By Douglas Ellory Pett

Publisher: Alison Hodge (2005)
ISBN 0-906720-41-9

Paperback £12.99


As we have come to expect from Douglas Ellory Pett – who sadly died in February last year – and publisher Alison Hodge, this book will be indispensable to anyone visiting, gardening or living in Cornwall.  It takes twenty private Cornish gardens (plus the author’s own): many of them have been visited by Garden Trust members but others are small, modern, and rarely open.  With beautiful photographs of the plants, features, landscapes and views – not forgetting the gardeners themselves – plus an interesting and detailed text which describes how and why the gardens have been created, on every page we are taken into the open spaces and hidden corners of these delightful gardens.

All the garden owners confessed that their garden reflected their personality and Pett has succeeded in conveying their individuality.  The 21 gardens capture the variety we can find in Cornwall, ranging from the South African plants at Bonython to the Georgian parsonage garden at Trist House, taking in an artist and sculptor’s garden, a town garden, a seaside valley garden…

Little is given of their history – Pett writes that the garden at Nansawen House is alone in this series in having an underlying historical structure, though I’m not sure that all the ‘creative gardeners’ would agree.  He also states, ‘This is a book about gardens and not about plants.’ yet I found the book full of the plants used and their placings, the conditions they need and the stories of how they came to the gardens.

I had the pleasure of attending an evening to promote this book at Ottakers in Truro:  the love for their gardens and the sheer hard work put in by the four gardeners there inspired us all.  This book captures that passion and creativity – and the resulting stunning gardens.

Shirley Barnes