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3.8 out of 5 stars6
3.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 December 2011
Read this passionately-written book to discover why, thanks to Margery Fish, you can now walk into a garden centre or nursery and buy easy, tolerant hardy plants that will grow undisturbed in your garden for a lifetime; plants with evocative "common" names like Solomon's Seal, London Pride and Naked Ladies.

Margery Fish was, in her day, one of the most famous garden writers, and her garden at East Lambrook Manor in Somerset was an inspiration for a whole generation of gardeners. This book is her plea for gardeners to rediscover, and re-evaluate, the traditional hardy plants which had once filled the gardens of ordinary houses all over Britain. By 1961, changes in fashion and taste meant those same gardens were now filled with bedding plants and dwarf conifers, and many of the old favourite flowers were in danger of becoming extinct.

This is an intensely personal account, and the author's style draws you in, building a picture of the plants and gardens more colourful (and fragrant) than the colour photographs the book obviously lacks. The black and white illustrations are mostly portraits of particular gardens, the cottages shown in the background; we are used to seeing this sort of thing in glossy magazines, but today's gardens have been restored to cottage style by gardeners influenced by Margery Fish; by the time the book was published these were rare and genuine survivals, not the trendy weekend homes of bankers and architects.

From this book you'll reap the benefit of a lifetime of experience; the cultural details and useful tips that most gardening books ignore. Here you'll also learn all about the folklore of the plants, their sentimental associations and traditional uses - plus a lot about the social background of the cottagers' way of life. Without this, a "cottage garden" is a sterile thing, lacking a heart. For this reason I would strongly recomend this book, despite its lack of modern illustrations.

If you are trying to create a true cottage garden, you'll find this book more useful than many modern versions, as the information given is both detailed and set in a period context. In the half-century which has passed, the water has become muddied and many modern books on "cottage gardens" are quite misleading. I would recommend that, if you want good colur photos of the plants described, you refer to Perennials: Early Perennials v.1: Early Perennials Vol 1 (Pan garden plant series) and Perennials: Volume 2: Late Perennials (The Pan Garden Plants series): Late Perennials v. 2, which will more than fill the gaps.
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on 14 January 2013
Although written some time ago now this is another book by Madge that should be read by anyone wanting to open their eyes to the wonders of the traditional Cottage Garden. Although a self taught Margery's background in the media means this like all her books are clear consise but always a great read.
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on 23 July 2010
Cottage Garden Flowers by Margery Fish defies categorisation, yes it is a book on horticulture but one can read it today as a `how-to' garden book, a primary source for attitudes to garden design in the late 1950s/early 60s or a charming example of English as it was written around fifty years ago. As a `how-to' book despite Margery Fish's expertise in horticulture it is flawed, namely it lacks colour illustrations, so sometimes one has to use a gardening encyclopaedia to check which plants are being discussed. Indeed, the few illustrations that do exist in the book lack clarity and are of little help to the reader. On the other hand, if you are happy to read this book for its old-fashioned style you are in for a treat. I know nothing of Margery Fish but if her writing is representative of her character one can imagine her in tweeds, twin-set and pearls dispensing her gardening wisdom in a strident upper class English accent to the vicar. It is this view into the past which makes me enjoy this book so much, if you yearn for some garden related nostalgia dig out a copy, settle down with an Earl Gray and enjoy a trip to a bygone age.
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on 23 November 2014
Lovely traditional book. Good condition. Shame there are no colour plates but lots of useful and traditional cottage garden facts.
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on 27 July 2013
Whilst the descriptions of cottage garden flowers are good,it would have been nice to have had some pictures,and even some suggestions of lay-out.
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on 22 April 2016
Very useful book, fast delivery
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