The Education of a Gardener by Russell

By Russell

Russell web page used to be probably the most recognized panorama gardeners in Europe. this is often his vintage textual content describing his education and the making of his many and celebrated gardens. Written in transparent, dependent prose, illustrated with a considerable photographic part, this variation boasts photographs through Marina Schinz of Russell Page's gardens in a extra mature shape and hitherto unpublished pictures from the author's documents with a foreword and captions by way of Fred Whitsey, gardening correspondent to the Daily Telegraph.

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Planted closely together, maybe nine feet apart and in wet ground, the mottled cream and green trunks of those trees leaning outwards from the path soared seventy or more feet into the air without a branch. The effect was prodigious: the carefully planned curve of the path making it look as though it ran between two gigantic palisades of growing timber. The friendly formality of the house required a somewhat formal linking with the park, and its owner, calling in a French architect, had started with the usual formal arrangements of gravel alleys, clipped box bushes and narrow beds of red flowers.

He recognised it in Russell Page. But with the modesty reflected in the title of his single book, Page always gave his occupation as “gardener”. He loved handling plants and he drew them constantly throughout his life. To him, plants of all kinds, from giant trees to lowly alpines, were more than the medium in which he worked. Plants and the environment natural to them were the unquenched springs of an inspiration to which he must minister, accommodate, even reverence. I know this from the long and excited conversations we had about plants and gardens in the London flat he chose because the windows overlooked a view dominated by two winter-flowering cherry trees, and from the talk we had as we tramped around gardens.

I would be given cuttings from old-fashioned pinks and roses which were not to be found in any catalogue, and seedlings of plants brought home perhaps by a sailor cousin—here was a whole world of modest flower addicts. It must have been my father who told me of a certain elderly lady devoted to flowers who lived in a Victorian Gothic house almost in the shadows of the three great towers of Lincoln Minster. One day I knocked on her door. She opened it herself and stood there, tall and gaunt, with wild grey hair and the relics of great good looks, dressed in the fashion of thirty years before.

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