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We Made a Garden

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J'ai reconnu bien des conseils donnés oralement par une vieille amie d'origine anglaise, ainsi que de nombreuses plantes que Nicole avait dans son jardin, comme les Geranium vivaces, que j'ai encore chez moi, mis en couvre-sol sur la plupart des parterres. In the development of gardening in the second half of the twentieth century no garden has yet had greater effect.” John Sales, National Trust At the start of World War I, Lord Northcliffe was the most powerful man in Fleet Street, wielding influence at every level. So when in 1917 the prime minister, Lloyd George, asked him to head the British Mission to the USA, Northcliffe immediately requested that Margery be on his staff. It meant crossing the Atlantic under threat of enemy torpedoes, but she accepted without hesitation. The mission spent three years in the USA and Margery was awarded the MBE in recognition of her contribution. The cottage garden created by the renowned 20th-century plantswoman and gardening writer Margery Fish. Yes, they were part of a campaign, and the purpose of the campaign was not to teach her to garden properly (which was not in his gift), but to prevent her from doing so and thereby leaving him behind

Probably through Northcliffe’s influence, Margery went on to work for the News Editor of the Daily Mail, Walter Fish. He finally became Editor in 1922 and although known as a tyrant, it was his combination of decisiveness and unrestrained zest for life that made him an inspiration to work for. For seven years they worked together in a purely professional manner, but in the Spring of 1930 Margery received a much more personal letter from Walter. The house was long and low, in the shape of an L, built of honey-coloured Somerset stone. At one time it must have been thatched but, unfortunately, that had been discarded long ago and old red tiles used instead. It stood right in the middle of a little Somerset village, and made the corner where a very minor road turned off from the main street. There was only a narrow strip of garden in front, and not very much behind, but we bought an orchard and outbuildings beyond so that we had about two acres in all. A high stone wall screened us from the village street, and there was a cottage and another orchard on the other side. The National Portrait Gallery, London possesses two photographs of Margery Fish: Retrieved 2 November 2012.Margery Fish encouraged her readers to ‘cherish the simple flowers that brightened our cottage gardens for so many years.’ She created the now famous garden at East Lambrook Manor from 1938, which remains a monument to her. The abundant style of planting reflected her interest in plants and this coupled with her extensive knowledge of soils and situations as to which suited each plant, made her garden very popular in the 1950’s and 60’s. Margery Fish became an avid galanthophile or snowdrop enthusiast. Her book A Flower for Every Day includes an account of the giant snowdrop variety "S. Arnott", first exhibited at a Royal Horticultural Society exhibition in 1951 and acquired by her from a specialist company. There were said in 2008 still to be 60 different named varieties of Galanthus nivalis growing at East Lambrook. [9] Several snowdrop varieties discovered in the "ditch garden" at Lambrook since Margery Fish's death have been named and described. [10] Writing [ edit ] Like Fish, I wanted a garden that was pretty in every season, that bloomed throughout the year. I also want at least some of the plants to be useful in my kitchen. Chives are thriving and so pretty I hate to cut them. Another of his [previous] gardeners had my sympathy, and I think there was a moral for me in the tale of his undoing. This man had one joy in life and that was to grow wonderful chrysanthemums in pots to bring into the house in the winter. According to Walter he used to stroke and fondle his chrysanthemums so much that he was neglecting the rest of the garden. Remonstrances had no effect so one day Walter took a knife and slashed off all those pampered darlings at ground level. It was by remembering this episode that I learnt to have a sense of proportion and fairness in my gardening, and not to devote too much time to things I like best at the expense of the rest of the garden.

