Synopses & Reviews
A chronological account takes the reader through the key events in the lives of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, and their deaths. This is allied to an account of the garden and its development, and the creation and development of the key areas of the garden. A wonderful selection of full-colour contemporary photographs, archive photographs, illustrated maps and planting plans take the reader through the various garden ‘rooms’, including the Italian Garden, the Millstone garden, the Orchard, the Vegetable Garden, the Terrace, the Walled Garden, the Fishpond Garden and the Greenhouses and Conservatories. Throughout there are quotations from Virginia and Leonard’s diaries, giving a vivid account of their plans for, views on and activities in the garden.
"Monk's House, on the edge of a village in Sussex, became Leonard and Virginia Woolf's cherished weekend and summer retreat. Both were ecstatic over the garden and the pear and apple orchard. Leonard did the designing and most of the work, becoming, as Virginia wrote, "garden proud," while she found immense solace and inspiration in their verdant paradise. He planted mammoth arrays of flowers and vegetables and built alluring brick paths, terraces, and borders to create a series of "rooms" that made their garden a labyrinth of hidden sanctuaries. Leonard also indulged his "passion for ponds" and his love of roses and became an avid beekeeper. We learn all this and much more about the Woolfs and their beloved home and garden and their loving marriage in this lavish and thoughtful tour of the property past and present. Striking archival photographs mix well with Caroline Arber's radiant color shots, and Zoob is the best possible guide, having moved into Monk's House, which is owned by the National Trust, with her husband in 2000, and tended the garden for more than a decade. Her charming and affecting chronicle grants us a new perspective on this remarkable pair of "fantastically hard-working" and immeasurably influential writers and how profoundly they were nurtured by their gorgeously bountiful garden and refuge." â?? Booklist
"...a gorgeous book filled with beautiful pictures ...a great book. 4 1/2 stars" - A Bookish Affair"...a gorgeous new book with exquisite contemporary photographs...Author Caroline Zoob and her husband Jonathan actually lived and worked at Monk's house for more than a decade beginning in 2000 as tenants of the National Trust, planting and tending the gardens, looking after all the buildings, and opening the house twice a week to the paying public. Their deep understanding of the place and what it feels like to physically be there makes this book very special." - Plant Talk
"In 1919, Leonard and Virginia Woolf bought Monk's House, an 18th-century Sussex cottage on three-quarters of an acre of land. It became their beloved country retreat. Zoob and her husband were the National Trust tenants there for the last ten or so years, charged with, among other things, maintaining the gardens, whose "fertility and wildness," as described by Virginia, are palpable today in Arber's luscious photographs of layered retreats and pathways. After providing background on the Woolfs, Zoob intertwines descriptions of their years at Monk's House (Leonard was there for 28 years after Virginia's suicide in 1941) while walking readers from one garden "room" to another (Leonard, the active gardener, devised these), among them the fishpond garden, Italian garden, walled garden, orchard, and special plantings outside of Virginia's bedroom. Watercolor planting diagrams indicate the species now flourishing (there are no gardening instructions). Many traditional components of a herbaceous border are evident. The property became, writes Zoob, "the garden of [Virginia's] writing life." Zoob and Arber also take us inside the house and Virginia's "writing lodge" built in the orchard. All is much as the Woolfs knew itâ??but neater (VW was not tidy!). VERDICT Highly recommended to all Woolf readers, armchair and active gardeners, and those looking for country design inspiration, indoors and out." â?? Library Journal
"Few things are more romantic than a lush garden full of vibrant color and sprinkled with cobblestone pathways. Virginia Woolf's Garden by Caroline Zoob explores the intricate flowers blooming behind Monk's House, where the legendary author and her husband, Leonard, lived. The Woolfs teach us that even a garden can be designed and is just as much a part of a home as the indoor space." - Romantic Homes Magazine
"Any fan of gardening or horticulture in general would truly love and appreciate this book. Yet, I think the true Virginia Woolf fans, the pilgrims who have been to Monk's house and were moved by the experience or the ones who want to go but haven't had the opportunity yet, would absolutely cherish it. I'm pleased that the National Trust entrusted Monk's House to Zoob for so long and I'm especially grateful that she shared her experience with us through this book.Virginia Woolf's Garden is a definite must-have for any Virginia Woolf fan." - The Virginia Woolf Blog
About the Author
Caroline Zoob, an embroiderer, designer of china and textiles, and someone who set a trend for making beautiful things using antique textiles. She undertakes design commissions for several large companies and runs a website www.caroline-zoob.co.uk selling her embroidery and a range of homewares. Her book Childhood Treasures was published in 2003. Caroline Zoob lives in East Sussex.