First Ladies of Gardening – An Inspiring Read

When it comes to gardening books, I have huge stacks of how-to, design, allotmenting books, in addition to several large garden encyclopedia’s. So when I came across the First Ladies of Gardening, it was nice to sit back and enjoy a little gardening history instead of being reminded of the many jobs I haven’t gotten around to yet (though, you’ll certainly be inspired by these pioneers and will add new dreams to your gardening wishlist)!

FirstThe book isn’t one to sit down and absorb all at once. You need to come back to it time and time again, taking each ladies resume. There are many you may well be familiar with; Beth Chatto and Vita Sackville-West, for example. But I didn’t know of Rosamund Wallinger, for instance, and the decades she’d spent restoring a Gertrude Jekyll garden. And not creating a reflection of Jekyll’s design, but taking the time, care and dedication to recreate it piece by piece, plant by plant. Nor did I realise just how gloriously Gill Richardson has managed to blend grasses, bulbs, trees and perennials in Lincolnshire’s Manor Farm.

It was also a joy to read about Helmingham Hall’s transformation to a modern garden whilst keeping its historical structure in place. Having grown up in Suffolk, I have a special affinity for this place; a visited a lot throughout my teens, and always have a gentle nostalgic kick when I read about it.

If you’re looking for a relaxing read that will thrill, inspire and also add a few new gardens on your to-visit list, then I highly recommend First Ladies of Gardening. We’re headed into winter, so what’s better than sitting down with a cuppa, biscuit and good gardening book to lift the mood ready for 2016?

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I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.