Synopsis (from book cover):

Now Katherine Swift, one of the most acclaimed gardening writers of her generation, takes a fresh look at the garden she created over twenty years in the grounds of Dower House at Morville, meditating on everything from the terrain and its history, to the plants and trees, and the odd habits of the animals and humans who inhabit the garden.

Is everything in the landscape older than you think?  Might a flower in your hat change your life?  Can cats and cardoons cohabit?  These are just some of the topics that Katherine Swift considers in this enchanting companion volume to The Morville Hours.

With specially commissioned colour photographs of the garden by Jane Sebire and line drawing by Dawn Burford, the book follows the turning wheel of the Morville seasons, from the green shoots of spring, through summer and autumn, to the stark beauty of winter, and back to spring again.  It is a journal full of surprises and enchantments that will appeal not only to gardeners, but to all who enjoy the natural world.

This book follows on from Katherine’s very successful book The Morville Hours and is once again the book is elegantly written. The chapters in the book consist of articles from the column she wrote for the Sunday Times when she was their gardening correspondent between December 2001 and July 2005.

Katherine talks about her day to day musings as she tends to her garden throughout the year. It covers the things that that worked out well in the garden, some happy accidents and future possibilities for the various garden rooms. It is however much more than a gardening book, covering diverse subjects such as astronomy, bees, the Morville cats, past American Presidents and other historical figures. In one chapter she muses about time and the use of a garden tree to construct a sundial within a turf maze and how it was ‘initially’ in time with the church clock.

Amongst the things I learned are that there are eleven thousand species of moss worldwide, that lichens are not one organism but two living in symbiosis and that bees do not hibernate over the winter, they are in perpetual motion and continually beating their wings to keep warm.

As with the The Morville Hours it is a book that I will read again and also dip into from time to time. I am looking forward to her next book which is provisionally entitled ‘A Rose for Morville’. I am also reminded that I must visit the garden, living in Shropshire I don’t really have an excuse not to.

6 Comments CherryPie on Sep 26th 2012

6 Responses to “The Morville Year by Katherine Swift”

  1. Suzie says:

    Hmmm. Some people just have a feel for this rustic stuff. Gardens? Do you mean yards? Bear in mind, you are now in Australia.

    I have just moved out of Sydney onto a couple of acres. It’s incredibly beautiful here and only an hour back to the city…but..I’m not a country girl. I don’t care about gardens. Or bees. Or Chickens.

    But I’m here, courtesy of a back-to-the-land, dreaming, husband. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, to any lurker, who might possibly have me pegged as a man hater.

    Do continue to encourage my forays into the garden. It’s Spring and I should be planting! Or so I am told.

    • CherryPie says:

      I wouldn’t enjoy gardening in the same way that Katherine does (or tending to the bees and chickens) although I do enjoy the finished product. In fact gardens are one of my favourite places to visit or just to sit and relax in. My own garden is in need of a little TLC.

      In the UK a garden usually has grass and flowers and maybe a few pathways. A yard is more concrete or slabbed over, maybe with some flowers around the edges.

      I think if you enjoy the beauty of the place you live it will overcome the daunting task of those couple of acres. It is autumn in the UK and I really should be planting some spring bulbs but…. I seem to be out taking photos, enjoying the scenery, chatting to friends and… Well I think the garden can wait another year ;-)

  2. james higham says:

    one of the most acclaimed gardening writers of her generation

    I really will have to come up to speed on gardening writers.

  3. Suzie says:

    You’re right, of course. It is incredibly beautiful here and we are so lucky to have such a fantastic place. It’s peaceful and gorgeous and I know how privileged we are.

    I know England well and stayed there for many years. I lived close to Audley End House which, from memory, had a walled garden very similar to those you have photographed.

    I also recall some sheep and duck type creatures wandering about the joint. I have acquired four chickens in the last couple of weeks. Hen-houses have been constructed. They are super special, palatial chick accommodation. The hens have laid two eggs in the last ten days. Makes each one cost $250 dollars. I can’t wait
    to sample them.

    You can’t persuade me to read Katherine Swift but I will continue to read your musings.

    Carry on putting a positive message out to the world. You have created a good, kind, uncomplicated blog, which lacks an agenda, making you pretty unique.


    • CherryPie says:

      I have never been to Audley End House. I have just looked it up and it looks really interesting, I will but it on my to do list.

      I am sure those eggs will be well worth the wait. I remember eating freshly laid eggs when I stayed in a cottage that was on a farm. That was a long time ago and it was a big family holiday with my parents, brother and nephews.

      Thank you for your kind words :-)