#BookReview THE VIEW FROM FEDERAL TWIST by JAMES GOLDEN #nonfiction #FederalTwist #gardens #gardening



ABOUT THE BOOK


Federal Twist is set on a ridge above the Delaware River in western New Jersey. It is a naturalistic garden that has no utilitarian or leisure uses and the site is not an obvious choice for a garden (heavy clay soil, poorly drained: quick death for any plants not ecologically suited to it).

The physical garden, its plants and its features, is of course an appealing and pleasant place to be but Federal Twist’s real charm and significance lie in its intangible aspects: its changing qualities and views, the moods and emotions it evokes, and its distinctive character and sense of place.

This book charts the author’s journey in making such a garden. How he made a conscious decision not to improve the land, planted competitive plants into rough grass, experimented with sustainable plant communities. And how he worked with light to provoke certain moods and allowed the energy of the place, chance, and randomness to have its say.

Part experimental horticulturist and part philosopher, James Golden has written an important book for ecological gardeners and anyone interested in exploring the relationship between gardens, nature, and ourselves.


PUBLISHED BY FILBERT PRESS

PURCHASE LINK

BOOKSHOP.ORG



MY REVIEW


What a glorious garden!! And an equally glorious book that had me captivated by the photos and the insightful writing which really helps you understand the journey that the owner made with the garden and how he has transformed it under his ownership! And what a stunning job he has made of it too!

The garden is in New Jersey, USA and has some testing conditions to deal with, but he has taken his time and put in a lot of research to find the best plants to use in the situations – a lesson for us all! I really enjoyed seeing how he approached the garden in terms of design and planning and loved hearing about the history of the area and landscape. And considering he had no background in gardening, it was fascinating to read that he learnt as he went along!

It’s a truly ‘natural’ looking garden and the photos are spectacular in showing this aspect off. The garden has many ‘pauses’ in it, places where you can sit and take in your surroundings, and that’s what I found with this book too. It sets things out really nicely allowing the reader to ‘pause’ as they read and take in the photography, the plant names as a helpful guide and taking time to notice the changes over a year with different light and changes in the plants. It really is an immersive garden and one that makes you forget the outside world! Very much needed during these times!

This is one of those glorious books that gives me garden envy as I’d adore to have a garden as beautiful like this, but the photos and plant lists allow you to take little ideas to put into action in your own plot and I found it to be such a restful read that it was just a wonderful experience from start to finish!

★★★★★

#BookReview WINTER GARDENS:REINVENTING THE SEASON by CEDRIC POLLET #gardening #gardens



ABOUT THE BOOK


In this stunning reimagination of an entire season, acclaimed and award-winning author and photographer Cedric Pollet presents 20 of the most beautiful winter gardens accross France and the UK.

Winner of the Garden Media Guild – Garden Book of the Year award, Pollet showcases these breathtaking winter gardens which are at their best when most gardens are at their barest.

Rich with blazes of colour and light, these gardens use creative structural planning and subtle textures to greate masterful visual and sensory ensembles.

From berries and barks to vibrant shrubs and evergreens, these gardens will delight and inspire in equal measure, all captured in extroardinary photographs by Pollet, one of today’s masters of garden photography and accompanied by insightful text which picks out the reasons these gardens are so special.

The second half of the book is an illustrated directory of over 300 plants which encourage you to achieve these effects in their own gardens.

From the author of bestselling Bark: An Intimate Look at the World’s Trees, this beautiful guide is a unique and unmissable book on some of the most creative and inspiring gardens around today. 


PUBLISHED BY FRANCES LINCOLN


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon  £20

Blackwell’s £14.99



MY REVIEW

I now have Winter Garden envy thanks to this book! It’s a stunning collection of photographs across a a variety of gardens in France and the UK, showing just how wonderful a garden can look during the winter months, when most people think there’s nothing going on in gardens! Here’s a book that proves that wrong!

Alongside the beautiful photos, there’s wonderful text and useful information shared on the history of gardens and how they’ve evolved over the years and how more people are making an emphasis now on keeping the gardens looking good all year round. He looks in depth at the gardens that excel at this and if the photos don’t inspire you then there’s something wrong with you!

It looks at the plants that are often overlooked, and how during winter you rely more on structure and colour and goes into depth of various plants and trees and how they can be used to keep the interest going. I loved the lists of plants used and they are a really helpful guide for plant shopping as I’m definitely determined now to put more effort into my winter garden as this book has been a real inspiration and opened my eyes to a new way of using the garden all year round!


★★★★★

#BookReview THE ROSE IN FASHION:RAVISHING by AMY DE LA HAYE #NonFictionNovember

ABOUT THE BOOK


An exploration of how the rose—the most ravishingly beautiful and symbolic of flowers—has inspired fashion over hundreds of years​

The Rose in Fashion: Ravishing is a fascinating exploration of how the rose has inspired the way we look, dress, feel, and fantasize. It foregrounds innovative, refined, and challenging fashion design from elite 18th-century woven silks to the latest gender-neutral catwalk trends and Alexander McQueen rose dresses. Drawing upon fashion clothing, everyday dress, millinery, fine jewelry, perfume, and artificial and fresh roses, multiple expert contributors make reference to love, beauty, sex, sin, gendered identities, rites of passage, transgression, degradation, and death. This sumptuously illustrated book also includes a contribution and stunning images of roses by visionary photographer Nick Knight. Wild yet cultivated, savage yet delicate, this flower has remained an enduring symbol perhaps due to its versatility and the dichotomies it represents. 

