The Generous Gardener
Private Paradises Shared
A personal invitation into the private gardens – and private lives – of a roll call of fascinating (and mostly famous) people, in varied walks of life
- AvailableHardback9781910258972208 pagesList Price: GBP 30.00 Buy from bookshop.org (UK)
What do the celebrated actors, the bestselling novelist, the Nepalese Sherpa and the famous model have in common? Like millions of us, they love their gardens – and with good reason, too. Gardening is an art form through which we can all express ourselves. In the words of that grande dame of gardeners Penelope Hobhouse, ‘Gardening makes people happy.’ And, as gardening editor of The Sunday Times, Caroline Donald has been allowed beyond the gate of many a private paradise to share this passion.
Included in The Generous Gardener are the stories, in words and pictures, of more than forty private gardens, including those belonging to Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton, Jilly Cooper, William Christie, Harrison Birtwistle, Kelly Brook, Natasha Spender, Catherine FitzGerald and Dominic West, Julian and Isabel Bannerman, Penelope Hobhouse, Bob Flowerdew, Roy Lancaster, Luciano Giubbilei, and Dan Pearson.
Caroline Donald has been gardening editor of The Sunday Times since 2000. A writer and editor with a particular interest in the cross-pollination of gardening, design and the arts – both high and domestic – she has also curated successful series of garden talks at the Somerset outpost of the international art gallery, Hauser & Wirth and at Messum's Wltshire. She has an unruly cottage garden in Somerset.
"An absorbing and entertaining book...It is a great opportunity to meet some fascinating people and peek into their gardening world. Best of all, you can make a list of even more gardens open to the public so that you can visit them next year to share their joys."
"Gardens are about plants, but they are equally about people. I make no apology for including this title by the gardening editor of this newspaper, as she invites us into the private gardens of the great and the good. And which of us does not enjoy peering over the neighbour's wall?"
"As much about people as it is about flowers...If you can't get to see a place for inspiration, reading about it is the next best thing."
“Her words give a real insight into not only the spaces but the people who created them.”
"These very personal encounters, each rendered in little more than a thousand words, like miniature paintings, tell us so much…Enjoying my journey through her book I felt at the end that I'd been to a grand garden party, catching up with a few old pals and making several new friends. And I learnt a lot, too - about plants as well as human behaviour in its eternally-confusing diversity."
"A perfect source of ideas."
"A perfect antidote to a dull, wet and dreary autumnal day. It’s a pick up and browse gem to lift the spirits and reinforce what we all know – that gardening is good for you!"
"A fascinating read."
“The book reminds us how tenuous a garden’s existence is . . . but this sense of just how ephemeral they are only makes them seem more special.”