Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Garden Book Reviews December 2012

I rarely find a garden book that will hold my attention all the way through.  But The Laskett: The Making of a Garden by Roy Strong captivated me.  I found myself enchanted with the way the author wound the story of his marriage around the story of making their garden.

And what a garden he and his wife made!  Situated on four acres, this garden is known as the largest private formal garden created in England since 1945.  All the trials and tribulations of making a garden are told here: waiting for small plants to mature, creating a garden along with working a career, diseases that wiped out portions of the garden, tweaking another portion of the garden for years before it finally came together, and of course, having a limited amount of funds available to spend.


This book may be a personal story, but, as gardeners, one in which we can all relate.  His journey is our journey.  For instance, when he realizes that color and foliage make the garden interesting and beautiful all year, it brings to mind when I first realized that, too.  When he waits for years for the right piece to be placed in a spot of the garden, finally spending a bonus on a piece of statuary, it recalls times that I have let a part of the garden lie undone until I was able to afford what I had envisioned there.  When he talks about how his gardening friends influenced him through the years, I think of all the gardeners I know (mostly virtually) and all the ways in which they have influenced my own garden.  When he says at one point that it takes 15 years to make a garden, I look back in time (and forward, in my case) 15 years and realize that my garden will take about that same amount of time to complete.  These stories inspire me to continue in my own journey.

He does give some gardening advice in his book, but it is so woven into the story, that I found myself taking notes.  I never take notes!  But, I didn't want to lose the advice, and was afraid I wouldn't find it again without reading the entire story all over.

How much did I love this book?  So much so, that I left it on my bedside table for a few weeks after I read it, just so I could see and touch it, in order to remember the inspiration it gave me.
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This my last post until after Christmas, so I wanted to say
Merry Christmas!
And if you don't celebrate Christmas, I wish you a
Happy Holiday
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Now it's your turn!  You are invited to join us on the 20th of each month with your own garden book review.  Any book with a garden influence qualifies!  Please visit each of the other participants, too!  :)


61 comments:

  1. I enjoyed The Laskett so much that I hunted up other books by Roy Strong....a few with garden but most art history...and then there is the problem of locating them as he has been writing for decades.

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    1. I knew that he had written other books, but didn't know exactly what kind. I am glad to hear you enjoyed The Laskett as much as I did. I would love to tour this fabulous garden!

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  2. What a wonderful story. I sometimes think my neighbors are wondering why I have not completed the loft garden. Sometimes the inspiration is just not there for a location. Not to mention the funding.

    Not much time for reading lately but I have finally gotten a FW library card so I have one less excuse. Thank you for adding to my reading list.

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    1. How exciting to have a library card to a large library like they must have in Fort Worth! I hope you find a very big garden section there! And as for your loft garden, you are right - it takes a lot of time, planning, inspiration, and funding. Gardens are not built in a day!

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  3. I like garden books, this story is interesting! Yes, the gardeners sharing their experience influence each other, that helps in their work with plants, design etc.

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    1. I know that reading about others' gardens, and the plants they have in them, influence me greatly. I think that's one of the reasons I love reading other blogs. I have several plants in my garden that I know I would have never heard of otherwise.

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  4. What a stirring endorsement. Can't say I ever been touched by a book like that. Couldn't relate to an english book being a midwesterner but I enjoyed feeling the love within your post.

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    1. Oh, I love to find a book that makes me want to throw it down and run out to the garden! Of course, that's when I want to read it even more! :)

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  5. Sorry left wrong address for previous post about the endorsement.

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  6. Merry Christmas to you and your family Holley! Enjoy the holidays and have lots of fun! :)

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  7. Have a lovely holiday. Merry Christmas to you and your family! And best wishes for 2013.

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    1. Thank you, Kelly, and the same to you! :)

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  8. Oh I love these stories and will add it to my list Holley...15 yrs sounds about right :0 Merry Christmas...

