This is a book about time and the garden: all gardens, but also a particular one: that of the Dower House at Morville, where the author arrived in 1988 to make a new garden of her own. Katherine Swift takes the reader on a journey through time, back to the forces which shaped the garden, linking the history of those who lived in the same Shropshire house and tended the same red soil with the stories of those who live and work there today. It is an account which spans thousands of years. But is also the story of one life: of relationships tested to breaking point, of despair and loss as well as joy and achievement. It is a journey through the seasons, but also a journey of self-exploration. It is a book about finding one's place in the world and putting down roots. The Morville Hours takes the form of the medieval Book of Hours, recalling the monastic past of the house. Each chapter is named after one of the Hours of the Divine Office, and summons vividly to life an hour of the day or night in the garden of today and in the gardens of the past, from the crunch of grass underfoot at midnight on a frosty New Year's Eve to the drip of trees in a melancholy March dawn; from a perfumed May Day morning when the whole world seems sixteen again, to the enervating heat of a Midsummer noon; from the bloom of blue-black damsons picked on a golden September afternoon to the smell of holly and ivy cut in the dusk of a cold Christmas Eve. Together they describe the arc of the gardening year, and the arc of a life, from darkness into light, and from light back into darkness once more.
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Katherine Swift lives at The Dower House, Morville Hall in Shropshire. She worked as a rare book librarian in Oxford and Dublin before becoming a full-time gardener and writer in 1988. She was for four years gardening columnist of The Times, and has written widely in the gardening press, including an acclaimed series on the gardens and landscapes of Orkney for Hortus. She is the author of Preserving Our Printed Heritage: Long Room Project at Trinity College Dublin with Anthony Cains and Pergolas, Arbours and Arches: Their History and How to Make Them with Paul Edwards and Jessica Smith. The Morville Hours is her third book.From Publishers Weekly:
Swift, a former London Times gardening columnist, invites readers to slow down, taste the fresh fruit and sniff the blooming flowers. Entwining gardening with natural and local history, family memories, garden visitors like insects, animals and people, and religious traditions, Swift explores the cycles of the seasons and life while providing a fresh breath of country air. Was quince responsible for the Trojan War as well as Adam and Eve's fall from Paradise? Garden tidbits, such as pear trees living for 250 years and damson plums having provided the dye for British military uniforms, are abundant. But more so, Swift offers an exploration of the world as seen through the eyes of a longtime gardener. The months in the garden are explored alongside the medieval Catholic book of hours; days and seasons cycle with Swift's narratives of garden design, Roman history, astronomy and brain chemistry. Swift's meditative prose should appeal to gardeners (armchair or soil-based) and nature lovers alike with its invitation to pause for reflection. (May)
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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110747592586