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First published in Britain in 1956 and never before available in America, We Made a Garden is the classic story of a unique and enduring English country garden. One of Britain’s most esteemed gardening writers recounts how she and her husband set about creating an exemplary cottage garden from unpromising beginnings on the site of the former farmyard and rubbish heap that surround their newly purchased home in the countryside of Somerset, England. Each imbued with a strong set of horticultural opinions and passions, Mr. and Mrs. Fish negotiate the terrain of their garden, by turns separately and together, often with humorous collisions. From the secret to cultivating the smoothest lawn to the art of lifting and replanting tulip bulbs to the landscaping possibilities of evergreens, the diverse elements of successful gardening—and delightful writing—are bound together by Mr. and Mrs. Fish's aspiration to cultivate that most precious and slow-growing quality—the fundamental character of a good garden. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
I doubt there is another gardening book quite like this, that is, a gardening book with a villain. The villain in question is the author's husband, an overbearing, opinionated man with an unmistakable mean streak. His tastes run to the conventional and he loses no opportunity to pour scorn on his wife, a novice gardener. Like most novices she has no self-assurance, but what she does have is an open, imaginative mind and a love of plants that can best be described as maternal- she often refers to plants as "children" or "infants".
The book is full of thought-provoking observations and musings on the use and cultivation of plants and the construction of garden infrastructure from paths to compost piles. Enjoyable as this all is, the real pleasure is in following the growth of this gentle, unassuming woman into one of the great influences of 20th century gardening in spite of the ridicule, ignorant criticism, and outright emotional cruelty of her husband.
Truly delightful fun! At turns arguing with her husband about the garden; at others, gently -- and not-so-gently -- compromising, Margery Fish began her garden when she was still a beginner. We Made a Garden chronicles the development of herself as a gardener and the gardens she and her husband grew in Somerset, England.
My sister bought this book for me for Christmas, I looked at it and thought that it might be a bit stogy.
It's her story of making their garden at East Lambrook manor over the years.
However, when I started to read it I was entranced, and enraged. When she talks about her husband, reading between the lines, he was an absolute control-freak. There were times when I could feel my blood boil. After he died, she was able to use ideas of her own that she'd longed to try .
I recently went to visit the garden, and could relate to chapters in the book, such as working on the ditch, trying to make a water -feature of it, and failing. So nice to know that even famous gardeners don't always get it right.
A lovely book to sit in front of a fire to read, or laze in a hammock for the afternoon.