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We Made a Garden

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getting lost) On a chilly-sunny March morning, we pulled into the small carpark at Overton Hill and the start of The Ridgeway. Clearly none of us are ever going to achieve a Margery sized garden or house without a lottery win, but you can still dream! I sometimes dream of finding an undiscovered room in my house, or better still, an entire dusty, unused wing, but, to date, this is the only time it happened for real. In this way, Margery Fish describes how her husband corrected her method of staking plants by mutilating her flowers, tying ropes around their stems so tightly "that they looked throttled" (31). We Made a Garden is the story of how Margery Fish, a leading gardener of the 1960s, and her husband Walter transformed an acre of wilderness into a stunning cottage garden, still open to the public at East Lambrook Manor, Somerset, England.

At the time of purchase, I didn’t know that almost opposite, hidden in the lightly wooded valley below, down a long wooded driveway lay the Priory. In this beautiful and timeless work, she recounts the trails and tribulations, successes and failures, of her venture with ease and humour. Slightly Foxed brings back forgotten voices through its Slightly Foxed and Plain Foxed Editions, a series of beautifully produced little pocket hardback reissues of classic memoirs, all of them absorbing and highly individual.

But, as her health deteriorated, tending a big kitchen garden became too much for her and the plot slipped into neglect. One day, sink sorted, kitchen painted, Jim was weeding along the side of the house and noticed angled bricks at ground level, similar to those above all the windows. They had married in 1933 after working together at the Daily Mail and while Walter had had gardens of his own in his previous homes, this was the first one Margery had ever been involved with. I can well imagine the tensions between two people trying to make a garden with competing visions for it.

In this beautiful and timeless work, she recounts the trails and tribulations, successes and failures, of her venture with ease and humour. Seller has stated it will dispatch the item within 1 working day upon receipt of cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab . Even if it is a garden you know by heart there are twelve months in the year and every month means a different garden, and the discovery of things unexpected all the rest of the year. The battle with horsetails will never end, the butterfly bush mostly feeds bugs, the escalonia requires a firm hand to prevent it taking over the world. Good-humoured, unpretentious and a bit eccentric, it's more like having a well-read friend than a subscription to a literary review.

Wrapped about the northern end of the house, facing the road, I planted a hornbeam hedge inside the garden wall – as hornbeam isn’t too picky and doesn’t mind shade. I allowed the orange montbrecia and carmine escalonia that do so well on the coast, but also a richly scented old white rugosa rose, rosemary, and blue ceanothus.

I am always weak on watering and Margery's habit of using a syringe to water new wall plants, stuffed into a crevice and then surrounded by moss is impressive and salutary.It's just so lighthearted reading full of good ideas based on long time gardening experience and of course witty remarks about the relationship with her husband, their disagreements and who actually got it right.

We knocked out the bricked-up window and dug out clay to a further depth of twelve inches, passing it out through the window to a waiting skip. The Rayburn heated the kitchen and most of the downstairs, gave us scalding hot water, cooked most of our food and warmed our buns. I thoroughly enjoyed it (though was terribly jealous of the two acres she had to play with compared to my non-existent space). The previous owner grew her vegetables here and, for decades, she’d dug in compost and she’d dug in manure.So much of her has been poured into the garden and into the book that it’s easy to understand why it has stood the test of time and remains a classic.

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