A Gentle Plea for Chaos: Reflections from an English Garden Hardcover – 1 Oct 1989
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All consuming and witty look at one woman's garden --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Mirabel Osler is the critically acclaimed author of A Breath from Elsewhere and the classic A Gentle Plea for Chaos. She lives in Shropshire. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a collection of losely themed reflections on gardening which, to me at least, brings insight on things beyond its obvious subject.
The author and her husband begin as relative beginners taking on a very large garden. They learn as they go along. There is information of what plants do well in what places, but only incidentally: the bread and butter of this book is reflective musings on how it feels to be a gardener, in good times and bad, throughout the year. Mirabel Osler's feeling for plants and for the landscape, her old-fashioned, broadly cultured frame of reference and the civilized assumption of an equally thoughtful and urbane reader make this one of my favourite books.
In fact, I'm the exact opposite in every instance; indeed, my garden's ultimate, overriding purpose is to be sat in at every opportunity (not many so far this summer...).
Needless to say, for Osler the term "proper gardner" is a pejorative, the pejorative on which the book is based, being the gardner who disallows all chaos. But it's a contrivance, a writer's indulgence. A gardening archetype has been created who can be pilloried for the purpose of entertainment to earn a quid or two; and the pleas of the title are often far from gentle.
I was hoping that Osler might be a kindred spirit whose writing I could enjoy. But she effuses over things I avoid, Verbascums, foxgloves, Achilleas, for example (vicious thugs all of them, causing as much work as the worst weeds) whilst contemptuously despising so many things I enjoy, such as heathers, dahlias, variegated plants, rhododendrons and gladioli. Osler also shudderingly condemns Prunus "Kiku-shidari Sakura" (Cheal's weeping cherry); I've just planted 5 more.
The writing style is very much an acquired taste; the prose too flowery, effusive and ornate, with a hint of a Victorian flavour.Read more ›
Thank you for reprinting the original which I can now circulate among family and friends.
The straight line regimented gardeners, those dependant on pesticides and herbicides; canes and endless garden twine in order to achieve perfection may not enjoy it, but, hopefully if they were to read it they may allow a little chaos, the odd floppy plant, they may free a little bit of nature, and benefit from not have a coronary over a dandelion!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lovely book. Well written, full of hope. If you like gardening, you'll like this.Published 8 months ago by liz
I cannot believe the one star review so I'll just add five stars to help make up for it! I suspect the book went completely over the reviewers head.... Did he not read the title? Read morePublished 16 months ago by ryokan2