This was the direction in which Margery Fish was moving, and from this and her other writings it is clear that she thought of all these plants she acquired, propagated, and distributed to visitors and friends as her "babies". But in this book it is also clear that Walter has sensed this baby symbolism, and that he resents it: All the titles have been reprinted in various forms at various times. Several have been translated into German, Dutch, Italian and other languages.David St John Thomas: Journey through Britain... (London: Frances Lincoln, 2004), pp. 343–44. Retrieved 2 November 2012. One thing I never discovered and that was whether he was deliberately trying to teach me to leave experimental gardening alone until I had learnt to grow the ordinary things properly. I assumed that these regrettable incidents were not intentional, but they may have been part of a campaign. My yard used to be given over to our Afghan Hounds, but as our children grew we let the dogs go. That is, we did not show or lure course, breed or buy more dogs. They gradually aged and died, and there was my grandmother's yard waiting for some attention. We had only one dog when the men took out the gravel and brought in topsoil. I planted blue and violet and white flowers, evergreen shrubs, and sages. I allowed the orange montbrecia and carmine escalonia that do so well on the coast, but also a richly scented old white rugosa rose, rosemary, and blue ceanothus. I have hydrangeas grown from cuttings (and quite purple in our acid soil). I have tried flowering annuals with uneven success. The battle with horsetails will never end, the butterfly bush mostly feeds bugs, the escalonia requires a firm hand to prevent it taking over the world. Barnsley, with its lively pink flowers gave us several gorgeous years of flowers from spring through November, but finally gave up. I have the firebrand "Lucifer" variety of montbrecia in addition to the more common pure orange. The hostas are determined and often send up their pretty spikes of blooms. My grandmother's purple primroses are long gone and I cannot seem to get replacements to settle, but there is always salal, a native bush much-loved by florists for its leathery leaves, and loved by my family for the berries I use like blueberries in muffins.

Aside from being the history of the development of a wonderful garden I found this book to be a disturbing memoir of a controlling husband and an unquestioned emotionally abusive marriage in a sexist era where the woman gained power by subterfuge. For many years Fish indeed used very little gardening help. She squeezed her writing around working 18-hour days on developing and maintaining the garden, even doing dry stone walling and path-laying herself. Her silver garden caught the heat of the day, and her damp, shady garden used a stream that ran behind an old malthouse. The silver-leafed wormwood Artemisia absinthium 'Lambrook Silver' is still a popular variety. Margery Fish developed a style of gardening which was in tune with the times: the Second World War had made labour scarce and expensive and it was no longer a reality to have paid teams of gardeners. Gardens had to change. While the cottage garden style was already apparent at Hidcote and Sissinghurst, these were gardens that still required paid gardeners. What Mrs Fish created at East Lambrook Manor, was a grand cottage garden on a domestic scale, she wrote, “It is pleasant to know each one of your plants intimately because you have chosen and planted every one of them.” For the first time a garden had been created to which anyone could relate. It was an ‘approachable’ garden and through her many books and articles, Margery managed to change gardening from a pastime of the wealthy to a passion for the whole population. This is a charming little book by Margery Fish, offering anecdotal history of the choosing and planting of a home garden in England. According the the introduction, Fish passed decades ago but her garden has recently been restored. He credits her with how we grow our gardens. I think he must be right. In the development of gardening in the second half of the twentieth century no garden has yet had greater effect.” John Sales, National Trust 1980.The iconic cottage garden at East Lambrook Manor is the creation of celebrated 20th-century plantswoman and gardening writer Margery Fish. Here she developed her own unselfconscious approach to gardening, combining both contemporary and old-fashioned plants in a relaxed and informal manner to create a garden of great beauty and charm. The present owners, Gail and Mike Werkmeister, took over in 2008. The garden is open to the public regularly and some Royal Horticultural Society and Yeovil College horticulture courses are held there. [15] Books [ edit ] The late Margery Fish, well-known English garden writer, recounts the joys and trials of creating, with her husband, the now-famous cottage gardens at East Lambrook Manor in Somerset. First published in 1956 by W.H. & L. Collingridge, Ltd. This edition is edited and contains a foreword by Graham Stuart Thomas. Twenty-four lovely b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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