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Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City [Hardcover]

Dan Pearson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Mar 2011
Ten years ago Dan Pearson found an extremely rare, large, neglected city plot and set out to design and create a garden space all of his own. Arranged by seasons, Dan shares the challenges of gardening his city plot in a romantic and beautifully written series of diary-like essays, documenting the horticultural tasks required and sharing his successes and failures on the way. Written and photographed in 'real time' this book documents an urban garden and gardener at work, bringing the experience of gardening to life and offering a unique insight into the work and thoughts of the one of the world's most respected garden designers.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Conran (7 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840915374
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840915372
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 19.6 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"Dan has a way of making me look at plants, and the garden in which they live, with a fresh eye. His approach to my small, urban garden gently challenged my ideas of both design and planting. The result has enriched my life more than I ever thought a garden could. Dan had worked his quiet magic." Nigel Slater

Book Description

Dan Pearson's last book with Terence Conran, The Essential Garden Book, has sold 104,000 copies in 7 languages The gardeners gardener with a huge international reputation "An awe-inspiringly intelligent and quiet spoken communicator" Exceptional book on urban garden design, specially photographed in real time

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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sanctuary in the city 4 April 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a glorious gardening book. It is so easy to read that I read the first 160 pages in the first couple of hours after I received it. The written style is lyrical as well as highly informative, and by the end I was as in love with Dan's garden as he is. This is not a "How to garden " book. This is a book that describes the triumphs and the failures in a garden. It describes the problems and the pests. It is one of the first books I have read by a professional gardener that captures the gardener's woes and ecstasy. It is however written by a superb plantsman. I learnt a great deal about how to look after the plants I have - but there were many plants I had never heard of. There are descriptions of different varieties, colours and flowering times of the same types of plants. Dan does not believe in using any common names so every plant has its full latin name. I may have to have a dictionary of plants with me as I read this book again and again.
I have a city garden almost the same size and aspect as Dan's, so to me it is an absolute gift. Any urban gardener will welcome the excellent advice on what can be planted where and how things look and develop at different times of the year, written by someone who is used to urban boundaries, space and light. The description of how he approached the garden was very interesting. I loved the descriptions of what died and what had to be moved. The admission that a professional gardener also has failures is so heartening.
It is so difficult to find good books about small gardens and this is one of the best I have come across. But it is not just for urban gardeners - any gardener will love this book and learn something from it.
I almost did not buy this book as the pictures on the website and the video do not do it justice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baring the soul of a city garden 30 May 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Home Ground, for me, is a book that explores the very essence of what gardening in the city is about. I empathised entirely with Pearson's project to create an urban oasis as an "antidote to the hustle and bustle, to the hard edges" of the city - and to get the most out of this book, you'll have to do the same. Pearson's is a very personal meditation on the abstract pleasures of gardening; a mixture of design, philosophy, mood, and aesthetics.

The sheer hard graft of gardening is largely glossed over in the introduction: the site clearance, the waiting, the hard-landscaping. They form the backbone of the garden of course, but this is primarily a book about plants, and the true plant-lover will thus be enthralled. Every gardener, even if they don't agree with some of Pearson's thinking, will recognise a kindred-spirit in his continual trials and errors, in his delight in nature's serendipitous plant combinations, and in his palpable moments of melancholy over beloved plants come and gone.

The scent of Daphne "Jacqueline Postill" is "as sweet and talcy as your grandmother's dressing-room"; the Epimediums' "new foliage inflates like a dragonfly expanding after emerging from the chrysalis". Pearson's similes are abundant and evidence a deep connection with his plants, each one brings something unique to the whole, and though we never see the whole, we can feel it through the narrative's colours, scents, sounds, tastes, and textures. Howard Sooley's sumptuous photographs accompany the text in glossy full-page pauses that offer tantalising visual impressions; they balance the text perfectly.

Home Ground presupposes the reader's familiarity with botanical names; if you don't know your Cercis from your Cytisus, then this will cause problems.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By B. Yeoh
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book has no techniques or "how to", but if you'd like a well written journal of a passionate and sensitive gardener and his insights, trials and tribulations in creating his city garden sanctuary then you'd like this book.
The account takes you from its neglected state through the seasons to its current form, with all the joys and woes this entails.

However, I don't think it is that great for a beginner gardener unless you think they will be inspired by it and I think it will be most enjoyed by those with a special interest perhaps tose who are looking at their own city garden over a period of time.

As others have mentioned, there are enough photos and latin names of plants, but you'll need a reference book (or an active internet connection) to make the most of it, although in many respects I don't think the book is there for you to copy Dan's garden but to take inspiration in the process over the seasons.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, lovely book. 19 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I fell deeply in love with Dan, years ago, when he first took our breaths away with his garden overhauls on TV. His very natural approach to gardening is so stunning, it makes me cry. The pictures in this wonderful book make me hope that heaven will be as good as this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The soul of gardening 26 Aug 2011
By Hilary French VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a must-have book for anyone who loves gardening. It is the art and poetry of gardening, as well as the soul. The photos are beautiful, giving a real feeling of the garden and the planting and how it has evolved, and the writing is both practical and lyrical. It is certainly not a how-to gardening manual, but that was never its intention. I have been reading and rereading and thoroughly enjoying it. Dan Pearson at his best!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I borrowed this from my local library and loved it so much that I...
I borrowed this from my local library and loved it so much that I bought a copy. Dan has such a way with words and his fascination with plants really shines through..
Published 1 month ago by Eileen Kelly
2.0 out of 5 stars I hoped for help and instead read an account of the garden.
Whilst i love this gardener who writes for Sunday paper, This book fell short of my expectations. It was neither a helpful to gardener book or a book describing the pleasure of the... Read more
Published 19 months ago by marion kovach
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for the Soul
An inspirational journal of one man and his garden. Hasn't been off my coffee table in the year since I bought it and I think it's been looked at every day in that time.
Published on 18 May 2012 by N. Chivers
5.0 out of 5 stars valentine present
What a lovely gift, instead of flowers, i can have my own garden to love in spiritual glory for ever and ever.Love and thanks.Arrived perfect and quickly.
Published on 11 Mar 2012 by Mrs J Spilling
5.0 out of 5 stars dan pearson book
a lovely book showing how the garden is tamed from a wild patch to a natural garden full of nature and super pictures to inspire
Published on 14 Feb 2012 by VC
4.0 out of 5 stars Oasis of calm in a busy city
This book exemplifies one of the main things I love about gardening - he's created a space that has the power to change you just by using plants. Read more
Published on 14 Dec 2011 by sb
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting, this is for your experienced gardener
I am a beginer gardener and this book was a bit too high brow for me. The photos are beautiful but not helpful in planning your own garden as it is difficult to see how the... Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2011 by Trickle Tree
5.0 out of 5 stars A Personal Love Letter to the Author's Garden
Dan Pearson is one of our most accomplished and innovative of our garden designers today. He's also a most accomplished garden writer: I've already reviewed Spirit: Garden... Read more
Published on 20 Jun 2011 by Wiltshire Bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars A veritable gardening grimoire
It is always nice to see a new book on gardening appear, especially one which is quite original in it's approach. Read more
Published on 13 Jun 2011 by Paolo Sammut
4.0 out of 5 stars Garden prose at its most poetic
Over a decade ago, acclaimed garden designer and writer Dan Pearson took over a neglected garden in Peckham, South London. Read more
Published on 29 May 2011 by butwhatdoiknow
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