the life and lessons of a legendary gardener
by Barbara Paul Robinson
A biography about one of England's most famous gardeners, Rosemary Verey, this book was written by an American that knew Mrs. Verey personally. Mrs. Verey's personality - the good and the bad - is apparent throughout the book, and it gave me a renewed respect for her accomplishments.
All the years of her life are covered, from 1918 to 2001, and I enjoyed having Mrs. Verey revealed to me in this chronological order.
Did you know...
... at one time Mrs. Verey grassed over her mother-in-law's flower beds? (pg. 25)
... that it was her husband's idea to replace the flower beds that she had grassed over? (pg. 30)
... that it was the garden designer Percy Cane that originally suggested the four beds that are known as the Parterres? (pg. 32)
... that the Potager was so beautiful that visitors sent out to get vegetables for dinner often came back empty-handed, unwilling to disrupt the perfect patterns? (pg. 56)
... that after her husband's death, she was shocked and dismayed to find that she was faced with extensive debt? (pg. 94)
... that she traveled to Kentucky to design a garden at age 82, two months before her death? (pg. 200)
Of course, there are some design lessons in the book, little tidbits here and there, which made the book even more compelling to me. And through it all, Mrs. Verey's personality is shown. She is demanding, drinks a little too much, fun-loving, generous, hard-working, and most of all, driven.
I wish the author had included more photos, and incorporated them throughout the book. It was frustrating to me for the author to talk about an area of the garden, or another garden that Mrs. Verey had designed, and not have a photo of it in which to relate.
Still, it's a good book about one of the most famous garden designers of our time.
Now it's your turn! You're invited to join us on the 20th of every month with your own Garden Book Review. Any book with a garden influence qualifies.
And as always, please take some time to visit the other participants.