I was given this book for Christmas. The book is a pleasure to read, being vintage Alan Titchmarsh’s chatty style, but what really made it for me are the photographs by Jonathan Buckley. To my eyes they are well composed, the lighting is great, depth of field spot on, and the tones aren’t too vivid and so look natural to me. This is a great deal harder to achieve than is apparent in the pages and is a testament to Mr Buckley’s skill. Being in the garden at the right time for the light, let alone anything else, takes a lot of hard work and early rising. One or two of the smaller photographs didn’t quite work for me because I don’t like it when flowers are cut from the image on one side when there is room for them on the other, unless that crop adds to the overall composition, but the majority of the images are lovely, inspiring and capture the mood and spirit of the place. Particular favourites are the nerines in the courtyard (but that might just be plant-envy on my part) and the autumn double spread, where I think the lighting is particularly good. The greenhouse just sent me green.
I must confess that I have wondered what Alan Titchmarsh’s new garden is like and now I know. I think we are privileged to have this glimpse into what was intended to be a very private space.
The problem with this sort of book is it provokes feelings of discontent at my own garden, which is small and shady. I’d love to plant an orchard with a wildflower sward, bounded by a native hedgerow, and have room for all the plants I have fallen in love with. It’s the sort of thing I say, “When I’m rich and famous I will…” but time is running out, and nowadays I seem to be more wedded to the computer than I do to my garden. I can barely cope with what I have, so why do I want more? Because of books like this.