PUBLISHED BY YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS

PURCHASE LINK

AMAZON

HIVE.CO.UK

BLACKWELL’S

MY REVIEW

If you’re expecting a ‘coffee table’ book with just lots of pretty pictures then think again!! This is far more than that, which made for a wonderful reading/viewing experience!

At the heart of the book is the humble rose! As a keen gardener, I’m always eager to have more in my garden and this book gives a fascinating insight into how this flower has captured the hearts of so many – in art, fashion, literature … the list seems endless! It explores the impact that the rose has had over the centuries in different ways, and how it has continued to evolve and stay current throughout!

I could have happily just had a book full of the stunning photographs, illustrations and paintings but to learn so much about the role of the rose was an added bonus! As it does feature a lot of fashion, the use of flowers on the clothes and styling was just amazing to see and it is definitely one of those books that you keep picking up and noticing different details everytime you look at a photograph.

A ravishing read indeed!!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE BEAUTIFUL ONES by PRINCE #nonfictionnovember

ABOUT THE BOOK

From Prince himself comes the brilliant coming-of-age-and-into-superstardom story of one of the greatest artists of all time—featuring never-before-seen photos, original scrapbooks and lyric sheets, and the exquisite memoir he began writing before his tragic death.

Prince was a musical genius, one of the most talented, beloved, accomplished, popular, and acclaimed musicians in history. He was also a startlingly original visionary with an imagination deep enough to whip up whole worlds, from the sexy, gritty funk paradise of “Uptown” to the mythical landscape of Purple Rain to the psychedelia of “Paisley Park.” But his most ambitious creative act was turning Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minnesota, into Prince, the greatest pop star of his era.

The Beautiful Ones is the story of how Prince became Prince—a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him. The book is told in four parts. The first is composed of the memoir he was writing before his tragic death, pages that brings us into Prince’s childhood world through his own lyrical prose. The second part takes us into Prince’s early years as a musician, before his first album released, through a scrapbook of Prince’s writing and photos. The third section shows us Prince’s evolution through candid images that take us up to the cusp of his greatest achievement, which we see in the book’s fourth section: his original handwritten treatment for Purple Rain—the final stage in Prince’s self-creation, as he retells the autobiography we’ve seen in the first three parts as a heroic journey.

The book is framed by editor Dan Piepenbring’s riveting and moving introduction about his short but profound collaboration with Prince in his final months—a time when Prince was thinking deeply about how to reveal more of himself and his ideas to the world, while retaining the mystery and mystique he’d so carefully cultivated—and annotations that provide context to each of the book’s images.

This work is not just a tribute to Prince, but an original and energizing literary work, full of Prince’s ideas and vision, his voice and image, his undying gift to the world. 

PURCHASE LINKS

hive.co.uk  £14.99

whsmith  £17.50

foyles – signed edition £25.00

MY REVIEW

It’s obviously not as in depth as was originally planned by Prince and the author, following the sad death of Prince not long after the project was started, but what we do get is a wonderful insight into the man behind the music. His childhood memories, handwritten lyrics, stunning photos alongside recollections of his evolution as a musical artist. A beautiful book about a beautiful soul.

And with the author, Dan Piepenbring, adding his own thoughts and memories of the time he did share with Prince in the months before his death, we got to hear about how Prince was hoping to begin a new chapter of his life and allowing more people to learn more about him as a person through his own words. There are also little soundbites featured from interviews that he made throughout his career which add another layer of understanding to how he saw himself and how others may have perceived him. He was never afraid of being outspoken or different and his approach to creating new personas and sounds just became second nature to him as he looked to evolve over the years both musically and personally.

It is upsetting that the whole concept of this book wasn’t able to be seen through to the conclusion but I think what we do get is a fitting tribute to an astonishing musician and person and I found it to be a moving and absorbing read.

★★★★★

#BlogTour Take Me To The Edge by Katya Boirand #BookReview #Poetry #TakeMeToTheEdge #RandomThingsTours @Katyahazel @unbounders

A delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for TAKE ME TO THE EDGE by KATYA BOIRAND today.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for putting everything together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 A beautifully presented collection of poems accompanied by striking photographs of the people who inspired them 

 FIVE WORDS IS ALL IT TAKES TO PROVOKE A CHAIN OF CREATION.

 That is what Katya Boirand discovered the first time she asked a friend for five words and then turned them into a poem, using the words and the subject as her inspiration. This spark started a movement, and soon Katya was asking friends and strangers alike for their five words of choice. Take Me to the Edge is a selection of these poems, sitting alongside a portrait of each subject, in this stunning and joyous celebration of language, connection and art.

Published by UNBOUND

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK £20.00

hive.co.uk £13.89

waterstones  £20.00

MY REVIEW

Sometimes you can make the biggest impact by using the fewest words and that is how I often felt whilst reading this stunning poetry and photography collection from Katya Boirand.  It’s amazing to me how just a few words can convey such a powerful message or idea and with this collection of poems, created from random words, does that with bells on! I loved it!!  

I think it’s the simplicity of the concept that intrigued me the most about wanting to pick this up – the fact that different people around the world were asked to choose some random words for her to use in each poem – and alongside some beautifully shot photographs of those people, these poems have been excellently portrayed and put together and I’ve gone back to read them over and over!

The images are stunning throughout and just add that extra dimension to the words on each page, and I also loved the little potted bios of those photographed and the 5 words that inspired each poem as it helped give each more meaning.   It perfectly demonstrated how different words from different worlds show us all how connected we all are and can be and it’s a collection I highly recommend getting hold of!

★★★★★