […]

A Garden Can Be Anywhere!

A Garden Can Be Anywhere!  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  April 4, 2019 We live in an age of concern about the wholesomeness of our food, about the widespread use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers, about food miles, the use of preservatives, artificial additives and colourants. We are aware of the industrialisation of food production and processing, the erosion […]

Island Gardens – Book Review

Island Gardens  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  April 3, 2019 We attach a certain magic to islands, as we do to other remote natural areas – mountains, remote seashores and the like. We regard them as special places, places apart, places where we may be in more intimate contact with nature, places of beauty, of wildness, of ruggedness, […]

Monsters under Glass – A Review

Literally taken by the Venus Fly Trap.  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  March 7, 2019 The title was “Monsters Under Glass: A Cultural History of Hothouse Flowers, 1850 to the Present” and I misinterpreted it completely. I’m sure you, like me, might have expected something about glasshouse plants and their cultivation but I was wrong and it was nothing of the […]

Two Men Went to Mow – A Review

At the Cutting Edge!  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  March 12, 2019 Two Men Went to Mow: The Obsession, Impact & History of Lawn Mowing by Clive Gravett – A Review The maintenance of the domestic lawn has been portrayed for many years as a male obsession; man and machine in a co-operative striving to produce and maintain the […]

Gardenlust – A Review

Gardenlust by Christopher Woods – A Review This is a book which will gladden the heart of any gardener as we read of the vibrancy, enthusiasm, creativity and beauty of gardens worldwide. In the face of climate change, urbanisation, species loss, deforestation etc, garden creators around the world respond with positivity, a get up and go, […]

Morocco in Bloom

Morocco in Bloom by Giuppi Pietromarchi “To be places of respite and joy, gardens combine the lively scents of the day and the night, the harmoniously clashing colours of the flowers, foliage and soil, the warmth of the shade and the freshness of the waters. The colours of the flowers and the clay, softened by […]

At West Dean – A Review

At West Dean – A Review A view to the college at West Dean West Dean, as we see it today, is a 19th century country house with gardens in the Arts and Crafts style. The walled garden, with its range of Victorian glasshouse and gardened in a style which is deeply rooted in Victorian practices, is […]

Shades of Green

Shades of Green!  Paddy Tobin  Book Review  October 17, 2018 The National Trust in Great Britain is probably one of the most successful conservation and preservation organisations in the world. It is the largest landowner in Britain and, were it not for the National Trust many irreplaceable buildings and gardens would have been lost. Despite these achievements […]

In the Footsteps of Joseph Dalton Hooker: A Sikkim Adventure

My goodness, this is an extraordinarily good book! I had expected something wonderful along the lines of the author’s previous book, “In the Footsteps of Augustine Henry and his Chinese Plant Collectors” but this volume has surpassed my most hopeful expectations. The depth of research, the volume of original material reproduced, the quality of the […]