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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to savour
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,...
Published on 26 Sept. 2008 by L. Robinson

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a patchwork
This is one of my mother's favourite books. I usually like what she likes, so was keen to read it. My mum reads bits of it, dipping in here and there and coming back to favourite parts all the time. I read it all in one go. To be honest I think it is better read in sections, like my mum does. It is actually several stories, the history of her house and the surrounding...
Published 24 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley


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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to savour, 26 Sept. 2008
By 
L. Robinson (Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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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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79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative writing, 20 Jun. 2008
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Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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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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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect book, 26 Aug. 2008
By 
Jean L. Lemaitre (St. Andrews) - See all my reviews
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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A time and a place, 14 May 2010
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hbw (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Morville Hours: The Story of a Garden (Paperback)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and galvanizing, 3 May 2009
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly absorbing, 13 May 2012
This review is from: The Morville Hours: The Story of a Garden (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy and delight, 1 Oct. 2009
I agree completely with the other reviews. This book is an absolute joy to read. It is not just a 'how I made this garden'; it is far more than that. Written like a Medieval Book of Hours, it spans the year and uses the creation of a garden as the thread that weaves all the other strands together. Family history, genealogy, social history, astronomy, astrology, folklore, anthropology, geology and history are just a few of the subjects included, written in a lyrical and beautiful prose. It is a book to savour and one which will repay any amount of time and effort spent on it. I cannot recommend this book too highly.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 1 Feb. 2009
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This is a glorious book. Perfect winter reading for anyone with an interest in gardens, books, history, geography, geology, biography, beekeeping and any number of other subjects which Katherine Swift cleverly weaves into her book. Cannot praise it highly enough. Simply the lovliest book I have read in ages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a patchwork, 4 April 2013
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Morville Hours: The Story of a Garden (Paperback)
This is one of my mother's favourite books. I usually like what she likes, so was keen to read it. My mum reads bits of it, dipping in here and there and coming back to favourite parts all the time. I read it all in one go. To be honest I think it is better read in sections, like my mum does. It is actually several stories, the history of her house and the surrounding area, the history of the making of her garden, the history of her family, all held together by the rhythms of the ecclesiastical day. I enjoyed each bit of her story, but not all smushed up together. Her writing style is beautiful and her take on what she writes about fresh, and interesting, but it did get very fragmented at times and I found myself wishing she could just stick to a narrative for a little longer before abandoning it and moving on to something else. I did enjoy it, but not as much as I'd hoped, and not in the way I had hoped.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read., 30 April 2009
By 
Ms. J. K. Pollitt (Worcestershire.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Morville Hours: The Story of a Garden (Paperback)
Katharine Swift's popular book is pure prose and a joy to read. She tells how she creates a garden divided into rooms for different ages and with reference to the people who have lived in the Morville Hall Dower House. She also fascinates the reader with her tales of the people past and present who populate her book. Much research has gone into this delicately told tale. We learn some astromony and about the Shropshire countryside, bee-keeping and other ancient crafts. The Monastic life and seasons of the year are all intertwined in this beautiful book.
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The Morville Hours: The Story of a Garden
The Morville Hours: The Story of a Garden by Katherine Swift (Paperback - 6 April 2009)
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