The Passion of Mary Lawrance

detail of Passiflora serrafolia 

You never know what’s going to arrive when you  order unknown books at the British Library.  On this occasion I was in for a surprise and needed a trolley to take them to my desk in the British Library.

I’d ordered two books by  Mary Lawrance, a woman I then knew nothing much about. These turned out to be quite spectacular.  The first  was her Book of Roses which became the subject of a post a while back.

Today’s post is about the second book I saw that day, which is a very appropriate choice for Easter. Continue reading

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The Passion of Mary Lawrance

detail of Passiflora serrafolia 

You never know what’s going to arrive when you  order unknown books at the British Library.  On this occasion I was in for a surprise and needed a trolley to take them to my desk in the British Library.

I’d ordered two books by  Mary Lawrance, a woman I then knew nothing much about. These turned out to be quite spectacular.  The first  was her Book of Roses which became the subject of a post a while back.

Today’s post is about the second book I saw that day, which is a very appropriate choice for Easter. Continue reading

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Ethelind Fearon: “doyenne of the lazy approach”

End plate from Flower Growing for Ungardeners

I’m always amazed by how easy it is for people who are well-known in their lifetimes to disappear completely from public view soon after their death.   One of the things I like doing on the blog is bringing some of them back to public notice. Sometimes that’s easy – there’s plenty written about them but their work just became unfashionable or out of date but today’s subject has been extraordinarily difficult to track down.  But she’s not an obscure 17thc garden-maker or an almost anonymous Georgian diarist or Victorian botanic painter. Far from it.  She lived in Essex, wrote a string of books including several about gardening and died as recently as 1974. Yet there is almost literally nothing written about her and even her small home town seems hardly  to have heard of her. I admit it: Ethelind Fearon  almost had me beaten…

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The First Albert Memorial

Everyone knows about the grand memorial to Prince Albert in Kensington Gardens opposite the Royal Albert Hall, and on the edge of what was once called Albertopolis, but recently I went to see a less pretentious local memorial which was the first in the country to be put up to honour Albert the Good after he died in 1861.

The story of its original construction  and then decline and dismantling is interesting but the story behind its recent re-construction is just as good and says a lot about local pride and the power of volunteers

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Kingston Lacy

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many daffodils in flower.  Wordsworth would have been in heaven if he’d seen them. In fact if it wasn’t for the fact they’re growing in open woodland I’m sure the yellow would have been visible from space.  But I wasn’t in the Lake District “wandering lonely as a cloud” where I saw this golden host but in Dorset.

I’d been away for a few days and called in at Kingston Lacy, just outside Wimborne. Had I managed to get there a couple of weeks earlier the view would have been of about 6 million snowdrops, spreading from the original planting more than a century ago. A few weeks later and the scene would have been awash with bluebells.

I had been to Kingston Lacy once before -decades ago – shortly after the National Trust took over and to be honest thought it rather dull and uninspiring. It probably was. Today it is anything but and the daffodils and snowdrops were just an added bonus to what is  becoming a real “must visit” garden.

 

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