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Posted February 2, 2009
Leafing the pages of this beautifully wrought gardener's diary is very much like drawing open curtains on a summer morning and finding your room filled with sunlight. The photographs by Derry Moore are incredibly beautiful from Jeff Koons' Puppy to the protective shadows and dappled greens of a terrace border on a cloudless afternoon. There are some 150 color photos in the 224 pages, and each is a feast for the eyes. Lady Salisbury, we learn, has always been drawn to gardens. As a youngster she tended to small areas in her parents' gardens. From this initial interest grew an abiding love and enormous responsibility as she later became chatelaine of England's Cranborne Manor and Hatfield House, where she brought these great groundss to renewed life. In a description of her childhood gardens she writes, 'From my earliest consciousness, I have noticed plants...' She was, she says, awakened by her mother's roses and the instructions she received as to how to cut a rose for a vase and how to prune roses to encourage reflowering. Little did she dream then that she would become a professional garden designer with commissions from throughout the world and count among her clients the Prince of Wales and the New York Botanical Garden. Lady Salisbury has spent her life doing what she loved, and to this writing actively continues although she is in her 80s. She is the woman the New York Times called 'The Green Goddess of English Gardens,' while others refer to her as the 'greatest gardener of the twentieth century.' In photographs and words A Gardener's Life is her biography, and a joyous one it is. This volume serves not only as a chronicle of her work but as a guide for us, sure to be relished by those who love gardens, nature, and all things beautiful. - Gail Cooke
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