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    1. I think that number can be a bit daunting. But for me, I almost breathed a sigh of relief. I always feel I should be farther along in making my garden than I am, so it's nice to think I have a few more years before I should feel like I'm behind! :) Merry Christmas!

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  9. I must make room for another gardening book. It sounds wonderful, a great read for the dreary winter months!
    I wish you a wonderful Christmas, and may your garden prosper in 2013!

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    1. I have so many plans for 2013, if I can only come up with the funding! We've had some warm days, so I'm looking forward to getting back out there after all the festivities. Merry Christmas to you!

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  10. 15 years... Well, that's encouraging, actually. Plenty of time and to spare... I've read his books on small gardens and ornament in the garden and was really influenced by them both (though it may take a few more years for the influence to show!). He shows The Laskett a couple of times in the one on ornament, and it looks so intriguing--I didn't know he had a whole book about it! Thanks for the recommendation. I'll be looking out for it.
    Merry Christmas to you, Holley! I hope you have a warm and lovely holiday with your family.

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    1. I haven't read any of his other books, but I may have to look those up - they sound wonderful! I love books that influence my garden. I hope you have a Merry Christmas, too, Stacy!

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  11. This sounds like a great book. One of these days I hope to tour England and see some of these amazing gardens! Have a wonderful Christmas and all the best for the new year!!

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    1. Merry Christmas to you! I will probably never get to tour England, so I hope you get to - and then blog about it! :)

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  12. Ive been looking at The Layered Garden hoping my library would add it to our selections. They were offering 2012 titles all year long. So to win it for myself would be a real thrill.

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    1. I think you need to go to Jennifer's blog to enter - and I hope you win! :) I've been wanting that book for a while, too!

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  13. I saw this book reviewed a number of years ago and thought I would like to read it. It wasn't at my local library, and I even recommended that they purchase it but they didn't! So I was happy to see your review. (I love your vignette!)
    I think I might just have to buy the book after all! I just linked my review to your blog of Elizabeth and her German Garden, but I mistakenly listed the title underneath the book as Elizabeth and her English Garden...oh well, I think she was trying to create an English garden anyway! That's what I get when I post when I'm tired!

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    1. I hope you get to read this book - so sorry your library didn't purchase it even after you recommended it. I think you would enjoy it. I loved reading your review about Elizabeth and her German Garden. As for typing in the wrong thing, I think the English have influenced so much of gardening, it is almost as if English and Garden just go together!

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  14. I want that book! I have several on my wish list, and someone hinted that they might be giving me garden books for Christmas. So I'm planning to do a review in January. ;) Thanks for joining in the Lessons Learned, Holley. I posted today. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Merry Christmas to you, too! I hope you get all the books on your list! I will be sure to look up your post. I love to read what other gardeners have learned.

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  15. Thanks for the review, I guess this is going to be yet another book for my very long list of books I just have to read - at some point!
    Have a great Christmas :-)

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    1. Have a Merry Christmas, Helene! I know what you mean - the number of books on my wish list just keeps getting longer and longer! But I love hearing about what others have loved to read. Makes it so much easier to for me to hit the purchase button!

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  16. Love what you said about leaving it on the bed-side table. I just realised that I've been gardening for almost three years, so there's twelve years left to sort out the mess I've made. I'm embarassed to say that even though I live in England I've never heard of this garden - thanks for introducing it to me. Merry Christmas Holley.

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    1. Merry Christmas, b-a-g! I hope you get to visit this garden some day. I often wonder if I'll get to the 15 year mark in my own garden, and if it will be all that I dream it will become. Maybe by then I'll quit killing plants! ;)

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  17. This sounds like a great book for so many of us struggling to build our own gardens. I know exactly what you mean about gardening books sitting and not necessarily holding our attention. Sometimes it's like reading a textbook and not so much fun. Having a personal story along with useful information sounds like the perfect antidote.

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    1. You are exactly right in that so many gardening books I read are like textbooks. I really liked how he weaved stories through his book. Definitely not a 'reference' book, but much more inspiring!

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  18. Holley, nothing like settling down with a good book at this time of year. Have a great Christmas.

