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The Garden at Charleston: A Bloomsbury Garden Through the Seasons

The Garden at Charleston: A Bloomsbury Garden Through the Seasons
Sue Snell
Frances Lincoln
Publication Date: 

Cloth, 112 pp., $29.95

British photographer Sue Snell traces the seasonal displays of a remarkable twentieth century garden, set in the East Sussex South Downs (U.K.). Although the sixteenth-century farmhouse and grounds of this working farm predate the garden, the place is more closely tied to the owners who developed the ornamental portion of the property during the later period. Artists Vanessa Bell and David Grant, who improved the site beginning in 1916, were notable members of the Bloomsbury Group, a social and intellectual set who held informal discussions in Bloomsbury during the twentieth century. This collective of writers, aesthetes, and economists with modern ideas deeply influenced the general society through their literature, aesthetics, criticism, and economic theories. Restored in 1987, the Charleston garden of less than an acre has a natural beauty that the artists enhanced with their personal skills. As the author/photographer describes the place, it was Bell’s “painterly imagination and her love of sumptuous colours” that makes the garden so endearing to visitors.

—Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden