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Thursday
May152014

The pride of our hearts.

I discovered the most beautiful garden book the other week: Virginia Woolf´s Garden by Caroline Zoob/pictures by Caroline Arber. I was on the hunt for a mother´s day gift and sometimes Amazon recommendations really rock. I bought one copy for my mom and then, because the book looked so insanely beautiful even in the preview pictures, I bought another one for me. It didn´t disappoint in real life. The photography is really, really beautiful and the book is so well written. 

Pictures by Caroline Arber, taken from here.

Virginia Woolf and her husband bought Monk´s House in Sussex in 1919. It was going to be their country retreat and while the cottage was very basic, there also was a huge garden which they were both very excited about. Virginia wrote in a letter to a friend: "This is going to be the pride of our hearts; I warn you." I always get a little sappy when I read this quote because I can relate to it so much. 

From what I can gather from the book, Virginia wasn´t the most avid gardener (so the title of the book is actually a bit misleading), but her husband Leonard quickly became an expert and completely transformed the space. 

The book is really interesting because on one hand, it tells the story of Monk´s House and its garden and tries to give insights of how both house and garden might have looked like in Virginia and Leonard´s times. On the other hand, it gives an overview of the garden how it looks today - including advice on how to achieve something similar. Which is great, because I love the look. It is very close to my vision for our garden (on a much smaller scale).

What I also love is that the book shows the inside of the house. I truly believe that most people who have a beautiful garden also have a beautiful home so I seriously think there should be more books out there which feature both. I want to see house and garden! Anyway I love the cottage and find it very charming that Virginia apparently painted everything green. Also I am now obsessed with the Bloomsbury group. I already ordered another book about Charleston House, where Virginia´s artist sister lived. 

On a last note, this is how the perfect vegetable garden looks like. And now, go and buy that book, you won´t regret it.

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Reader Comments (9)

This sounds heavenly. Thanks for posting about it!! The photos are gorgeous.

May 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKim B.

Ohhh, that looks beautiful! I'm going to give it to my mother as well. If you have more recommendations for garden books, I would love to hear them!

May 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristiane

it does look lovely. i will go to amazon straight away. but did you notice how that 2nd photo above could be your own garden? it is similar, well with a couple of years growth. this looks like a very good model for your property.

May 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSally

What a beautiful post, lovely gardens and houses, both yours and Virginias.

Keep up the good work

May 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHelena

Oh, now you've gone and done it...the last thing I need is another gardening book in our house, but I will certainly be buying this one. Just lovely! And I love that we get to see your house AND your garden.

May 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGiulia

Kim - yes they are, it´s a visual delight.

Christiane, I think I´ll make this a regular feature so there will be more book reviews in the future! :)

Sally - I certainly hope it will look like this one day! With many years of growth... and work! :)

Thank you Helena!

Giulia, this one is a must have :)

May 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterKatrin

Oh, thank you for the reminder, Katrin! This book has been on my wishlist for quite some time - there was a feature on Gardenista a couple of months ago which made me want to travel to Sussex immediately!
I have recently been in Greenway/ Devon and visited Agatha Christie's summerhouse and garden and so much enjoyed it there. The whole house was lovingly decorated, as if Christie and her family had just been away for a few minutes or so, everything seemed so carefully put together, with half-emptied tea cups on the table, fresh flowers on the nightstand, even the AGA in the kitchen was warm. The summerhouse and gardens belong to the National Trust, too, and from the photos to tell, Virginia Woolf's cottage is being taken care of with a similar amount of love and care. I so much would love to visit the Monk's House sometime, it looks beautiful!

May 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJuliane

Lovely! You might also be interested in a new cookbook that is out with Bloomsbury recipes. It sounds silly, but I have looked at it and it looks really fabulous. The reviews are good, too! It's on my to-buy list...maybe with the gardening book!

May 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne

Monk´s House is lovely but my favorite English garden is Sissinghurst's created by Vita Sackville-West - check it out!
I've been there three times already, at different times of year, and every time the garden looks stunning. I bet you can get a book about Sissinghurst as well :)

May 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAgatha

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