How better to enjoy your garden than settling down outdoors with a good book... You know how food eaten al fresco is always more delicious? The same with reading...a chaise, a sun hat, a tall ice tea with a sprig of lemon verbena and a book about...what else?...gardening... makes for a perfect summer afternoon (sunshine would be nice, too, please...).
Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer season has arrived, and I plan to look up from my garden chores and into the pages of one of these new books, for a few minutes this weekend anyway.
In The Garden With Jane Austen (Kim Wilson, Frances Lincoln Ltd., 2011. $19.95) is the kind of book to read while sipping tea from a delicate, bone china cup....From the bower of mock orange on the cover to the foreword by Celia Simpson, the Head Gardener at Jane Austen's House Museum, this pretty little book is a frothy delight. Filled with photos of English gardens grand and modest as well as quotes from Austen novels about flowers and the glories of nature, the book is part social history and part Austen homage. I particularly liked the heritage plant list for the restored Chawton Cottage Kitchen Garden, and the biographical details about the Austen family.
The lines between Austen's fictional gardens, her home garden, and famous English parks and estates is pleasantly blurred; the effect is like stepping back in time for a June ramble through the English countryside. And if you enjoy this book, be sure and take a look at the equally charming Tea With Jane Austen (Kim Wilson, Frances Lincoln Ltd., $19.95); "No coffee, I thank you, for me - never take coffee. A little tea if you please," said Emma in one of Austen's most popular novels.
The Armchair Book of Gardens: A Miscellany by Jane Billinghurst (Lyon's Press, 2011, $24.95) is a work of art, from its endpapers to type face and color plates. This book makes you delight in paper and be thankful we still have books to hold in our hands and lovingly, slowly, turn the pages. Take that Kindle and Nook!
Dip into pieces about gardens through the centuries and across cultures, captured in images, poetry and prose. This is a mixed border of a book, with a celebration of topiary here and a Persian garden party evoked there...The author is a master gardener who lives in Anacortes....