Monday, 4 December 2006

Gardens of Northumberland and the Borders

My sixth gardening book has just been published and Simon Fraser and I have been busy this week with book signings in local bookshops - one is planned for Sunday 10th at the National Trust garden, Wallington. There have been two full page spreads about it in the Journal and the Hexham Courant (see their website), liberally illustrated with some of Simon's pictures. I spent a year researching the book, seeing the gardens throughout the seasons to get a full understanding of each of them, and it is very exciting to see the finished product. This has been the twentieth anniversary of my garden and it has been a very busy time, so I sometimes wonder how it all got fitted in.

I had wanted to write this book for several years and it was such a delight to do. Being able to visit these great gardens, often when they were closed to the public was a dream - Manderston's vast Edwardian elegance on a brilliant, sunny-sky day, Little Sparta's complex, literary associations, Bide-a-Wee's plantsman's quarry garden and Lindisfarne's island haven. I really enjoyed meeting the Head Gardeners and comparing notes about what plants we could grow with our differing amounts of shelter - there is so much to learn from each other - especially Billy Crozier at Floors Castle garden who has worked there for 50 years. His single season borders are absolutely spectacular, the autumn 'hot' border a dazzling combination of rich reds, purples, oranges, yellows, all vibrant autumn colours. Seeing Simon's photographs now in the middle of winter reminds me of what gardening is all about.


Thomas Wright said...

I bought a copy of your book gardens of northumberland and the borders, from waterstones in newcastle. The photography is stunning and from what i read of the text it will be very enjoyable to read. its a shame it is a christmas present!

brian said...

I received a copy of this book from a friend recently and it is wonderful.

All my gardening friends are very impressed and it has definitely influenced the gardens we wish to visit or revisit in 2007.

Anonymous said...

Saw this book in a large article in the Journal & got it for a present. Yes, this book is really well laid out and visually pretty stunning - I didnt realise there were such great gardens in the Scottish Borders. I'm looking forward to the spring and being able to visit some. A friend told me that the garden tearooms at Floors do good food for lunch, might take my mum.

janet said...

Glad to read some more blogs. I am just considering who to buy the book for, apart from myself. If it had only been out a few days earlier there might have been some sales at the choir late night book evening.

gordon arthey said...

I have visited one of these gardens over the summer, Chesters Walled Garden, and not only is the garden itself a wonderful oasis of peace and tranquility but they also sell a very eclectic and unusual range of garden artefacts, everything from old chimney pots and salt glazed troughs that can be used as planters to beautifully restored old wooden handled garden tools and loads of other interesting gardenalia. The best thing is that they are all so reasonably priced!

Janet said...

I got 2 copies of the book to give to friends. I am sure that they will love them.
What a strange time for the pineapple sage to be in flower. I am sure I have seen it blooming at a more conventional time. Perhaps you should have the odd winter open day for people to come and see what is around out of season. Mind you a lot of things have got themselves in a muddle. A daisy in a pot has just reflowered for me. What does it think it is doing.