Tory Historian's blog: Writing about gardens

Posted by Tory Historian Sunday, April 15, 2012 ,

What could be more conservative in the true sense of the word that does not imply any idea of class, let alone class warfare, than gardening? Whether we mean a large garden in the country, a suburban square behind the house, a small town garden, just a balcony in a block of flats, mucking about with soil, plants, bulbs, seeds, cuttings or bushes is being part of a long tradition. Even new or newish, radical or supposedly radical ideas of change in gardens remains within that tradition of creating and growing.

Tory Historian has just read a delightful little history of gardening and gardens in England (not really any other part of the country) by Anne Scott-James, illustrated by her husband, Osbert Lancaster (he of the pocket cartoons and the Littlehampton family), entitled The Pleasure Garden.

From the British Roman estate that so resembled those of villas in Italy itself through gardens that were and are monastic or Tudor, in the grand French or the enclosed Dutch manner, romantic or formal, suburban or railway all the way to the patio of the seventies the chapters are witty and knowledgeable and the drawings are a joy to study.

It so happens that Tory Historian was today in Russell Square that figures in the chapter called The London Square. A familiar square suddenly looked very different.


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