In these the dull, grey February days it’s been a great pleasure for me to read two coffee table-style books back-to-back with glorious photographs but also very informative text. The first was Virginia Woolf’s Garden by Caroline Zoob. There’s lots of nice background information about Leonard and Virginia Woolf but also about the author. Caroline Zoob and her husband were the National Trust tenants in the house for about 10 years. They also took responsibility for the garden.
Really the book should be called Leonard Woolf’s Garden since it was almost entirely his creation and Virginia admits to doing little more than a bit of dead-heading and, of course, being inspired by gardens in general for her writing.
Virginia Woolf’s Bedroom Garden May 2014
Reading it and studying the lovely photos I was reminded of my visit to Monk’s House last May. I preferred it to Charleston as it had a very much more relaxed atmosphere. I’ve written here
already about my visit to Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s home and garden at Rodmell in East Sussex.
The Writer’s Garden : how gardens inspired our best-loved authors is by Jackie Bennett.
Title Page – Near Sawrey in the Lake District with Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top in the Bottom Left Corner
Many of the gardens mentioned I have already visited – Jane Austen’s in Chawton in Hampshire long before the digital photography; same goes for Ruskin’s Brantwood which we approached from Lake Coniston by Gondola
; Agatha Christie’s Greenway in 2009; Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top in 2005 or 2006; Laurence Sterne’s Shandy Hall the topic of one my first posts here
and, of course, Virginia Woolf’s garden mentioned above. I do hope I can get to the ones I haven’t visited some time as all were inspiring, not to say, beautiful.
Agatha Christie’s Greenway overlooking the Dart Estuary in Devon
I borrowed both books from the library but also by coincidence my current audio listen is Christina Hardyment’s The Pleasures of the Garden: an anthology. It’s selected and introduced by Christina and includes passages by Pliny The Younger, Francis Bacon, Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden, of course), Thomas Jeffereson, Jane Austen and Gertrude Jekyll.
Having said all this – I am not, myself, a gardener! I love to visit gardens and read about them but I know nothing at all about plants and their care.
My title for this photo on Flickr is “You won’t catch me gardening!”
Oh, dear, “The Writer’s Garden” looks wonderful. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful focus of a trip to the UK? Thank you.
Yes, yes, yes, Sarah!! Bring sherry along too. I’ll plan a tour for us and we can meet other friends around the country. Marvellous idea.
Wow, this is adding more to my fantasy UK itinerary! I would love to visit Hill Top.
Hill Top is lovely and like stepping into a Peter Rabbit book. It can be wet in the Lake District though!
Monk’s House has a real sense of the Woolf’s to me. Always have loved the view from VW ‘s bedroom up that lovely brick path.
I think so, too, Fran. The house and garden go so well together. You are lucky to live so near!
love to make the trip! Right now I’m buried in snow and there’s a blizzard coming tomorrow. I’m ordering the book this instant.
The Zoob or the Bennett? Or both?
I’ve acquired so many super books lately (Christmas presents to myself etc.) that I’m not sure I should give in to the temptation to add these to the pile. But I might.
The trouble with gardening, to me anyway, is that it isn’t worth it if it’s a chore or a fight, or if lots of chemicals have to be applied. So – mine’s a wild garden and I love it!
As you may have noticed, nilly, these were both library books. I have more or less stopped buying books. This was made much easier for me since joining The Leeds Library a few years ago.
I love wild gardens – by far the best to my mind. I’m sure yours is lovely. It would be nice to have more colour in ours but that’s not my department!
“You won’t catch me gardening!” – me neither!
Ha ha! Too busy gadding about, eh?!