A Nation of Gardeners – Book Review


A Nation of Gardeners – How the British Fell in Love with Gardening by Twigs Way

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit suspicious of the author’s name, or maybe they were just born to write a gardening book.  If I have another child (no plans!) I may well consider the name Twigs.  I think it’s lovely.

So, on with the review!

First impressions.  The book is hardback, and features a million and one fabulous illustrations and photographs that immediately draw attention. I don’t think there’s one page without an image on it to illustrate the the text – personally I think this is a great way of engaging the reader with the topic.  Not only does the book discuss the history of gardens, gardeners and gardening, it shows you the people, the places and the nitty gritty of it all.  (I think I may still have a certain subject stuck in my psyche…as long as they aren’t stuck in my hair  too, I don’t mind)

It’s a lovely book to browse, and I think it’s quite inspirational too.  As I sit in my front room with the cold wind whipping the trees outside, and the grey sky  brooding in the distance – the tales of gardening past and present, do actually make me want to go outside and plant a bit of greenery.  Maybe it’s the combination of the promise of spring with the book topic.

This book focuses on many of the aspects of gardening; from how children have been encouraged to garden over the years (some fascinating photos of children growing fruit and veg in allotments in schools in the early 20th Century), to gardening fashion wear, to gardening styles – it covers a huge subject area whilst using very entertaining and informative prose.

‘Twigs’ is obviously a passionate gardener and historian, and has transferred his/her enthusiasm beautifully onto the written page.  ‘A Nation of Gardeners’ combines the love of growing things, with detailed history, information and beautiful (and often amusing) illustrations and photographs, to great effect.

In all truth, I really enjoyed reading this book.  I’ve dabbled with gardening, with very mixed results – to be honest I think I just bred a hell of a lot of black-fly – and I can definitely relate to the sentiment behind the book.  It really does portray the British love affair with gardens perfectly.

As a slightly irrelevant afterthought, I noticed the book is dedicated to ‘Teasal who loved to garden’ – another quirky gardening name.  I’d be hard pressed to choose between the names ‘Twigs’ and ‘Teasal’ if I had to.  I suspect Sausage will be relieved in later years that I came across this book after he’d been born, he could very easily  have been christened either of the above names.

This book was sent to me by @publishing_ant on Twitter, who represent Carlton Books.  If you’d like a copy I suggest you give them a nudge and they’ll tell you where it is currently stocked.  It’s a beautiful book and I’m very happy that they gave me the copy to review and recommend, which I do wholeheartedly.

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2 responses to “A Nation of Gardeners – Book Review

  1. Ooooh I don’t have babies yet – Teasal it is! What a fab set of names and sounds like a really beautiful book. I’m itching to get back into our garden, it looks so bedraggled after 3 weeks of snow followed by all this rain and although I’m not greenfingered at all, it’s strangely therapeutic to tidy it all up and make it look prettier 🙂 Sounds like a lovely book for a pressie x

  2. What a lovely book. I adore gardening, but browsing a beautiful book about the subject is a lot less back-breaking than *actually* digging, although as I tell my OH while he’s slogging away, it is still valuable research ;0)

    You’ve introduced me to a new booky twitter account so thanks for that too, I’m now followings. although…@publishing_ant ? Another name destined for garden related stuff…do I spot a theme here?!

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