Great Gardens of Britain
Great Gardens Of Britain by Helena Attlee, with photographs by Alex Ramsay (Frances Lincoln Ltd)
Great Gardens Of Britain is a great relaxation read - with beautifully descriptive and informative accounts of some of our finest gardens, accompanied by glorious photographs by Alex Ramsay.
Author Helena Attlee and Ramsay, who recently appeared at the Telegraph Ways With Words Festival, had the tricky job of whittling down more than 4,000 possible gardens to just 20 for the book. She described it as a task "not for the faint hearted" but the result is a collection of classic gardens.
Her mini-essays are informative and lyrical (Wisley in Surrey is described as "horticultural theatre") as they range across gardens from Crathes in Scotland down to Tresco in Cornwall, taking in Kew Gardens and Hidcote along the way.
There is a lovely section on Little Sparta, Hamilton Finlay's dramatic garden in the Pentland Hills, of which Attlee writes: "There are serious themes but you must also be ready for Finlay's jokes. In the small front garden, for example, a stone set among a group of sycamores is inscribed with the words 'Bring Back the birch'. A small birch tree grows immediately behind it. His wit is everywhere."
In wonderfully harmony with the words are the striking pictures taken by Attlee’s husband, award-winning photographer Ramsay. His technique emphasises shadows and captures a marvellous range of colours. This book will have you pining to visit the gardens.
By Martin Chilton, Digital Culture Editor