The Bad Tempered Gardener Hardcover – 5 May 2011
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'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
Anne Wareham has been living and gardening in the Welsh borders with her husband Charles Hawes for over thirty years. She has written occasional pieces for the Financial Times on gardens since 1998 and accompanying articles to Charles Hawes' photographs in magazines such as The English Garden and Gardens Illustrated. She contributed a chapter to the Frances Lincoln book Vista and is a founder member of thinkingardens, set up with the support of the RHS to encourage and develop a broader, more enquiring attitude to gardens.
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
So on the first read, this may seem a bad book. But if you then accept that it's about gardeners rather than gardens (and by "gardeners" I mean not only those who get down and dig but also those who are fortunate enough to own big gardens and have the cash to pay someone else to do the heavy work for them), and read it again you'll get far more from it.
When other reviewers say this is a book about Anne Wareham's garden, they miss the point. The book uses the garden as a way to demonstrate the thinking that's the thrust of the book. There is no need to publicise the garden at all - it's only open on Sunday afternoons for three months of the year (inconsiderate!) and it seems that it's only open at all because the owner grudgingly accepts that some silly people want to visit it. The owner discourages you from wanting a garden tour by setting a stupid price for that. She probably doesn't want you there at all, disturbing her nap after a nice Sunday lunch.
This is, first and last, all about the mentality of those who spend days, weeks, years, developing a garden but never actually get to enjoy it. I'm like that. Every year I spend the spring preparing and making perfect and tell myself that in the summer (if we ever have one of those) I'll sit out there and enjoy it. When summer comes (on a single day in June), out goes the deck chair but on my way back for the bottle of wine I see a weed! That's it.Read more ›
Interweaving narrative strands run throughout the book, the central being the process of making her garden at Veddw in Monmouthshire with Charles Hawes. This learning curve with it's inherent confusions and contradictions has provoked meditations upon individuals, communities and the landscape, situating gardening activities within larger social and historical frameworks.
Critical reflections ponder the British national obsession for over planted gardens in relation to consumerism and the media. Indeed the media are castigated for their role in promoting glossy idealised notions of gardens divorced from their actual uses and surroundings. A side swipe is also aimed at the haughty-cultural hierarchy and it's supposed 'experts' dispensing words of wisdom from on high, which would have been interesting to see developed further.
Hortiphiliacs need not worry, there are plenty of chapters on plant likes and dislikes, presented from a personal perspective of gardening experiences. Here the book strays into more traditional garden territory, and as such these passages are sure raise the hackles of many plant obsessives.
Despite the serious issues raised it's not all heavy pondering.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author is described as a psychotherapist (it's clear she's not a gardener) and the injunction which immediately springs to mind is "Psychotherapist, heal thyself ! Read morePublished on 14 Feb. 2013 by Jeff Walmsley
Anne Wareham's collected essays, filled with amusingly crotchety (but mostly witty and wise) commentary on gardens, gardeners, and their ilk, are a terrific antidote to too much... Read morePublished on 10 Feb. 2013 by Holy Hocks & Rocks
I had expected a slightly more humourous take on the subject due to the title but having said that as a very keen plants person I enjoyed the book.Published on 28 Dec. 2012 by storebee
This is not a 'how to' book (thank the Lord!)If I was starting out in gardening, then this just HAS to be on my book shelf or 'wanted' list and, as I am a professional gardener and... Read morePublished on 19 Nov. 2012 by Gaynor Witchard