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An Englishman's Home: The Adventures Of An Eccentric Gardener [Paperback]

Tom Hart Dyke
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Mar 2008

Tom Hart Dyke has a bit of a thing about plants. You might call it an obsession. You might call him certifiable, in fact. But it’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a large ramshackle country estate and an obsession with plant collecting could want for only one thing - in Tom's case it's a walled garden containing examples of plants collected from every corner of the globe.

Tom’s infectious enthusiasm for anything with chlorophyll in it and the hugely ambitious World Garden project he has undertaken at his family home, Lullingstone Castle, in Kent have been documented in a 12-part television series for BBC 2. The first six parts (Save Lullingstone Castle) were shown in spring 2006, and the second six episodes (Return to Lullingstone Castle) in spring 2007 to coincide with hardback publication.

Tom’s attempts to set up the World Garden aren’t exactly straightforward. You might imagine, for example, that the easiest way to start preparing the ground inside the walled Elizabethan garden which he transforms into the main part of the world garden would be to enlist the help of a few people and a lot of hard digging. Well not for Tom, who enlists instead two large pigs, who do indeed do a great job of turning over the earth and fertilising it with great organic manure. But the problem is that they keep escaping into the Hart Dyke family burial plot next door where they start digging up Tom’s ancestors…

The World Garden is created to bring together a truly amazing collection of plants from every continent and so to show the global origins of the plants we all grow in our gardens. It’s already establishing itself as a tourist attraction of some note as well as an educational resource.

This is a book for all those who bought Tim Smit’s Lost Gardens of Heligan. It’s stuffed full of fascinating botanical information as well as the story of Tom’s hapless struggle to overcome huge logistical nightmares. It's a riveting, hilarious story of English eccentricity in full bloom.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi (11 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552155063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552155069
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 834,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Tom Hart Dyke is surely England's most extraordinary gardener." (Daily Mail)

"Tom Hart Dyke is the Lara Croft of flowers!" (Observer) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The hilarious true story of Tom Hart Dyke's attempts to build the World Garden at Lullingstone Castle in Kent, as seen on BBC 2

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nuts about horticulture 22 July 2008
I loved this book. As a horticulturist myself I can appreciate Tom's obsession. He is a modern day intrepid plant hunter.

This book is not just for plant nuts like Tom and me, it's very entertaining and will appeal to many readers.

Tom gives an open review of his life, from the beginning of his interest, through his struggle at school and into his adult life.

He came to the attention of the world when he and his traveling companion, Paul Winder, were kidnapped in South America while exploring and hunting for wild orchids back in 2000. They were held for 9 months then mysteriously let go. Read 'The Cloud Garden' by Tom Hart Dyke and Paul Winder for the terrifying details. The Cloud Garden: A True Story of Adventure, Survival, and Extreme Horticulture After a period of rest and recovery, Tom started on his mission to build a magnificent garden which had come to mind during his capture.

Tom's hilarious accounts had me laughing out loud with tears in my eyes. I couldn't put it down. I think it was brilliantly written and a must for anyone who likes farcical adventures. This is a bit like Mr Been but it's all true.

I'm sure the beautiful photos in this book will encourage the reader to visit Lullingstone Castle to see for themselves what Tom has achieved. I've been and I was greatly impressed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars World Garden Lullingstone Castle, Kent 19 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very entertaining account of the development of this garden by a real enthusiast. It adds to the visitor's experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasurable read. 6 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having enjoyed the book myself, I bought a copy for a gardening friend. I have been twice to talks by the author, and visited the garden, and found both talks and garden a happy experience recommending it to many people. The book is well written, and lighthearted, and interesting in its subjects. The said castle and its surroundings in the lovely Darenth valley are also a delight.
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