'At once entertaining, opinionated and deliciously annoying.'(James Alexander Sinclair)
'Challenging rather than bad-tempered, The Bad Tempered Gardener is certainly strongly voiced, argumentative and full of a sharp edged wisdom that those of us who want to make better, more beautiful gardens need to be attending to.’(Sara Maitland)
'When, at Veddw in Monmouthshire, Wareham replants the lines of vanished hedgerows with box and fills the enclosed spaces with grasses and hardy perennials, she is linking the land-use of the past with the aesthetic of the lordly parterre. By giving expression to contemporary sensibility about conservation, she invites intellectual engagement.'(Germaine Greer)
Anne Wareham gardens at Veddw House in Monmouthshire with her husband Charles Hawes. Their two-acre garden is quirky and so is she, but this book is full of original thought and it's honest. Two acres between two is tough going! The Lucky Jim anti-version of gardening books.(Oxford Times)
If you love gardening but hate the pretensions surrounding it, this is the book for you.(Yorkshire Evening Post)
We're used to friendly faces and kind words in the gardening world, whether it's on TV or in print. People who give gentle encouragement, enthuse about reliable plants and impart wise advice. Then there's Anne Wareham. Gardener, author and sometime TV presenter, her latest book might well get her known as the Simon Cowell of the green-fingered scene.(Scotsman)
Outspoken, candid and occasionally controversial, Anne Wareham is a unique voice in the gardening world.(Topiarius)
A different sort of gardening book.(Western Mail Series)
An intelligent, pugnacious and engaging book.(Monmouthsire County Life)
This is also a compelling book - the story of the creation of the garden at the Veddw, interlaced with the author's somewhat bumpy education as a gardener. I read it from cover tocover in just a few sittings, agreeing with some parts, violently disagreeing with other parts but transfixed by the whole idea that someone who professes to hate gardening should spend their life creating a beautiful garden like the Veddw.(Professional Gardener)
Be prepared to be both entertained and annoyed when you read Anne's book as she describes her 'outside housework' and takes a swipe at 'gushing garden stories'. If her penned thoughts and criticisms make you think a little more reflectively about gardens - and gardeners - then her book will have acheived its aim.(Reckless Gardener)
Less bad tempered than a well considered plea to consider gardens more honestly and critically.(Garden Design Journal)
This book represents a gardener who is not so much bad-tempered as frustrated, at pains to challenge accepted garden wisdom in all its forms.(House & Garden)
Definitely thought-provoking.(Irish Garden)
This is certainly the first gardening book I've read in whch the author heartily recommends separate beds - for married couples, not vegetables.(Daily Mail)
A kind of grumpy, argumentative antidote to all other gardening books.(Evening Standard)
About the Author
Charles Hawes' photographs of gardens regularly appear in the best gardening magazines. He has won several prizes in the annual RHS open photography competition, and was an exhibiting finalist in the 2008 International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition. He supplied all the photographs in Stephen Anderton's recent book Discovering Welsh Gardens, shortlisted for a 2009 Garden Media Guild award.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Gardening is talked-up housework that you have to do outside. It has everything in common with housework, even some of the tools. I have a vacuum cleaner that I use indoors and out since it sucks up wet as happily as dry. Gardening has a great deal of the same objective as housework and is mostly depressingly judged on the same criteria - is it neatandtidy and is it weed-free, alongside is it neatandtidy and is it dust-free?
Gardening is boring. It is repetitious, repetitive and mind-blowing boring, just like housework. All of it - sowing seeds, mowing, cutting hedges, potting up, propagating - is boring, and all of it requires doing over and over again. If there are enjoyable jobs they're mostly enjoyable for the result not the process.
There is no actual intellectual content to the task itself, even if there may be in the planning and designing. So, if there is something wrong in my world, if an editor has snubbed me or a call centre driven me round the bend, I find myself obsessing. I think we are supposed to be delighting in being out in the open air, communing with nature, but me, I'll be obsessing, writing rude letters in my head. Wishing I was sitting comfortably indoors writing rude letters.