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    1. Merry Christmas, Alistair! I hope you get to read a few good books over the winter, too!

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  19. It looks like a great book - just the cover illustration makes me want to pick it up and look inside. Thank you for the holiday wishes, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too.

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    1. Thanks, Masha. And I agree - the photo on the front of his garden really did make me want to see more of it, and read how he had accomplished making such a beautiful garden.

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  20. Sounds like a wonderful book! I'll have to note that one down.
    I hope you and your family has a wonderful Christmas and New Years!

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    1. I hope you have a Merry Christmas, too! :)

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  21. Wishing you a blessed and Merry Christmas. I have so enjoyed your wonderful blog! Gina

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    1. Oh, thank you, Gina! Have a Merry Christmas! :)

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  22. That sounds like a wonderful book. Growing up in England, I used to love visiting the formal manicured gardens. Although I can't imagine how much work it must be to maintain a formal 4-acre one!

    Wish you, and your family, a very Merry Christmas, and I hope that our gardens all bring us renewed joy in the upcoming New Year!

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    1. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, too. I'm looking forward to the New Year, and completing some new projects in my garden. :)

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  23. Merry Christmas Holley. The book looks like a good read. 15 years sounds right, but in the last 15 years, I have three different gardens here. I get too bored working the same one. Many of my clients have large formal gardens like this, some larger at 10 acres. Now they have taken 15 years in the making, so I can see why he felt his garden needed the time.

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    1. I would love to see some of those large formal gardens! I have had to redesign some areas of my garden three different times, but not out of boredom, but from my mistakes! :O

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  24. Merry Christmas! This sounds like a another book to add to my list of Books I Can't Live Without. Considering I've been working on my garden for 9 years, 15 years sounds about when it will finally be what I want it to be!

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    1. I thought 15 years sounded about right, too. Maybe by the end of 15 years I will have completed most of what I want to accomplish. It sounds like a long time, but when you're creating a garden, the years seem to go by fast.

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  25. Thank You for the book review. I am definitely going to buy it as I think this will be fantastic to read - personal story woven with gardening stories. Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you :-).

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    1. I hope you had a Merry Christmas, too! I think you will enjoy the book. It read so much easier than the usual reference-style garden books.

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  26. Hey Holley,
    I just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Here's to many more gardening adventures in the year to come.
    David/:0)

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    1. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, too! I am looking forward to the New Year, and getting more done in my garden. :)

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  27. Hi Holley,
    I enjoyed your book review of The Lasket: The Making of a Garden. That one just went on my list. You know, it will take 15 years to grow my garden. It's currently 13 years old, but it will be very close to my original vision by the time it is fifteen years. I am still saving places for garden art, statues, etc. Hope you had a Merry Christmas, and wishing you a Happy New Year. :-)

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    1. Hope you had a Merry Christmas, too! And I'm so glad you can chime in with experience about the 15 years. I can only imagine how thrilling it must be to be almost complete with your garden vision. I think you will like the book. What he used as statues in his garden was very unique, personal, and interesting.

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  28. Hi Holley, I think the best garden books are the ones I can really relate to. Plus it helps if the author has a sense of humor. This book looks like a great read.

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

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    1. I found myself relating to how he felt about his garden, not just the work in it. The emotional tie. It's something I guess we all have for our gardens. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, too!

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  29. The book sounds fantastic! I like the idea of his personal journey being the focus of the book. Can't say that i have ever read a garden book like that! I will have to check it out! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

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    1. I really enjoyed reading the story of his making his garden, not just the cut-and-dried do's and don'ts of making a garden as most books present. I think you will enjoy it. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

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  30. OMG.. I think I've found a blogger twin. I obsess over roses, I have that same flower pot with the angels and I buy books about flower folklore! Nice to stumble upon your site!!!

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    1. So nice to find another rose lover! I actually keep that flower pot inside, I think it's so pretty. I really like the turquoise and light greens together. Glad you stumbled upon me! :)

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