8.5”x8.5” | 06/16/13
1.76MB | 07/12/13
Life, the Universe & Gardening
- Over 35 Full-Color Photos of Flora & Architectural Elements
Once we were surrounded by plants, and trod grass and flowers. At night we watched the stars. We fed on food from woods, bushes and wild beehives, and drank water from springs and streams. We lived beside trees, flowers, birds and the creatures of the forest.
This vision of a golden age, impossible yet visceral, felt as much as seen, has filtered into the life of every civilization. The naves of gothic cathedrals still soar like bridleways through trees, their vaulting branching and splitting to hold the heavens. Through the centuries they move from simple arches to pinnacles sprouting leaves and flowers. In many Muslim buildings the stars are painted, enameled or shaped in ceilings; in both east and west carpets are woven flowers.
The 17th century Wagner Carpet in Glasgow is one of the earliest surviving Persian garden carpets, and shows a four quartered garden divided by water channels with a basin in the centre. It is filled with cypresses, flowering trees and shrubs, and populated with birds, butterflies, animals, fish and duck. Lions, leopards, gazelles, peacocks, storks and pigeons roam.
In each of us lies a deep psychic need to create our garden of the golden age, to find our paradise, to achieve balance and order, to know where we belong. This knowledge is our true wealth. Few activities are as varied, healing and sustaining as gardening. Physically gardening strengthens us, it connects us to the world outside, it inspires and consoles us, and spiritually it restores us at the heart of things. A garden expands every area of our being. What follows is an attempt to explore the wonders in gardens, both our own and others, to learn what they do for us, and what we can do in them. There is no end to its joys, interest and teachings.
Sarah Coles has written for the Royal Horticultural Society journal The Garden, as well as The Field, Hortus, and other publications. For years she wrote a monthly garden column for the Hampshire County Magazine, assessed gardens for theGood Gardens Guide, served on the committee of the Historic Roses Group of the Royal National Rose Society and taught as horticultural tutor at Southampton University. Sarah is the author of two novels and Chalk and Limestone Gardening, A Guide to Success on Alkaline Soils. She has lectured widely in the UK and eastern USA. She also travels, and a few years ago went overland alone without a guide through Estonia, Russia, Mongolia, China, Tibet and Nepal. The one thing she learned was the intrinsic kindness of people everywhere. She is married with two sons and five grandsons. www.sarah-coles.co.uk
Endorsements & Reviews
“My granddaughter loves it. She is both a gardener and a poet so it is perfect for her to read and be inspired.“Carol G. Kaplan
“If you want to fill your life with optimism, interesting thoughts and the ability to put things into perspective, then read this wonderful inspiring book. It not only gives an enormous insight into gardens and gardening, but into life and living. I can’t wait to re-read it. It is one of those books that you long to give to everyone you love like Dom Marquis’ ‘Archie and Mehitabel’. I shall try to keep a pile at home to give to friends. I cannot recommend it more highly.“Maudie
“Most garden books tell you how to dig, which varieties of bean or rose you should be growing, and show glossy pix of impossibly perfect gardens. Here, you’re just told to enjoy what’s there, to look, hear, feel and taste in the garden, to appreciate the creatures you share it with, from the worms to the wasps. Sarah Coles explores the history of gardens in the lightest way, and the spirits in them. She looks at European gardens and the gardens of the east. Her photos are hazy, her writing is beautiful. When you finish reading this, you’ll find you want to go out into a garden, any garden, even a garden you imagine you know backwards, and discover things anew.“Angelica Garden