Ask any nature lover for their definition of a perfect garden and
you would get as many answers as there are types of potato. For
every admirer of a bowling green lawn there is a passionate
advocate of a wildflower meadow strewn with cornflowers and
poppies; there are fans of the charming d?shabill? of the
traditional English cottage garden, but just as many gardeners who
crave neat rows of wallflowers and geraniums with nary a weed in
sight. This diversity of taste is what makes the British a nation
of garden lovers tolerant of differences and always ready to admire
something new. The Royal Horticultural Society has taken the
decidedly bold step of producing an anthology of poetry about
gardens bold, because tastes in poetry are at least as diverse as
those in gardens, and within the confines of a mere 120 pages it is
impossible to please every reader. Nevertheless, this collection
cannot fail to delight; true, there are the inevitable favourites
'Daffodils' puts in an appearance along with Keatss 'Ode to
Autumn'. But there are several delicious surprises, particularly
amongst the 20th-century verse. John Agards 'Palm Tree King' is an
exuberant, hilarious paean of praise to the coconut palm, with an
infectious rhythm and more than a hint of mischief, while Vicki
Feavers poem 'Marigolds' pulses with a musky sensuality more in
keeping with the metaphysical poets of the 17th century, than many
of the conventional nature poets of the Romantic period. There are
extracts from the earliest books to celebrate the glory of creation
the Bible is well represented, with verses extolling the original
glory of Eden as well as the erotic lines from the Song of Solomon.
There are poems readers will return to again and again, favourites
from childhood or schooldays, or simply poems they have loved
because they express their own joy in the wonders of Nature.
Gardeners are essentially poets, coaxing beauty out of the soil as
a poet coaxes words from the page, and this anthology is a
celebration of this relationship. The book is beautifully
illustrated with a series of botanical prints, engravings and
watercolours from the RHSs Lindley Library. They complement the
poems perfectly, so that each poem is a visual delight. A book to
treasure indeed, and a perfect companion for lazy summer afternoons
in the garden. (Kirkus UK)
From the RHS comes this compendium of poetry about gardens and
garden plants, themes that have provided inspiration for poets
since the dawn of time. The poems span many centuries and include
the work of such great writers as Wordsworth, Spenser and
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