Visiting gardens is one my favourite things to do, a stroll round checking out the plants, possibly pinching ideas, a chat to the owners if you’re lucky, followed by a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Sadly there never seems to be enough time or energy and our climate means that visits are usually telescoped into just a few months of the year.
This book by Victoria Summerley gives you a tour around some of the capitals most fabulous gardens. It’s ideal for those times when actual visits can’t happen, or for those gardeners who don’t have the opportunity to visit London.
Thirty gardens are featured, there are the grand ones like Winfield House, the American ambassadors residence in Regents Park and Clarence House in Westminster, Prince Charles’ London residence. Who knew there was a perfect little vegetable garden right next to the Mall. Vegetable gardens also feature at Hampton Court Palace and Bushy Park allotments.
I love the diversity of the gardens, there are a selection of roof gardens with wonderful views, family gardens and floating gardens on barges in the River Thames at Bermondsey. Their backgrounds and historical details are clearly laid out, with good descriptions of how they have evolved into their present form. All the photos are captioned and include names of plants for reference.
There’s information about every garden including addresses and websites, 13 of the gardens aren’t open to the public, but the book gives you the chance to sneak a peek into those private spaces.
A simple sketched lay-out of the gardens would have been perfect to show how the photos and descriptions fit together, but that’s a minor quibble to what is essentially a really good book.
So if you’ve ever walked through London and caught a glimpse of an interesting looking garden and wished that you could drop in and have a better look, or want to find out about gardens that you never knew existed in the capital, this book is for you.
Victoria Summerley was formerly a journalist specialising in writing about gardens and gardening, her previous garden in South London was open under the National Gardens Scheme for many years. The sumptuous photos are by Marianne Majerus and Hugo Ritson Thomas.
The book is published by Frances Lincoln
Happy gardening, Jill
Disclaimer: the book was given to me to review, but my view is always completely objective.