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.