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Rosemary Verey: The Life and Lessons of a Legendary Gardener Hardcover – 1 Oct 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: David R. Godine Publisher Inc (1 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567924506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567924503
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 537,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Barbara Paul Robinson worked as a volunteer gardener for Rosemary Verey at Barnsley House, and was a close personal friend during the last two decades of her life.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Scarlett on 23 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An affectionate insight into a larger than life character. The photographs while minimal were so useful in illustrating Rosemary Verey's style.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I knew little about Rosemary Verey when I bought this biography but am really glad I did. It is extremely well written and gives an intimate portrait of this great gardener - very inspiring. Highly recommended.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alan on 8 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hoped it was a similar book to the Beth Chatto series, and find that it is very similar. am enjoying the book.
O Wood
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By cat crazy on 28 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am so glad I was able to purchase this book and learn much more about such a legend of gardening
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Garden Designer to Prince Charles, Elton John, Billionaires and everyman. 13 Sept. 2012
By Dan McC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rosemary Verey, in her forties; with no training in gardening; with only four acres in Cotswold; with scant financial support, metamorphosed into the undisputed Queen of traditional English Gardening. She authored 18 best-selling books; advised fashion luminary Oscar de la Renta; was the `must have' garden designer to HRH Prince Charles, Sir Elton John, King Hussein, American millionaires, billionaires and the New York Botanical Garden.
Verey transformed a small grass plot into arguably the most photographed garden ever; attracting 30,000 visitors annually.
Verey, a status conscious member of British `Squirearchy', was imperious, intimidating, unpredictable, querulous, and alcoholic. In public, she transmuted to the most popular, accessible, sold-out keynote lecturer at the most prestigious flower shows in Britain, the US, and Canada.
Barbara Robinson traces the metamorphosis. She illuminates the personal characteristics that catapulted Verey from a supportive, compliant, impecunious housewife and mother of four, into the acclaimed authority on traditional garden design, recipient of the Order of the British Empire. The author explains the appeal of Verey's self-effacing, empowering mantra; "If I can do it, so can you. Just get on with it!"
In telling Verey's story, the author draws upon their friendship, sustained over ten years by weekly telephone calls (>500). Robinson taped interviews with over 69 associates, competitors, clients, staff, and family. Practitioners explain Verey's design strengths...Rule One: "Always create vistas using the longest axis across the garden." It is Robinson's inclusion of the specifics of Verey's "Lessons" that sent me back to the drawing board to correct my garden's flaws. Rewardingly, Robinson's definitive biography adheres to Verey's Rule One; "Create vistas!".
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Charming book about a dear friend. 15 Oct. 2012
By Tillie Traveling - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This wonderful book is written by a friend and neighbor about a remarkable friend and gardener I knew for 40 years. Barbara Robinson lovingly depicts Rosemary, warts and all, with respect and admiration. She interviewed many friends and cited sources so she could describe events as if she had been there. I have many of Rosemary's books, and this one is a fitting remembrance of a one-of-a-kind lady whose gardens in Britain and America will forever be testaments to her special talents. Even if you don't have a garden, you will want to read this delightful book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Impression of Verey Takes A Tumble 1 Jun. 2013
By 20yrbreastcancersurvivor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading this biography I must admit that my impressions of Rosemary Verey took a bit of a tumble. The author does indeed tackle her subject's flaws(alcoholism, drunk driving, adultery, class snobbery and quitting anything she can't be best at), but it is the author's rationalization of these flaws that grates. 'Hunting and adultery go together like eggs and bacon', for example. The author even tries to convince her readers that Verey's husband couldn't find work as an architect in post WWII London because 'rebuilding concentrated on repairs and salvage, hardly challenging work for an aspiring young architect'. WHAT? That is a nonsensical conclusion. Verey's own gardening beginnings at Barnsley House started with her anger over her husband finally hiring a garden designer, years after watching Rosemary grass over all his mother's flower borders. Seems Rosemary was too busy with horses, hunting and tennis to bother with gardens. Strange beginnings.

I own and have read most of Rosemary's gardening books, and I respect her horticultural experiences and her writing, but this book disappointed. Entirely too much rationalizing by this author.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Living Life in Full Bloom 8 Oct. 2012
By Linda Pehrson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This account of the life of Rosemary Verey, the famed English gardener who designed, lectured and wrote books is informative, entertaining and inspiring for both people who are experienced and knowledgeable gardeners and people like myself, who know nothing about gardening but are thrilled to read about a woman in the second half of her life who achieved international fame and recognition for doing the thing she was passionate about. Especially memberable are the numerous descriptions of her encouraging anyone interested in gardening to "just get on with it!"
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Great Biography of a World Class Gardener 22 Aug. 2013
By The Garden Interior - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a charming biography of one of the 20th Century's great gardeners, and it is told in an engagingly simple, straight-forward prose narrative, by the author who was a very prominent New York lawyer and who, like Verey, came to gardening late in life. Robinson worked for Verey at her world famous garden, Barnsley, in the English Cotswolds. Verey only became a serious gardener in her 50s and 60s, and one of the most remarkable and likeable things about her is how a self-taught, passionate amateur could rise, in the twilight of life, to become a world authority on garden design and planting style. She wrote 17 books and influenced generations of British and American gardeners, working with such famous clients as Prince Charles, Elton John, King Hussein, and many others. She was relentlessly self-promoting, brilliantly opinionated, tremendously well read, very high-spirited and an arrestingly charismatic speaker. At a time when garden design seemed moribund, she revived it with a breath of fresh air. "Rosemary brought beauty and joy back to gardening," Robinson states. She was driven by her passions and she drove her friends before her relentlessly, sometimes even cruelly. The dark side of the gifted plantswoman is looked into fairly here. Like many great artists, she was willful and self-centered, could be tyrannical and cruel, was given to hard drinking and tempestuous outbursts. She was hard to be around and yet so stimulating that people found her irresistible. The foundation of her design ethic was that the garden should be formally and classically - even strictly - defined and structured. Inside this rigorous structure, however, the plants should be left to grow freely and with abandon, to find their way in life and realize fully what they were meant to be. Very few gardens she designed are now left intact, and her legacy to the world of gardening is interior - her writings and her profound influence on her colleagues and protégés, and the thousands who heard her speak and lecture are all that remain. But it is enough; it is more than enough. Her famous exhortation to tentative gardeners, "Just get on with it!" echoes down the years.
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