Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Secret Gardens of East Anglia

Beautiful books with depth seem to me to be a rarity. Many of the visually arresting publications gracing my coffee table and shelves have little to say beyond the photos. Secret Gardens of East Anglia differs in that it might have been two books. One, a masterclass in photography by the hugely talented Marcus Harpur, who, sadly, died recently; the second, a fascinating insight into gardeners and their gardens by Barbara Segall. The two combine to create a visually delightful experience and an exceptional read. 
Parsonage House (Photo: Marcus Harpur)
The private tour of twenty-two gardens ranging from a dramatic, densely planted city plot to spacious stately homes is a joy. I have lived in East Anglia for almost half of my life. Some of the gardens in the book I know well, others are new to me. Proximity is irrelevant though, as this is a book for everyone who loves gardens, regardless of whether they will ever set foot in East Anglia.
Ulting Wick wildflower meadow (Photo: Marcus Harpur)
Yes, I want to visit the gardens - who wouldn’t after drooling over all those mouth-watering photographs? But the stories of the gardens and their gardeners, so engagingly told by Barbara, grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and propelled me outside to reconsider my own plot. The stories and photographs in this book have inspired me to be a braver, more audacious gardener. To garden bigger and better and with greater passion than ever before.
Wyken Hall (Photo: Marcus Harpur)
I must confess that I know Barbara and I was sent a copy of the book by the publisher. That said, had I not been given a copy, it would have been at the top of my Christmas list. I have returned to Secret Gardens of East Anglia on several occasions since I read it for the first time. It is, without question, my favourite book of the year.


  1. I might just get this for my next visit "home".

  2. I might just get this for my next visit "home".

  3. I think this is 'a must have' for me, especially for the stories of the gardens. There is something to read. Glossy picture books we have already too many. I understand Wyken Hall is also in the book, I have been there a few years ago.

  4. It will be interesting to read about gardens that are not on our doorstep. Reading it may inspire another garden visiting holiday in EA.

  5. This sounds like a wonderful book Sarah. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Looks like some gorgeous gardens! I love books that tell some of the history of the garden and lets us know more about it. Sounds like a great one.

  7. This looks like a fabulous book. Hmm, my birthday is in about a month, might be time to start dropping hints to Judy.

  8. Any book that inspires you to garden with more brevity and passion must be a must-have read! I now need to get my hands on a copy! Cx

  9. Hello Sarah, I wish we had this book when we live in East Anglia, the pictures look incredible and from what you've said, the writing is also very good too. I've not bought a gardening book recently so perhaps this could be the next one on the list.

  10. I really appreciate your professional approach.These are pieces of very useful information that will be of great use for me in future.


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