The productive garden at Lord Rothschild’s private house, Eythrope in Buckinghamshire, is legendary in the garden world for the excellence of the gardening and as a haven for traditional techniques that might otherwise be lost. Under the leadership of the renowned head gardener, Sue Dickinson, now retired, and the current head gardener, Suzie Hanson, this garden works on a scale that is now rare, producing, year-round, all the fruit, vegetables and flowers for a country house where entertaining still happens on a grand scale and where everything is done to the highest standards.
Paradise and Plenty opens a window on a garden that has, until now, been kept intensely private, and on a world beyond most gardeners’ dreams. But in this book everything shown is useful as well as beautiful. Gregory Long points out in his introduction that as more and more people turn to growing their own, books are needed that show the techniques of dedicated cultivation, as well as the results. Many of the techniques used at Eythrope are old and tried, but have fallen out of use almost everywhere else. Others have been adopted more recently, as careful trials have proved their worth. If you want techniques for preparing soil, growing herbs, pruning apple trees, training roses, planting bulbs in pots or propagating many different plants, or which are the best tried and tested tomatoes, snowdrops or chrysanthemums to plant, you’ll find out here. In the words of the author herself, ‘This book has to be how as well as wow.’
Mary Keen is an internationally known designer who has worked in the USA, France and Corfu, as well as on many English gardens of great distinction - among them the garden she describes in this book. For twenty years she was a member of the National Trust Gardens Panel, which advises on the care of important and historic gardens. She is the author of six books and is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and many garden magazines. After creating a hands on garden of her own, which was regularly open to the public , she is now enjoying making a new smaller garden and cultivating a large allotment for the first time.
Tom Hatton is a rising star of garden photography. His photographs for Paradise and Plenty have been widely acclaimed. He lives in London.
"An inspiring book, describing the use of traditional techniques and giving valuable new tips and tricks, this will appeal to all gardeners at all levels."
“I particularly like...the generosity that gives author, photographer and garden the space to breathe”
"This is a book to inspire perfection, not to incite envy."
"This is an exceptional book, not to be missed."
"This is an exceptional book, brilliant in all departments – writing, photography, design and production."
"A handsome volume, both coffee-table book and practical manual."
"Beautiful photographs...Like the garden, very well presented."
"Makes what might seem an exclusive world completely approachable and inspiring to every gardener."
"If you want to know how to grow peaches, melons or superb herbaceous borders in beautifully matched colours, let alone every kind of vegetable and edible cherry, there are details here that no other gardening book in print is able to pass on."
"The newly-minted British publishing house Pimpernel Press has produced a clutch of excellent gardening books....A book as beautifully and incisively written as this, so filled with detail, careful observations and with lavish photography by Tom Hatton, must also, you feel, have taken much time to create."
"Action heroine of the year is Sue Dickinson, head gardener at Jacob Rothschild's Eythrope, the subject of Mary Keen's Paradise and Plenty."
"Not just a celebration of perfection but a meticulous set of instructions for achieving it..The ultimate pleasure of her book is that Mary Keen is a very good writer...This perfect book is not cheap, but it should feature prominently on every gardener's Christmas wish list."
"We might not all be Rothschild rich, but we can all learn something for our own little paradises."
"More than a spectacular picture book."
"Elegantly produced with family archive material and photographs by Tom Hatton (some resplendently reproduced on double gatefolds) that really help to explain why this garden is not just important, but how it continues as a prime example of Britain's very best gardening practices."
"Alongside Keen's hugely informative text, there are beautiful photographs...Eythrope has 'always been intensely private', so this book gives a rare opportunity to look over the walls and learn about this secret garden."
"This feast of a book is my favourite in a distinguished year for gardening books. It is one that I shall keep readily to hand, to refer to for the definitive advice on the 'how' of successful gardening, and to enjoy the 'wow' that is the result."
"Crisp, clear prose...beautifully illustrates...The book gives a rare and profound understanding of the sophistication of gardening at its most masterly. It is inspiring."
"Mary Keen’s Paradise and Plenty, published by Pimpernel Press Ltd is my Book of the Year. This book, written as a record of the garden in its twenty-fifth year, will be cherished for years to come as a record of a great garden."
“More than a vicarious look over the walls – it is a record of tried and tested traditional and modern techniques.”
"This luxurious book is an unusual mixture of tribute and manual. Fascinating...Keen's style is accessible, compelling and fact-packed."
"In the charmless age of the Kindle, this is a welcome reminder of how beautiful an object a book can be. Tom Hatton’s photographs - both colour and black and white - are seductive: especially glorious is a range of fold-out spreads depicting the same scene at different seasons. The paper is heavy and glossy, the layout elegant and spacious; there are decorative endpapers and silken bookmarks - all admirably in keeping with the subject, which is gardening done as it used to be done, as well as it can be done, with no effort or expense spared."
"Much more than just a coffee table book, Mary gives a detailed account of techniques used. The Rothschilds' Paradise Garden is very grand indeed, but Mary's down-to-earth approach means there is plenty of practical advice in this book. Sumptuous illustrations include flaps of pictures which open to reveal the same view at different seasons or in close-up. Mary is as good a writer as she is a gardener, so vegetable and flower growers, armchair gardeners and garden historians alike will all find much to interest them in this fascinating book."
"A unique opportunity to see how fruit, vegetables and flowers are grown in the traditional way for a country house whose owners entertain on a pre-war grand scale. Forget Downton, this is the real time machine....Such a handsome book...packed with practical information and guidance. Any gardener would improve their own plot after reading this book."
"Stunning...This book will satisfy garden historians and professional gardeners. While not a practical how-to since the scale is so vast and the garden is well staffed, this title will provide home gardeners with a tip or two as they enjoy the story and photographs of a well-managed estate."
"Well-written and filled with seductive full color photographs, this book demands the attention of landscape designers and armchair gardeners alike."