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The Morville Hours: The Story of a Garden Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Length: 384 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

`A magical book. I have read it twice now. I love the richness of Katherine Swift's prose; the flashes of her family's story that are scattered through the deliciously written text; the gorgeous detail. The Morville Hours is the most beautiful book I have read in years'

Sir Roy Strong

`The Très Riches Heures of garden writing.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4884 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (17 Jan. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0052SPEME
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #161,642 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a delight (as is the garden in real life) The author is knowledgeable and paints the most vivid pictures. It is a book about the area of Shropshire she lives in, how it has evolved through the centuries, the house and garden and her sensitive reconstruction of it. She is a lady after my own heart with interests such as history, gardens, cats, flowers, geology, weather....it is so well written, I highly recommend it.
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By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm something of an armchair gardener - all the pleasure and none of the work - and this book satisfied my liking to read about beautiful gardens. Its chapters are titled according to the monastic hours, echoing the house's monastic past. The author created a dreamlike garden out of a field beside her Shropshire house. The book is a description of the genesis of that garden with digressions into history, herbalism, religion and the uses and growing habits of the plants she seeks to cultivate. The writing is brilliantly clear and the garden comes to life as you read. There are line drawings in the style of illustrations from a medieval book of hours, though no photographs, together with a plan of the layout of the garden This is a book to be enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in gardening, history or the spirit of human endeavour. To create such a magnificent garden is truly a labour of love
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Format: Hardcover
This book is about far more than 'the story of a garden'. For me, it is that rare thing, a book that I did not want to put down and will certainly read again. It is written in such elegant prose with no superfluity almost to the point of self-effacement. The author's knowledge of so many diverse things is a constant delight to encounter. It is about gardening; about astronomy; about the roots of words and language; about the history of Morville and its environs; about the author's place amongst all this and so much more. I read as slowly as I could, not only to savour the text fully but so as to be able to go on sharing Dr.Swift's life and times in rural Shropshire for as long as possible.
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By hbw VINE VOICE on 14 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gardens and gardening have never been more popular. Perhaps it's because a garden represents the ultimate reality check in our twenty-four-seven, centrally heated, air conditioned, just-in-time world.

When Katherine Swift takes on the challenge of creating a garden for a National Trust Property, she finds inspiration in medieval books of hours and their framework for daily life (the monastic hours of work, study and prayer) lived within the wider context of the annual liturgical and agricultural cycle.

The garden she creates reflects both space and time. The geology, soil and weather dictate what can and cannot be grown and what tasks are appropriate to the season. It reflects, too, the history of the place: the monastic cloister garden, the formal Elizabethan knot garden. The book, like the garden it describes, is deeply personal. Katherine Swift meditates on the geology of Wenlock Edge, wonders what moles dream of, reflects on the hardships of rural life (she is no sentimentalist) and ponders on her own family's far from idyllic history.

Although "The Morville Hours" will appeal to gardeners and garden lovers, it isn't a book about gardening - it's about the way in which gardens reconnect us with the bigger picture.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has done what none have done before - made me join the NT ( an organisation I'm very wary of) simply to go and visit this wondrous place. It has also had me reaching for the RHS' Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers to follow the author on her journey round the garden; it's made me download Bottecelli's Primavera so I could admire that secret smile, so many things beyond gardening. What a treasure trove, what a joy this book is. This is going to be Christmas present for everyone I know!
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Format: Paperback
This is the most beautifully written book. Originally I had passed it over: spotting it on the gardening display in a bookshop I noticed the picture on the cover, but thought that I really don't need or want any gardening books, especially ones without colour pictures. But luckily I was given The Morville Hours as a present and I was enchanted from the very first page - to label this a gardening book is somewhat reductive. The lyrical prose takes the reader on a ramble through the history of landscape, of settlement, of land cultivation, with digressions into many tempting byways. The garden at Morville is the author's anchor and throughout the course of the book we learn about how she came to be there, and how she turned an unprepossessing field into the most amazing garden (which you can actually go and visit), but also the reader learns about the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, ancient agricultural practices, the farming calendar, Ice Age geology, a bit of soil science - all sorts of interesting and arcane knowledge imparted in the most gentle and conversational way, as part of a continuing story of place and people. Country life past and present, snippets of Swift's family history, of Morville history - the dissolution of the monasteries - all structured in a calendrical fashion, using the Hours, or divisions of a monastic day, as the framing device of the book.

I can't praise this book too highly - the first time I read it I was carried along by the lyrical prose, the second time I read more slowly, taking in the absolute mine of interesting information, and pausing to enjoy the beautiful line drawings. Treat yourself, or buy as a present for someone who is interested in history, gardening, farming, the countryside or the landscape - or someone who just enjoys a thoroughly absorbing read.
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