Synopses & Reviews
An award-winning historian of antiquity, Robin Lane Fox is also one of Britains foremost gardening experts, and in Thoughtful Gardening he takes readers on a varied and highly enjoyable journey through each season of the gardening year. From a tender eulogy for one of his landscape design mentors to a candid consideration of global warmings effects on his lupins or the perfect shrub to grow in shade along a path, Fox brings his trademark wit, wisdom, and charm to bear on the art and experience of gardening. Essential reading for anyone planting a new garden or taking stock of one after several years, this collection offers valuable critiques of horticultural trends and traditions, and essential insights into gardening practices and philosophies. Taken together these essays formseason by seasona rich reflection on the lessons, challenges, and absurdities of life with a green thumb.
In this collection of 80 essays the Financial Times gardening columnist and Oxford historian presents a convincing case that gardening is about far more than horticultural skill. For Fox flower gardens are human creations informed by art history science politics and personality. He takes readers on a year long tour that combines practical guidance serious reflection and humorous provocations. There are essays on individual species rich with detailed information on exceptional cultivars and best cultivation methods throughout the year. Other essays reveal Fox's candid personal impressions of well known gardeners including some surprising insights about Christopher Lloyd and Rosemary Verey. He shares his sensitive impressions of distinguished gardens around the globe and the Sisyphean struggles in his own garden. Fox's iconoclastic beliefs and nonorganic methods might alienate some purists but most gardeners will delight in this rich collection. Opinionated witty and erudite this collection is an example of the best garden writing. (Dec.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"In this collection of 80 essays, the Financial Times gardening columnist and Oxford historian presents a convincing case that gardening is about far more than horticultural skill. For Fox, flower gardens are human creations informed by art, history, science, politics, and personality. He takes readers on a year-long tour that combines practical guidance, serious reflection, and humorous provocations. There are essays on individual species, rich with detailed information on exceptional cultivars and best cultivation methods, throughout the year. Other essays reveal Fox's candid, personal impressions of well-known gardeners, including some surprising insights about Christopher Lloyd and Rosemary Verey. He shares his sensitive impressions of distinguished gardens around the globe and the Sisyphean struggles in his own garden. Fox's iconoclastic beliefs and nonorganic methods might alienate some purists, but most gardeners will delight in this rich collection. Opinionated, witty, and erudite, this collection is an example of the best garden writing. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Penelope Hobhouse, author of In Search of Paradise: Great Gardens of the World
Thoughtful Gardening is clever, educational, inspiring and replete with witty asideswe are the fortunate readers. This is not an ordinary how-to gardening book but a brilliant exploration of a gardening passion.”
Gregory Long, President of The New York Botanical Garden
For everyone who loves plants and gardening, this mixed border of a book will be one of the best reads evererudite, sensible, fearless. Dip into these brilliant essays, and you will have so much funlaughing at Robins stories and his sardonic wit; learning about good plants and flower gardening; reveling in the authors pithy profiles of celebrity gardeners; thinking about the rich connections among gardening, history, and literature; and traveling with him to important gardens all over the world, where he always has an original take on the history and horticulture of the place. This is garden writing at the highest level."
Town and Country
[A] collection of witty essays about the pleasures of working the land. Fox, the long-time gardening columnist at the Financial Times, finds delights everywhere from Capri to China, but his greatest inspiration seems to be home: England.”
As the venerated gardening columnist for Britains Financial Times, acclaimed author, and Garden Master at Oxford University, the acerbic, intuitive, and erudite Fox trots out his own well-honed appreciation for specific cultivars, shares his frustrations with stealthy squirrels and belligerent badgers, and dishes on horticultural divas from Nancy Lancaster to Christopher Lloyd in a seasonal collection of expressive essays in which he travels the world, from his own cozy Cotswold garden to Yves Saint Laurents opulent Marrakech retreat.”
For Fox, flower gardens are human creations informed by art, history, science, politics, and personality. He takes readers on a year-long tour that combines practical guidance, serious reflection, and humorous provocations.... Opinionated, witty, and erudite, this collection is an example of the best garden writing.”
After writing weekly gardening columns for the Financial Times for 40 years and penning two gardening books (Better Gardening and Variations on a Garden), Lane Fox still has plenty of observations to pass along. Like many wise gardeners, he strongly believes in thoughtful flower gardeningknowing plants origins and growing them well in places suitable for them and for humans.... The appreciation of the arts he interjects throughout this work is unusual in a gardening book and quite pleasurable.”
Gregory Long, What Hes Reading,” Crains New York Business
One of the most brilliant garden books in years.”
Helen Dillon, The Financial Times
Thoughtful Gardening is undoubtedly the best gardening book for the past 30 yearsprovocative, full of information, witty and very funny. Lane Fox is the leading gardening writer in Britain and can say exactly what he thinks. I love this book and wish I hadnt read it all in one go.”
