Having concluded that I like the garden guru’s tone of voice, I wanted to show just what voices I’m listening to at the present moment. Most of them are british, for they have a lot of great gardeners that write attractively. Garden ghost writers? I would not fault them for it ….

Great gardeners and great writers … Romke van de Kaa, a Dutch garden writer, describes another character trait that great gardeners must share : absolute ruthlesness. If a plant doesn’t work – throw it out. I’ll never be a great gardenier in this respect, for I give every living thing a second chance – and a third one too, for good measure. Most fortunate that I am not an ambitious gardener ….. I just like pottering around, and like to shape it to an agreable whole.

Anyway, I’ve read a book or two by Vita Sackville-West (Sissinghurst) and that was good, then I decided to move up in time and go for Christopher Lloyd (Great Dixter) and Beth Chatto (Beth Chatto Gardens). I’ve visited all three gardens – my favourite one was Beth Chatto’s gravel garden. So beautiful!

I’ve just finished the potting shed papers – an american gent gardening near the Welsh border. Interesting stuff about the great Victorian plant hunters. I am now reading Beth Chatto, who writes about the effort involved in having a nursery – her garden is also her shop window. She’s the first one I’ve read to actually talk about the economic side of things, which is interesting.

The economics of having a garden  …  I do try to keep the cost of gardening reasonable by taking cuttings and growing stuff from seed a lot. Which leads me into temptation sometimes. I do try to keep my hands in my pockets when visiting other peoples gardens, but must confess that some seed pods have surreptuously found their way into my pockets in the past. In my defence: I never take plants or parts of plants, and I am not stingy when it comes to giving away the fruits of my own garden.

garden books kl

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