Good Reading : November 2004
goodreading 23 Just like gardens, gardening books come in all shapes and sizes – and at times the sheer volume of them can be overwhelming. Despite this, the desire for more gardening books never seems to abate, which is why I’ve come to talk to Gill Teague, publisher and bookseller, in his specialist gardening bookshop, Florilegium. I’m looking for a good gardening read and Gill is a veritable encyclopaedia of knowledge about gardeners and gardening books. So what would he recommend? One of Gill’s favourite gardeners is Michael McCoy who impressed him so much he decided to publish his book: Michael McCoy’s Garden . Michael spent 12 years working for other peo- ple in their gardens, including Christopher Lloyd in his famous garden, ‘Dixter’, in England. When Michael and his wife purchased a cot- tage at Woodend, north of Melbourne he decided it was finally time to make a garden for himself. His book is a diary of the creation of this garden. Michael wanted to create a spectacular garden, one that made him feel he was com- pletely engulfed in plants, and he gave himself the daunting task of creating it in the space of one year. His writing style is unpretentious and as you read of his experiences, whether it is digging a hole, planting seedlings or realising that he should have started work on the backyard before the front, you will find yourself musing about his successes and frustra- tions.The most endearing thing about the book to me is that Michael sees himself as a ‘home gardener’, one not afraid of failure, and so in that sense he’s truly inspir- ing to all us amateur gardeners. And just to reinforce that, Michael says that gardening is also a whole lot of fun, and that fun begins long before any level of proficiency is gained’. Another passionate Australian gardener, and a friend of Michael McCoy, is Leo Scholfield who over eight years ago leased Bronte House in Sydney. Built in 1845 Bronte House is recognised as one of the best examples of a colonial residence in Australia.The lease stipulated that he care for the house and the garden. The Garden at Bronte is Schofield’s ‘chronicle of a work in progress’ as he lovingly rehabilitated the garden. Rather than a mansion, the house is described as a ‘romantic retreat’ and through beautiful colour photographs the book shows how sympathetically the garden You can easily forget that every day brings something new in the garden but ROWENA CSEH found some books that are perfect reminders of this truism. categorical Michael McCoy’s garden at Woodend.
December January 2005