While I wait for the weather to get warm enough and dry enough to let me do more than pick up fallen twigs and branches, I'm gardening in the pages of books.
. . .
"A Time to Plant: Life and Gardening at Holker" by Hugh Cavendish with photos by Grania Cavendish.
Published in the UK in 2012 by the great Frances Lincoln, the source of many favorite reads. This one is a book for serious gardeners and Anglophiles. We're the only people who want to hear about gardening on historic estates and are willing to go on a plant-by-plant guided literary tour.
I cut out an article about Hugh and Grania Cavendish (owners of Holker, above at a garden event) from Vogue magazine in May, 1987 because their house and garden looked so luscious. So I've been waiting for this book for almost 30 years. Interesting, informative, a bit boring at times. But I got it after it was on its 3rd markdown on Amazon so no complaints.
In the years since I first read about Holker (pronounced Hooker, in that confusing UK style), they've instituted a great many festivals and fairs and assorted events to draw people to the garden. Early on, Hugh Cavendish realized a nice garden was not enough to keep people coming back. Today they have a three day Garden Festival (in its 24th year), tea and touring with the head gardener, a food market and Holker will be the site of Antiques Roadshow on July 6 this summer. In 2014 Cavendish turned over the reins of the estate to his daughter Lucy (above).
A delightful little gem published by David R. Godine in 2004. Entertaining (sometimes laugh out loud) and educational. A great read about one of the many folks who went plant hunting in Asia in the early part of the 20th century. Romantic, fantastic adventures that resulted in the introduction of many new plants now well-known to us. Farrer also figured how to successfully grow Alpine rock garden plants and this book has convinced me not to go there.
He is also the person whose writing style was totally new and became the standard by which all other garden writers measured themselves. Yes, even the great Vita! I only wish Schulman had written more than two books. I'd love to read a whole series of short little treasures like this on all the early 20th C. names in gardening and horticulture. (Farrer in Chinese costume, below).