cloth, 224 p., $34.95
It's refreshing to discover that even one of England's leading garden gurus has faced the same daunting struggles as Midwestern gardeners do. Drought in England? Who would have believed it? Yet so Beth Chatto claims is the case for her garden in Essex. You start identifying with her efforts to turn a not-very-promising piece of ground into a glorious shade garden. Then you start reading her story and looking at her photographs, and you realize (as, of course, you knew all along) that this is no ordinary gardener and no ordinary garden.
Ms. Chatto takes you through the seasons in her garden, sharing her personal enthusiasm for the wealth of plant material she has collected from all over the world — bulbs, trees, shrubs, perennials — beautifully photographed, lovingly described. But she leaves no doubt that she is a hands-on gardener, and gives an interesting account of the practical side of garden maintenance. I thoroughly enjoyed being a guest on her garden tour.
— Jim Kemper