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Winchcombe gardener Vanessa Berridge releases new book

All Areas > Entertainment > Literature

Author: Patrick Baines, Posted: Monday, 25th June 2018, 09:00

Vanessa Berridge Vanessa Berridge

Gloucestershire author Vanessa Berridge has released a new book celebrating the influential horticulturists that have made the biggest impact on Britain’s gardens.

The book, titled ‘Great British Gardeners’, charts the history of gardening on British shores, from the early plantsmen who brought new plants from abroad during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries right through to modern gardeners like Beth Chatto and John Brookes.

Vanessa, who launched ‘The English Gardener’ magazine back in 1997, has spent the last year researching 26 gardeners whose work has influenced modern day horticulture. She said: “I feature 26 gardeners who have all made a considerable contribution towards Britain’s gardens. It took me over a year to complete all the research and find out about all these wonderful people.

“The book is in chronological order. I begin with early plantsmen and people who started bringing exotic plants into the country during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. I then move onto the late seventeenth century, the age of the great landscape gardeners, and look at some of the influential garden designers. In the nineteenth century I look at how the industrial age had an effect on gardening. I then come right up to the present day and feature the wonderful Beth Chatto, who had an enormous influence of gardens by encouraging people to buy plants that will both grow and thrive in the UK climate rather than trying to get exotic plants to grow.”

Vanessa’s love of gardening started at a young age, she would often help her father out in their garden. Vanessa continued: “My father was a great gardener and I spent most of my childhood with him, learning about plants and flowers. Once I got my own home I really got into gardening which helped me get a job in the gardening press. I launched a magazine called ‘The English Gardener’ back in 1997, so for the last twenty or so years most of my time has been spent writing about gardens and gardeners. Gardening plays a big part of our national identity. The climate in the United Kingdom lends itself well to growing. If you live in a very hot or cold country, it’s hard to grow things. Our climate is perfect, there’s hardly a day in the year when you can’t get a spade in the ground. I’m in the garden every day of the year, it’s where I’m happiest. I’m actually opening my garden to the public on 1st July as part of the National Gardening Scheme, which is very exciting.

Vanessa’s love of writing means she’s always keen to pen new books, and she’s already began work on her next release. She said: “I’m just started working on a new book which will tell the story of Kiftsgate Court Gardens in the Cotswolds. They are celebrating their centenary in 2019, so it will make for a lovely story. The gardens have been looked after by three generations of the same family, all of them women. I’m really looking forward to finding out about the history of the gardens and the people who have worked there.”

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