HEAD GARDENERS

PIMPERNEL PRESS

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WINNER OF THE INSPIRATIONAL BOOK OF THE YEAR

GARDEN MEDIA GUILD AWARDS, NOVEMBER 2017

 

NEW UPDATED AND EXPANDED EDITION, 2021

 

Designers can scoop gold medals at Chelsea.  The owners of distinguished gardens are recorded in the history books.  But who takes note of the head gardeners, without whom those clever designs could never be realised, and those great gardens would soon perish?  This has always seemed to me a profound unfairness - and this book is a small attempt to put it right. Working as a garden writer, I met head gardeners week in, week out, and knew what intelligent, thoughtful and incredibly competent people they were, what an enormous body of knowledge they held in their heads, yet the likes of David Cameron could still dismiss gardening as on a par with litter-picking! I wanted to show the extraordinary range of their skills, the very different approaches they brought to their roles, and simply what interesting people they invariably are - wry, funny, usually  (but not always) very patient, sometimes scholarly, sometimes gungho - invariably passionate about their work. 

REVIEWS FOR FIRST EDITION

‘Ambra Edwards’s fascinating interviews show what diversity there is in British gardens. It’s a book about people and how they tick – people who happen to be gardeners.’

The Times 

 

‘It is hard to argue with her view that gardeners are undervalued by society, in status and reward. Let’s hope this brilliant book goes some way to redressing that.’ 

 Ursula Buchan, RHS Garden Magazine 

 

‘Rarely do garden books move me to tears, but certain pages in Head Gardeners were so moving that I found myself welling up. This is a book which celebrates a gardener’s resilience and imagination as well as the traditional gardening virtues.’

Gillian Mawrey, Historic Gardens Review 

 

‘Edwards is so skilled at unearthing the often conflicting passions of her subjects you feel as though you are eavesdropping on an intimate conversation, illuminating person and place.  Charlie Hopkinson’s eloquent photographs capture the essence of their subjects. The book is also a covert plea for investment in gardeners at all levels.’

Gardens Illustrated 

 

‘An informative and eye-opening delight.’

Country Life 

  

‘Perhaps some high-minded philanthropist might pay for a copy to be presented to every secondary-school careers department in the land.’

 Hortus 

 

‘A new insight into…the hard work of keeping great gardens alive.’

Evening Standard 

 

‘From Cumbria to Cornwall Ambra Edwards has talked most enjoyably to working gardeners in charge of very varied gardens.’

Financial Times 

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