The Times Higher Education (UK)
Arranged under the four seasons are many of the challenging articles on gardening that Robin Lane Fox has written over 40 years in his weekly column for the Financial Times.... Leavening it all is a genial bawdy wit and the unrepentant defiance of a politically incorrect fox-hunter who is not content merely to trap and kill the squirrels that raid his flower beds, but also offers tempting recipes for cooking and eating them.”
The Spectator (UK)
[Thoughtful Gardening] is a summation of the Lane Fox gardening doctrine, this time mixing more or less practical advice on particular plants Later Clematis, Sociable Deutzias, Desirable Dahlias, the Etna Broom with more discursive essays, recalling great gardeners, visiting gardens from Texas to Odessa, all these pieces, which are organised seasonally, being deftly linked to make an easy continuous read.”
Booklist, Top 10 Craft and Gardening Books: 2010
This immense wealth of practical information and insight supports the maxim that sometimes devoted gardeners love reading about gardening almost more than the actual act itself.”
In Thoughtful Gardening, we have this thoughtful gardeners musings wit and wisdom in equal measure boiled down into its richest essence, as he squires us, passage by passage, through a gardeners year.... This is that rarest of species that makes us not merely keener gardeners, but wiser human beings. If your aim in life is to live it richly in thought, in habit, in articulation then grab the book, fluff the cushions and settle in for some necessary winters reading. Higher praise, we cant imagine.”
The FT gardening columnist for the past 40 years gives us his educated, outrageous and entertaining guide to gardening.... [An] excellent book.”
This, [Mr. Lane Foxs] third gardening book, is also his first in 25 years, but little here feels fusty or irrelevant.... His years of practical plantsmanship result in deft delineations of the colour, needs and suitable companions of specific flower varieties.... But although fecund with practical advice, this is not a how-to manual. Rather it is an episodic expression of Mr. Lane Foxs thoughtfulness, and his wry acknowledgement that despite all his best efforts — like his triennial battle to prune his classical patte doie of ornamental pears real gardening begins at the moment you understand that nature can never be pinned down. Its a philosophy worth getting your hands dirty for.”
Books and Culture
[Thoughtful Gardening] is a quintessential combo-pack of information, brilliant prose, and wonderful morsels of history, botany, and practical experience. It is also a mélange of exceptional humor....engaging travelogue, and memoir. What more could a gardener or reader want?”
Marilyn K. Alaimo, GardenClub.org
[A] fascinating collection of short chapters.... [A] literary gem.... The book is highly recommended for its success in guiding both novice and experienced persons into becoming more knowledgeable gardeners.”
To turn a popular saying on its head, well-crafted prose in a gardening book is often worth a thousand pretty pictures. Proof of this is Robin Lane Foxs latest book, which takes the reader through the four seasons with a series of essays as entertaining as they are informative.... [T]his erudite Englishman is unafraid to share his opinions, which might tickle or prickle (depending on whether we agree with him), and which are based on years of experience tending his own gardens and hobnobbing with some of the best gardeners in the world.... This thought-provoking book on this dirty subject is one any thoughtful reader will return to again and again — for information, inspiration, and perhaps a chuckle or two.”
A deliciously odd hybrid of gardening how-to, history and memoir, this book can tell you about irises, Plato, Aldous Huxley and hallucinogensall in one chapter.... Lots of solid gardening advice is woven throughout, but its the authors crackling wit that makes this book such a great read.”
In Thoughtful Gardening
, award-winning historian and Financial Times
gardening columnist Robin Lane Fox takes readers on a delightful journey through each season of the gardening year. From fending off vine-weevils to visiting Yves Saint Laurents private gardens in Marrakech, Fox imbues each of his musings with grace, sophistication, and charm. Essential reading for anyone planting a new garden or taking stock of one after several years, Thoughtful Gardening
offers expert advice and a touching reminder of the power of art and literature to deepen what we see and experience in nature.
Combining a vast understanding of horticulture with witty and stylish storytelling, these vignettes formseason by seasona rich reflection on the lessons, challenges, and joys of life with a green thumb.
With wit and wisdom, Oxford historian and Financial Times gardening columnist Robin Lane Fox recounts his deep passion and appreciation for gardening
About the Author
Robin Lane Fox
s weekly gardening column in the Financial Times
began in 1970 and is the longest running in print today. He has published two bestselling books on the subject, Better Gardening
and Variations on a Garden
. He began his career in the great Botanical Garden in Munich and since 1979 has been Garden Master of the gardens at New College, Oxford, where he is also Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History. He is the prize-winning author of many books on classical history, including Alexander the Great, The Classical World: An Epic History of Greece and Rome
, and most recently Travelling Heroes: Greeks and their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer
. He lives in Oxford, England.