By: Graham Stuart Thomas
304 pages, Col photos & illus throughout
As gardens consultant to the National Trust, the author restored and maintained some of Britain's most important gardens. This is a sumptuous compendium of his favourite plants for all seasons, not ignoring what they can contribute throughout the year.
Nongenarian Graham Stuart Thomas is the greatest gardener of the 20th century. Starting out as a child, his horticultural interest sparked by the gift of a fuchsia, he has spent the last eighty years gardening, still learning to this day of the wonders and vagaries of nature. From tea with Gertrude Jekyll and his contemporaries - E.A. Bowles, Vita Sackville West and other greats of the gardening world, his knowledge of plants and their cultivation outshines them all. Whilst renowned as a rosarian, his experience restoring and caring for National Trust gardens such as Hidcote, Powys Castle and Sheffield Park has taught him much about all other aspects of gardening. Here he takes time out to chat to other gardeners, leading them around the garden in every season of the year, showing how small things such as leaves, berries and bark can invoke wonder and awe just as much as flamboyant summer flowers. A gentle read, eruditely written with the occasional ascerbic aside, he lends his eighty-plus years experience to the reader, highlighting what many gardeners overlook. Gardening is a 365-day-a-year activity, not just from April through November and GST, as he is fondly known in the horticultural world, demonstrates this ably. Accompanied by many of his own expert photographs and his acclaimed botanical drawings, this is a gem of a book, to be read on a monthly if not daily basis to find out what this illustrious garden guru can find of interest every day of the year. - Lucy Watson
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